All photos and text are property of Dave Forney and may not be used without express permission.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Enough Already!

Enough of the "Wild Man of Borneo" already! I apologize for having that post up front and center for so long. I probably drove away half of my followers by now. Sorry. We switched to a Mac for our next term (old laptop was five years old and dying) and between figuring out how everything works, and enjoying the Christmas season, well it's been busy! Plus I'm getting ready to head back to Indonesia in less than two weeks. So the pace is going from fast to faster here! I just figured out where my pictures are and how to deal with them. Here's a shot of Mt. Hood last week.

By the way, for those that are interested, 47% of you said that the "five o' clock shadow" was the best look for me, making that one the winner. Joy was pleased, as she agrees. The most horrific look according to 53 % of voters was the "tiny stache," which begs the question, what were four of you thinking that voted that as the best look??? I have to admit, I'm a little dissapointed that the "Fu Manchu came in with 35% calling it the worst. I kind of dug that one...thought it brought out the "wild missionary pilot" side of me. Oh, well. It was fun, but we're all glad it's over!

So moving on I'll try to give you some much beter, cuter, handsomer, pretty pictures to look at this time. You'll notice that I'm NOT in any of them! :) On Christmas afternoon, we headed up to Mt. Hood for some sledding and playing in the snow.

It was so much fun, since most of our kids have never been sledding--ever! Even Joy and I rode a few times. Certainly this is not the normal Christmas afternoon activity in Indonesia.

And these aren't normal Christmas afternoon scenes either!

The smiles say it all!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Wild Man of Borneo!

Been puttin' this one off for a long time! This past May my friend, Paul and I embarked on a crazy trek through some of the most remote jungles in Borneo. When I emerged from the dripping forest nine days later, I was pretty rough and scruffy!

Usually, when I find myself in a situation like this, I like to have a little fun by shaving it off in stages. The kids go nuts and love it when I walk out sporting a new "wild" look. Joy, on the other hand, definitely does NOT go nuts. So the whole "game" never lasts more than a few hours from the full "scruff" to the clean-shaven. And it never leaves the house.

However, this time Joy made a comment that she would later regret. She said, "I dare you to go one whole day with each new look." Well, I'm not one to back down from a dare--especially an easy and fun one like this.

So I started on a Monday and went to work each day with a new look, working backwards from full beard to clean shaven, and then finishing with the typical 5 o'clock. But before I started, Joy said that I had to document the whole thing with photos and then post it on my blog some day and let people vote on best and worst. What was she thinking??? :)

So here's what we're going to do. The following pictures were taken at the end of each day of flying. WARNING: These pictures may give you nightmares, or cause sudden outbursts of laughter. The word "professional" may not be on your mind. That's o.k. It was so funny to see the reactions of my Indonesian friends, co-workers, and passengers. We had a lot of fun with it, so hopefully you will too.

Please take a minute and cast a vote for the BEST and WORST look. The polls are up at the top right. If there's more than one of you in the family, you can each vote. The more the better! Who knows, this could be a life-changing experience for me...or Joy. But at the very least it'll be fun. Feel free to leave comments too, just don't be too mean!

#1 - Full Beard

#2 - Trimmed Beard

#3 Goatee and Burns

#4 Fu Manchu

#5 Mustache

#6 Tiny 'Stache

#7 Baby Face

#8 Five O'Clock

After you stop laughing, please vote up at the top right for the BEST and WORST. And feel free to leave comments as well. I think.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Yesterday we went out hunting for a Christmas tree. It was a lot of fun, since there's no such thing as real Christmas trees where we live in Indonesia!

Of course, it's not cold there either. And we're still not used to the cold! It didn't take us long to find a tree since we were turning hypothermic within a few minutes! :)

Last week I used a frequent flyer ticket to fly back to Pennsylvania for a few days. In addition to enjoying a thanksgiving dinner and a bit more time with my family before we return to Indonesia, I also had the chance to do a bit of deer hunting with my Dad. If you're one of those that doesn't like hunting, you'll be glad to know that the deer never felt a thing, and is already packaged up in my parent's freezer. It's good eating!

We had a very busy couple of weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, sharing and speaking at our church here in Oregon. We still have one more class we'll be sharing in next week, and then we're hoping to take a "breather" the last few weeks before I head back to Indonesia.

Warning: the next post I do is going to be a bit weird. It goes way back to last May, and a dare from my beautiful wife, Joy. I'm finally getting around to it. That's all I can say. Check back for more.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

First Snow!

Last Saturday afternoon it was raining hard here at our house. Not so up on Mt. Hood, 30 minutes away.

We piled the kids in the car and took them up the mountain where it was snowing hard! They had about two feet of new snow up there, and man was it cold.

The kids were so excited. This was the first time the twins have seen snow, and Hudson and Hannah don't remember seeing it before.

The twins only lasted about 30 seconds. Then they declared that they don't like snow. Joy never even made it out of the van. The other kids and I braved the driving snow for about 30 minutes, having found a drift that was about four feet deep. We were frozen solid by the time we left. Of course, it doesn't help that we only have tennis shoes, jeans and light sweatshirts and jackets. :) Good thing it was still raining and warmer down where we live.

It's hard to believe that six years ago we were living above the Arctic Circle, where temperatures like this would have seemed balmy! Guess we've acclimated to the tropics.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Airman and the Headhunters

About two years ago I stumbled across a brand new book called, The Airman and the Headhunters. It was a riveting story that could hardly have been contrived in the wildest of imaginations. But the crazy thing is that it actually happened!! And the story unfolded near the end of WWII, right in the very area and among the very people that I serve through MAF in Kalimantan. It's really amazing! Anyway, a few months before we left for furlough, a documentary crew from the UK arrived in Tarakan. We flew them around as they filmed a documentary about this stranger-than-life story. This documentary is set to air on PBS this coming Wednesday, November 11 at 8:00 pm.

Please note that I have not seen the documentary, and therefore cannot specifically recommend it. Also, I'm sure there will be some images, story aspects, or reenactments that could be disturbing for young children and others. But if it's anything like the book, it'll be quite a story! To read more about it and see a preview, go here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Thanks for all of the kind and thoughtful comments you left for us after the previous post. We sure appreciate all your prayers, and suggestions for things to look into related to Joy's health as well.

Yesterday we had the chance to squeeze some fresh apple cider from an antique cider press. Some of our friends from our sending church here in Oregon had us over to their place for an "educational field trip" for the kids. It was a lot of fun and tasted great!

Then the kids got to feed the fish in the pond. They were literally jumping out of the water all around the paddle boat.

After that little outing, Joy took off for a weekend retreat with some of her friends from the area. So that leaves me and the kids holding the fort down. We started on Friday night with a wonderful fall party at the cousin's house. Here's Grandma Hlavka w/ all the grand kids.

Heather had all kinds of fun and creative and tasty games and crafts for the kids. They had a blast! It's great to see the kids getting to know their cousins and grandparents a bit before we disappear for another nearly four years.

Today the kids and I went to the zoo. It was cold and rainy, a perfect day for the zoo. No one else was crazy enough to show up, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. And the animals were all out and about enjoying the cool weather.

Well, that's what's going on here. Thanks again for all of your prayers and encouragement. We really appreciate you guys.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Autumn in the Northwest, and Joy's Health

Seeing as how it's been over four years since we last enjoyed a fall scene, we're truly soaking up the beauty of our favorite season out here in the great Northwest!
It's amazing how crisp, clear and cool it can be out here on a nice day. And the humidity is so low! We're practically bathing in lotion just to keep from shedding our skin like Britton's python back in Indonesia.

The change in seasons from late summer to fall can be seen as you drive up into the mountains.

The full brilliant colors haven't quite made it down to our level yet, but they're on the way! And we've enjoyed sneaking in a a few weekend drives up into the Cascades to fully appreciate the beauty of autumn in the U.S.
Of course, at any moment the weather can change, and it's already snowing in the higher elevations. That's another first for most of our kids--snow! We're looking forward to playing in the snow sometime before we return to Indonesia. Of course, we'll need to find something other than Crocs and shorts to wear!

In other news, things continue to be busy here. We've already filled out visa applications for our return to Indonesia and are working on finalizing ticket arrangements and other details. In the meantime, we're still making many, many trips to the doctors and dentists, buying supplies, sharing with groups, churches, and supporters etc. etc.!

Speaking of doctors, you may be aware that for the past two years one of our biggest frustrations and challenges overseas has been Joy's health. She's had off and on pain and inflammation in many of her joints, that often has been very intense. In fact, I remember many times when she couldn't lift one of the twins (this was even back when they were still really little) because the pain was so bad. And she often has trouble holding her hands up to do her hair or simple things like that. In addition, she's often dizzy, very fatigued and has headaches and chest pain.

She's actually really tough, and hides it well. Many folks wouldn't even be aware. She doesn't like to make a big deal about stuff like this, and she's always hoped that we'd find out what was wrong, and then she could take some medicine and it would quietly go away. I've tried to "tell the world" about this before, but she's preferred to keep it quiet. But as time has gone on, the absence of answers has grown more frustrating and concerning. At one point when we were in Tarakan, Joy flew to Singapore for various tests and consultations with a specialist. (Our MAF program manager has always been very supportive of our efforts to find what the problem is. And in that case, I was able to take some time off to stay with the kids in Tarakan. We've appreciated MAF's support in trying to find answers.)

In the end, nothing conclusive was discovered. Later she did a bunch of tests and blood work in Tarakan. The blood work and labs were done in Balikpapan, a much larger city with a "better" hospital and lab. After those tests, they were convinced that Joy had TB. Well, we were very skeptical for numerous reasons, but after talking to several other Indonesian and western doctors, we finally decided that there was no harm in her taking the TB medication just to see what happened.

She stayed on that until we returned to the U.S. in late June. Her symptoms initially improved, making us think that maybe we really were on to something. But alas, they returned again with a vengeance a few months later. During our routine MAF-required medical exam, the doctor in the U.S. clearly found that she did not have TB, and never had. But he was sure there was something fishy going on.

So after seeing another doctor here in Portland, doing further blood work, and then getting in with a specialist, they've determined that she has either Relapsing Polychondritis or Lupus. Since they're both in the autoimmunity family of diseases, and similar in nature and symptoms, and since there's no specific test to 100% identify which is which, we don't really know for sure. But in both cases the treatment is similar. At this point we're just glad to know basically what we're dealing with. There's still much that doctors don't know about these diseases, and truthfully there's not a whole lot they can do. The specialist wanted to start Joy on steroids, but for now she's opted not to do that. You should know that in some cases the symptoms can simply vanish. Often they come back, but other times they don't. Will you join us in praying that God will simply heal Joy completely?

And just to be clear, at this point nothing has changed with our plans. We are excited to return to Indonesia in a few months, as originally intended. But it would certainly be a HUGE blessing if Joy was not dealing with the pain and fatigue that was clobbering her for the past couple of years. Thanks!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Back to Oregon

Like usual I'm way late in posting an update. Our last week in Pennsylvania got a little crazy. We were having fun trying to cram as much last minute time in with the grandparents as possible. As you can see, what started out as a peaceful canoe trip with Grandpa, (below,) wound up... well, I don't know what happened! :) One thing's for sure--we were having a good time!

And then there were the Monster trucks. I had the chance to fulfill Hudson's lifelong dream (all five years worth--well, actually he's only had this dream for the past year, since his buddy Seth introduced him to Monster trucks--but since a five year old can pretty much only remember the past year anyway, it seems like his whole life and therefore qualifies as a lifelong dream.) We went to the Winchester, Virginia Fairgrounds and saw the Monster trucks. Can you say "sub culture?" Man, that was an experience!! I don't even know where to begin. Weird! That's Hudson, with the driver of who knows which truck.

From PA we went on to TN, where we had a wonderful time reconnecting with several friends and supporters there. The kids had a blast at the Graham's cottage, playing and catching frogs, turtles and yes, a black snake. This sucker was big--at least 7 feet. I have a video I might post later. Britton found him just as he was swallowing something quite large, like maybe a squirrel or small rabbit. So he waited till it was fully swallowed and then picked it up to "enjoy" the beauty of the creature. Joy was appalled!
I enjoyed helping Peter cut down some dead trees that threatened the cabins. Besides the fact that it was fun to get out there and chop stuff down (what guy doesn't like to cut things down?), I'm telling you the tree-cutting story because of what happened next.

That night my eye was irritated. The next morning we left on the drive to CA. The eye did not get better. I drove 650 miles the first day, with alligator tears flowing like a fire hydrant from my puffy eye. That night we stayed in a town in Arkansas that didn't even have a stoplight. No doctor. Of course, I wasn't getting much sympathy from Joy, who kept telling me to stop in any of the large towns and cities we passed and get it checked. But alas, a man on a road trip is a man on a mission. I had plans. The plans did not involve stopped for a minor eye irritation. So on we went another 620 miles on day two. Finally, the third morning I looked up an eye specialist in Abilene, TX. Turned out there was a wood splinter, embedded in the eyeball just next to the pupil. I kept the patch on long enough to impress the kids with my best pirate imitation.

By then things were getting really crazy in the van! Nothing like driving 13,000 miles in eight weeks, with five kids in a minivan. :) Yikes!
Even out of the car things were getting weird. The twins decided that swim goggles are fashionable, both in AND out of the pool. Determined to go to sleep wearing the goggles, it took a long time for us to convince them that their warped, suctioned eyeballs would be more comfortable without that truly handsom look. Perhaps they were fearful of suffering wood-splinter-in-the-eye their daddy? Maybe I would have been o.k. if I'd have been wearing blue swim goggles day and night. (For the record, in case there's any MAF safety people reading this...or my mom...or my wife, I was in fact wearing safety glasses while cutting the tree down. Well, I was wearing them at least 90% of the time. But it's that 10% that gets you.)

At one point we took a quick detour on old Historic Route 66. Since the kids love the movie, "Cars," it was fun for them to see the actual Route 66. It was pretty hot and barren out there!

But of course, there are still creatures waiting to be caught along the way. And Britton was all to happy to oblige this overly confident horned lizard. Of course, he was released safely back into his home, but not before being closely examined and oohed and awwwed over by a very excited reptile lover!
We enjoyed the beauty of the deserts, though obviously extremely different than what we're used to over in Indonesia.
In addition to being able to see and visit with several supporters and family along the way, we also had the chance to swing through a few National Parks on whirlwind tours. Below, Tyler (left) and Tanner (right) were hanging out in Yosemite.

And here's the kids in front of General Sherman, the largest living thing on earth by volume or mass. It was certainly a monster of a tree!
Well, now we're back in Oregon and looking forward to driving a little less. We've still got a lot going on, but are enjoying the prospect of staying mostly in one place for the remaining few months of furlough. Next Sunday we'll be sharing at Mountain View Christian Church in Gresham, OR. Contact me if you'd like details.