Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I realize it's been a long time since I last posted.  A lot has happened, changed, and to be honest I was in a very dark place for months and I don't think it would have been a good idea to post anything.  As mom used to say, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!"

So here we are today still faced with many challenges but thankfully i have a better attitude.  This May will mark our one year being in Tonga!  Pretty crazy for a girl who basically lived in one town her whole life!  Since moving we've doubted God more, trusted  God more, gone hungry, made friends, cried more, learned how to home school, biked our butts off, and seen God do amazing things.

So i figured i'd break it all down where we're at financially, physically, mentally, spiritually...

Somehow we managed to go almost a whole year paying electricity, water, and gas (and even having internet  most of the time) on our only consistent income of $200 a month.  Of course we couldn't have done it without the random giving  from   family, friends, and Chris's income from work, but i can't tell you how many times we've been down to our last dollar, out of food, bills due, and somehow pull it off.  It is exhausting, but sure keeps us praying! I have been pushed to my limits in this area and been frustrated at God.   A few months ago we were hungry, but couldn't eat because we were saving our food for dinner time.  We were down at the wharf and praying that God would provide.  Ariel was playing with some trash (don't ask me why) and ran up to us yelling because she found $15 in a crumpled up piece of tin foil!  We were able to go to the bakery with that money and fill up!  A few weeks ago i was at the ATM to see if  some money had come through and had $1 left in my wallet.  My friend Lela called to me from a bus and asked if i had a dollar i could give her.  The bus driver made eye contact with me and shook his head slightly as if saying, "don't worry about it, ignore her".  I hesitated and then pulled out my dollar for her.  I said goodbye, then checked my account and sure enough the money had gone through plus another unexpected $100!   But i can't tell you how often i am just filled with doubt and fears for these things. Tomorrow our electricity will be shut off.  We have big expenses due in the next month, our visas are up for renewal (we'll be coming in under our new non profit) and they are about $400-$500 to renew.  And our medical insurance which is $1600 for the year.  We have no way of paying this and i admit we are getting anxious.  We are praying.

Physically, things are considerably better than when we first moved here!  The kids were sick off and on almost for almost the first 6 months getting used to new bacteria and a new environment.  Chris had a partial tear in his Achilles tendon from skateboarding, but he's recovered now.  Indy had a slight fracture on his elbow also because of skateboarding, but because our neighbor is a nurse we were able to get it looked at for free!  The kids get weird skin things because of the humidity and I have white spots all over my shoulders, but nothing that will kill us!  Biking in the hot summer sun is difficult and keeps us covered in a nice layer of sweat, but our bikes provide the greatest opportunity for us and earns us respect because we're not like other white people who come and are known for having the nicest of everything.

Mentally, we are tired.  It is hard. Living out of suitcases, washing and squeezing out 5 people's laundry without a washer is not glorious.  We are in contact with a lot of people who are mentally draining.  It is challenging to understand some people's accents and it takes it a lot of mental focus to understand them and answer correctly! I'm also learning to not get hung up on culture differences.  There's the way everyone else does something and then there's "the Tongan Way".

Spiritually,  we are changing, And in some ways it's easier, because there's not as much distraction.  i'm not here because i personally want to be, but because God has called us here.  So my thoughts are forced into focus.  Why am here-to share what God has done for me, share the gospel.  Every day i have to be reminded or else i wouldn't survive.

So please pray for us if you can, Chris has had some interesting opportunities doing some photography for a newspaper and helping promote our friends island and building stools and bar tops. Our friend Ron here is also funding the building of our "tree house".  Which is awesome but may take a while for him to do it by himself.  Please pray God provides our basic needs, we are usually lacking.  Pray for all the people we are building friendships with : My friend who is a prostitute, Chris friend who asked him for help from the demons and vodoo, pray for our Indian friend lucky and his Tongan wife Luse, pray as our non-profit organization will be starting.