Saturday, November 27, 2010

Oct 24 - 5 Nov 2010

Another month gone by and we keep waiting for it to get cold! I always feel silly when I say it’s really hot today because it is always hot! We are in Tarawa having gone through Hawaii and Fiji again; we will be here until November 11th then on to Auckland for the Pacific Area Mission Presidents Seminar. It’s great to be with the missionaries here again. We got a van from the service center to run around in. It is a real trick to drive here. The van is a stick shift and the driver is on the right side of the car and you drive on the opposite side of the road! Then you make sure that you don’t hit anyone or a dog on the side of the road and others are constantly passing others honking so you will know that’s what they are doing and trying to miss all of the big pot holes as you go! Tom is very good at driving like the natives here and I have not attempted to drive here yet! You also have many speed bumps on the way which sneak up on you quicker than you think! This is different than Majuro where they just drive super slow most of the time. We are staying at the Hotel called Otintaai. When we checked in Tom asked to have one of their suites and the lady said we don’t have one of those! Actually we were pleasantly surprised that it was better than we thought it would be.

Before we came here we had another busy week. We went to church in Laura and they were having their primary program. They had all of the little children dressed in black and white and they were all sitting in the front with their teachers. Some of the children had parts just like they do back home and then they sang the songs in English. They love to sing. It made me think of all of our grandchildren and wishing we could be at their primary programs. It still has been raining a ton in Majuro and they still need rain here in Tarawa. I wish we could have brought them some.

Last Wednesday and Thursday we had training at our home for the Zone leaders, district leaders and Trainers with their new companions. It is the same training that we gave when we first got here only it was done in two days instead of four. The district leaders have been giving this training in their district meetings each week. We have been asked to train them periodically to be sure it is being done well. It was great this time because they could share a lot more of their experiences of using the training in their teaching and how much more effective their discussions have been with their investigators. They did most of the teaching as well.

On Friday we had another set of three missionaries to dinner as they will be going home before we get back to Majuro. We had Elder Dew, Elder Corry, and Elder Isom. They have been great Elders and we will miss them a lot. They bore their testimonies to us and we shared ours as well, and then Tom interviewed them separately. Of course normally they would have stayed overnight with us the night of the dinner. Because we had to do things ahead of time that didn’t happen. We received and email from Sister Teichert saying that they wondered if they could still stay at our home for the next 3 weeks before they will leave! Then she said if they can’t do that than they would settle for one night before they leave even though we won’t be there. We agreed to that as long as they leave it in top ship shape! They want to sleep in the big beds and I can’t blame them!

On Tuesday (Nov 2), the day we got here we asked all the senior couples if they could get together for dinner at the hotel. We had had good fish and chips there before. This time it was not so good and we will want to find other places to go. Besides Sister Steed calls the restaurant the Rattituie Restaurant! I will leave that to your imagination!

It seems like we are losing so many all of the sudden. We will be taking three of them to dinner here in Tarawa before we leave because they will be gone before we come back here. They are Elder Lasky, Elder Green and Elder Latrik and Elder Phillips. The Phippen’s will give them a farewell dinner the day before they leave. How we wish that we could be everywhere all at once! This is Sam Maunga and wife, Taopoa (?), he is my first counselor in the Mission Presidency and is the Information Technology Specialist at Moroni High School. They are expecting their second child the first week in December. We took them to dinner to get to know them better.

We had a meeting on Wednesday with all of the missionaries. Then we met with the four Zone leaders afterwards. We then were invited to go to the Pulsiphers for dinner. It was great and they are doing a wonderful job here at Moroni High School.

Today Tom is interviewing one side of the Mission. I wish sometimes that I could be there for those as you get to know them much better. I’m pretty sure that they won’t change that policy just for me! We will be going to the Checketts tonight for dinner. The couples are so great here to invite us to dinner. We are spoiled!

When we left Majuro they were digging the footings for a wooden fence around the mission home property. So that should be completed when we get back. Then we will just have to convince those that come over the wall to do so outside of the fence on both sides. Hopefully they will adjust quickly. The church is paying for the fence as it was not in the contract. We will be so grateful for the privacy. The windows that we have are very expensive and in the day time you cannot see inside them. At night however you can. I wish it was the other way around! The little kids who have helped me pick up leaves in the back have discovered that if they put their face right on the glass and put their hands on either side of their face they can see in! That makes me so happy because they come and do that at least four times a day knocking on the windows and then looking in until I answer. Then they ask if I need help with the yard, even if they have already done it that day! I give them treats and they are happy for a short time.

I opened the curtain today in the hotel and there were people looking for shells as the tide was out. The people in these Islands use all the resources they can to make things to sell. This is a picture of mom and a member lady preparing their "Sea cucumbers" to sell to the Chinese. They are the only people that eat them, but it is a very lucrative business. They are very talented and we have some of their things that they have made out of the coconut and the banyan trees and leaves. Also they may be looking for little shell fish to eat. The kids at Moroni High are finishing up for the year. They will be taking their tests and then they will be out of school until January.

It really has been great to get to know the missionaries on Tarawa. This is the side of the Mission that has the most baptisms. They have been quite receptive to the gospel. It has been very dry here for a while and we pray that they will soon have rain. It seems odd that you can be surrounded by so much water and have a drought. We are grateful for the experiences we are having. These people live such a simple life and they are happy and grateful for everything. We have many things that money cannot buy and we are so grateful for our family. For your support and love. We are grateful for safety and protection and for good health and strength. We are richly blessed and we love you all. Love Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa /President & Sister Shaw

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