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Spring 2017
It is 2017 already. We blinked and fast-forwarded somehow!
Due to busyness and poor internet, and then a string of illnesses, I haven't been able to blog like I wished. This will be a crammed-packed highlight post!
Life has been a little different for us this last year because Sion and Jeri transitioned to town last July. They wanted to push forward the last of the Bible stories and they wanted to put their kids in school. Their kids are getting older with no real school experience. They felt it was the Lord's leading to move to town. And, in turn, we've spent much more time in town as a result. We've made a few trips into Bias, but they were all short and not too heavy, work-wise. If the translation team is in town, translation happens in town.
And as much I would have liked to be in Bias more, I sure can't complain because the Lord really hit the fast-forward button!! Our project to finish the rest of the Bible stories was done in HALF the time and we've been able to complete and start other "side" projects in the time we had allotted for completing the Bible stories. Whoa!
We now have 50 Yetfa Bible stories completed in audio form that span Creation to the 2nd coming of Christ. We feel confident at this point in time, every Yetfa speaker can finally hear and understand the gospel in their own language for the first time. THAT is exciting!! The Lord has done amazing things the last year. I'll give some highlights in pictures...

  One thing we get to do at least once a year is a village-wide feast. Mamas cook all day, kids bring in firewood and water, and the dads...well, they hunted down the meat, so they sit back and talk and joke. Chase got to teach twice (below as well) using our story quilt. It depicts the basic story of God's salvation from Creation to Jesus' coming again.

We took a trip downriver close to the PNG border to another village. Canoe rides are always an adventure! This was no exception. The Yetfa are incredible hunters and spotters, and the guy in the yellow shorts spotted the monitor lizard Uriah is holding among all the green of the jungle. We parked the boat to give him time to hunt it down.
It's always fun to see our boys interact so well with village kids. Uriah, with some help from Sion's younger brother, taught the kids a relay race and duck, duck, goose.

                                                    This is still one of my favorite pictures of our family. Another family adventure!
Our friend, Eddie Williams, arrived from Turkana, Kenya. He has been very successful in leading indigenous churches to become self-supporting, and Chase asked him to come and teach on church finances. The Yetfa people in Bias responded really well, and Chase and Eddie made sure it was a good time!

They all got play money and practiced for 3 days on how to tithe and give God 1 part of the 10 they were given. They had scenarios to reinforce the lessons and even a little "store" where they could buy things. Sunday came, and it was time to see what they had learned. They brought bananas and tapioca roots from their gardens and they lined up to give their tithes and offerings. Such a good weekend! And then, of course, Uncle Eddie needed adventure and play time! We wore him out!

Also during the weekend, I got a new hairdo (it was important my hair should stand up for the photo) and I got to name a baby girl! She was born on December 4, my sister's birthday, so I named her Debora after my sis.

Back to town and another story crafting session.

...and another...

...and another. Closer and closer to completion!

And a little fun!

                                       This is a luwak, as in luwak coffee/kopi luwak.                                                Our family vacation in Bali.

Uriah played a great Mr. Tumnus and Nate a great knight at their school's language arts fair.
Two more crafting sessions and the story set was through! 50 stories in all!
As the Yetfa story set was completed and entered consultant checking, Chase and the Yetfa team could then help other teams who were just beginning the One Story process. The new cluster consists of 7 language teams (all different languages) all working through the process together. They learn the concepts of storybuilding, accuracy, checking, testing, and what it takes to carry a Bible story from the original crafting session to final completion and approval for use. Consultants are on-site for 3-week workshops 4 times a year. It's long days of sometimes tedious work, but no one can argue with the result--God's salvation story in a form everyone can use!

Nate's teacher was from Germany, so she asked each family to represent their home country and bring a lesson to the class. We did cowboys and the wild west. :-)
An overnight at the beach and we celebrated Nathan's 7th birthday!

Back to Bias!

Sunday school                                                           Kids' club--in the afternoons, I help kids with math and reading.        

Checking for malaria                                                                                               Friends came to visit! Amber, Josh, and Kate Harrington and Cherie Evans.

Back to town!
A local swimming hole, backyard slip n slide, packages! A picnic, dinner, my 3 handsome boys, and Uriah and Chase on a bajai (motorcycle cab) in Jakarta.
My baby's first day of school!

All 50 stories were reviewed and given final approval in May. Distribution has been one of the best parts. Jeri and Sion get to see the people receive and react to their hard work. This has been a 4-year-long, not-so-easy process. But seeing the people rejoice and celebrate over the final product has made it worth it. These are mp3 players, SD cards, and hand phones. The cards and phones also have a video that accompanies the audio of the stories. There are about 10 Yetfa villages and a couple more who have pockets of Yetfa speakers.

In September, we had an unbelievable opportunity to attend the International Missionary Retreat in Israel! As you can imagine, there were way too many pictures to choose from! Here are just a few...

Caesarea by the Sea

Nazareth--the Brow of the Hill, where the mob wanted to throw Jesus off the cliff; a camel ride near Q'umran; a Sea of Galilee selfie

Sea of Galilee, Dead Sea, and the Tower of David in Jerusalem

The Garden Tomb and a mural on Cardo

Chase was the speaker for the retreat, and the boys enjoyed VBS each morning. It was an incredible gift for our family!

In October, there was another One Story workshop with the 7 language teams and we had a couple celebrations.

                        Our sweet church takes such good care of us!                       Ika and Chase hearing a testimony about using the stories in the villages.        We celebrated our friend, Yunita!
We also celebrated Uriah! 11 years old!  And received more love from our church!

In November, Chase and Jeri headed to a new-to-us village. It required landing in a neighboring village, sharing the Bible stories there, and then hiking through the jungle to a village with very little access to the outside world. Pretty sure Chase was the first foreigner to ever enter. The reception from the people was amazing! Hearing God's word in YOUR language for the first time is something most of us don't understand. It's always been there for us. For the Yetfa, the only preaching or teaching they've had has been through Indonesian. Those who know a second language know that it takes a lot of listening and decoding, and then there are a lot of words you just don't know. Add that Indonesian is most of their 3rd or 4th language, not second, and the Bible terms used are quite formal and not everyday words used in the jungle. And that's just for those who actually know Indonesian. In these little villages, very few people can even use Indonesian well, so to understand the preaching up to this point is really a long shot...until now!
Jeri leading a story group in the first village. They listen to a story a couple times and then break into groups to discuss what they just learned. Typically, 3 questions are asked: what do we learn about God, what do we learn about the people in the story, and what does this mean for our lives?

The greeting they received as they emerged from the jungle.                                A story group at church on Sunday.

The boys and I, along with Uriah's friend, Soren, and a teacher from the international school, met Chase in Bias for a week. Chase showed videos that accompany the stories and Jeri led more story groups.

December found us in town finishing up the semester and getting ready to spend Christmas in Bias. We had fun with friends, watched Star Wars Rogue One, and celebrated Corin!

When we arrived in Bias, we were greeted by this 5 foot + snake skin!! Fortunately, we never found the actual snake. As we were decorating the house for Christmas, we could hear kids shooting fireworks, and it wasn't long, we had our first firework-related injury--4 fingers burnt. Ouch!

Every year, we make Christmas packets for each family, our form of Operation Christmas Child. We gather soap, toothpaste and brushes, and other household needs with small toys and bag them up in Bias. It's become part of our Christmas celebration.

December - present will continue in the next Kel's Tales.