Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December 8, 2014, Friday was Gospel Day


Chamings and I had a good week.  We had a couple get married on Saturday in the church building. It was really simple and short, but they seemed to enjoy it.  We even got Enos to kiss Bira on the cheek afterward.  So we counted that as a success. 

Friday was Gospel day, which celebrates the day the first christian missionaries came to the marshall islands in 1857 (I think that's the year).  After church yesterday most people went off to other churches because more exciting things (like singing and dancing) were happening there.  Ha.  Not such a good day for trying to get people to come to church.

They finally filled most of the potholes in the Ajeltake road this week.  Normally they just fill them with sand, which does nothing, but this time they used cement.  They're learning!

We're heading out to Laura for P day today and we're going to drive a big van with all the sisters.  

I'm sorry, I think this is going to be a really short email this week.  I hope the pictures make up for it.

We have a big iakwe-iakwe in Ajeltake on Friday for the Robisons that are leaving too.  We're going to learn how to make marshallese woven plates (for food). 

Love you all.  Tootles, 

Sister Butler

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014, I'll see most of you soon!


We've had a busy week.  We had two boys, Ben and Ken, get baptized on Saturday.  Their mom got baptized back in August and their dad has been a member for a long time.  They're funny kids.  When Ben gets nervous he scratches his head and so when he had to stand up and bear his testimony he had his hand on his head the whole time.  Neitaak and Johnny sat behind me and they were cracking up laughing.  

We had a branch fireside last night that we missionaries put together.  We were basically getting everything ready for it this last week.  The RS stake president came and spoke about studying the scriptures and that was really good.  She's a good speaker.  One of the counselors in the stake presidency came and spoke about family home evening.  I think that's the talk that everyone really listened to.  It was really good.  All of the young women sang a musical number that we had taught them and then we missionaries also sang.  Afterward everyone hung out outside and socialized and we ate cake and koolaid.  Luckily there was enough cake for everyone.  We got a whole lot of people to come which was good. 

On Wednesday night I had dinner at the mission home with the Weirs and some of the other missionaries that are going home in december.  Only some were there because about half are off island.  The idea of being "off island" is so funny.  We had originally asked the other counselor in the stake presidency to speak at the fireside, but Saturday night we found out he was off island so we called the other and asked him to speak.  Being off island isn't just like being in another state...you can't just go back whenever you want.  You've got to wait for a boat or airplane.  Sometimes people go to other islands and say they'll be back in a few weeks and it turns into a few months. Anyway, dinner at the Weir's house was nice.  We ate really yummy homemade pizza and we watched a conference talk by Elder Holland and sat and talked.  And we ate banana splits. 

It's Sister Chaming's birthday so we might go get lunch somewhere.  Our car is getting worked on (it says it's empty even when we have a full tank of gas) so we get to drive a big 12 person van today.  That should be fun.

Okay, that's it for this week.  I'll see most of you soon!

Sister Ellen Butler

Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014, Maybe We'll Eat Shark for Thanksgiving

Greetings from Ajeltake, 

We had a good week.  We had Zone Conference on Wednesday, and that was really good.  An area 70 (that's in the 8th quorum of the 70?) from Tonga/New Zealand came and spoke a little.  It threw me off a little though because he really spoke like a New Zealander...which seems weird for an area 70.  It wasn't as good as when Elder Hamula came though.  The APs asked me and Sister Chamings to do a musical number right before it started so we sang something we had sung for a baptism.  

On Thursday we did an exchange with the Long Island sisters.  Exchanges are really pointless.  I went to Long Island for the day and it was fine.  I'm glad I work in Ajeltake.  Long Island just seems kind of boring to me.  

We had an investigator named Joann get baptized on Saturday.  Her husband is less active and he didn't end up coming to the baptism, even though he said he would.  She was kind of upset about that and we were annoyed too.  But we did have an investigator come to church on Sunday that's never come before.  Normally her husband says she can't come to church, but yesterday she got all ready and we went and picked her and her two kids up for church.  

Sister Weir came out to Ajeltake and worked with us on Friday, which was fun.  She and President Weir are in Ebeye for the weekend and they get back tomorrow, and then sometime this week I get to eat my final dinner at the mission home before I go home.  After this week they'll be in Kiribati until after I leave.  

I don't think we're doing anything for Thanksgiving, but that's okay.  I'm trying to see if someone will catch us a shark or a turtle so I can eat some of that before I leave.  Maybe we'll eat shark for Thanksgiving. 

Our car says it's empty even though it's full of gas.  We were wondering why we ran out of gas so quickly this week.  We went to fill it up and after they put a little bit they said it was full.  

We're trying to teach the YW a hymn for the fireside this Sunday.  We just put them into two groups and taught them soprano and alto.  Especially since they have no idea how to read music. We tried singing it for them and then had them try to copy us, which worked out well.

I think that's all from this week.  Stay warm and toasty!

Sister Butler

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 17, 2014, A Bubu taught Us How to Make Marshallese Earrings


Before coming to email today Sister Chamings and I went to Lomajurok and a bubu there taught us how to make Marshallese earrings.  We now know how to make a few different types, so I'm going to try to see if i can get some kimej (the long, thin, dried coconut leaves) so I can bring them back and dye them and make earrings with them.

We missionaries in Ajeltake (Me, Chamings, and the ZLs) are planning a branch fireside for the end of this month.  We invited some people from the stake that know how to speak well to come and speak at it.  It took forever to contact them because the phone numbers didn't work, and no one has addresses.  Hopefully it'll be good. 

We had an investigator named Lusiana get baptized on Saturday.  She's in her late 40s.  Her daughter came to the baptism which was nice.  We also had a couple of women get interviewed on Saturday but neither of them showed up at church yesterday, so we'll see what happens with them.  

We watched a session of general conference in church yesterday.  The translation isn't bad, but the people that read and record it are most likely RMs that served in Oklahoma and never really learned how to speak Marshallese.  Their pronunciation was so bad.  But they had a Marshallese woman read for one of them and you could tell that everyone in the chapel was listening because they could actually understand what was being said.  I guess they translate the talks here in Majuro in the translation office (it's above the mission office) but then they record the talks in Utah, which is a bad idea. 

We have zone conference on Wednesday and an area 70 will be there.  I don't know who it is though.  
Everyday this week Sister Chamings and I have gotten up at 6:30 am (like good missionaries should...haha) and we've driven to the chapel to play two on two basketball with the elders.  I don't think I'm getting any better at basketball, but it's fun and it helps us wake up in the mornings.  
I leave Majuro in exactly one month from today!  I hope you are all staying warm.  Tootles, 

Sister Ellen Butler

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2014, Marshallese Dresses Aren't Really Supposed to Be Atractive


This week has been a good one.  It's still nice and warm here, although I think we're in the rainy season again.  Rain is good because it fills up our pontoons and we don't have to worry about running out.  I've heard rain water is a bit slicker and slimier than other sorts of water.  I also think it tastes pretty bland.  

We had the primary program in the branch yesterday.  They sang primary songs in Marshallese and English.  The investigators that came to church all liked the program.  They want their kids to come so they can learn it too.

I found a Marshallese dress last week.  I can't decide if it's ugly or cute.  I think it looks like a halloween dress because it's black and orange (but sister Chamings says it doesn't look like Halloween, but then again she didn't know what Halloween really was) but I like it because it's a little more fitted and less of a pillowcase style, as most Marshallese dresses are.  I also had some blue fabric that I gave to a bubu (grandma) in the branch to make me a dress, and she gave it back to me after two days.  I wore it to church yesterday.  It's a bit loose, but that's the style I guess.  Marshallese dresses aren't really supposed to be attractive.  I guess the plus side is that you can eat a lot and no one will ever know.

We started studying with the woman who's house we cleaned two weeks ago.  She's never studied with missionaries before, which is kind of odd for here, and so it's fun answering her questions.  

What else?  This is the transfer of eating grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, but I think I've already said that.  

We're starting to practice beat!  The dances are very simple, but it always turns out to be a lot of fun.

We're starting to get tired of eating our big bag of tuna pieces.  We need some more ideas for how to cook it.  (Annie, Leanbu...think of ideas)


Sister Butler

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014, You and Sister Chamings Will Be Working Together Just Like Alma 17:23


This last week was pretty good.  I feel like one day I want to stay in the islands forever and then the next day I just want it to be Christmas and be home.  I guess that's how it's supposed to go the last 6 weeks.  

Halloween was fun.  After seminary we had a little party with the seminary kids and then we drove some of the YSAs up to Laura for a YSA party.  We did a bunch of group relay races and some of them were pretty funny.  In one of the games everyone had their own toothpick they had to hold with their teeth and then the first person in the line got a life saver candy and had to pass it to the next person using only the toothpick.  It was so funny to watch.  Especially in Marshallese culture where people are very shy and would never show physical affection in public.  Sister Chamings and I got the leftover apples from bobbing for apples, which was also a plus. 

It seemed like no one wanted to study this week, probably because there were a couple of funerals and those things take all week and the whole extended families are involved and since everyone's related, everyone is busy.  But we had a nice experience on Thursday.  We met a woman named Julita that agreed to study with us.  We went over to her house on Wednesday to see if she was available and when we got there she was sick and lying on the floor in the back room.  The house was a mess and we wanted to clean but we didn't really have anything to clean with.  We went back the next morning and cleaned her whole house for her.  Luckily we took Shimiko with us and she knew what things we could throw away and she helped a lot.  We were there for about 2 hours and the house was so clean when we left.  Some of the neighbor kids came over and they helped clean too. We're going to go back maybe tomorrow and see if she's better and wants to study.

I asked President Weir in an email last week if I could stay with Sister Chamings until the end of my mission and he replied with "You and Sister Chamings will be working together just like Alma 17:23"  haha.  The embarrassing thing is how long it took us to find a Book of Mormon in the senior couple's apartment we're in right now.  

We got some really great Book of Mormon story books with pictures in Marshallese for kids in families we're studying with.  We're going to try to get a lot more from the office today to give to people because we think it would help the adults to just begin to understand some of the stories from the book of mormon.  

One of our investigators told us that someone told her the Book of Mormon is bad because they refer to Noah as a king in it and not a prophet.  Sister Chamings and I looked at each other, laughed a little, and then explained that king Noah and the prophet Noah were very different people.  I never thought I'd hear that one.

I'm going to try to find myself a nice Marshallese dress today.  Wish me luck.  Most of them aren't that attractive.  


Sister Butler

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014,

Greetings from Ajeltake

Sister Chamings and I had such a good week.  Sister Chamings did get strep throat and we were inside for a couple of days, but somehow we still got a lot done.  On Saturday we had a baptism.  Our investigator named Hersey (think of the chocolate) got baptized.  She's 15 and her parents go to a protestant church and they weren't so happy about her getting baptized at first, but they've slowly warmed up to us.  On Thursday morning we went over to their house and did yard work with Hersey's mom.  We raked up breadfruit leaves and collected fallen coconuts.  Do you know that noni stuff that people drink that is supposed to make you really healthy?  Well, those trees are everywhere and the fruit falls off when it gets overripe and it smells disgusting.  The Marshallese call it "nin." Anyway, we raked up those too.  It was good to work with her and also get to talk to her some about the church.  She said that her brother is a member and he wants her to go to church.  Hersey's parents were going to come to the baptism but they didn't end up coming.  The baptism was really nice though and we actually only started 15 minutes late, which is unheard of here.  I think we won some brownie points from the branch president that wants things to actually start on time.

The craziest thing that happened this week is that a couple we've been teaching got married. Normally it takes a couple of months to get a couple married, and the date usually gets pushed back a few times.  Well, we talked to them on Monday evening about marriage and asked them to set a date before we met again.  We studied on Wednesday and they informed us that they would be getting married on Sunday.  We were so surprised.  We had heard from the second counselor in the branch presidency that there was going to be a wedding on Sunday, but we didn't know who....Danny and Mato live in Lomajurok, the place where a whole bunch of recent converts live.  Anyway, it was pretty funny because we figured out that almost everyone knew they would be getting married before we knew about it.  The wedding was in one of the member's houses in Lomajurok and we had flashlights hanging from the ceiling so we could have light (because no one has electricity there). After the wedding we ate pork and rice.  Danny had killed the pig earlier in the day.  It was dang good.  

Sister Chamings and I sang at the baptism and then the next day right before church the branch president asked us to sing again in sacrament meeting.  It went okay, I guess but we started a little low.  Luckily I can sing a little low, and I'm glad I was able to hit the notes and that they weren't too low.  

What else is new?  Oh, we tried some of our tuna we bought last week.  I just rubbed a little salt and curry powder on the fish and fried it in a little oil.  It was really pretty good.  We were surprised.  We think we might eat the rest of the fish that way.  We're pretty sure it was a 10 lb. bag of tuna.  for $5.  

Okay, I think that's about it.  Stay warm.

Sister Butler