We are located on the 6 hr line.
After 2 days of travel, just after sunset, we touched down in a small town on the island on which we live. Despite Sierra making use of the sickness bags on many of the flights we had a great trip and arrived safely with all of our luggage. Our co-worker Madonna met us at the airport and we began shifting our luggage from the small arrival counter to the crowded dark parking lot and into the back of our pick-up truck. Amid the rush and excitement and loading, unbeknownst to us someone assisted in unloading one of our bags. Unfortunately, it was the suitcase that contained both of our laptops and some of our important papers along some of Sierra’s school books, clothes, and toys.
To make a long story short, the disaster that welcomed us back into the country ended up okay. Over the next day and a half through some new friendships made with the locals, some searches through grass fields 8 feet tall, and some incentives offered, all of the important things came back to us. Sierra’s belongings are the only thing gone forever. For some reason the school books don’t seem to bother her much and already some of our friends have helped replace some of the clothes and toys that went astray.
After that excitement, I (Aaron) went by boat to another tribe on an island where the Mitchell family is working. I was able to give Jon and Janet an evaluation on their progress in language and culture study and was thrilled to confirm that John has officially completed his “study time” and will begin work in translation, teaching, and Bible curriculum development.
Once complete there I met up with the family and Madonna again and we traveled by car to our home in Patpatar. Despite Kylee getting over the bug passed on to her from her sister we arrived safely with all of our luggage. We had just gotten the car unloaded after our day of travel when we received a message alerting us to the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. We were made aware that possible large waves were headed in our direction in about 2 hours. So we unpacked things from each of our bags and put them into one bag, got some food, loaded the truck, gave out a warning to the two villages next to us, and drove to higher ground.
The disaster that welcomed us back into the tribe ended up okay, too. Two hours later a small two foot wave crashed into shore. Because it was low tide at the time, the effect was hardly noticed.
We thank the Lord for allowing these situations to turn out okay, but realize that for many people nearer to Japan it did not and we pray that this tragedy will open doors for the Gospel to penetrate. We are now back in our home in the tribe, cleaning out the unwelcome critters that took up residence while we were gone along with the mess they left. It is great to see the people again and catch up with what is going on in their lives. Thanks for your prayers as we readjust and begin to start back into the literacy program and the Bible teaching.
A soul saved from disaster,
Avalon and Sierra sharing popcorn with friends.
Fact: In 1997 there were rumors of a huge tidal wave that would come and hit the Patpatar. Many of the people moved from their hamlets up into the jungles up the mountain and constructed temporary housing. After six months of waiting for the tsunami they decided it was probably okay and moved back down to the coast.