Friday, October 30, 2009
My apartment #13 and the car I drive around.
The highest point on the island is an overpass where there is a break in the atoll, and the lagoon and the sea connect. Elder Lytle always says, "Plug your ears - they might pop with the altitude change."
Friday, October 23, 2009
Elder Bradshaw is the newest returning Elder from Lae, an island in our mission with only 200 people on it - President Tibon, the current and first Stake president of the Marshall Islands Stake (the Stake was created this year in June), was the first missionary to Lae 20 years ago. He says that repeles (white people) have a tough time on Lae and the other outer islands - Elder Bradshaw lost 15 pounds in 2 1/2 months.
The Farewell lunch for Elder Bradshaw was hosted by the Lytles - I will be moving into their apartment when they leave in 5 weeks. That may be the first time that I have a rough spot - they have been my mentors and my friends, my teachers and my laughing buddies. What will we ALL do when they leave? Elder Lytle says, "We will all be leaving, so teach them what you know."
Friday, October 16, 2009
The day before I was supposed to fly out with Elder Stoker my recent root canal was acting up. My dentist sent me to an endodontist, and the next day Elder Stoker flew to Hawaii and then on to Majuro by himself while I was having oral surgery. I was a diligent, obedient patient, and three days later I had the stitches out and was cleared for take-off outside the US on the NEXT Tuesday.
The blessing was seeing Corinne and Jeremy's family one last time and spending Conference with family.
Kyle took me to the airport, and 6 1/2 hours later I touched down in Hawaii - my traveling companions were Sister Kafusi, who will dance at the Polynesian Cultural Center, and Elder Henry from the Marshall Islands serving a mission in Hawaii, plus about 8 other elders going to Hawaii.
I stayed with the Miles, a senior couple, for the night, and then took off by myself to Majuro the next day.
Sister Smith and 2 senior couples, the Lytles and the Bells, met me at the airport - I have never been so happy to see anyone as I was to see them - I was alone in the back of the 1950's-reminscent airport for a half hour open to the elements in a light rain, waiting for my luggage and customs, until I was shown to the front of the airport where they were.
They whisked me off to the Mission Office and the president, to my new apartment that they had stocked with sheets, dishes, and towels, then off to lunch at the Marshall Islands Resort Restaurant and macademia nut-encrusted tuna with veggies and rice.
This whole week has seemed like a year as I have settled into my job - Elder Lytle says that before I came, hardly any missionaries were calling in sick - now the phone is ringing every day. We've been to a baptism, a wonderful church service on Sunday, a YW picnic where I got a close-up look at the lagoon and the ocean, we've been taken to lunch by the deputy minister of the US Embassy, we attended a great humanitarian donation of books and sports equipment and tools to the high school by US Eagle Scouts (orchestrated by the Bells). The high school kids are terrific - they are so well-mannered and genuine. Sister Lytle says that the people and the buildings and the culture remind her of the 1950's - I believe she is correct. But the ocean is timeless...