Thursday, February 3, 2011

January Jitters

January may have started out a bit slowly, as Elder Nawahine demonstrates after a nice dinner...
                                                         but it quickly picked up speed...
We received two new missionaries, Sister Howard and Elder Randall from the States who arrived January 6th.  Elder Afioga also came in from Ebeye to be trained as the new Assistant.

That afternoon I went out to Rita as usual for piano lessons, and had a wonderful choral conducting lesson instead with Elder Cherrington, Elder Christensen, Elder Raremba and Eldon.

Two days later January 8, Elder Nawahine, Elder Randall, and Sister Vuikadavu left for Ebeye, the most populous atoll in the Pacific - thousands of people live on a square mile of atoll.

Elder Fa'alogo received a new companion Zone Leader, Elder Fu'e.

 Just as the Ebeye Elders and one Sister were jetting off to Ebeye, the President and Sister Shaw and the Senior missionaries and the Pattersons were posing before getting on the boat that took us to Eneko, a little islet on the other side of the lagoon.

Because we have been working so hard through the holidays, as well as gearing up for Elder Bednar's visit January 22-24, our President wanted all of us to take a little break together on our P-day.
Since the Bells are no longer on island, having finished their mission over 6 months ago, it was left to me (an old timer here on Majuro) to arrange for the trip to Eneko Island.  Of all of us, the Hewstones and I were the only ones who went a year ago when the Bells planned a smashingly great Eneko P-day.  As I was recreating it, even down to Sister Bell's scrumptious pulled pork sandwiches, I kept wondering when the Bells were going to step in and rescue me.  They never did, and everyone kept looking to me as the leader or something.  It was a great thing that I had great role models a year ago:  we had a great day.

The soothing 40 minute ride back to civilization...some cute little greeters were at the dock to welcome us home.

Sunday dinner:  Elder Taylor, Sister Ruiz, Elder Kalua'u, Sister Teichert, Sister Howard

Neighborhood children who play in the church parking lot every week when I come to teach piano lessons - the board with wheels and a pull string was made for them by Elder Hewstone.  Every day they wait for him as he opens up his shop.  He has them pick up all the trash and then they get to play with the scooter - a win/win.

...and Corina.  Corina played in church for the first time and nailed it!

The Sisters in Long Island called me to help them take water to a family of two sisters and three children who had been without water for a few days...

Sister Enos showing the children how the scriptures (represented by the string) can get us quickly to Christ - otherwise, we wander around trying to find Him.

Laurie teaching the Relief Society the Primary song, "If I Listen With My Heart".   Elder Bednar will be here the next Saturday - he is a prophet and a seer and a revelator.
 The second verse says 'I hear a living prophet speak the things that Christ would say if He were here upon the earth to talk with me today.  The prophet teaches how to live in righteousness and peace.
And if I listen with my heart I hear the Savior's voice." 
Getting everything ship-shape for Elder Bednar's visit...
Pres. Shaw, Elder Afioga, Elder Rix.

We had a last minute meeting at the mission home to tighten up all the details about Elder Bednar's visit - it looks like it was a lot of fun and that we just may be ready.

Outer Island Elders in from Ebon for Elder Bednar's visit:  Elder Gulbransen and Elder Aisake - Tuesday, January 18th, 2011.

Three Marshall Islands missioanaries who have been to Madrid, Spain...

Gifts from Ebon - lobster and coconut crab and Ebon limes, the best in the world.

It's great to see these Elders again and know we are all still strong in the Lord.

Here's my coconut crab - what do I do with it?
My wonderful Filipina neighbor Myriam came to my rescue with a shell cracker...
That night I ate one of the best meals of my life - Ebon coconut crab cooked in butter and garlic, washed down with Lime juice, the best in the world.

Oh, we forget the taro bread for dessert, Sister Teichert - terrific Ebon baskets!

I don't want to ever forget this amazing District Meeting the next day in Laura - Wed. January 19th - they mixed up companionships and had me be the investigator in the role playing.  These are some of the finest Elders anywhere.

Elder Taylor, Elder Moimoi

Elder Christensen, Elder Cherrington

Elder Abakite, Elder Rareba

This is one of the last pictures I was able to take before my camera died: proof that Assistants must be resourceful.  Someone had the van when they were supposed to get the trailer from the church over to the office, a distance of about a quarter of a mile.  Elder Rix and Elder Afioga were pretty good at it by the time they got there.  The next day Apostle Bednar was coming. 

They only want one official photographer - the Christensens - so my camera obliged.

Notice the striations in the picture - I got a picture of a brother and sister, Gordon and Lily (who had come to the church to help put the newborn kits together that Sister Bednar, Sister Callister, and Sister Wokolo would present to the Hospital on the 22nd) before the camera was going, going... 


  1. I still can't believe you are in such a beautiful and remote and amazing place doing all the things you are doing. Sorry about your camera! It almost made it to the end. Does this mean you will be coming home with those cardboard Fuji cameras again? :) I love seeing the pictures after reading your journal entries. It helps me put places and people into what I've already imagined while reading the events that took place. Love you!

  2. I loved your anecdote about the kids playing in the parking lot during your lessons. It reminded me of when we were teaching a couple of Marshallese kids primary songs, and within a matter of minutes there were about 20 Marshallese kids wanting to learn the songs. Music is a wonderful missionary tool.

    I think there's an Elder Pehrson in your mission whose aunt is in my ward here in the UK (Suzanne Roundy).