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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Newsletter Jan – Feb 2011

Posted by Craig on March 14, 2011

Jan – Feb 2011 Newsletter

Sorry for the delayed publication, but we had a little trouble with the blog. Everything is up and running now!

Sunny and Rainy Day Fun

Posted by Jeri on February 20, 2011

It’s been so incredibly hot over the past few weeks.  We  sweat, sweat, and sweat some more.  The great thing about this time of year is always the variety of fresh fruit at the market.  The fruit totally makes all the sweating worth it!  Mangoes, papaya, pineapples, watermelon, mmmmmm … so refreshing.

I can’t believe I haven’t posted for so long.  I do have at least 3 good excuses though: Hannah, Caleb, and Elizabeth.  They keep me so busy that I often forget I’m supposed to be taking pictures and writing about them, too.

For basically all of January, Elizabeth demanded most of my time.  She got an infection (maybe staph) that caused her to get multiple boils (abscesses) on her little bottom.  Those things are incredibly painful, so I’ve heard.  She had one a couple of months ago, but we managed to get rid of it within a couple of weeks without any antibiotics.  This round of infection just wouldn’t go away!  She ended up having to be put under so the surgeons could lance and drain those huge boils.  The poor girl couldn’t even sit down for at least 3 weeks before she had her little procedure.  So, I spent many, many hours at the hospital seeking treatment for her.  It was a tiring month, needless to say.  She seems to be on the mend now.  Her incision is healing nicely, she’s sitting down again, and she is happy.  (So is her mother.)

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My two little princesses are such a blessing.

Princesses

So is my little prince!

Caleb

With the hot weather, we’ve taken advantage of some outdoor time.  There is a manmade beach at the International Hotel here in town.  We like to go play in the sand and then swim in the pool there.  The view is amazing!  Since we are right on the bay, we can see the ocean with the beautiful mountains in the distance.

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E and D

There’s plenty for us to do on rainy days, too.  Yesterday we had a HUGE rain.  Maybe it was a little aftermath from Cyclone Yasi.  It looked like we had a river for a backyard!

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We had a hard time being responsible with all those huge puddles outside.  They were just calling our names to come and jump in them.  We delayed school and took advantage of playing in the rain (until we got too cold).  Craig even slipped out of his office and into his swim trunks for a little rainy day fun.

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Our gargantuan water tank was overflowing like crazy because of all the rain.

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Once we were back inside, we savored some hot tea and warm baths.  Then we had more rainy day projects.  Hannah and Caleb made some newspaper hats.

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Elizabeth enjoyed a good Dora book.

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School is going really well, and we enjoy the flexibility that home schooling offers.  All of the kids especially like the science projects we do. While I was writing this, Hannah just walked in and said, “If you find a container with mud and water, it’s my experiment.”  Seems like we have a lot of things like that sitting around lately … 

Science

Rain or shine, we’re usually having a good time. 

C, H, E

November – December Ford Family Newsletter

Posted by Craig on January 3, 2011

You can download your November – December Newsletter:

November - December Ford Family Newsletter (1362)

Our Future Plans: Moving 2012

Posted by Craig on

The following is a section out of our July/August Newsletter.  Since not everyone is aware of the news I decided to include it on our blog.

Sunday, August 8, 2010, we told the congregation here in Alotau that we intend to move back to North America within the next two years. Even though we had already been contemplating a move, the timing of our departure is based primarily on my status as a US Permanent Resident. On October 31st, 2012, my permanent residency in the US is set to expire. In order for it to be renewed, I need to be living in the States. Our long term plan involves getting my US citizenship, so I plan to keep my residency valid.
With the approval and support of our overseeing congregation (Church of Christ in Champions), our plan is to move from PNG sometime in the summer of 2012. This will allow us to be settled in time for Caleb and Hannah to attend school in the States that fall.
Sometime around June, July, and August 2011, we will be taking a furlough and hope to visit with as many of you as possible.
When we relocate, I plan to take some time to focus on a blogging and writing career. As many of you know, I’ve been doing some writing projects, and I would like to let that dream take me as far as it will go. We will likely relocate to Cheyenne, Wyoming while completing my citizenship requirements. Beyond that, we have done little future planning.
We know our work here is dependent on your support. We are thankful for your involvement, and we look forward to our partnership over the next couple of years. Once we set an exact departure date, we will contact you with information regarding our needs and schedule.
There are many factors to consider. As a result, our plans have changed frequently, so nothing is set in stone. But we want to communicate openly with you, our supporters. We will keep you updated on our plans. Thank you for being one of our partners in ministry.

Christmas in PNG 2010

Posted by Jeri on December 28, 2010

When I think of Christmas, I usually imagine being with family, seeing beautiful lights, wearing warm socks, hearing holiday music, and feeling sparkling snow.  I still think of those things, but don’t get to experience them all. 

The shops here decorate with tinsel and trees, lights, and even Father Christmas himself.  (Did you know that Santa Claus is actually Papua New Guinean, by the way?  I saw him with my own two eyes dancing around at the Pharmacy the other day!)  There is music in the air (though it’s usually blaring way too loudly), and best of all, I have my own little family here.  But the snow is replaced with sweaty trips to town wearing flip-flops to return with fresh, juicy pineapples.  I really love white Christmases, but it might be hard for me to give up these fresh pineapples and trips to the beach in a couple of years when we’re celebrating Stateside!

We put up our Christmas tree after Thanksgiving and have been enjoying it ever since.  It’s only been (almost) knocked over 3 times – at least to my knowledge.  Hannah and I always make sure there is Christmas music playing when we are doing work around the house.  I think she takes after her mother when it comes to having the Christmas spirit.  Someone’s gotta’ do it!

It’s just such a special time of year.  I’m enjoying it with the kids, especially now that they’re getting a bit older. I can see the excitement in their eyes.  It’s so magical to them.

One of my favorite memories from this holiday season was when I took Hannah Christmas shopping.  She’d been saving up her toeas (PNG coins) from her household job so she could buy some gifts.  It was a blessing to see her excitement about buying gifts for her family and friends.  She could hardly wait for Caleb to open his gift from her. 

I also really enjoyed our Christmas cookie baking day, though it left the house a big mess.  The kids loved helping.  Elizabeth had a ball clearing out my kitchen cabinets and licking the beaters.  Hannah and Caleb were actually quite helpful when it came to making the cookies.

Chocolate Elizabeth blog

H & C cookies

3 kids blog

We’ve been blessed with packages and Christmas greetings from afar.  We always feel a bit spoiled by our families this time of year.  One of the gifts we received was a kit for making a gingerbread house.  (Thanks, Philip & Andrea!!)  We had a blast making it together.  After enjoying it as a decoration for a few days, it started to melt.   (I suppose it could last a couple of weeks somewhere other than the tropics!)  So we cut it apart and shared it with our 60+ guests we hosted for our church  Christmas party on Sunday.

Gingerbread House Blog

We took a one night getaway to our favorite local guesthouse.  It’s a beautiful, secluded place near a beach.  We loved the time away – despite all of the insect bites.  Those mosquitoes just love Hannah and me.

It was fun watching our kids open their gifts.  Caleb looks great as a pirate, Elizabeth is already attached to her new baby doll, and Hannah has been playing games on her Leapster2.  We had fun blowing bubbles outside on Christmas Day, going for a family walk, playing games, and just relaxing.  It was quite cloudy and a bit rainy, so I guess you could say we had a white Christmas if you took the cloudy sky into consideration. 

Caleb pirate

Craig & Hannah

Girls & Doll

Jeri & Caleb

Craig and I were meant for each other.  We bought each other the exact same stocking stuffer – Cinnamon & Apple tea.

Craig&Jeri 

For supper, we spoiled ourselves with our annual ham.  It was delicious.  I’m not convinced that it’s because of my cooking.  Rather, things just taste really good when you haven’t had them for a while.  We also enjoyed baked pumpkin, fresh pineapple, honey wheat rolls, and mashed potatoes.  (Please excuse our casual attire.  It’s hot here!)

Christmas Dinner

Hope your Christmas was as merry as ours.  Happy New Year to you and yours.

Sept – Oct Ford Family Newsletter

Posted by Craig on November 16, 2010

You can now download our Sept – October Newsletter.

Sept - Oct Ford Family Newsletter (1335)

Why My Husband Deserves a Blog Post Dedicated Just to Him

Posted by Jeri on November 11, 2010

I actually wrote this blog post last night.  Then today we learned that a high school/college friend of Craig’s died. He left a wife, 2 very young children, and a baby on the way.  After hearing of this, I felt even more compelled to get this posted.

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In retrospect, I write a lot about my cute kids.  It’s hard not to because they are such a huge part of my life.  But my husband has been part of my life for longer, and I appreciate him so much.

I am so incredibly thankful for the man that God gave me to marry.   I often don’t feel deserving because he’s such a wonderful man. 

10 Reasons Why I Am So Blessed to Have Married Craig Ford

1,  He is humble.  He doesn’t really know just how amazing he is – or at least he sure doesn’t act like it.  (I asked his permission to post this and was able to persuade him.)

2.  He is a critical thinker.  He doesn’t ever assume what everyone else is thinking or saying is right.  He reads and studies, then wrestles with his own Biblical conclusion.

3.  He eats what I cook for him (without complaining), even if it is a new recipe that shouldn’t ever, EVER be repeated again.

4.  He is a good time manager.  It’s amazing how much he can get done in a single day – and still act Christlike at the end of it.  Somehow he sleeps, writes, eats breakfast with his family, ministers to others, eats lunch with his family, helps more people, prepares lessons, researches and reads all kinds of things, plays with his kids, takes family walks, eats supper with his family, helps wash dishes, helps bathe his kids, and spends time with his wife.  To me, that’s amazing.  And I’m grateful.

5.  He is funny.  It’s nice to have someone close to me who can make me laugh every day. 

6.  He is an amazing teacher.  I learn all kinds of things from him. I eavesdrop as much as possible when he’s doing Bible studies at our house so I can hear the lessons, too!

7.  He likes to travel and so do I.  It’s just fun to have a travel companion.

8.  He takes walks with me.  We’ve always loved to walk and talk together.  We can prove it: there is a footpath worn in our yard where we walk around in circles together at night after the kids are in bed.  No joke!  We just noticed it a couple of days ago.

9.  He is an incredible Daddy.  I hope our little ones realize just how special of a person he is to them.  He trains them, plays with them, and teaches them.  He brings them so much joy.

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10.  He loves me for who I am and is my best friend.  Though he’s not perfect, I feel like Craig tries to love me like Christ loved the church.  If I had to be stranded on a deserted island with one person, I would definitely pick Craig Ford.

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Termites, Band-Aids, and the Beach

Posted by Craig on October 29, 2010

About a year ago, we had the pest control guys come and spray our house with hopes of getting rid of our dry wood termites.  Well, it wasn’t successful since the little things fly and they just returned again.  We decided to take more serious action since we were noticing the problem was getting worse.  So, last weekend we left the house so all of our kitchen cabinets and bedroom wardrobes could be fumigated.  Supposedly the gas is supposed to get rid of these termites.  We removed everything from every cabinet.  It was no small job, and it reminded me of moving – ugh!  The benefit was that we got rid of a bunch of stuff we really don’t need.

Below is a picture of Craig removing the ceiling in his office to find out where the termites were.  During the process, we find evidence of rats and a few bee hives.  What a learning experience for the kids!

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A couple of weeks ago, we had Joel and his son, Philip, over after church so we could take care of Philip’s sores on his legs.  A simple sore can turn into a nasty tropical ulcer in a matter of hours or days, and lots of people develop sores that don’t get treated and turn into horrible scars.  Though I’m certainly not even close to being a qualified doctor, I try to teach people to at least keep their sores clean and covered.  We had Philip soak his legs in salt water while we ate lunch together, then I covered his sores with lots of Band-Aids.

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Speaking of band-aids, Hannah got to don her fair share after our recent trip to Doini Island.  There are always lots of sand flies there and they seem to especially love Hannah.  She got so many bites, which then turned into sores after all of her scratching.  Most of the time we were there, Hannah insisted on wearing my long sleeved shirt and long pants for protection.

We definitely enjoyed our trip to Doini Island with our team mates, though.  We took a 1 1/2 hour boat ride to this beautiful island.

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Elizabeth really enjoyed the boat ride.  Isn’t this a beautiful place?

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Caleb rode inside the boat cabin with Hannah Reese.  That makes most of us sick, but he sure enjoyed himself.

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At Doini, I braided Hadassah Reese’s hair to match Hannah and me.  (Hannah’s right eye was almost swollen shut after getting a bug bite by it.)

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We enjoyed taking a trailer ride to some skull caves. 

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Here we are on our hike to the skull caves.  And, yes, there are real skulls there!  (Notice Hannah in my long sleeved shirt!)

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On Sunday morning, we had a church service with our team on the island.  Caleb and Elizabeth were sitting together during church.

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We stayed at Doini for 2 nights while our house was being fumigated.  The second night when we went to eat at the restaurant, the sunset was beautiful.  Here we are on the pier going to watch the sunset.  (I forgot my camera, so I didn’t get any pictures of the amazing sky, but Diane Reese snapped this photo of Craig & I and the girls).  The significance of this picture is that we’re holding hands – something we NEVER do in PNG. It’s taboo for men and women to hold hands in public.  But on this mostly deserted island, we thought, why not??

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Returning home was not the most exciting thing since we had a whole house to put back in order.  I spent the majority of the week moving back in.  But we’re thankful for the time we had away and we thoroughly enjoyed God’s creation.

Ford Family Fun

Posted by Jeri on October 1, 2010

I think it’s been a while since I posted some pictures of every day life in the Ford household. So here are some for you to enjoy.

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Isn’t this one handsome young fellow?  I love his really big “Cheese” face that he does at picture time. 

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Recipe for homemade fun: (see picture above)

1 step stool

* (at least) 1 parent

a kid or 2 … or 3

an old cloth diaper

lots of giggles and smiles

camera for taking pictures

Directions: Turn the step stool upside down.  If you don’t want to scratch your nice rosewood floors, put the cloth diaper underneath the stool.  Place one child in the “car”.  Push the car as fast as the child wants to go.  Take turns, and don’t forget to snap a few pictures while you’re at it. 

*Teach older children to push younger children so parents don’t have to break their backs playing the game over and over and over  …

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There’s always lots of reading going on in our house.  I think it’s contagious.  (There are also lots of book-picking-up-parties.)

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We tried some shoes on Elizabeth for the first time last week.  She loved them!  Once she got used to how heavy they were, she stopped walking around like a chicken.  Isn’t our newest walker so cute?

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Here are Elizabeth and Hannah building a tall tower of blocks together. 

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I’m getting a hug from Caleb here.  (picture compliments of Hannah Ford Photography)  Caleb keeps us hopping with his energy.  He loves helping me make pancakes and always asks what’s for dinner.  He makes Elizabeth laugh a lot.  Caleb also loves doing science experiments during school with us.

PA010050Cuddling with Hannah here.  (picture compliments of Caleb Ford Photography.  At least most of my head is in this one!)  Hannah is doing a great job in kindergarten.  She loves to write stories and especially likes reading the Bible stories we have in our curriculum.  Science experiments are at the top of her list of favorites, too.

PA010038Hard to believe Elizabeth is 15 1/2 months old already.  She’s saying a bunch of words, walking all around the place, and playing with her big bro and sis.  She carries a little soft duckie blanket around with her everywhere.  I never thought I would have a kid who has a security blanket!  No pacifier – just a blanket, thank you very much.

So, there you have it.  Life in the Ford household.

National Church of Christ Kibung 2010

Posted by Jeri on September 23, 2010

September 16-19 we welcomed many guests from all over the country to participate in the Church of Christ kibung.  (“Kibung” is the Melanesian Pidgin word for “gathering”.) 

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The theme was Kam Yumi Lotu – Come Let Us Worship. 

This kibung travels from place to place and is hosted by a different church throughout the country annually (except for last year).  Two years ago, we attended the kibung in Emagave and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was at that kibung that the church here in Alotau committed to hosting the kibung to be held in 2010. 

The task was a bit overwhelming since the kibung at Emagave two years ago had over 1000 people in attendance.  Our church of about 100 people and the area churches were in for a BIG undertaking.

Fortunately, we had a much smaller group of attendees due to the location of Alotau to the rest of the country.  In order to get here, people must travel by boat or plane, which is expensive for the average citizen. 

We had less than 200 in attendance at the kibung.  It was a wonderful time of fellowship, lessons, and encouragement.  Many of the lessons were given in Melanesian Pidgin (a trade language spoken throughout most of the country).  Milne Bay Province, where Alotau is located, is the only English speaking part of the country.  It was interesting to be joined with even more of the languages and cultures that the attendees brought.  (PNG is incredibly diverse with over 750 languages spoken throughout the country.  Many of those languages represent different cultures and practices.)

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Here is part of our welcoming parade.  These four children from church agreed to dress traditionally for the special occasion to welcome all of our out-of-town guests.

Preparing for the Kibung

We’ve known for two years that we were going to host this year’s kibung.  The church here appointed a committee (which they named the “servant team”) to get things organized.  Craig was on the committee and did a lot of work administratively getting everything ready.  We had so many people that helped in the planning process and joined in the effort.

Two weeks before the actual kibung started, we had a big crew who started setting up the camp.  This included making “houses” for people to sleep in, digging pit toilets, and cleaning and preparing the venue area. Others worked on arranging speakers and lessons, sewing coconut leaves together for walls, getting wood posts for the meeting areas, collecting fire wood for cooking, peeling LOTS of veggies, finding huge pots in which to cook, and much, much more.

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Here we are loading sago leaves to take to the campsite.  We had to stop halfway home and unload and reload it all because they were so heavy and were falling out of the truck. The sago leaves were woven together to make walls on the sleeping houses.

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The Kibung venue – the two structures on the left and right housed some of our guests.  They were made of natural materials, except for the tarps to cover the top.  People slept on mats on the ground and most used mosquito nets.

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Caleb was worn out after an afternoon of driving around collecting sago leaves and fell asleep like this on the way home in the truck.

Let’s just say that this made camps in North America seem like a piece of cake!

Enjoying the Kibung

The days were packed full of lessons, singing, telling stories, eating together, and a little bit of rest.  I enjoyed seeing some people from other parts of PNG who knew Craig when he was a little boy. 

Along with the help of some other wonderful women here, I prepared a children’s program.  We entertained about 25 children for a few hours each day with singing, Bible lessons, puppet shows, games, and activities.  They looked like they had a great time.

P9170700Singing songs with the children 

The camp was a wonderful time even though we had massive amounts of rain.  One day we moved everyone to a warehouse in town because the campsite was so wet.  While there, the warehouse actually started to flood because of the heavy rain and we had to move everyone again.  People who have lived here for most of their lives said this was the worst flooding they’d ever seen.  Somehow I didn’t get any pictures of all the water.  I guess you’ll just have to trust me when I say that there was a TON of water.  I think we were all too wet and tired to even think about taking pictures.

P9160639Joe Dobadoba and John Kirarata leading singing in Pidgin and English

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A snapshot of one of the evening sessions.  The leaves you see on the floor were woven coconut leaf mats.

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Hannah and Elizabeth taking a little rest during the day

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Some young Milne Bay girls performing a song for everyone

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Vani Igo preached at the town market one day.  Seems like there was a good crowd that gathered around.  It doesn’t take much to draw a crowd here.  (Makes me think of how the apostles might’ve preached at the marketplace in Bible times!)

Finishing Up

After all was said and done, we had a short ceremony to pass on the hosting of the kibung to the next group of people.  The church in Mount Hagen agreed to host it next year.  This was a special (and emotional) time for many gathered to watch the exchange.

100_3004These women from here in Milne Bay presented those from Mount Hagen with a basket of flowers and Bibles.

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Melva tied the grass skirt around Rose’s waist and placed the basket on her head.  It was a touching demonstration.

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Here are the rest of the Christians watching this exchange.

Since many people in PNG rely heavily on their family to provide financial assistance, finding boat and airplane fares is not always easy.  There were a handful of people who arrived having only paid for a one-way ticket, expecting that someone would pay to get them back home.  Also, many people who came on the ship had to find more money and fly back home since the ship was broken down after the kibung.  This meant that the church here in Alotau ending up hosting many people for an extra 3 or 4 days. 

It was a blessing, though, to be able to spend some extra time with people.  We enjoyed having the five extra people we hosted in our home. 

Our last guests left on Thursday morning.  It’s quiet in the house and we don’t know exactly what to do without extra people around or any kibung preparation.  This has probably been the busiest month for us since we’ve been missionaries here.

Maybe we’ll actually have a normal Family Day tomorrow.  We’ve been missing that!