Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Other Side of Heaven Part II

World War II Japanese bunker on the Ocean side at Batio

 The Senior missionaries in Tarawa were really good to me.  They all welcomed me and made me feel right at home.  They took me on a tour of the WWII sites that are still left in Tarawa.

Betio, part of the Tarawa atoll is the site of the Battle of Tarawa in WWII.  It was an important battle that the Americans eventually won, but it proved to be a costly battle.  The American's were planning an invasion from the Lagoon side of the atoll by Betio.  The tides didn't raise like they thought they would and they wee unable to make the landing as they had planned.  There are still US tanks stick in the lagoon where they were left so many years ago.  On the ocean side the Japanese had put guns and bunkers and were heavily fortified. Many of them are still standing

Senior missionaries climbing on the top of bunker
American tanks and guns still remain in the lagoon

Remains of an American Tank in the Lagoon.  Notice other boats in the lagoon that are stuck in there and have been abandoned

Remains of Japanese gun

Senior missionaries in Tarawa:  Sister Bush, Sister and Elder Rassmussen, Elder and Sister Youngberg, me

Japanese ammunition bunker

War wreckage in the lagoon at Betio

A Japanese gun overlooking the ocean

Old guns and WWII wreckage on the ocean beach on Betio in Tarawa

Entrance to a Japanese Bunker

WW 11 Wreckage on the beach

Tarawa Senior missionaries

Part of a Japanese Gun on the Ocean side

A Japanese gun

The Battle of Tarawa has totally taken on new meaning after having seen the wreckage and studied about the battle, as has WWII. 

Elder Betierei, who just returned home from Majuro
  I got to meet some very special Elders and Sisters who are serving here in Tarawa.  Sister Kanee below in green was taught by Elder and Sister Phippen, the Senior missionaries who were in Connecticut before Van and I were there.  They did CES and we took their place.  Later they served in Tarawa and that's when  they were  able to teach Sister Kanee.  The other Sister is from Utah.  I loved being able to meet the Elders and Sisters from the other side of the mission.  They were great.

Two sister missionaries in Tarawa. 
Some of the Elders and Sisters from Tarawa.  Very friendly and I loved getting to meet them
Site of the future Stake Farm that the humanitarian missionaries are starting
I spent time with Elder and Sister Youngberg who are humanitarian missionaries.  They are teaching the people who to grow gardens.  I helped them plant seeds into tiny pots to be transplanted into the garden areas.  They have been very successful in growing all kinds of things such as tomatoes, green peppers, watermelon, beans, peas, cucmbers etc.  I also spent time with the Rassmussens who work at Moroni HS teaching the teachers.  I spent the morning with them on one day watching the students compete in track and field at a neighboring high school.  They also took me to see the bigger stores in Betio.  I was able to help with the Intake of 1 missionary.  Thee were supposed to be 4 coming from New Zealand, but 3 of them were on a different plane and it got delayed and they missed their flight to Tarawa from Fiji.  We had made a big meal for them.  The one that came really enjoyed it.  He is from Kiribati, but went to the MTC in New Zealand.

Little boy I met at the airport when I came
Same boy at the airport when I left
Taking a bath in the ocean
We watched this boy come down to the beach to take a bath
My Air Pacific Plane that took me to Fiji
People on the side watching plane take off (no fence)
Tarawa as we left
I had a wonderful time in Tarawa.  I was able to work with Sister Cassita, the new nurse and give here some help.  I was able to meet the other Senior missionaries in our mission and see what they did and get to know them a little better.  I was able to meet some of the Elders and Sisters from Tarawa.  I was able to meet many of the people who knew and loved my Aunt Jeniel and Uncle Mel, when they served there 25 years ago.  It was an experience I am so grateful to have had.


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