Thursday, February 15, 2018

Solomon Islands: Home of my Malaita Girl

Sometimes two weeks go by and you feel like nothing has happened and other times you feel like you have flown half way around the world twice and lived a couple of months worth of life! Yeah sometimes :)...

This trip was so amazing and the highlights stack a mile high... so the thoughts will come fast and furious and hopefully this won't be too long or boring :)... 

First, a note to my darling Valentine and great world traveler! I love you so much Diane and I'm so grateful for the fantastic years God has given me with you! I wouldn't want to do this crazy thing called life with anyone else! You are a treasure and knowing you and loving you is one of the greatest joys in my life! To many more years by your side living life to the fullest and chasing after the great adventure that God gives us as we chase after him together!

Playing cards during every lay over! Here we are in Fiji! 
This sweet girl just came up and held Diane's hand on the way to boarding the plane :)

It was amazing getting all this time with Diane. I treasure being able to see where she grew up and meeting some of her close and dear friends! We got to go to the village which was a miracle and gift from God. The weather gave us one shot at it and God made it happen! Roxanne is a wizard and pulled together a chartered speed boat ride and a day trip to the village. Incredible! One of the greatest moments in my life was seeing Diane embraced by people she hadn't seen for nearly 20 years. Incarnation living makes an incredible impact. Tears flowed as something happened that no one expected ever to happen again. People who really loved one another were reunited and a scene that mirrored the reunions we long for in heaven took place on a beach in Malaita! It was amazing and I wish you all could have seen it! 
How the Gebauers usually travel 

The speed boat taking us to Malaita! Traveling in style :)
Just down the beach from Diane's former village house... You can see the houses in the distance. 
Seeing how the reading glasses we brought over are used! Sitting on the porch in the village! 
Diane reuniting with her dear friend and former youth pastor.  
Diane enjoying dinner in Honiara with a childhood friend who is now married with 3 kids! 

We landed after a wonderful trip and were greeted with flower necklaces! It was so sweet. The first few days afforded us lots of time to rest and get used to the new and different timezone... 7 hours behind and a day ahead. We enjoyed pancake breakfasts and art meditation girly stuffs and church and visits and such. Trips around town on terrible roads and lots of relaxing adventures. 

Our amazing flower necklaces! 
Girly art stuff :)
Amazing pancake breakfast with the men and kids while the women had some much needed time together. 
World Cup trophy came to Honiara and it was fun to go and see it! Who would have guessed! 

Beautiful view from SITAG.
Enjoying time hanging out in the living room with family! 
We had a great program for the kids. The highlights were many but I'll just share a few that really stood out! Diane shared her testimony and it was so cool to hear and to see how it blessed the kids! 

We start every morning with an hour alone with God. Then we come together and share what God showed us during that hour! It is an awesome way to start the day. I'll never forget what Hannah said during one of the sharing times... "I've always wanted to hear God speak, and I was asking him to speak to me today and for the first time in my life he spoke to me and said "Hannah I love you" and it was so amazing". Let's just say a few tears were shed... it touched me so deeply, after that I felt like I could definitely go home and know that God used Diane and me in a powerful way during this trip. You are such a huge part of this incredible story through your support of this trip. We couldn't do this without you! Amazing! God is so good! 

Our sharing time spot! Hannah is the second from the left :)
Eating a guava Claire got me during sharing time... sharing time indeed :)
We played lots of games and went on lots of fun outings in the afternoons! Good times for sure! 

Monday afternoon at the pool! 

Superbowl Party Monday night! I've seen the Superbowl in 4 countries now, and on 3 continents. Yeah! 
My amazing wife's idea to make soap! It was a big hit! Took us all of Tuesday afternoon! 
Beach day Wednesday. Swimming around an old sunken Japanese Ship! Great times! 
Ice Cream Thursday! 
Our theme was righteousness and we memorized Romans 8: 1-11 together. It was so fun and so cool to see the kids understanding that they are made perfect and clean and free from condemnation through Christ and in Him, they are righteous. 

Giving my final lesson on Friday. 
Playing Frisbee golf the final afternoon. That game is so fun! 
Walked into the room and found this on the whiteboard. It really touched me! I felt very loved.

A gem from Diane's past. She turned this wall into a living metropolis. It was cool to share that memory with her!
Friday watching the Olympics Opening Ceremony late at night... some people fell asleep :). 

Saturday morning before leaving we got to visit the U.S. War Memorial. It was fun reading the history! 
 There are many more pictures and memories but you would have to schedule an afternoon with me to absorb it all. Safe to say it was an amazing trip and I'm so grateful for the chance to go. We had a nice time on the way back as well. A day to kill in Fiji left us with some more adventures to share.
Visiting a Hindu temple. A lot of Indians migrated to Fiji! I rock a dress! 
You see the sleeping giant? There are two of them created by the mountains. Pretty cool! 

Mud bath and hot springs to finish up the adventures. Diane looks great in mud :). 
We made a friend in Fiji before we headed back. It was fun getting to meet new people! 

Well those are some of the pictures and highlights! It's good to be home and see my children. My parents left this morning to head back to the work the Lord has called them to do! We are so grateful for the incredible care they provided for our children while we were away. We will all miss them a lot while they are gone. My sister helped a ton too!

So thankful for you as well as you prayed us through and we stayed healthy and strong, had traveling mercies and energy and were able to accomplish the good work that God prepared for us. We got along well and lives are transformed because you were able to send us! Thank you for being a part of something so special in our lives! 

I'm so proud of the work that Diane's parents do! It's very hard and can be discouraging, but they work tirelessly in really hard conditions and are living epistles, read by all! It was really good to see where they work. I feel much closer to the family after this trip and feel like I can understand and empathize with things in a much better way!

Image result for 2 corinthians 3 living epistles

My heart is full! I'm back now with my kids and life here is speeding along! It's already Thursday and the month is well under way! I'm busy, but I'm learning to live from rest. Looking forward to the next adventures and living full of gratitude in the present.

My sweet Valentines! Love being with them again!

Please Praise God with me for an amazing time away! 

Nadia is finally here and working full time to get her support raised! 

Please Pray with me as I get ready for the next adventure!!! Jamaica in March! 

For a good transition back into life here and for the seeds that were sown to produce a bountiful harvest! 

Love you all so much! 



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The address is:

Holy Cross Lutheran Church 
4400 W Arkansas Ln, Arlington, TX 76016

Diane is my beautiful wife and the mother of my precious children Creed 10, Asher 8, Liam 6, Echo already in heaven, Bella 3, and Serenity 1 year old.