Friday, May 16, 2014

What's Happening In My Life (May Update)

Wow, the year is flying by! The past month has offered plenty of challenges, but also been rich with blessings and opportunities to grow.

I caught a glimpse of heaven, had a moment of weakness and ate gluten (then paid the price), and received exciting news about how I'd helped change another person's life.

The long hot Summer finally succumbed to sublime autumn weather. Warm, sunny days, and nights that are just perfect for putting a blanket on but leaving all the windows open and allowing the ocean breezes to drift in...

Looking back over the last month, there's a couple of main issues that have occupied my thoughts and my time...

House-Building (Or Lack Thereof): Our house-building still hasn't got underway. The major reason being that the builder (my husband's brother) simply doesn't seem overly keen to get started. Despite my polite questions about the progress being made, I seem to get procrastination and broken promises in return.

We already have the gravel, sand and bricks sitting on site, waiting to start, but apparently the builder still needs to make something with the metal rods before they can start properly. 

Although I've had moments of intense frustration, that is not the overwhelming emotion at this point. Mostly, I feel troubled and wonder if perhaps there's a divine reason for the constant hold-ups? Perhaps we are simply not meant to be building our house in that particular location. 

To be honest, we had some misgivings when we were first gifted this land, but decided to go ahead because it seemed our only option...but perhaps that was just our impatience talking?

So rather than continue trying to exert my own will (as is my usual fashion), I'm simply stepping back at this moment to ponder and seek guidance from above.

(Wow. God was listening! As I was writing this article, I had a phone call from my husband with good news. He finally got a full-time job in Canberra, Australia, which pays excellent, and we'll now have the money to hire a contract building team so we no longer have to rely solely on his brother. )

Met Someone Extraordinary: Within the last month, I became friends with the most extraordinary person I've ever met. This young man's faith, and compassion for others, just blows me away. In the short time I've known him, I've learnt so much from him, but in the beginning I resisted...

He's younger than me (in his mid-20's), I secretly felt it should be ME imparting wisdom and life-lessons to HIM. Then I realized that was just my ego talking and every person has important things to teach us - no matter their number of years, level of IQ or position of employment. That was a humbling, but necessary, realization.

This guy is a mechanic, an absolute master of his trade, yet he's had no formal training and holds no qualifications. But if you put anything mechanical in front of him, he can fix it. Wow, what a gift! When he sees someone broken down by the side of the road, he stops and offers to help. Within 15 minutes, he's got their car going again, refuses any suggestion of payment, then jumps into his van and carries on to his next job. This happens daily, sometimes more than once a day.

Many of the people calling him for help don't have money to pay him. But he doesn't complain, he just smiles and does the job.When he does get paid for his work, he takes the money home and gives it to his mother or sisters, to buy food for the family.

It may be easy for you and I to make excuses as to why we can't all live like this. We might think, "Well, I bet he wouldn't do that if he was married with children." but perhaps we're just trying to make justifications for our own limiting beliefs and scarcity mindset? 

Because of his helpful, caring nature, he has an army of people who want to help him. He regularly has people send him phone credit, or turn up to his house with food or homegrown produce. 

One day, he stopped to help a woman whose car was broken down beside the road. When her car was running again, he refused her offer of payment, and then he and his friend proceeded to a nearby cafe for coffee (that was all they could afford), but while they were there, the waitress bought them both a big plate of food, and explained that a woman (the one whose car had just been fixed) had come in and paid for it. When they got up to leave, the waitress handed him $100, also from the same lady who paid for their food. He promptly handed the money to his friend to put fuel in the car.

This young man happily gives away his time and talents and money, because he just knows that he'll be taken care of.'s that for faith? Witnessing his faith has had a profound impact on me, and really put a spotlight on my own lack of faith. This guy invites others to become better people simply by his presence, and I thank God that I have the privilege of knowing, and learning from him.

Rumors And Lies: For more than a year now, we've had a young man living with us - Kimi. He's 20 years old, and a cousin of my husband. From the beginning, my husband and I loved and trusted this boy. He was always ready to help out, and never tried to lie or steal from us, even though we let him inside our room and left him alone with our belongings and money.(This made a big impression on us, because the Tongan idea of "stealing" is rather different from the one I grew up with. "Borrowing" and "lending" without asking are often overlooked and excused.)

In return for his help, we looked after him - cooked meals for him, gave him credit for his phone, and drove him home to his village on Saturday nights so he could spend Sunday with his family.

When my husband left to go and work in Australia, he told Kimi to help me with anything I needed done. When we cleared the undergrowth and cut down the coconuts, Kimi was there to do it. When I went to town to do shopping, Kimi came and helped look after the kids and carry the groceries. When we had to go and collect water from the tanks, Kimi came to carry the buckets.

I was so grateful for his help. I came to rely on him but I also enjoyed his friendship and our light-hearted joking.

This is a small village, everyone knows everyone, and there's not much excitement to distract people, so I guess it was only a matter of time before people starting whispering things behind our backs. But still, when the rumors of an affair reached my ears, I was hurt that people would make up such utter lies about me. One Sunday night, Kimi rang and said he wouldn't be coming to stay anymore, that he was sorry, but it was causing problems in the family and in our village.

My husband was upset on my behalf and offered to speak to his family (who were also involved in the rumors). I was so tempted to just let him take care of it, since I hate confrontation of any kind, but I knew this was my chance to face up to the issue with dignity and honesty.

I called my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law into our room and I explained everything to them - that I knew about the rumors, that I had spoken with my husband about it, that my husband had arranged for Kimi to be my helper while he was away, and that I loved this boy like a brother...We discussed the issue out in the open. What a relief! I felt so good about being proactive and dealing with the issue head-on, rather than skirting around it and hoping it would go away.

I walked away, free from resentment or anger at the way other people chose to behave. I simply felt good about the way I had handled the situation and kept my integrity intact. People can say what they want, I have done what I thought was right.

Kimi and I are still great mates. He comes to see us sometimes, but doesn't stay here anymore. When our house-building gets underway proper, he'll come each day to help the building team.

My husband and I plan that when our house is built, he will come and live with us.

And now, before I love you and leave's a pic I took recently that pretty much sums up village life in Tonga. Kids have come home from school, starving hungry. Someone climbed the neighbour's orange tree and threw a heap of them down, and now they're sitting on the road eating enough oranges to keep their bowels moving along nicely. (What can I say? I'm a mum and a health nut, we think about this kind of stuff...)

 Until next time,

Blessings x

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