Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Feb 20 - 1 Mar 2011

We are headed to Fiji after spending a week at Tarawa. When I last wrote we were headed to Fiji on the way to Tarawa. We stayed at the same hotel that we always do, which is Raffles. It was raining and quite muggy when we arrived. We ate in the hotel and had a little time to get on the internet and get ready for the trip to Tarawa. The times of the flights have changed a little bit and it was nice not to have to be to the airport before 10:00am.

We arrived in Tarawa at three o’clock. The zone leaders picked us up. We have four new Zone leaders since we had been there, so it was great to talk to them in person, and get to know them better. Their names are Elder Lowry, Elder Morten, Elder Nye, and Elder VanDyken. We stayed on Moroni Campus, which made us happy, and the Corry’s put food in our fridge, which was so nice. They also invited us to dinner but Tom was still not up to eating much, so we stayed in our apartment and Sister Corry whipped up some chicken noodle soup which was really good. Tom had the two zone leaders give him a blessing, Elder Lowry and Elder Morten.

The next morning bright and early we went to the dock to take the mission boat to North Tarawa, and Abaiang. When we took of one of the motors was not working well. Finally it kicked in and we made to North Tarawa, in an hour and ten minutes. We have two Missionaries serving there, Elder Turner and Elder TuTu. It was Elder TuTu’s Birthday he is from Kiribati’s and his Mother asked the elders to take him some food and a cake for his Birthday. There were ribs, chicken, and the cake. There are no refrigerators there so that meant that they would be having a feast that night, or else the meat would go bad! It was a lot like Kiribati to me. The Elder’s said that things were going well. They live right next to the church and shower in a separate little room with well water. The branch President came over and we met him. Tom interviewed them and then we needed to be on our way because it would take a while to get to the next Island. We started off and the one engine was hard to start again. He finally got it going and at that point the water was choppy. As soon as we got out of the lagoon into the open sea, it really got worse. There were about eight to ten foot waves and we were rocking and rolling! At that point we still had over an hour to reach the next place. We were concerned because of the conditions we had to go slower. The captain couldn’t guarantee that the one engine would work properly and so we decided to go back to the dock. We were so disappointed as we were so looking forward to seeing Abaiang, and the four Elders there. It was rock and roll the entire way back and we were glad that we had turned around. The captain said that we had made the right decision. The tide was still out when we got to the shore, but they were still able to take us in close. Tom got off first and there was a lot of moss on the ramp which was very slippery. He was telling me to be careful as he helped me off. Then he turned around to get some of the boxes the Elder’s were taking off the boat. As soon as he took one step his feet slipped and he fell flat on his back and hit his head. He laid there for a minute to be sure he wasn’t to dizzy, and as we looked up to the shore there were about twenty people watching his performance. He got up clapped his hands and said I meant to do that! Thankfully his head was just scraped a little, and he could walk okay which was another plus. That evening we had dinner with all of the seniors at the pace we were staying, and the other couples all provided the food. It’s always fun to get together and share ideas and get to know each other better.

Thursday, we had our Zone Conference. It is always great to have the Missionaries all together. They love to see each other and they love to have lunch! We had four Missionaries who will have left by the time we go there again. They are Elder Joseph, Elder Sackett, Elder Vanisi, and Sister Richard. We also gave them their final interview where we give them the temple bag, and go over some points. We had them bare their testimonies. We also had four new Missionaries who had arrived the week before who we got to meet and also hear their testimonies. They are Elder Flynn, Elder Banks, Elder Mahe, and Sister Gardner. We had skyped with them before but it was great to see them in person. Below the Birthday crew! Tom had interviews after conference, which gave me the chance to talk with those who were waiting. The senior couples had planned the luncheon. We had hot dogs chips and macaroni salad, with brownies and ice cream for dessert. Some of the Missionaries provided some of the training and it was a good conference.

On Friday, Tom finished the interviews of all the missionaries. We were so disappointed that the fuel for the small plane never came and so we could not go to the other four outer islands we had planned to visit. That was one of the major things we hoped to accomplish while we were there. I guess you just have to go with the flow!

On Saturday, we went with the seniors to a new restaurant, for lunch. It wasn’t too bad except the waiting time we had to get the food. A lot of us had fish and chips and we’re not sure if they didn’t just go out then and catch them! That evening we went to a baptism of two people. It was a nine year old boy and a seventeen year old girl. They were touched and very happy.

On Sunday, we went to two sacrament meetings. We went to the Temaiku and the Bairiki wards. There was a good feeling at both places and the Elder’s interpreted for us which is always great. The Pulsipher’s had invited us to dinner that day. Sister Pulsipher came over in the afternoon and said that her husband had been sick all day, and so she didn’t think we would want to be around him. It sounded like he had the same thing I had in Christmas Island. So she was so sweet and brought the food to us instead. They really all take such good care of us while we are there.

Monday, I washed and packed for us to go. The washing machines are outside and then we hang the clothes on a line outside. The bad thing is that you can get rust spots on your clothes that never come out. It’s either from the water or the clothes pins. They use plastic clothes pins but sometimes you still have problems. It doesn’t help when you have white shirts and things because it really stands out. We definitely got some this trip! It was so much more humid this time. It felt like our sheets were always damp and I was dripping most of the time. We have air conditioning but it still was so muggy.

Today is Tuesday and we are on our way to Fiji. We will be there for a six hour layover and so we will spend a lot of time at the airport. We will be able to go to the hotel for some dinner but we won’t be getting a room. We take off for Hawaii at 1:00 am and we will arrive at Hawaii at 10:30 am. It’s March all ready, it seemed like February went fast. We love the people we work with and all of the Missionaries in our mission. They are the cream of the crop. The young missionaries amaze us how well they adapt and accept whatever comes their way. Many of them will be leaving by this summer and that is always hard to say goodbye. Each brings a unique personality and talent to the mission. They are here to reach those that only they can reach. The Lord helps them all as they find his children who are ready to accept the gospel. We love all of you and thank you for all you do. We couldn’t be successful without your support. Love Mom & Dad / Nana & Papa / Pres & Sister Shaw.

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