DJ and I just returned from a 3-day trip downriver to attend inter-tribal church fellowship meetings, and for me to have an ultrasound. Both goals were successfully accomplished. Praise the Lord, and thanks to all of you for praying! The ultrasound showed that we are only having one baby this time, and that this time it’s a boy. We’re very excited.
As for the rest of the trip, well, it would be impossible to describe all the different sights, smells, experiences, and impressions of travel in this part of the world. So I’ll just give you a few glimpses of some of the thoughts that passed through my mind along the way:
“If I have to climb one more notched-log ladder in front of 20 people, I’m gonna scream.” Travel on this part of our island is almost always done by river. That means that every stop involves climbing a high river bank on anything from a skinny pole with grooves in it to a mind-boggling array of slapped-together pieces of scrap lumber zigzagging across the water and up the incline. At every ascent, our traveling companions (tribal believers who were coming down to attend the church meetings) were convinced I wouldn’t be able to make it to the top. I must admit I prayed, “God, I know it’s just pride, but please don’t let me fall while everyone is watching.”
“This must be what the tower of Babel was like.” Picture a meeting of believers from 4 different tribal groups, each speaking their own languages in their own groups, and switching to one of two other languages when they wanted to speak to someone from one of the other tribal groups. As I was asking one of my Hobongan friends to tell me what things were in Hobongan (in an attempt to continue my language study), other ladies sitting by would be offering the words in their own languages and in the area trade language (Melayu) as well. And then they wondered why I couldn’t remember anything!
“If I have a least favorite thing about grocery shopping, I guess it must be the smell of week-old fish in the sun.” We saved our shopping for fresh goods until the last morning, so our lettuce, carrots, potatoes, etc. could survive the all-day trip back upriver. We’re so thankful that we’re able to get so many fresh vegetables in the market now. DJ’s family remembers a time when very little was available. I would venture to guess that the fish has always been available, though–in every species, body part, and state of decay you could possibly hope to want.
We arrived home tired, sore, and very glad to see Areli and Galilee again. Their Aunt Rachel took good care of them while we were gone. Thanks so much to all of you who prayed for our travels, and please keep praying for DJ as he goes upriver for several days starting tomorrow (Jan. 19.)