Sunday, March 3, 2013

Missionary work in the Marshall Islands

Sister Woods and I and other missionaries and President Shaw in the back at the baptism in Laura .  Sister Shaw is right behind me...her umbrella blew inside out

This past month has been a great one with lots of baptisms in our mission.  Most of the baptisms are held in baptismal fonts at each of the churches.  They are currently remodeling one of the churches and so the baptisms in that ward are held at the lagoon.  I attended the first one with some of the senior missionaries.  It was rainy and windy and actually I might have felt a little chilly for the very first time since coming here.  We met for the opening song and prayer and baptismal talks in a tiny very humble home.  Everyone sat on the floor.  As is usually the case, most homes have little or no furniture but do have mats on the floor for people to sleep at night.  They also did have a little table in the cooking area and a small burner.  On it they were fixing breadfruit soup and breadfruit (Ma) chips.  We all went down to the lagoon for the baptism.  It was raining hard, but kind of let up for the actual baptism.  Then we all went back in the little home while the four people who were baptized got changed in a little area outside the  house.  After they came back in, they all bore their testimony and the Bishop of the ward welcomed them into the church.  We sang a closing song and had a closing prayer.  It was a very special baptism and  four wonderful girls were baptized.  On the way out, they gave us a cup of the wonderful breadfruit soup made with breadfruit and coconut cream.  They also gave us a little zip lock bag of breadfruit chips.  These are made from thin slices of breadfruit cooked in coconut oil. They were wonderful. 

The home where the baptism services were held.  It was pouring rain so they couldn't hold it outside
Sister Roota and Sister Huni and the four girls who were baptized along with the Elder who baptized them

Senior sisters looking for shells on P Day
Elder Woods showing me how to fly a big kite

This is low tide and there are lots of fun shells to find.  The tides have been really extreme lately which means that when it is low tide it is really low and when it is high tide, it is splashing over the side of the road.  It is really   I have a lot of shells (see picture at the end).  Between what I have found myself and from buying them from the little boys that come selling them at my door, I have a lot of shells.  I am learning to identify the different kinds and to  feel comfortable getting the little crabs and animals out of them.  The senior sisters in the picture are left to right me (of course), Sister Woods, Sister Barlow, Sister Wayas, and Sister Cassita, the nurse who is going to serve in Kiribati.  She spent nearly two weeks with me before she got her visa for Kiribati.

The Kite
The Seniors have a lot of fun on our P Day.  This Saturday we all went to Laura Beach where there is actually a beach with sand and everything.  We snorkeled, looked for shells and flew Elder Wood's kite.  It is surprising how strong it is.  One of the senior sisters was trying to hold on to it and it was so strong, the wind pulled her right over.

Elder Woods
While we were looking for shells, we found some cute children along the way.  They are always so friendly and I really love them.  I can say a few things in Marshallese to them. 

The cute children at Laura Beach
It seems the kids are always anxious for a treat.  I actually think a lot of them are hungry.  They followed along with us back to our car, helping us find shells and then we gave them some food.  I had slices of apples and oranges and some crackers.    They love to have their picture taken.  You just have to show it to them when you are through and they laugh and laugh.

I also have a following of mostly little boys that come to my house. They used to come to sell me shells and then I finally told them that I had all the shells I needed for a while.  I started to give them a little piece of candy, but it is turning in to oranges and apples slices and pieces of bread and butter.  One little boy Dillen, who is my friend, knocked on my door this morning and said he was hungry.  It was like at 7:30 am.  I gave him an orange and a piece of bread and butter.    I got a cute picture of my little following of boys this afternoon.  They had all come to get a sucker from me and the security guard came and chased them away.  They all went down to the beach and were sitting on the rocks down there.  I went to take some more pictures of my house and I saw them there and they waved to me.

The little boys down by the ocean.  Viewed from my front walk.  They are building a new apartment building there.

Some of the children by my door

Some children at their home
Me in my team Maddox shirt
Looking at coral

Ladies in the Relief Society (and a special needs girl)
The wards here have not gotten into home and visiting teaching very much and they are trying to get it going.  They invited all of the Relief Society sisters to meet at the church a few Saturdays ago.  We divided up and went to visit different sisters in the ward.  I got to go with some wonderful sisters to visit a sweet lady named Sister Marshall.  She is bed ridden in her home suffering from Blindness and Diabetes.  Her sweet testimony really touched my heart.  She was just lying on the floor (her bed) in a small and humble home.  We sat on the floor surrounding her and said a prayer and talked to her for a while.   Her granddaughter was caring for her.  She told us in Marshallese (they interpreted it for me) that she was one of the pioneers of the Marshall Islands.  She said she was one of the first along with her husband to be baptized in the Marshall Islands back in the 1980s.  I was able to bear my testimony to her in Marshallese and the sisters with me of course spoke to her in Marshallese and we had a wonderful visit.  The tears came to her eyes and she spoke to us.  I knew she was grateful for our visit.  I went back again today to visit with her.   I  found out that her husband is in the Bishopric of my ward and I know him really well, but I didn't make the connection and had never met her because she has been unable to come to church since I have been here.  I took her some fruit and made some cookies for the children.  There was a whole bunch of people who were there and actually that live in the home.  I told her I was a nurse and wondered if there was anything I could do for her.  She said she would like some Tylenol.  Luckily I had my bag with me and was able to give her some little packets of Tylenol for her pain.  I told her I would come again to visit.

Waiting for the Relief Society ladies to come

The Relief Society President Aribella and the Primary President Ann with her daughter

We have been showing some of the senior missionaries from the other side of our mission in Kiribati around the Marshall Islands.  The mission president like to have the senior missionaries see the other side and get to know the other senior missionaries because even though we are not working together in the same place, we have to communicate with them and coordinate our efforts since we are one mission.  Here are some pictures of the senior missionaries from Kiribati.
Elder and Sister Woods with Elder and Sister Bush from Kiribati

Sister Cassita  (nurse from Kiribati)
Sister Tebwani (From Kirabati) and Sister Tominey (from South Jordan)
I get to have these cute sister missionaries stay with me for 4-5  days while they paint their house at the church.  We have a tiny little apartment that is adjacent to the church in three of our churches and missionaries live in them.  These sisters are very special.  I also get to go out with them to teach some lessons this week.  A lady from the Solomon Islands who lives downstairs from me came to church today.  I was so happy to see her and she is going to have an appointment with these sisters tomorrow night and I will get to go with them.

Another cute sister missionary Sister Lewis from the Marshall Islands
I have had quite a few medical issues lately with the missionaries.  We have had a lot of colds and flu type cases as well as the usual diarrhea and upset stomach. Its the flu season here even though its warm.   We had an interesting thing happen with our APs this week.  They ate some fresh tuna that they had let sit in their refrigerator for over a week.  Anyway, they both developed an allergic reaction to it and suddenly  became all red with big blotches all over them and had a  bad headache.  Luckily I had some Benedryl which I gave them and watched them closely to make sure they didn't have any difficulty breathing.  I did have an Epipen available if I would have needed it.  I checked with a doctor that has helped me with several cases to make sure there was nothing more I should do.He said no just watch them for breathing problems.  He is a Filipino man who has the only private medical clinic in the Marshall Islands.  He doesn't take appointments but is open for business 6 days a week and you can just walk in and see him.  He has been great to help me with problems I have with the missionaries.  I think he is a good doctor and he has devoted much of his life to helping the Marshallese people here.  Anyway, I later read that when tuna is left raw for a while, it will develop histamines which is what happened with these Elders.  I am grateful to the Lord for watching over them and so they didn't become more seriously ill.

My shell collection   More are in my house
Low tide
View from my back balacony

Sister Cassita, Sister Barlow, Me, Sister Woods
The Senior missionaires, APs and Allison, our friend from Taiwan
Sister Shaw on her birthday