Monday, March 3, 2014

The Sow and her Farrow

Last week we had some excitement at Hautambu. I noticed Br. Guilford rushing around looking extremely excited. He is the pig keeper, and one of our sows had just given birth to eleven piglets. We had bad luck with the previous birth, the sow crushed some, others died of cold. But this time we were ready, and we built a small fire near the pen and loaded the pen with burlap sacks and banana leaves warmed over the fire . Brothers sat up all night with the new family to be sure Mother didn't flop over on the babies. Now in their second week, all are thriving and have doubled the population of the piggery.

While at Hautambu for Chapter, I had a chance to re-connect with a former brother, Ashley Vaisu. He grew up near Hautambu in Maravovo Village. In March 1996 the brothers had an accident and Ashley's forehead was crushed causing a little brain damage. After recovering, he couldn't settle down and finally withdrew from the noviciate. But he has stayed connected over the years. Currently he is staying with us, reading voraciously in the library, and helping out. It was a real pleasure to sit and remember life together nearly 18 years ago.

Provincial Chapter finished last Saturday, and we all felt it was a really good one. Sometimes Chapters are exhausting and people leave feeling frustrated. But this time, there was a sense of celebration. For one thing, the finances are strong!  In the black as we say in USA. Their self-support projects now supply fully one third of their income. In other ways there was a sense of growth and stability.

The Vows Book has been distributed to the brothers in SSF as well as large numbers of books given to the other three religious orders. The Mission Secretary of the Anglican Church of Melanesia is hoping that a special Solomon Islands  edition can be printed at the Provincial Press in Honiara. He says the book could be crucial for the renewal and revitalization of the religious orders in Melanesia.  This is very gratifying--I feel as if I have done what I set out to do. The SSF brothers love the book, some reported staying up all night, reading it with their torches. One said it made him cry.

I was carrying a box of books up the hill to give to the Melanesian Brotherhood yesterday and two SSF brothers came along. They wanted to carry the box for me, but I said no, this was my baby. When a father carries his baby, it never feels too heavy!

New life: baby pigs, a box of books.

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