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, December 29, 2015

Merry post- Christmas! AndCarrie's sick

We would really appreciate your prayers for Carrie.  She hasn't felt well for many days, but just in the last few has started having symptoms of vertigo, where the world seems to spin whenever she moves her head.  Since everything here is closed down until Monday, the 4th, we won't be able to get a blood test sent to Australia until then, and the results would be several days later.  Given her current symptoms, that seems like an awful long time.  She had a blood test a couple days ago (a simple one they can do here) and it showed she is fighting some kind of infection, but there is concern with possible thyroid problems, iron deficiency, etc.  Please pray for wisdom, strength, healing, endurance, for all of us.

Fortunately, the kids are mostly feeling better, with the exception of David having a tummy ache.

We had a nice Christmas with my (Gavin) parents and some other good friends here.  Sadly, though, we will be bidding my parents farewell on Monday as they finish of their fourth year here in PNG.  We will miss them very much!  The kids have loved having them around so much, them dropping in here, going over to their house, going out on walks or drives, etc.  We have truly enjoyed their presence here in our lives, working alongside them and having family times together.  They will be missed by more than just us!

Some pictures will follow.

Thanks for you thoughts and prayers!


Monday, December 14, 2015

Coughing fits and other news

There's a cold going around right now and our kids have the coughing fits pretty badly, especially Gracie and Seth. If you read this and want to take the time to pray for them, we'd appreciate it! Seth's poor BPD (bronchopulmonary dysplasia, or chronic lung disease) lungs sound crackly and "wet," but he's keeping his blood oxygenation up, thank God! It's nice to see him start to outgrow some of the stuff that used to land him in the hospital or at least on oxygen supplementation and steroids. He is better today than he was yesterday, for which we praise God as Gavin is on an overnight far, far away in the village of some Bible translator friends of ours. He has a full two days of flying, starting at dawn today with a medevac of a heavily pregnant woman with expected delivery complications. I'm so glad he gets to do these "rescue" trips, especially when I think about how excruciating even uncomplicated labor usually is!

We're humming along here at home, winding down the school term (tomorrow is the last day for Isaac) and looking towards a two-week break. It's lovely to have Gavin's parents here still, although his poor dad has been sick for going-on-five-weeks now due to a parasite that resulted in extreme lethargy. We also appreciate prayers for him, especially as they are only here for three more weeks!

We've been having glorious rains which we do not take for granted! The food shortage is still really bad as the people wait for their sweet potatoes to grow, and it's a really fun honor to get to be involved in some small-scale relief efforts. I just wish larger-scale relief efforts would ramp up! Things have been promised but haven't come through yet, to the chagrin of those who are just hanging on.

Okay, some photos, then off to bed:
David loves to "build" things while Gavin is also working in the workshop. He laid down all these pieces of scrap lumber and had Gavin help him move a box to where he wanted it to be, talking to himself the whole time about the best way to set it all up. He has a lot of plans that his siblings often foil, so this is a nice creative outlet for him and a bonding experience with his daddy.

Aunt Katie (my sister) sent the girls these darling headbands. We had a fun little photo shoot before church last Sunday:

Gracie trying to kiss Marcie (who had already kissed Gracie) but Marcie is too busy arranging her hair to notice

They love each other so much!

Gracie's facial expression isn't great here, but Marcie's makes this photo worth posting

Silly, happy sisters

Enjoying watching the horses at our Ukarumpa paddocks on Saturday

Beautiful "ballerina" Gracie. The girls are either ballerinas, princesses, puppies, mommies, babies, or "just a girl," depending on the moment.

Isaac swinging the boys with his feet

At the annual Aviation Christmas party

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Quints on the tire swing

This is at our store:

Catching up on family fun

Getting into Daddy's car tools

Two handsome boys with beards - David tried to draw his own on!

Riding their horsey - Jason.

David with a Mega Blocks creation

David with his Daddy-made axe. He was clearly in the mood to pose that day.

Where's Seth?

The kids love the train paraphernalia at Marmi and Papa's house

Will enjoying the tent at Marmi and Papa's

David showing off his balloon sword at our high school's "Carnival"

Isaac strutting his Nerf stuff. He loves dressing up goofily.

Just having fun on the rug, nothing special except they are multiples and best friends (and sometimes enemies, although they really stand up for each other if one of them is being a bully!)

David at a restaurant in the coast city of Lae during a quick weekend trip

David on a shiny new tractor in Lae

Enjoying the tire swing at the Store. Don't you love Will's butterfly wings?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Cute "helicopter sound" video of Seth

Christmas is coming!

After a lovely Thanksgiving we've started looking towards Christmas . . .

David and Gracie helping me unpack Christmas boxes while Marcie helps me cook (far right - all you can see is her dress). The kids put on their own Christmas hats. :)

David found the helicopter ornament; Gracie opening the Noah's Ark ornament

Another favorite elf of mine. :)

Christmas Sunday clothes! Again, thanks to the Starlings (I'm pretty sure). Gracie lets me do her hair and take her picture. Marcie will have nothing to do with either hair-doing or picture-taking. Will walked into the photo I was trying to take, but he matches so nicely!

Gracie modeling her Christmas "princesses" (their name for all dresses)

Caught you! Marcie inadvertently smiled for this photo because I caught her off-guard turning the lights off and on.

This isn't a good picture of the kids, but it's a great picture of what Isaac comes up with to entertain them all! He made them a "train" out of chairs, then put a mattress on top so they could wrestle. It's so cute to watch Will and David wrestle when they're in a good mood! In this photo Gracie has gamely entered the fray. Marcie is still driving the train (does this surprise her NICU nurses, that Marcie is at the head, driven the quint train?? I think not.). She kept saying, "Chugga-chugga-choo-choo!" over and over again. Seth, meanwhile, is neither wrestling nor choo-chooing. He's holding a book. :) So typical, although he very much enjoyed the train. I think a lot of us like to take a book along when we're going on a trip, right? ;) 

A stray photo: Isaac's sweet friends reading to Seth. They love the quints so much! Seth brings us books to read him throughout the day. Whenever possible I try to stop what I'm doing to read it, but he also goes to others to have them read to him. He's also really into pushing cars and trucks around, and flying helicopters and airplanes. The sounds he makes are pretty impressive - I'll post a video of his helicopter sound!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Feast and Famine

Sorry I'm sooooooooo late about posting something! We've been happily busy. We took a quick weekend trip to the port city of Lae (about 3 hours away) over my birthday this past weekend, and I'm busy getting ready for Thanksgiving with Gavin's parents and some close friends who are like family over here.

The kids are so big and talkative and funny and stressful (sometimes - let's be honest!). Life around here is always hoppin'! We have MUCH to be grateful for, including food, when many of our neighbors in the villages outside of our local valley don't have anything except greens to eat. The greens grew quickly after the rains started up again (although it's been awhile since we had a good rain - please keep praying!), but the root crops take a long time to mature. There is a 4-5 month period yet during which the subsistence farmers have to just wait and try not to starve. We need wisdom as we share the abundance the Lord has given us. If we do this in the wrong way we'll cause more trouble than we'll helped alleviate. We can't stand the thought of kids being hungry, so we're trying to work through our PNG friends who actually live in the harder-hit villages to identify families who most need supplementary rice and oil. We really appreciate your prayers for discernment and God's direction over who gets what and how much, etc. We can never feed all the people who really need it, so this is a matter of "It will make a difference to THAT family."

I taught an introductory statistics class to the health board from the villages that are being hard hit by this famine. They wanted to learn how to collect appropriate statistics of how many unemployed families need government food aid in each village. Unfortunately, there is no encouraging word on any forthcoming government supplies in our area.
On that heavy note, here are some cute pictures:

4th of July dresses that fit now - I didn't realize how tall the girls were getting!
THANK YOU, Mickey! (Len is now with the Lord.)

The girls LOVE to go on shopping trips with me. I love taking them!

Marcie diapering her favorite doll with diapers from the kids' NICU days!
Marcie continues to be the "little mommy" and a great cook's helper

Yes, these tiny diapers fit on our tiny preemies! We even had to fold them over to make them fit okay on all but Will.

From the motorcycle conversation video time

Will, David, Marcie (I don't know where Seth or Gracie were at the time. Gavin took these.)

At Isaac's school's Friday family picnic. We go every Friday to eat with him, and the little kids really look forward to and love going! David asks every day if it's the day we go to Isaac's school to eat.

The whole family. It's hard to catch us all together these days!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fun conversation on the motorbike

These kids are pretty cute, especially now that they talk so much:

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Video of fun with big bro

Seth was asleep already. He was very tired that day, so sadly he missed out on this fun episode. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Playgroup pictures and random fun, plus PRAISE for rain!

Hi all! Sorry for the delay in posting this week. It’s been a busy (good) one. I’m loving my Clinic job, getting a break from home and interacting with/helping adults. If I didn’t have ladies that come clean my house and help with the kids this would be pretty impossible, but I am blessed to have these lovely women of God move quietly and lovingly through my home. The kids consider them family - just not quite as close as Mom and Dad and Isaac. ;)

And we’ve had RAIN this week!! I think it’s been about 2.5 inches so far. Our rain tanks are almost completely full! It’s rained off and on, mostly drizzle or light rain, since Friday night. It’s great rain for the gardens because it soaks in well, it doesn’t overwhelm the soil and run-off or cause landslides (a constant problem here during rainy season). So we’re still not out of the drought, but we’re heading in the right direction. Lord willing, we’ll keep heading in that direction. The gardens need a lot more rain and several months before they really recover. The garden food is pretty much gone now, judging by several reports, but at least the soil is workable again. Before it was like concrete! Everyone is re-planting now and praying the rains continue.

Another blessing has been the cloudiness of the days, so the rain isn’t immediately counteracted by the drying, strong equatorial sun. There are actually mud puddles! Will and David begged me to stop the car so they could play in them, so we did. :) It was our way of thanking God for His provision and celebrating that answer to the prayers of millions of people! Thank you to those who prayed!

Gracie's contagious grin. I love her freckles!! She is such a HAPPY little girl who just loves everybody.

In quint “news,” the girls play Mommy and Baby Puppy all day long, every day. They alternate who is the mommy and who is the baby. When Gracie’s the baby, Marcie keeps saying, “Isn’t she cute?!"
David on the climbing tree at playgroup. He's our adventure-boy who gets a little nervous sometimes mid-adventure. :)
The boys are into tussling (wrestling, hand-fighting). Seth less so than Will or David. He doesn’t like being roughed up, but he loves to run up to the fray, get in a quick whack, and run away before the other boys can catch him. It’s hilarious to watch, truly. The funniest part is the instananeous resolution sometimes, when before you know it they are best friends again and working on a project together, building each other up each step of the way. “Good job, Bubby!"
On the see-saw at playgroup. Seth loves group/cooperative play. Marcie looks on, waiting for her turn.
Marcie's turn (she looks a little nervous) with Will in the background blowing on his "whistle." Thankfully it's not really a whistle and is completely soundless - our favorite kind of toy. ;)
Will climbing the stump, "whistle" in hand still

At the bounce house the high schoolers put up as a fundraiser. We don't get group discounts - bummer. ;)
Handsome David showing off his handsome tie and cheesy grin after church on Sunday

David looking slightly less goofy (although the tie is far to short, really!)
Beautiful Seth

If you jumped when you saw this, rest assured my reaction upon seeing Gavin's cleanly shaven face for the first time in four years was every bit as dramatic. I literally started, had to take a moment, then could face him again. I'm sorry, but I LOVE Gavin's beard. However, it's "No Shave November," and the pilots here are doing it together as a team-building exercise (why they need to build their team, I'm not sure). They all had to start clean-shaven. Thankfully Gavin's beard grows really quickly, whereas the wives who are used to clean-shaven men have another 3+ weeks to endure stubble and scruff! This is our great friend James, our Ukarumpa brother and uncle to the kids.
[Gavin painted that picture of Half Dome in the background, by the way. He's from the Yosemite area.]

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

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

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