Tuesday, December 25, 2012

World War II B-24 Bomber

The islets by the wreckage
A few Saturdays ago, the Senior missionaries headed out for a P Day activity to find a World War II B-24 Bomber that had crash landed in the lagoon in 1943.  There were 10 or 11 crew members that all got out safely but were later executed by the Japanese or killed in bombing attacks by the Americans.  The crew didn't realize that there were very few Japanese soldiers on the island but they demanded that the Marshallese people get the crew from the wrecked plane.  When one Marshallese man refused to do so, he was taken captive along with the Americans and died along with them.
The crashed airplane is sitting in 6 feet of water off of a small islet in the Majuro Atoll lagoon
Part of the wing of the airplane

Sister Barlow down by one of the propellers
Lots of sea creatures and coral growing among the wreckage
Another view from above.  The wings, propellers, are about all that is still left.  Other pieces of the plane have been washed away

Part of the wreckage

Me snorkeling by in the distance

After we snorkeled we went to this little island that is by the wreckage.  Nobody lives there.

We had two Marshellese teens (or maybe they were 20 ir si) take  us out on their boat to the wreckage.  We all got out and snorkeled around the wreckage.  Then we went to the little nearby islet that nobody lives on.  One of the guys taking us climbed the coconut tree and got us some green coconuts to eat.  It's interesting that the people here do not eat the regular coconut that we like.  They mostlly just eat and drink the green coconut juice and eat the very soft coconut.  The big thing over here though is copra which they use to make many things including coconut oil which has become a big product.  People on the outer islands and some places here make money by gathering regular dry coconuts, husking them and  out the coconut and putting it in bags to sell to copra boats that come and pick it up and take it to a processing plant..  I think you get about $20.00 a bag for it and its a lot of work.  For some people that is their only job
Boating on the lagoon
Sister Hillbourne and Sister Wayas
Sister Barlow, me, Sister Hillbourne
At the island, we landed on a beautiful sandy beach.  As we went around, however, the beautiful sandy beach turned to coral, which is what many of the beaches are. We hiked through the middle of the island and found a camp operated by a church group.  It was just the buildings:  an amphitheater, an eating area and some cabins.  We actually were trying to get to the other side of the island and ended up getting lost for a few minutes, but eventually we found our way out to the beach again.  We collected some sea shells and ferns to plant.  On the way home, the lagoon became very choppy and it was hard to get to where we wanted to go even though it was a motor boat.  The boys took us to their dock and then drove one of the senior elders back to the beach we had taken off from to get the cars. It was really a fun trip.  I ended up getting just a little tiny bit sunburned. 

Elder Barlow, Sister Barlow, Sister Wayas, Sister Woods and me

There were coconut trees everywhere

Wreckage of an old boat stuck on the reef right off the islet

landing on the island
Sister Barlow and Sister Wayas.  You can see some of the other islets in the background
This is what some of the island looked like
The camp on the islet

Pushing off to head back to the main part island
 The Senior Sisters and our boat driver
Sister Barlow and me
          We had a great day.  I have had many more wonderful adventures since then that I will write about in my next entry.  We have been very busy getting ready for 11 new missionaries that arrived on Dec 20th.  The mission is preparing for a wonderful Christmas.  We have had many baptisms and the work is going forward here in the Marshall Islands.  I have had a few sick missionaries ,  Colds are going around and there have been a few more back problems and GI problems.  I stay very busy but I love it.                                                    

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Feeding the 5,000

Apple Bobbing at the Missionary activity
Missionary Work is going strong in the Marshall Islands.  We just had a special missionary activity where the 4 Elders and 2 Sisters in our ward invited all of their newly baptized members and investigators to come to the church and have an activity.  The events were first games and sports.  The Marshallese people love volleyball and basketball.  There is a volley ball net tied between two coconut trees or one with poles every couple of blocks here.  Out in the rural part of the atoll there are always volleyball games going and nets tied up everywhere.  Well, we had some good volleyball going along with a game of basketball.  The Elders were having fun and so were all the kids and investigators.  Then the Sisters planned some games for everyone.  The game they liked the most was bobbing for apples.  They put apples in these big bowls and had people try to bite it.  They went crazy and had four bowls going at once and the ones having the most fun were the Moms.  All women wear guam dresses everywhere.  The younger girls and children don't always, but sometimes they do too.  Anyway, here is a picture of some women going crazy after the apples in the apple bobbing contest.

The ladies really liked to bob for apples
By the time the games were in full swing, there was a giant crowd at the church parking lot where the activity was being held.  I think the whole little neighborhood next to the church was here, including well over a hundred children running around.  There were some investigators and newly baptized members and a lot of regular members.  The missionaries and bishopric had planned the activity and the Bishopric was going to do the food.  They brought over about12 packages of hot dogs and a bunch of rolls.  Some of them were big hoagie type rolls and others were little dinner rolls.  There was katsup and mustard, and some malolo syrup to make punch.  The sisters asked me to go home and cook the hot dogs which I did.  I also hurried and made a big batch of cookies and stopped and got some packages of chips.  The ward mission leader had brought a sound system so they had Regae/Marshallese music playing and everyone was having a fun time.  Here everyone loves to sit on the ground.  Even the older people will just sit on the cement.  When it got time to eat, I was really worried about the food.  There were so many kids...Anyway we had them all sit down on the ground and passed out napkins.  They were so good.  They were all well behaved because I am sure they wanted to eat.  We cut the hot dogs in half and put them in the smaller rolls for the kids, gave them a cookie and a few chips and a drink.    We managed to serve what seemed like 5000 people with even a few hot dogs to spare. 
This was just a few of the kids we served.  We also served a lot of adults and teenagers

After we ate, we went in for the baptism.  A really nice lady was baptized.  I played the organ  for all the songs and the Sister missionaries sang while I accompanied.  I didn't get the chance to get a picture, but it was a very special baptism.  After the baptism, we all went into the Primary Room and watched The Testaments.  It was a long, fun day of missionary work.  The weather turned out perfect.  It didn't rain on us but it was a little bit overcast so it wasn't so incredibly hot.  I hope and pray that the investigators that were there will continue to receive the lessons from the missionaries and that many will be baptized.  I guess in our mission we have an average of about 7-9 baptisms a week, which is actually really good.  Actually maybe that is just on our side of the mission.

By the Mission Office

Last week was Thanksgiving and we had it at the Mission President's home.  He and his wife weren't here because they were in Kirabati.  The senior missionaries prepared the dinner and hosted it for all the missionaries serving on Majuro.  We had a great time and later had a fireside before everyone had to get back to work.  They don't really celebrate Thanksgiving here but of course we enjoyed being able to have the traditional turkey dinner.  We were able to order everything we needed.
The sisters eating Thanksgiving Dinner
Elders finishing up their pie

Our menu was the traditional turkey and dressing and we also had ham, yams, mashed potatoes and gravy, green salad, relish trays, rolls and butter and of course pumpkin and apple pie

Another event of the past week was my birthday.  The best thing about it was being able to talk to all of my children and some of the grandkids.  Some of them even sang happy birthday to me.  I also had some surprise birthday songs from the Elders and Sisters and the Senior Missionary Sisters took me to lunch.  Sister Roota and Sister Mahit gave me a Guam dress.

Rena and me.  Rena helps at the mission office.
Birthday goodies
There are all these different walks sponsored by World Health Organization  This one was against domestic violence
The Lagoon just before sunset
Sunset on the Lagoon

We attended an Art show on the lagoon
The same place during the day
Elder Randall going home.  Everyone goes to the airport to see people off when they leave
The ocean right by my house

Friday, November 30, 2012

Our Trip to Eneko

This is a little islet in our atoll.  You can go and stay on some of the islets and have your own little island for a day or two

On our P Day, the Senior missionaries went to Eniko, an islet in our atoll for the day.  You take a boat out into the lagoon and then its about a 20-30 minute ride to get there.  On the way, we passed lots of little islets in the atoll.  Most  of them are privately owned, but some have picnic facilities or places you can stay overnight.  This one pictured above has a little private cottage on it.  There are a few that you can rent for the night or day and just have your own little party or honeymoon.  They probably have solar power and rain water to drink.  That would be an adventure to talk about.  One of the senior couples is going to do it before they leave.

 More islets along the way.  There are 64 islets that make up Mauro atoll

We rode over in a small boat.  Along the way we passed an airplane wreck and a helicopter crash and were able to get out and snorkel down by the wreckage.  It was fun.  When we got to Eniko Island there were some Sea Kayaks that we could use and a picnic area, restroom, and lots of great snorkeling.  We had a Marshallese Family with us who work for the church and they brought their children.  We had a fun day.  Here are a few more pictures at Eniko and on the way to and from there.
A private island along the way

Our boat coming to get us to take us back to Majuro
This Islet is supposed to be owned by one of the richest families in the Marshall Islands.  I think they rent it out though to people to come and stay.  It totally looks like fun. In the old tradition, the women are the ones who inherit and pass the land along from generation to generation.  The present system of government in the Marshall Islands Republic  adopts some of the old traditional ways.   This includes the Iroj' Council which is based on the ancient social system of the Marshall Islands.  The Iroj are the landowning chiefs. There is also a president and a Nitijela which is an elected parliament.   The Iroj and the Alaps (lords) still have a huge influence on the people and government because they are the landowners and have a lot of power.  If you  are a land owner, you  can collect rent or kick anybody off of your land if you want to.   All of the land is owned by an Iroj.  If you are a regular person, you are called a Rijerbal or a worker.  You will be poor and probably always struggle.  I want to learn more about the history and how this all got started.  It totally doesn't seem fair though that only a very small number of people own all the land and are rich while the rest of them really struggle.

On the boat going to Eniko
On the Ocean side of Eniko
This was so fun.  Sister Jorlang, Sister Hillbourne, Me, Sister Woods, and Wayas in the back riding to Eneko.

One of the Islets
There are palm trees everywhere.  The beaches are very much in their natural state.  There are sea shells everywhere.  I collected a bunch.  I have never seen any Marshallese women wear swimming suits.  Most of them don't go in the water either except maybe to wash up or use the restroom.  Yes, a lot of the people do not have plumbing or toilets in their houses and just go in the ocean or lagoon.  You see them going out to the ocean behind some rocks or a tree all the time
Sister Hillbourne and Percy's kids
More Islets
More Islets
Pulling the floating dock into shore at Eniko

Sister Woods and I on the Lagoon Side of Eneko

Sister Woods and I at Eneko Island
We had a great time together on Eneko.  My next entry will be all about the missionary work we have been doing.