Hooray! Click here to read about Sarah’s accomplishment and new job!
As we walked through the isles of a dollar store last week, my eye caught a shiny mylar balloon. Instead of floating high, it was hovering about 10″ above the floor with its ribbon coiled below. As people walked through the store, the balloon, obviously low in helium, slowly bobbed along without any purpose or diretion. It struck me as sad – a balloon is meant to bring cheer and enjoyment, but this one was no longer like that. Other balloons had been picked and taken to parties or celebrations, but not this one.
I thought more about the scene and wondered why the image stuck with me and I realized that I could relate to the balloon. While we are not as exhausted as we were when we first returned to the USA, sometimes we are reminded that we are still feeling ‘low on helium’ and sometimes find it takes extra effort to do pretty normal things.
The month of March will bring a number of visitors to our house, so I have been trying to get the guestroom ready. I purchased some curtains at a Salvation Army that needed adjustments to fit in windows in the guest room. I was dreading taking on the project which would require pulling out my sewing machine, measuring, and making a plan of how much to shorten them, etc. It sounded like more energy than I had, but one day, I decided it just needed to be done.
After rallying the energy, I pulled out the sewing machine and found a place to set it up. It hadn’t been used for at least 5 years, so I opened it up and generously applied sewing machine oil to the gears and let it sit. The next day, I plugged it in and stepped on the foot pedal. A purring noise came from the motor but the gears were unmoving and even a gentle pull by hand made no difference. Sigh. Now what was I going to do?
At our nearby office center about 2 miles away, there is a small building called ‘The Boutique’ – a treasure trove of donated goods that are organized by faithful volunteers. One part of the Boutique is the ‘Sewing Room’ where other volunteers sit at sewing machines and do mending and sewing for missionaries.
I remembered that sometimes missionaries were able to use or borrow the sewing machines. And sometimes,there are donated machines that are available to be given away. After a couple of days of psyching myself up to go check out the options, I headed to the Boutique. Truthfully, I tried to prepare myself to be thankful when I was offered a vintage 1970 Montgomery Ward sewing machine.
My friend, Shirley, cheerfully manages the Sewing Room and spends hours serving others at a sewing machine. I found Shirley and asked if, by any chance, there was a sewing machine I might be able to borrow or was there, by any chance… a donated machine available for me to have?
The next thing I knew, Shirley was showing me a beautiful Viking Husqvarna machine. It had been donated and a volunteer had recently serviced it. If I wanted that one, it was available. Wow. I was blown away. God providing a sewing machine and not just any machine – Viking sewing machines are made in Sweden and are considered one the best on the market. And this one is in beautiful condition. I was near tears as I received this gift with true thanksgiving to God.
As I left the Sewing Room carrying my new gift, I felt lighter and so very blessed. I walked into the house and showed Tim my precious gift. We both delighted God’s goodness.
I’m still working on completing the curtain project. But now, it’s not nearly so daunting as I sit in front of the sewing machine that makes beautiful straight stitches as the motor purrs along like a song of praise. I’m grateful for a reminder of God’s love for us, which fills our hearts with puffs of ‘helium’ to raise our spirits.
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“Wherever you are, be there…” That’s what we have been trying to do as we recover from the intense 5 year term in the Solomons. Our New Year 2019 Newsletter will tell you more about what we have been doing and how to pray for us as we move forward into this new year.
Click here to read our latest news.
More than 50 years ago in a Baeguu village on Malaita Island, a young boy was suffering from malaria. His father who had animistic rituals for everything in life, tried his best to appease the spirits on behalf of his son. When his son died anyway, he became angry with the spirits who had failed him and he moved the family off the mountain and down to a Christian village.
The family started to learn the ways of the Christian life, including attending church services. Erastus, one of the man’s sons, was about 10 years old at the time. He was given a Bible, the first book he had ever seen. He didn’t know how to hold it, much less make any sense of the lines of English words that filled the pages.
A woman in the church started to teach Erastus how to read the Bible in King James English, one verse at a time. It was hard work, especially since he knew no English, but slowly he began to understand how to read the words.
As he struggled to understand the text, he wondered what it would be like to have a Bible in his own Baeguu language. As he contemplated this idea, he thought that perhaps English was a ‘pure’ language suitable for God’s Word, but Baeguu was not.
Gradually, various opportunities allowed Erastus Otairobo to continue his education. He progressed through grade 3 and later he went to Onepusu Bible School where he became the top student in his class. Sometime later, when Erastus was a Bible student at CLTC (Christian Leadership and Training College) in PNG (Papua New Guinea), a guest lecturer introduced the topic of Bible translation and Erastus began to realize that God’s Word could be translated into Baeguu!
God lead Erastus to return to the Solomons where he was asked to help translate the Pijin Bible. His skills in translation lead to further training as a translation consultant and he helped other language groups in PNG and the Solomons to have God’s Word in their language. But he never forgot his desire to see the Scriptures translated into Baeguu.
In 2008, The Seed Company and Wycliffe Bible Translators asked Erastus Otairobo to head up the efforts to translate the Baeguu New Testament in partnership with SITAG (Solomon Islands Translation Advisory Group).
The translation team included Pastor Fred Fono, Fr. Peter Faukona and Paul Saeni and translation consultant Pat Andrews from The Seed Company. Erastus worked on the translation from PNG and traveled back to the Solomons several times each year to work with the translation team to review and check the translation. After the translation was completed, the New Testaments were printed in Korea.
On Sunday 25 March 2018, more than 50 years after Erastus first dreamed of a translation in his own language, Baeguu speakers gathered in Aifa Village in North Malaita to celebrate the launch of the New Testament.
During the launch service, Erastus presented the first copy of the Baeguu New Testament to Irene, the woman who taught him to read the English Bible so many years ago and helped him to start his walk with Christ.
Tim and I have known Erastus and Lois since we first arrived in the Solomon Islands. Erastus was our Pijin teacher. It was an honor to attend the launch and celebrate with Erastus and his family and see the Baeguu people receive God’s Word in their own language.
Erastus’s wife Lois, daughter Delwyn and grandsons, Ethan and Ian, were proud to witness the launch. Erastus expressed his gratitude for the familiy’s strong support throughout the translation process.
The launch was held in a remote village on Malaita Island. From the provincial capital, Auki, we boarded a vehicle at 2 am and traveled 5 hours or so where we were dropped off. From there we hiked to Aifa Village, crossing the Safafa River through knee deep fast flowing waters. Rain fell Saturday afternoon and continued into Sunday.
After the lauch service there was a feast and then it was time to make our way back to the road where we were to meet the vehicle to take us back to Auki. With all the rain we’d had, our local village hosts suggested an alternative route back that only required 1 river crossing. The waters were about waist deep and our local friends helped us walk across. The bush track on the other side was muddy and slippery. At one point, my feet flew out from under me and I put my left hand out to catch my fall and broke my radius near my wrist.
One of the members in our group had a sling, Two local young women accompaying us walked on either side of me. They were strong, nimble and gracious and we made it back to where the vehicle picked us up again. A couple hours later, we stopped at a clinic where a couple of nurses managed to put a makeshift splint on my arm, and we drove on to Auki.
The next morning, I managed to get on a flight that had been fully booked and made it back to Honiara where Tim was waiting for me. We went to the hospital for x-rays and saw a doctor who advised us to come back on Tuesday for an appointment in the ortho clinic.
A few months ago, an Australian married couple who are volunteer doctors at the hospital, started renting the house next door. They are Christians and attend our church and Bible study. David is an ER doctor and has set many broken bones. His wife offered his services when he returned from a trip to Papua New Guinea on Wednesday. A friend picked him up at the airport and drove him to our house. Then we drove him down to the hospital where he sedated me and, along with another doctor, they set the arm. David’s lovely wife, Tracey assisted.
They tell me the arm is not ‘perfect’, but pretty good. Next week I will have a follow-up x-ray to check on things and make sure the bones are correctly aligned and healing well.
Bible translation ministries are getting started in 2 languages in the Solomon Islands! Double click on the link below to download our latest newsletter.
We just celebrated International Literacy Day here in the Solomon Islands. Read our newsletter to find out why this woman is smiling.
Let us know if you have any problems accessing the Pdf file.
Tim and Martha
Click here to download: September 2017 Matzke Newsletter
If you were to come for a visit, we would take you to the Honiara Central Market. You can watch this video (not produced by us) to get a feel for the market: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQqfZNfJjiE
One of the things that is sold in the market along with the fruits and veggies is ‘shell money’. My sister just sent me a link to this video which tells the story of shell money: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73WMzutKrUo
We hope you enjoy learning more about the Solomon Islands!
Click here to download the story: Matzke Messenger – March 2017
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Sarah is a member of the John Brown University Choir. Every three years, the choir travels to Ireland where they have an opportunity to sing and minister. Sarah is excited to a part of this wonderful opportunity. Attached is a letter about the trip and more information about how you can support Sarah through your prayers and financial support. Sarah’s contact info is on the letter and you can contact her directly or ourselves if you have any questions. Thank you! Click HERE to download: Sarah’s trip to Ireland