Tuesday, June 26, 2012

So we've been here in Tonga almost 2 months now and so much has changed since i last posted.  We've met many people and made many plans.
About a month ago we ran into an Australian girl who works for the Australian High Commission and she was interested in Chris's idea to build Tonga's first skateboard ramp.  I think it was Monday or Tuesday we ran into her and she said Australia gave out a grant every year for 10,000 to fund a Sports program or activity.  It was due that friday.  She said this year only 1 or 2 people had applied so we had a good chance. We rushed to fill out and get quotes.  And handed it in and of course found out about 15 people had also handed it in on Friday!  We won't know till about November....soooo stay tuned?
But i think doing all this work and preparation made it more clear what we really want to do here.  Build a skateboard ramp/park and generate interest...i believe the amount of skateboards here you could count on one hand...and we have two.
Then, if God wants, we build a camp for kids to learn skateboard, bmx, music, art, construction, plumbing, Discipleship training from Kamu, etc...create teachers from the students...and not with the attitude that we have all the knowledge...we learn from the Tongans as well.  Eventually having Tongans run the camp and us being able to start other camps on the other islands.  Enable the Tongan Youth to have SOMETHING to do and enjoy and also the ability to create small business's so they won't sell out their lands to big money making business.
OF COURSE...this all would take a miracle.  And if it seems our plans fail and shift it's ok because God creates and destroys for a better way.

There's a little shanty town on the edge of Nuku'alofa that is extremely poor and trash is piled up everywhere!  I think from flooding?  We biked down there the other day and it was hard to see.  Seeing poverty is not fun. chris and i are trying to come up with ways, ideas to bring food and get to know these people.  We want to become friends with them.  Maybe pass out icecream cones? Come by every week and sit by the water and share food?  I'm not sure what we're going to do.  But we need to do something.

We also have had the opportunity to share with our neighbors and so have others in the United States!  We heard that our neighbor was just eating cassava (a root vegetable) and was feeding their 6 month old  baby Milo (similar to carnation breakfast) because they had nothing else.  I freaked out a little thinking of the baby.  We bought them bags of groceries and diapers and very nervously brought them over...later finding out we were the first white people to go to their door!  The women was very shy probably because a whole herd of us came loudly over and probably overwhelmed her! Her husband hid in the other room! We posted this need of theirs on Facebook and someone donated money to give.  I went over by myself  this time and she was much more open and talked.  I explained this money wasn't ours but from someone else.  She was very grateful but embarrassed , and i had to reassure her i knew what it was like to be in need to!  She said they respected us Palangis (white people) because we live here the way we do.
To give to her in this way and talk made all the crappiness i had felt earlier worth it.
Some moments i feel homesick. lonely.
Sick of bugs and never ending stream of ants.
Lice..they are despicable
living in a house with holes in walls, ceiling, doors.
doing laundry 50's style
sleeping on a thin piece of foam that makes you feel like you got beat up in the morning
Sometimes it can get to me but this moment with our neighbor made it worth it.  And i'm thankful.  Chris reminded me the other day how we don't want to go through the hard times and just want to skip to the end. To benefit and grow we have to go through them.
Tonga has made me realize how selfish, prideful, and coveting i am.  It has dug up all the ugliness i could easily hide from myself and others before.
I see really it's all about Jesus.  Just Jesus.  Falling in love with Him. I read the Scriptures and reading about Jesus can bring me to tears. Sometimes i go through the day praying that God will give me grace to do what i don't want to do.
I realize i can't love all of Tonga and that used to bother me.  But.  I can love Kamu and Saane. Soteria, Latu...I can love crazy little Sami next door...I can love the women at the market i buy vegetables from.  It can start small.

singing with everyone
15 mile bike ride one way to the West Side
Run or Die!