This is the blog for Gavin and Carrie Jones and family. We live in Papua New Guinea and are working to see lives transformed by the living Word of God through Bible translation. Gavin is a helicopter pilot. Carrie, who has her degree in Public Health, is the lab supervisor and one of five lab techs at our busy rural clinic. Our son, Isaac, was born in 2004 and our quintuplets, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, and Grace, were born in 2012.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. The you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:3-6

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blowing Bubbles (and other aquired skills) plus a prayer request

Gracie again
The boys: David on left, Seth on right, Will behind
Seth and his good buddy Walter (he lights up when he sees Walter!)

David laying train tracks. He's put all these sections (5) together!
 The prayer request is for Seth. His appetite has really plummeted in recent days. I know he's fighting a mild cold, but he can't afford to lose any weight. He already looks noticeably thinner, so would you please pray for his appetite to increase so he can regain the weight he's lost, and for us to be wise and diligent in helping him eat nutritious, fattening foods?! It's so easy to forget to add fat to everything he eats because I'm so frantically trying to just get the food on the table for the other babies too. (Oops, did I just call them babies again? Oh well, my great-grandma used to say they are babies until they are 3!)

"Never were there two such perfect sisters"

 The title of this post is from an old song, and while it may not be strictly true (they do squabble on occasion) I sure love it that Gracie and Marcie have each other. They laugh at each other and cling to each other and enjoy each other so much, it's just precious and touching beyond measure! They make up their own little games and love to have the other one around, especially at nap time.

 They really do share amazingly well! In this case, it's a Noah's Ark book:

21 months ago . . .

Seth just home from the hospital, late January 2013, almost 6 months after his birth. He's at the 9 o'clock position, with Gracie, David, Will and Marcie clockwise around the circle.
 And now!:

I know, I just posted this in the last post, but I love the juxtaposition! Seth again at the 6 o'clock position, with Will, David, Gracie and Marcie clockwise around the circle

Late January 2013 again:
Marcie, Will, David, Seth, Gracie

And this past Friday:
Again, from the last post: Marcie, David, Will, Gracie, and Seth

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Darling faces

Great photo! Thanks to Deb of the Friday play dates. Seth looks a little zoned (but gorgeous), and all the others look so happy because they love the toys and games and kids around! L-R: Marcie, David, Will, Gracie, Seth

A reprise of the circle photo we took when Seth got home from the hospital late Jan 2013. Starting at the top, clockwise: Grace, Marcie, Seth, Will and David
Peek-a-boo Gracie! #1 

Peek-a-boo Gracie #2

Peek-a-boo Grace #3 Her new words/sentences include: Another one! A new one! Please help! No, mine! She's become a bit of a warrior princess in looking out for her own good and not just letting the others steamroll her. I'm glad she can stand up for herself. She's still so tiny compared to the rest, although she eats the most, it seems!

Marcie, Kaitlyn and Gracie together. Three beautiful girls!!
Laughing Will: He burned his hand a bit on Gavin's motorbike exhaust and kept telling me the story for days: "Daddy car hot, owie!" [He calls the motorcycle "Daddy's car"]

Will, David, Seth (Seth can really rock a shape-sorter! He can even do that hard red and black Tupperware one with 10 or so shapes on it. He just loves it!)

Will with his temporary "mommy" when we were in Cairns (an older photo)

The kids are looking out for each other more and more, meeting and even anticipating each other's needs. If one has something another one wants, he/she will start to smile and nod as a way of saying, "Sure, I'm happy to share!"

Marcie likes to be a little mother. She was trying to wash the other kids in the bath tonight, and she wanted to brush Gracie's teeth for her. Gracie was a good sport. She also was determined to push Gracie on the swing, even though Gracie didn't want anyone but Mom to push her. (David got in on that action, too, and was definitely the best pusher.)

Gotta run! Love to you all,

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fruit snacks, TV, helicopter

Enjoying fruit snacks from Aunt Carlene. I think fruit snacks are their new favorite food!

Gracie wanted to feed Marcie some of hers. You can see Seth's wound from being hit by a wooden swing.
The kids are very keen to sit on these little side tables. They are watching All About Cars.

Sitting in Gavin's helicopter

Our computer is back! And a picture of the Leedahls

After a long trip down and back up the Purari River, our computer, passports and camera are home safely, praise God. Which means I can blog again more easily! And have pictures to post. :) Those will have to come later, though, as Gavin needs the computer.

Quickly, here's a picture of Jon and Adie Leedahl (for the story and their blog address, see our previous post) from when they were taking care of our kids during our own very tame medevac. They are beautiful people, inside and out! Their boys are precious, too. Thank you for your prayers for them.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pray for our friends, the Leedahls!

Hello all.  Sorry for the long-ish silence.  It's been a pretty rough and emotional last few days.  We arrived home on Monday evening to our kids who were pretty happy to see us, though they had been more than well cared for by our awesome friends!

Jon and Adie Leedahl were some of the many who cared for our kids in our absence.  Jon is a fellow airplane and helicopter pilot with New Tribes Mission who was training here with our flight operation on the Kodiak airplane, one of which NTM is soon to be receiving.

Unfortunately, on Wednesday, just after departing the airport to come home to Ukarumpa, he was in a motorcycle accident that injured his legs severely.  I arrived on the scene just a few minutes after it happened.  Carrie and I were able to trade off being with him and Adie for almost the whole time from when he arrived at our clinic until the airplane took of the following morning to medivac him to Cairns, Australia where the closest critical care unit is.

Sadly, the damage to his right leg was so severe that the doctors had to amputate it above the knee.  The right leg is mostly damaged in the foot, but they won't be able to address those issues for many days because he needs to recover from the trauma of the event as well as the amputation.

They have three wonderful boys, whom we have been able to care for some, along with some other friends.  They will go down to Australia soon to join Jon and Adie.

Needless to say, the Leedahls would appreciate your prayers in many areas.  As a fellow pilot who depends on my arms and legs for my vocation, I can only imagine what is going through his mind and what he's struggling with.  This will indeed change their lives tremendously in ways they likely don't even know or understand, but they are firmly focused on the Lord and the good that He will bring about through it all.  Many verses from Romans 8 have kept coming to me over the past few days.

They have a blog where they have been posting updates.  The blog is and they are also at this link on Facebook where the posts are often more recent.

As for me, I've been perfectly normal (at least as normal as I typically am) since waking up from the procedure to remove the food stuck in my esophagus.  Thank you all again for your prayers.  Though technically life-threatening, my situation just pales in comparison to what the Leedahls are dealing with. 

Carrie and I had a wonderful several days of time together in Cairns, but it's good to be home with the bunch of munchkins, too.  They're cute.

I would post some pictures, but our computer along with our passports got temporarily lost, being treated to a boat ride down the Purari River in the bush.  We dropped some people off there on our flight back from Oz and they accidentally took it with the rest of their luggage.  Fortunately, they are coming out of the bush on Monday, so we should be reunited soon.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Gavin's gastro appointment: results

Hi all,

Thank God, the biopsy reports came back very quickly and Gavin does NOT have eosinophilic esophagitis (requiring further allergy testing and diet therapy). The specialist suspects he has a "stiff" esophagus due to the extensive spinal radiation he had as a child to treat his acute lymphocytic leukemia. Gavin also wonders if one of his chemo drugs (Adriamycin) could have stiffened the muscle/tissue of his esophagus as heart stiffening was one of the long-term concerns associated with that particular drug. We don't really know; what we do know is that Gavin's esophagus needs to be dilated to help prevent future food impaction, but he can't have that done until he's all healed up inside. The doctor was surprised at how long Gavin had the impaction without perforating his esophagus, as happened to a recent patient after a similar time period and became a really bad emergency. We thank God that did not happen to Gavin, and we understand better now why the doctors in Ukarumpa were in such a hurry to get him to the hospital, beyond seeing how miserable and sick he was and having pity on him!

The doctor suggested a return to Cairns in about six months for the dilation procedure. We will see what our doctors at the Clinic in Ukarumpa recommend based on Gavin's consultation with the specialist today.

The kids, meanwhile, are doing great. I only hope they'll be happy to see us come home! They've had such a good time with their surrogate families and caretakers. Our sweet friends keep us updated with cute stories of their days. It warms our hearts - thank you, Careys, Stewarts, Metzgers, Penningtons, Leedahls, Brewers, McEvoys, and Blakes! Now the Tapps are on tap (ha, ha), taking care of the boys at our house while the girls are with the Blakes up the hill a bit.

A couple of pictures of Gavin and me, taken on our self-led waterfalls tour outside of Cairns on Wednesday:

And a lot of pictures of Will, thanks to his sweet babysitters/family! (How can a mother choose which of these to include and which to leave out?) He looks SO BIG and grown-up to me! Where's my baby?!? I miss them all, including Isaac!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gavin - update

Hi all,

Gavin has a follow-up gastroenterology appointment on Friday, the first slot available. He should get a treatment plan, or the beginning of one, and then hopefully be able to book tickets back to Ukarumpa. I am planning to return Monday regardless. A week away from the kids is plenty! There are no flights to Ukarumpa with availability until then anyway.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the kids are having a great time and seem very secure and happy, thanks to wonderful friends and in answer to the prayers of so many. Please keep praying for them!

Gavin and I are making the best of this "forced" expensive vacation (especially as it started as a medivac during a new health insurance year!) and managing to enjoy ourselves despite being separated from our six treasured children. ;) We are staying at a lodge that is jointly run by our mission organization and another. It's beautiful, secluded and inexpensive, and we thank God for this lovely provision!

Much love and gratitude,

Sunday, October 5, 2014

P.S.: Medical details

Gavin was discharged from the hospital just before noon today. He's been diagnosed with "eosinophilic esophagitis." A length of his middle and lower esophagus has inflamed patches or plaques, from which the doctors took biopsies to try and figure out what is causing the inflammation and what kind of eosinophilic esophagitis he has. It could be an allergic reaction to some type of food, but obviously we don't know what until we do an elimination diet or patch test on his back. Our clinic back in Ukarumpa will tell us what to do next while we're still here, and/or when to come back. Today is a public holiday in Australia, so that makes it "wasted" in the diagnostic/treatment doctoring world. :} We'll manage to have a great time enjoying the First World, though, so it's certainly not wasted for us! There are return flights to Ukarumpa on Wednesday and Friday; we don't know yet which one we'll be on.

Praising God for relief and for blessings that come out of hardship - and also for our amazing community taking care of our kids!

Out of the hospital and doing fine!

Hello all.  Gavin here.  I just got out of the hospital about an hour ago and am back to normal.  I had a piece of meat stuck in my esophagus for over 24 hours, so couldn't eat or drink at all during that time.  I spent much of the time heaving and throwing up, so the relief brought by the endoscopic procedure was wonderful.

We are so thankful for the team of people in PNG who have helped in so many ways:  guys that hiked down the mountain in the middle of the night (we were having a father/son camping trip near Ukarumpa), guys that hiked up in the middle of the night to meet me, the clinic team that tried to get the food dislodged and who made the arrangements for my medivac, the aviation team that got me out of PNG to Australia, where I've had excellent care, the member care people helping arrange care of the kids and other details, and the several families who have stepped up and offered to care for one or more of our kids.  What a group!  We are so blessed!

Thank you all for your prayers and concern for us.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Gavin being Medivac'ed to Cairns, Australia

Gavin and I are on our way south (via one of our organization's Kodiak airplanes) due to food becoming lodged in his esophagus. It's a 3-4 hour flight. This happened nearly 11 hours ago and he is still almost continually vomiting, heaving, retching, etc. He is one miserable guy. So we are leaving Isaac and the quints in many capable, loving hands and praying/hoping to (1) get the food dislodged (our excellent clinic has exhausted its available medications and procedures), and (2) find the underlying cause of the food getting stuck so immovably in the first place. He's had some recurring issues with this for quite some time, but they've always been resolved by a swallow of water - or by vomiting, when worse comes to worse. This time is very different. He had a swallow study done before we left the U.S. but the doctor couldn't find anything beyond simple reflux. Turns out she didn't look low enough in his esophagus with the scope to find out what's really going on.

Anyway, please pray for my poor hubby. It's so hard to see him suffer like this. We DO praise God that we have such excellent medical and personal care, such great aircraft and pilots available, such fabulous babysitting "family" to call on, and most of all that it isn't one of the quints being medivac'ed! We're also very, very grateful this isn't life-threatening.

Love and gratitude - will post again from Cairns [the very tippy-top of Eastern Australia].

Friday, October 3, 2014

3 years ago today . . .

We left Ukarumpa for the U.S.! I was hoping and praying for another baby. Whew, if I could have seen us now! 

Ephesians 3:20-21 "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

All the kids are well and happy, although we're all dealing with a scratchy throat and slight cough. I coughed tonight and Marcie said, "Uh-oh, bless you, "which Gracie also parroted. Marcie also decided it would be fun to hold Gracie's hand and walk around the yard, then Will and Seth linked up too. It was adorable - for a moment. The happy chain of 4 broke in two and then somehow turned into a tackle and wrestling match. Oh well. Isaac stayed out of it all and kept jumping on the trampoline. One big happy (most of the time) family!

Love and gratitude,
Our darling neighbor matched our darling girls so I took this picture after church. 

Grace is such a good sport!

A gorgeous overlook about an hour from us. Happy couple enjoying a brief break from the pressures of 5 little ones and 1 big boy. ;)

Have you ever seen such ginormous broccoli?? It tastes even better than it looks!

Isaac being a goof for his text message to Megan. "Megan and Peter are worth a thousand friends!" he said yesterday when admitting how homesick for TX he is.

Gavin, Carrie, Isaac, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, & Grace Jones

Gavin, Carrie, Isaac, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, & Grace Jones

Blog Archive