The MAF Blog: Worldwide Pulse

Wishing My Oven a Very Merry Christmas

Posted on: December 15th, 2014 by Rebecca Hopkins  |  2 Comments

Pizza on the stove top.

Pizza on the stove top.

All I wanted for Christmas this year was an oven that works.

It may not look like much, but believe me, my oven is quite a character with quite a history. Some friends of ours bought it for us way back when we still lived in America and way back when I thought cooking from scratch was heating up a frozen lasagna from Wal-Mart.

It’s a special oven, in that it uses gas and has a gas-ignited pilot light. I didn’t even know what all those words meant back when we stuck it in a crate heading to Indonesia. All I knew is that some MAF missionaries told me you couldn’t buy ovens here, and to make sure and find one that uses no electricity and wait, what? No electricity? Yeah, that really scared me way back then when I was convinced I’d never make it over here.

No pretty, but pretty tasty sugar cookies on the stove top.

No pretty, but pretty tasty sugar cookies on the stove top.

I unpacked my oven nine years ago, just about the time I was learning to cook (from real, real scratch), and learning so many other things about living overseas, including the fact that I was “making it” even if most days “making it” looked more like “sweating” and sometimes “crying” and often times “making a big ol’ mess.”

Eric loved the sugar cookies.

Eric loved the sugar cookies.

My oven has gone through some hard times, too. There was the Christmas when a humongous rat took up residence inside of it. And then recently, it stopped working. We ordered an expensive replacement part from the States and had it hand-carried to another Indonesian island, where it was passed into the hands of our friend, who then hand-carried it to us.
It worked. I rejoiced. Our family ate well. And then…

My oven stopped working again. Then started. Then stopped, then started, then stopped once and for all. Eight months later and a replacement part for the replacement part sent in a package, and wah lah. I got what I wanted for Christmas.

But by then, I’d learned to make many stove-top (which still worked) variations of basic meals—pizza, lasagna, sugar cookies. None of it was pretty. But I like to say my cooking, like most things I do, is done with a lot of heart.

And sweat.

And sometimes tears.

And a pinch of “making it.”

  • Glenda Hopkins

    Well! What a story! I’m so proud of you for sticking with it and figuring how to do things “top-side” when necessary. I’m also very happy that you find the humor in all of it and do not see it as daunting as you once did… “way back when you thought cooking from scratch meant heating up a frozen lasagna from Walmart”. You’re a very brave lady, dear Rebecca. Have a very Merry Christmas, with or without an oven! ;-)

  • keijo leppioja

    Joy even today and in blessing in Christ and be thankful for grace in pleasure of love in God and take toward christmas soon with celebration in Jesus name with heaven to fall down around the world,thanks and bless,keijo sweden

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Reaching and Teaching Overseas

Posted on: December 10th, 2014 by MK Teacher  |  Leave a comment

I have served as a teacher in public education for a number of years and have developed a certain perspective for what student excellence looks like. This year I am teaching middle school math at an international K-12 school providing a Christian education in Central Asia. My students embody a different level of excellence, as well as a spiritual component not generally found in… [Read full post.]

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Time Traveling in the Tropics

Posted on: December 8th, 2014 by Natalie Holsten  |  Leave a comment

It’s a sultry day in the tropics, and in the shadow of Mount Cyclops, palm trees wave over a collection of buildings perched on a hill. Inside one of the buildings, teenagers are transported away from their equatorial surroundings to 19th century London, where they follow the adventures of a young man named Pip as… [Read full post.]

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Treasure in the Tropics

Posted on: December 3rd, 2014 by Lady M  |  2 Comments

The palm tree bathing in the hot tropical sun. The mango tree decorated full with its own delicious ornaments. The desire for an ice-cold Coke to cool oneself off from the blazing heat.

Yep, it’s Christmastime in the tropics!

The first Christmas that my family spent over here was a bit rough. A bit… [Read full post.]


Blessed to Be a Blessing

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by Liz Schandorff  |  Leave a comment

As our furlough in the United States nears an end, I marvel at how rich a time these past months have been. When we arrived back on home soil in July, we were tired and soul-weary…. [Read full post.]

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