Just after Christmas, one of the MAF national workers and his wife welcomed their daughter into the world. Before she was born, Pak Isto told us he would like David to help with the naming of the baby. We felt very honored and started brainstorming name ideas.
There are quite a few kids running around the interior of Borneo who have been named after David, kids whose moms were in labor when he picked them up in the plane. There's even a brother and sister in one of the villages named David and Natalie. One family chose "Holsten" for their child (yes, as a first name). But this was the first time we were asked to choose the name ourselves.
I immediately thought of my late grandmother. Her name was Vera, though everyone knew her as "Beebie" and we called her Mamaw. She often joked that any of the grandkids who would name a child after her would get all the inheritance. She was a sly lady, knowing that "Vera" probably wouldn't come back into fashion for a while, at least not until most of the populace forgot the "kiss my grits" Vera from the tv show Alice.
But "Vera" with an Indonesian pronunciation is just lovely - "Ferrah" - rolling the "r". And while I'm not sure the exact meaning of Vera, to me it means a beautiful, godly, funny, hard-working woman of faith.
Baby Vera needed a middle name, so David suggested my name, since the baby was born just after Christmas (hari Natal). So Vera Natalie was thus christened.
Ibu Leni, Pak Isto, and me, holding baby Vera
Since before last Thanksgiving I have struggled on and off with stomach issues, the details of which I will spare you. It got to the point that I went to Singapore three weeks ago to be checked by a specialist there. It was hard to leave David and the kids behind, and I have to give a shout out to my wonderful MAF team in Tarakan who helped out with watching kids and having them over for meals. While in Singapore, I stayed with some Singaporean friends who took very good care of me. All my tests came back normal, and the doctor suspects I had some kind of bad infection that was slow to respond to the various meds I took. I seem to be on the mend - thank you, Lord!
And now...some news. After over nine years living in Tarakan and bucking the MAF trend of Move Again Friend, our family will be soon making a major move. In July we'll be starting a five-month furlough in the U.S., then next January we'll move to the MAF base in Sentani, Papua, way over on the other side of Indonesia. It was a hard decision to make, because we love where we are and what we do. But we felt like the time was right for our family to move. The kids will be able to attend an international school, David will fly and fix planes, and I - what will I do? Aside from learning how to function without our faithful house helper Orpa (who's getting married next month), maybe I'll find time to start that book I've always wanted to write.