Entries for month: December 2012

My defenders

One thing I have accepted living in the remote jungle with great appreciation are my personal defenders, the tarantulas. In our home in Tiweno this time, we have nightly enjoyed the appearance of “King” who lives directly center on the main bamboo beam of our one room, thatched roof home. King hides in the shadows until dusk when he daily makes his grand appearance to his post-mid center. He is grayish brown with a black abdomen, almost blue and quite a marvel to gaze upon. His lesser soldiers that we discovered day two and three in our home, linger close by too; one on the lower wall opposite the door, one on the north corner of the roof, one on the south corner, and another tracking the mid beam of the home. Let’s not forget the other one that makes a grand stance in the top corner of the outhouse/toilet behind our home. Yep-that’s a grand total of 6 healthy tarantulas living in our one room bamboo house, ranging in size from a man’s open hand to dinner plate sized.

While spiders haven’t been my most feared nightmare, these creatures are impressive and I do appreciate the fear they elicit in many humans. I have come to treat these as welcome guests, although I am not really sure WHO the guests are-us or them. They have done well to keep the severely dangerous spiders and snakes away, as well as the other creatures I oppose-the ants and cockroaches, which don’t seem to have taken over thanks to our built in control force. But mostly the “buya” (Waodani word for this spider), a extremely venomous spider that lives in abundance here, is “looked” for by my defenders and taken out. It is for these reasons I acknowledge my comrades with an accepting glance each morning and night.

Sunday morning, I was even more grateful as we left for church only to discover the dreaded “buya” in our empty water bucket caught with no escape (unlike the ants that marched freely over the smooth turquoise plastic). Ha! Thanks Lord for way you protect, reveal and provide.

Later in our time here, Skyler woke, dressed and prepared to go out for the day, dumping his rubber boots like he has been taught to since he learned to walk. Sure enough, a HUGE “buya” came right out on the bamboo floor and escaped through the cracks to the underside of our raised house. While it freaked him a out a bit, we all thanked God for His protection and praised Skyler for his habit of dumping boots EVERYTIME before you insert your foot. I immediately ran outside with the machete and found our attacker upside-down camouflaged on the bamboo floor. He was quite large even crumpled up and cut in half on the dirt below. I love taking out things that threaten my kids! It seems we understand why our tarantulas are so “healthy” and large this year! I think I’ll keep them around.

The Kitchen

Taken from my journal while in Tiweno, 10 Dec. 2012

Each day begins with the mundane routine of the fire; such a primitive thing and one that I continue to be in conflict with. In many regards I welcome the smoke, the gray plumes that burn both eyes and throat, choking out breath. Why? It pushes back every advancing creature that seems to loom ready to nibble on my white flesh; the gnats, noseums, bees, wasps, flies and chiggers (my continual nemesis) that always seems to get the ones I love.

I love the smoke. I hate the smoke. I have learned to make it move to my wishes, fanning my turkey feathers harder to move away the thick charcoal poison or giving it permission to advance and envelope my space and keep these small nuisances at bay. It is a gamble; to have tears from swollen eyes streaming down my cheeks or be gnawed on by annoying creatures. I have even restarted my fire to smoking just to enjoy the company of my friends without being bit, peering through the haze for times of fellowship. This is why I see the kitchen in the center of my friends’ thatched homes. It is no different in my home culture in a way. The kitchen is the center attraction of the home, with something always being prepared to meet the endless hunger pains and cravings of the people. The kitchen is a place of warm welcome to friends and strangers alike seeking refuge physically or emotionally. May my kitchen be that place, whether in this kitchen in the jungle or that of my other life including electricity.

One moment in time

From my journal before Christmas in the village of Tiweno, mid December 2012

I felt unsure watching for the first time "Through the Gates of Splendor" sitting among one of the former killers and his offspring. Four generations of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren scattered around me on the cool, rough planks of wood benches. There was a sort of surreal silence among the young, watching their ancestors traditional daily life captured on film. The occasional holler of laughter, in full Waodani style, echoed the rustic church building in Tiweno as they recognized an old friend or family memeber in their former days.

The story of God's plan unfolding in old film, projected on my white borrowed sheet, played out a performance of God's splendor, depths of love, and burning passion to reach all people. The five men-Nate, Pete, Jim, Roger, and Ed, along with their wives, had set out to reach the once fierce, uncontacted Waodani had set in in motion a wave of events that led to THIS DAY-the 2012 Waodani Annual Conference held by the Christian leaders of the tribe. Unbelievable!

As I sat with them I felt so completely overwhelmed with God's love, the incredible depths, for each and every one of these precious faces all around me. Yewe, Oma, Pegonca, Toni, their kids and grandkids, who sit beneath my legs, beside me searching for understanding of the fullness of God, all hearing the story of His hand reaching down from Heaven to save one-them! I am so honored to call these people, the Waodani, my dear friends. That same love that sent the five men into feared territory to bring the love message of Jesus Christ  in 1956, now filled my heart with a love not my own. Thank you Lord. Thank you for the obedience of missionaries past. Thank you that while the war rages on for the Waodani souls, YOU give glimpses of a hope and future in Christ. Gratitude overwhelms me as my heart is bursting with love for my friends to know you personally, to walk the trail in Christ alone, living apart for your glory.

May you take the seeds sown at this conference and multiply the coming harvest of hearts following hard after YOU until Your Kingdom Comes. I am privileged this holiday season to be your princess warrior in this war. Use me for your glory as your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.