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.

Watch out for the Bears!

Events of Friday, May 6th, 2011

Papa Bear, Mama Bear and their three little bears.

Do you ever wonder how you’d react when confronted with a threatening situation? I have often wondered this living in a country where crime is on the rise in all major cities, not unlike anywhere else in the world. Well last Friday night I found out what my instinct was when faced with a very serious situation here in the capital city of Quito.

All moms would agree having daddy gone for three weeks means more falls onto your shoulders.  I feel so blessed to have a husband and daddy around almost every day, interacting in the home given the lifestyle of missionaries. Yes, there are many times where he is gone for a few days at a time, but normally that just means I go to bed earlier (I need more sleep than he does), cook less, and the house stay’s cleaner (why is that?). Well, Friday night I took our three kids out of school at lunchtime, packed the car with a few items for two days, and drove the 4 hours (this time 6) to Quito to pick up Daddy from the International airport after three long weeks.

Anticipating his arrival, we waited ever so patiently as his delayed flight landed and Daddy merged from behind the frosted glass doors of customs. Whew, I had survived Easter vacation with the kids, construction on our house, and all the rest of the normal chaos of being home alone. I breathed a sigh of relief as we walked to the van to head back to our “home away from home”, meaning Dana and Christy’s house. [Thankfully, two of our friends let us keep a room & some warmer clothes at their apartment in the city and we in turn do the same for them in the jungle].

After swinging by the mall to get some KFC popcorn chicken, then quickly by some friends to find out the results of their “reveal of the sex of the baby” party, we drove two more blocks to the gate of our friend’s apartment. Christy and Brian, another coworker and friend, helped us make rotating trips from the car unloading our things for the weekend.

Our van was doubled parked in front of Christy’s jeep outside her garage gate. We were on our last few items so our oldest son waited next to me at the van side door for the final arm’s full of blankets and jackets, everyone else was inside the gate. It was 8:30pm on a Friday night. As always, we moved quickly never leaving our car unattended knowing crime in the city is normal. Immediately, I noticed a small-framed woman moving quickly toward me coming between the two cars, which grabbed our attention.  I turned and threw the blankets back into the van, pushed our son to my right and yelled for him to get inside. By the time I turned back she was upon me on my left and another woman pinned me on my right.  Sandwiched between the two cars and the women on both sides, they covered my mouth and indicated for me to be quiet and comply while one grabbed my shoulders and the other leaned in pushing inside the car covering my mouth.

This is where I discovered why mothers are referred to as mama bears because instantly I pushed her hand away from my mouth.  She in turned slapped me across my face to gain control of me, which unleashed my instinct to fight, not the surrender she was expecting. I came back with a direct punch to her face, turned and looked in our van for “a weapon” which came up as the only item left...a plastic bag full of apples. I proceeded to bring down the bag of apples on the woman’s face to my right and continued in a pattern of punches and kicks, swinging both directions in the small space between the cars like a Teo Bo workout routine. I didn’t think twice, but simply was going to fight with everything I had these threats on my family like any mama bear would do. Right?

When the women quickly retreated (well it all went rather in slow motion for me), I looked up to find two shiny silver hand guns pointed directly at my husband.  He was a few feet outside the gate, screaming in Spanish (interesting all my screaming was in English, huh) with his hands out and chest forward. The silver car doors were open and the driver waiting in the headlights of our van. The women, I assumed, had taken a seat in the back of the car or ran off. Continuing yelling and advancing toward the two gunmen, my husband slowed to see one man duck inside the passenger side of the car while the ringleader pointed back his revolver moving from my hero’s face to the side and back again, wavering in what to do next. Finally, he shouted at my husband, bent his arm and fired a shot into the air before he ducked into the car and sped away.

It wasn’t until later I learned my son’s screams of “Daddy, Daddy, Mommy’s being robbed” repeated over and over that sent my man flying in fury down the driveway. He described how our brave bear cub dodged under the gunman’s arm at the open gate while running inside shouting. My man met Brian standing next to our daughter near the gate’s opening, where Brain was confronted with the tip of the gun in his stomach, demanding he be quiet and turn around. It was then Brian’s wallet was taken from his back pocket. He bravely moved our girl cub into the house safely. But the flying fury of my Papa Bear coming between them, pushing through the gate and causing the two to retreat backwards is when I saw the next steps of the Papa Bear. Apparently, even Christy and Brian were frightened by the look on the big bear, so it doesn’t surprise me that the assailants were taken aback as well.

Thankfully, the losses for us were minor and God’s protection supreme! Our friend lost his wallet. Our little bears, for a few moments hearing the shot fired, thought that Papa Bear was gone. But quickly they found out that all was well in the family of bears. I praise God for the discernment of danger, his protection offered by our friends to our kids, and to both the mama and papa of the bear cubs. Never, never come between a mama and her cubs. And look out for the Papa Bear, as he is FURIOUS!

Katie Williams, AKA “Mama Bear”


Cucumber salad

I recently came up with this recipe while on a strict diet, using up the vegetables in my drawers at the end of the week.  It turns out it has become quite a "hit" around here, as both friends and kids seem to like it; go figure.  So I thought I would share it with you in case these same things are in your refrigerator at the end of the week too. Variations are enjoyable!

Cucumber Salad by Katie Williams

2 large cucumbers-small diced cubes, 1 med. onion-diced, 2 bell peppers-red/orange diced, 1 can artichoke hearts-drained and chopped, 1 radish-minced, 2-3 cloves garlic-pressed, 1 bunch fresh cilantro-chopped, drizzle of olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, salt & pepper to taste.

Mix all ingredients together and chill. Serve over brown rice or quinoa (warm or cold) with sliced hard-boiled egg and avocado.

This has proven to be quite a meal in itself. I hope you like it!

Swinging the sword

How is your battle going?  Are you feeling victorious? Let us join together remembering we are ALL victorious in Christ!  Yes, today I am living in victory under the capable direction of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Surrendered.

Beginning in March, I am setting about to memorize the book of James.  While this is a bit scary and new for me, I feel it is both from the Lord and something for my good. Will you pray for me in this?  I know full well this is going to be a fight! I have been feeling tired in this battle lately, and realize I need to start swinging my sword...His Word.

"James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings. 2.Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,3. knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance." NASB James 1:1-3

Are you picking up your weapons today for the fight? Join me!