Monday, August 26, 2013

August 25, 2013, I Bought My First Guam Dress!


This week was a lot better.  I'm slowly starting to understand a little more and get to know my way around Laura.  I'm also learning more names and getting to know the members.  I made a big list of things to write about today, so hopefully I'll get to write about all of them.

Ellen and her first companion in the mission field, Sister Ieie from Kiribati

Last Monday ended up being a pretty good day.  We went to a member's house for FHE and the two elders in Laura were invited too.  We had a short lesson, played a game, and then they fed us dinner.  We had pork (which was really good), rice (of course), and boiled breadfruit.  The breadfruit was disgusting.  Breadfruit is "ma" but it sounds like "me."  I've heard that me chips (similar to potato chips) are a much better way of eating breadfruit instead of boiling it.  It was slimy and dense.  Not my favorite.  But we also had ni!  Ni is the green coconut that you poke a hole in and drink the coconut water from.  It was so good.  Once you're done drinking you can also break it open and scrape out the really soft meat.  It was good, but not as good as the water.

Here's Ellen eating the food she just described

Shopping was an adventure last P day.  We went to Payless, which is the grocery store owned by americans where all of the food is western family.  Some of the produce is grown in laura and is sold there.  I bought apples, oranges, sweet and regular potatoes, cottage cheese (it was a little weird, but ok), applesauce, whole wheat bread (surprisingly good), jam, and some pretty bad ultra-pasteurized milk.  I've discovered I can get down a glass of milk if I make it into chocolate milk, so I've been doing that.  It tastes like bad canned milk.  They don't really keep it cold either.  The milk is just sitting out in boxes in the store.

Ellen with Caroline

I also bought my first guam dress!  Oh man, they are hideous.  They're made of a stretchy polyester fabric and they have short sleeves and are knee length.  I wear mine to bed and it's pretty comfortable.  Most of them are really bright colors and have awful patterns.  Mine is a little more conservative, but it's still pretty bad.  I'm going to try to upload photos in a few.  Hopefully it'll work today!

Ellen in her Guam dress
I ate hermit crabs this week!  They were pretty good.  After you pull the meat out of the shell you just have to make sure you pull off all of the gross, brown mucus, but then they're pretty tasty.  The great thing is that then you have a shell to clean your fingers off with.
I haven't gotten sick yet!  And I eat and drink at the member's houses.  They all only drink the collected rain water, so it's really okay. 

We get 75 cent ice cream cones at the little "mon wia" (stores) that are all over laura.  The ice cream is so good, but maybe that's just because it's wicked hot.  I've only worn my crocs and I see why they said to bring them.  It rains all of the time and our feet get so dirty from the mud and sand and also from going in the houses, so the crocs wash off easily.  And they're slip on, which is important because we're always going into houses.

I have mixed feelings about the rain.  It's great because it fills up our water tank, but it also attracts the cockroaches.  We had a couple in our bathroom and Ieie says they climb up the drain!  I don't know if that's true.  I got really disgusted with the bathroom (especially the shower) on Friday and Sister Ieie wasn't feeling very good, so I made an executive decision that we were going to delay going out so I could clean the shower.  I sacrificed my toothbrush (don't worry, I have more) and went to town with a bottle of soft scrub and bleach for about 2.5 hours while I listening to Polly.  I have before and after pictures.  Most of the black mold is gone!  It looks so much better.  I think everything I have ever cleaned and scrubbed before has prepared me for cleaning that shower.  I'm now not afraid to shower, so that's good.  I've also gotten into a really good shower schedule now, so that's exciting.

Her shower before cleaning and after cleaning

Oh, more about the rain.  I also don't like it because when it rains it's Marshallese culture for everyone to go inside and sleep, so it's impossible to find anyone to teach.  It seems like it would be a great time to find people because they're all home, but they only want to sleep.  The power goes out sometimes when it rains and on Thursday we didn't have power most of the day, which also meant that we didn't have water because we have a pump that runs on electricity to bring the water in the house.  We couldn't cook anything and there's nothing really to buy in the little stores other than oil and crackers and such, so we both took naps.  Sister Ieie gets sick when she's out in the rain, so I don't really know what we're supposed to do.  I don't mind getting wet, but it seems pointless to go out if no one's there. Maybe that's also what they do in Kiribati. 

We have some geckos in our house sometimes.  I don't really mind them because they're kind of cute, but they do surprise me sometimes.  We have some cockroach pesticide that we're supposed to dilute and then spray in the corners and closets of the house to keep the cockroaches away.  We did that but we still have some. 

Making banana bread with Sister Ieie

I really like our washing machine.  The spinner is so nice!  It gets a lot more water out of clothes than American washing machines do. 

Annie, will you send me a southern hemisphere and northern hemisphere star map?  You should be able to find some online and print them.  The stars are great when it's not cloudy!  It's so weird to see scorpius high in the sky instead of just barely peaking above the horizon.  The milky way is pretty great. 

We had a zone conference on Wednesday.  There are two zones in Majuro: east and west.  I'm in the west zone.  The areas go (from west to east): Laura, Arrak, Ajeltake, Long Island, Delap, Uliga, and Rita.  The first four are in the west zone.  We met in the Long Island chapel, which is the stake center.  It's a pretty fancy building.  I'm excited for the Laura chapel to be finished.  The mission office is in Long Island and the mission president and senior couples also live there.

Ellen's house

The mosquitos love me.  I use the bug spray sometimes but it makes my skin really warm.  Annie, you could also send me another itch eraser.  I carry one in my bag always. 

I used a bathroom in a member's house the other day, and other than the fact that it smelled like suburban station, it wasn't bad at all.  I think we only stopped there to use the bathroom though, so I think Sister Ieie knows where to go (pun intended). 

Most everyone has a small house and then a separate shack for cooking.  The cooking houses have some posts and a roof and then usually a plywood platform where the moms sit and breastfeed their kids (until they're like 4 or older) and cook over a fire.  They'll make a fire and then put a pot of rice on or a flat griddle for making pancakes.  The dogs and cats and birds will come by to try to snatch a pancake, but the people are so mean to their animals so they don't usually get much to eat.  I saw a chicken hop up onto a griddle and start to roast her toes, so she hurried and jumped off. 

We've gone over to a member's house for language study once, and I think we'll continue to go.  Mama Kattil knows English really well, so we go and sit in her house and she helps me with the language.  Pronunciation is the hardest thing.  Since there's no standard way of spelling anything, I've seen each word spelled at least 5 different ways.  It's impossible to know how a word is pronounced without hearing someone say it.  Luckily all I do is listen to people speak all day, but it's hard to remember how the word was pronounced because there's no logical way to write it. 

All of the customs we learned about in the MTC are wrong.  I see people sit with their feet sticking out pointed towards people all of the time.  Also, we were told we're supposed to ask to sit down in people's houses, but actually if we go in we're supposed to immediately sit down.  It is impolite to refuse food, so at least I learned one thing, but if you're full you just pass your plate to someone and they'll finish it.  I've had some good fish this week.  Mmm.  The people like that I'll eat most anything they give me and they like that I don't use a spoon.  I heard that they'll like me if I try to do everything their way, so that's what I've been doing.  I'm getting better at eating with my hands.  Those sanitizing wipes are great because I just wipe my hands off inside my bag before I eat.  I think it would be rude if they saw me. 

Sometimes my skin stings all over for just a few seconds.  I asked the nurse about it and she doesn't know what it is.  She thinks it's just my body adjusting to the climate, and I think she's right.  It happens when we've been inside our air conditioned apartment and then we go out into the hot humidity.  Or sometimes it happens when we've been riding our bikes and then I get off, which again is a change because when I'm riding there's a nice breeze.  Our shower has either hot or cold water, and nothing in between.  the first few days I'd alternate between the two, but now I just use the cold and I think that's better for my skin. 

We do a lot of work with less actives.  Well, we try.  The bishopric talks a lot and says they'll reach out and help, but they don't, so we end up doing it.  We had a ward council meeting yesterday after church and the bishop got mad at us missionaries for being out late the last sunday.  We were out late because we had a correlation meeting with the ward mission leader.  Amima, an old grandpa in the ward, stood up for us and said that yes, we were out late but that we discussing those that the bishopric do nothing about.  We were all pretty annoyed that the bishop told us this, since it's not his job to tell us that we were out late.  And of course everyone knows everything since the village is so small.  Of course I had no idea what was going on in the meeting, but they told me once we left and everyone was annoyed. 
I think that's all for now.  If I think of other things I'll email them.  I'm going to try to attach photos.  Sorry if my grammar is really jorraan (damaged/ broken)...I'm trying to type quickly.
I love and miss you all.  Thanks for your emails,

Sister Ellen Butler

Friday, August 23, 2013

August 18, 2013, My Wildest Dreams Have Come True--Dogs Come to Church!


My wildest dreams have come true.  Dogs are allowed to come to church.  Okay, well maybe they're not allowed but they come and lie down on the floor by people's feet.  It's nice to hear a dog shake his ears every once in a while.

The Laura ward is meeting in a school right now since the Laura church building is being built or renovated...or maybe they're just adding on to it.  I'm not sure.  It was pretty warm in church yesterday.  There were a lot of ceiling fans and they were going at high speed and looked like they were going to fly off the ceiling.  Everyone sings so loudly!  It's great.  The people really belt out the hymns and their harmonies are great.  It's all acapella even though we have a piano.  We had Sunday school under a coconut tree near the lagoon.  Everything is either by the lagoon or near the ocean side.  There aren't addresses for houses, of course, so one explains where a house is based on if it's near the lagoon or the ocean.

So Laura is the farther west you can go on the island.  It's also the widest part of the island so you can't always see the water.  The main road that goes down the island splits into two main roads in Laura, and then I think there are some cross roads that are paved.  There are then a lot of dirt roads/paths that crisscross every which way and I get a little disoriented at times.  I like Laura because it's really pretty, but there aren't as many people so it gets lonely.

Sister ieie and I have a specific area and we can bike from one end to the other in just a few minutes.  Everyone is either a member, inactive member, has studied with the missionaries before, or doesn't want to study.  So I don't really know what we're supposed to do. And it's all about bwebwenato-ing (talking with them).  The people love to laugh and so one really just has to make them feel comfortable and laugh with them.  It's just pretty much impossible for me to do much right now since I can't say anything.  So I sit there and listen for hours every day and say a few things.  I actually understand a fair bit when two people talk to each other, but once someone asks me a question I'm not usually sure what they are saying.

Sister Ieie and I actually have a pretty nice house.  It's pretty big. Kitchen, living room with a couple of couches and our two desks, a bathroom, two bedrooms, and a laundry room.  We share one room and then her stuff is in the other room.  The whole place is dirty but it's really not awful.  It has a tile floor everywhere so it's easy to clean.  The bathroom is pretty awful but we won't talk about that.  There isn't a toilet seat and I'm not sure why.  Since t ask her the first day about that, it would not be pretty funny to ask her now.  Actually I found the toilet seat in a closet.  I think it just broke off.  There's a toilet in the laundry room that I usually use, in case you were wondering.  Haha.

We have a water filtration system attached to the faucet in the kitchen, so we switch the water over to that to fill up water bottles.  The water is fine.  It tastes pretty bland but I haven't gotten sick yet, so that's good.  We've eaten a lot of rice and meat so far and I can't wait to go to the grocery store in Delap (the town) today.  We went inside on the first day on our tour of the island and I really am going to be able to get anything I need.  It's just like a regular grocery store.  Everything is western family brand!  There are fruits and vegetables.  I've heard they're really expensive, but I am going to get some anyway.

The people are very nice.  They always give us rice and fish.  I met so many people my first evening in Laura and I'm just starting to learn some of the their names and how everyone is related to each other.  The second day I couldn't remember any of the names and faces and now I am not sure who I've already met, so I don't know if I should introduce myself or not when I meet someone.  The land is owned (or maybe just used) by the women in the family, so for example there's a bubu's (grandma) house and her daughter's family's house is nearby and then a little farther down is her other's daughter's house.  Their whole extended family is lds and there are little kids running around everywhere.  I can't figure out who's kids are who's. Some of the houses are pretty big-- like maybe 15 ft by 15 ft.  Or 10 by 10.  And those are usually concrete or cinderblock.  And they're all painted bright colors.  Others are plywood shacks about 7 by 10 or so.  A lot of them have tile or linoleum floors and they keep them pretty clean (well, as clean as they can) by sweeping them out constantly and taking off their shoes before they go in.  I like being outdoors though because the houses usually smell pretty awful and there's not as much ventilation inside.  Most of them have windows or holes in the walls though, so that helps.

My companion is really nice and diligent.  I don't understand her much of the time though.  Her English is really good, but her pronunciation is hard to understand.  She says "heat" instead of "eat" which can get really confusing when we're talking about food.  She's from Kiribati.  Her family is from Tarawa, which is south of the marshalls just on the equator.  But she grew up in the Christmas island, which is much farther east.  She is 25 and she's planning on going to BYU Hawaii when she gets back.  She leaves on sept. 22.  I like her a lot but I'm glad to know that I'll get a new companion in 5 weeks because I want to work with a lot of people and see how they do it.  also her Marshallese is so good since she's been here a long time, so she speaks quickly and I don't understand very much.  I think I'd do better with someone that knows more than I do, but is still kind of on my same level so we can learn together.

There's an lds Marshallese guy that served his mission in provo and he got back about 1 year ago. It's nice to have someone to talk to in English.  he's the ward mission leader so we had a meeting outside his house last night with the elders in our district.  We all sit on plastic chairs or a short wooden platform that's in everyone's yard.  The teenagers always bring us food.  either rolls (pilawe...sounds like "flour") and kool aid.  the other day they brought some dinner out for us.  it was big plate of rice with three piles of food on top of it: canned spaghetti, canned tuna, and kimchi.  Fairly disgusting.  Well, I ate the tuna and kimchi and maybe half the rice.  But then I said I was full and someone finished it for me.  Sometimes we don't eat dinner until we get back at 9 pm, but I'm not always that hungry.  I'm going to get some good food today.

There are dogs and puppies, cats and kittens, and chickens and chicks everywhere!  They all just wander around in the jungle and by people's houses.  They're all so cute and they're friendly with each other.  Well, except for the dogs.  The dogs really aren't that mean.  Well, sometimes they get in fights with each other about 1 ft from where I'm sitting, which can be a little scary, but most of the time they're okay.  One chased me on my bike the other day and growled.  But the dogs are really pretty cute.  They don't seem to be as malnourished as the ones in town.

It's not terribly hot here.  They say it's much hotter in town,  but there are some nice ocean breezes out in Laura and a fait bit of shade.  We're also usually not out as much in the middle of the day since we're still studying.  I don't completely understand our schedule, but I guess I've only been here a couple of days.  it's seemed like much, much longer.  We have a little portable DVD player that we listen to CDs on in the morning.  it's really nice to have that.  We have a washing machine that has one place for washing clothes and then you move them over to the spinning area.  We have a long clothesline up inside the house for hanging up clothes. 

The other morning we made banana bread for a family that we're going to try to teach.  I think we're going to be doing a lot of things like that to get people to talk to us.  One woman asked us for cold medicine.  We're going to see if we have some for her.  We're technically not supposed to give any out. 
President and Sister Weir are very nice.  Supposedly they're not as outgoing as the last mission president.  I think people just don't know them yet.  Their house is so nice.  Holy cow.  It's crazy that there can be such a nice house next to all of the tiny shacks.  It's right by the ocean so they have a great view.  We saw them and spent time with them the first day and a half, but now they're in Ebeye with the new elders and sisters there.  I don't know when we'll see them.  Probably in a couple of weeks.  I'm not sure where they stay when they go to Ebeye.  I wish I could just go to their house and take a nap on one of the big comfy couches right now.  That sounds so nice. 
Time has gone so slowly.  There are a lot of ups and downs.  The evenings can be pretty fun since it's such a small village and you see people you know every few minutes.  Well, it's probably more like every half hour because the time goes faster than I think it does.  We saw that one Marshallese guy that served in Provo walking with one of the girls in the ward yesterday afternoon.  I swear she looks like she's 14 or 15, but she's 18 and I guess they've been dating since he got back from him mission.  Her English is really good and her younger sister's English is even better.  It's fun talking to both of them.  Everyone knows everyone here so it's pretty funny getting to know the relationships.  Supposedly in Marshallese culture a brother and sister's kids can get married, but the kids of two brothers cannot get married, nor the kids of two sisters.  It's really different.
The people love to laugh.  Things are good when we're out and about just talking (well, more like listening for me) and laughing.  the people love to sit around and talk.  I have yet to try coconut or breadfruit.  I've eaten bub which is pandanas?  I'm not sure how to spell it.  They're are these huge fruit that you pull off a big piece and twist between your teeth to get the juice out.  They're very stringy and the strings get in your teeth.   
There was a funeral yesterday for a man that used to live in Majol but most recently lived in the US.  He was their old bishop.  It was right after church and it was so long...people were crying and we were all exhausted and hungry.  They fed us rice and chicken with eggplants (!) and donuts afterwards though. 
Okay, I think that's it for this week.  We stayed in the airport hotel in Honolulu.  It was on our travel itinerary but they didn't tell us it hadn't been payed for already.  We didn't go on splits but we ate dinner at the mission home there, which was really nice. 
I love and miss you all so much.  I only get mail on Mondays when we pick it up at the mission office.  you can either email or use dear elder.  I'd kind of prefer dear elder because then I can reread the letters over and over again.  I don't know how often we get those though. But please write, because I get so lonely here.  I don't know if there's anything I need.  I don't think I'm going to go through clothes very quickly.  It's fine. 
P.S. "Butler' is really hard for them to say so they say "Babola" which is like "popular."  So sometimes I'm sister popular and the kids think it's hilarious.  I'll try to get more photos this week.  And hopefully I can upload these ones too.  I really hope it works. 
Love you all!  I miss you
Sister Ellen Butler

August 15, 2013, I'm Finally Here!

Lakwe!  I'm finally here!  It's hot and humid...but it's actually not too bad.  You just accept the fact that it's hot and gross.
Traveling was slightly stressful.  We had to pay for our baggage and then in Hawaii we had to pay for the hotel, which was really expensive.  And of course some people didn't have sufficient funds, so I payed for the Vanuatu elder's room too.  I got reimbursed today...which was about 330 dollars.  So I have that now.  Idk what you want me to do since I had charged that on the American express card.  I'll have to tell you more about Hawaii was pretty funny. No one knew we were coming.
The islands are so pretty from the air!  It was a little crazy landing because it looked like we were landing in the ocean.  The airport was pretty great.  Customs was kind of a joke...and the luggage claim was a piece of plywood supported at an angle where they dropped the bags off.  The mission pres and his wife picked us up.  We went to the mission office (which has nice AC) and we did some orientation stuff.  After lunch we went on a tour and visited one of the two ATMs on Majuro.  We then went on splits with some of the missionaries in the long island area.  Sister Seegmiller and I were with Sister Crane who's from Oklahoma.  She's friends with my friend Megan Knowles from Philadelphia.  We taught a couple of girls that are members and walked around for a while.  There are chickens and dogs everywhere. 
Tomorrow I go to my first area!  My companion will be Sister Ieie and she's from Kiribati.  This will be her last transfer.  We'll be serving in Laura, which is the beautiful, rural part of Majuro.  And we get bikes in Laura!  So excited for that!  Sis. Whitney will be flying to Ebeye on Saturday, Sis. Moeai will be near Laura (I think), and Sis. Seeg will be in Delap, which is kind of downtown Majuro.  I'm excited! 
We're at the mission home right now and we're going to eat dinner in a few.  The four sisters are staying at the nurse's apartment tonight.  We technically find out tomorrow where we're going, but our mission pres told us today.  We know that one of the elders is going to an outer island with one other missionary to open the island!  It's pretty crazy.
My mission president and his wife are really great.  I like them a lot already.
Okay, I've got to go.  I love you! 
Sister Butler

Saturday, August 17, 2013

August 10, 2013, Packing Today


I'm emailing a bit later today because we've been packing today!  We leave early on Tuesday morning.  We got our travel plans on Friday and then we got revised plans on Monday because we're now taking the front runner up to SLC instead!  We're all excited about that.  Except for the fact that we have to report to the travel office at 6:15 AMinstead of 7:30 AM.  We leave SLC at 11:57 AM and arrive in Honolulu at 2:38 PM.  I'm glad we don't have to fly to LA first.  When we get to Hawaii we supposedly go on splits with the missionaries.  We stay in a hotel that night, and then we leave HNL at 7:25 AM on Aug 14 and arrive in MAJ at 10:34 AM on Aug 15th.  I think it's only a 5 hour flight, but it's funny that it looks like we lose the 14th.  I'm the travel leader for the group (!) so I have to make sure everyone gets through security and no one does anything dumb and everyone gets on the flight.  It should be fun.

Ellen and the Marshall Islands Flag

So, parentals, please be by your phones on Tuesday morning between 9 and noon.  I got a phone card in the bookstore today that has 500 mins on it, but it automatically uses 130 mins every call so try to pick up when I call. 
We only have 4 more days!  We're done with teaching our teachers/investigators, so I'm not sure what we're doing for the next few days.  We have "In Field Training" tomorrow, which supposedly is a painful, 8-hour long event.  I'm not excited for that. 
Jenny Oaks Baker was the speaker/performer for our Sunday night devotional this past week.  She spoke for a few minutes and then played a piece and then went back to speaking, etc.  It was pretty cool.
I saw Morgen Khotz this week.  She was a beehive in YW when we lived in Virginia.  I think she said she just finished her freshman year at BYU.  I also saw Eric Smith, who just started teaching Portuguese at the MTC.  I also saw my friend Liz Harwood.  She lives in NYC and I think her family lives in Georgia, but I guess she was visiting family in Utah.  I was a new missionary host on Wednesday afternoon and I saw her drive through (obviously they were dropping someone off) and so she jumped out of the car to come say hi, but we didn't really have any time to talk. 
New favorite word: etetalmomanana (with a bunch of accents in various place, but I can't type them).  It means to walk around to visit people and get free food.  I think it's a pretty great word. 
My companion told me that I spoke in Marshallese in my sleep one night this week.  I'm not sure what I said though.  Something like "I understand.."
Mom, thanks so much for the package!  I've shared a lot of the food.  I'm going to take some of it for the flights.  The belgium chocolates are delicious!

We learned a lot about intransitive and transitive verbs this week.  Almost every verb can be both transitive and intransitive (which doesn't really make sense in english) but there are different forms for each.  Sometimes you add more letters onto the end of the verb to make it transitive.  Some verbs you take the first three letters of the transitive form and repeat them to make the intransitive form.  For example, "Ij dente Sister Whitney" is "I hit Sister Whitney" and "Ij denden" is "I've been doing some hitting"...which doesn't really make sense in english.  Some transitive and intransitive forms are completely different.  "Mona" is "to eat" (intransitive), and "kan" is "to eat fish (or rice, or coconut, etc)."  It seems like it's something one just has to memorize.  

I feel like I don't have very much to tell from this week.  It was kind of a slow week because our classes are starting to wind down.  One of our teachers was sick for a couple of days and we've all been restless (plus our classroom doesn't have any windows) so we go on a lot of jambo ko (walks).

Ellen with Sister Pugh from Swarthmore

I got a package from Benton's family in Mapleton.  They sent me some peppermint chocolate covered pretzels.  Sara Jane, will you email me Benton's email address?

Every Sunday evening we get to watch a church movie or talk given at the MTC.  The talks aren't released outside of the MTC, which is a shame because there's a great one by Elder Bednar called "Character of Christ."  He gave it on Christmas day at the MTC a number of years ago (I'm not sure when).  The room that shows it always fills up quickly.  A lot of the talks given at the MTC are very direct and sometimes harsh, which is pretty cool.  There are things Elder Bednar says that just wouldn't fly in GC.  

Thanks for your letter, Dad.  I just got it today.  It sounds like you all had fun swimming.  I don't think my dorm is one of the old ones.  My building has all of the 2 and 6 week sisters, so it's pretty big.  
 Okay, well I think that's it for this week.  Sorry I don't have very many funny stories today.  I didn't write down as many funny things that happened this week.  I'm sure I'll have plenty to say in my email next week though!  I'm excited!  I'm not sure when my P day will be, so don't worry if you don't get an email for a while.  I also don't know how long it takes for mail to get there.  

I love you all, 

Sister Butler

Saturday, August 3, 2013

August 1, 2013, The Real World is Weird

Dear family and friends,

I had a pretty good week.  We really only have a week and a half left.  I think we leave on the 13th, which is a Tuesday, but we haven't gotten our travel plans yet.  We should get them sometime next week.  I'll be able to call when I'm in the airport, so make sure that you (mom and dad) have your phones on you during the 13th.  I should let you know next P day when I'll get to the airport. 

A few crazy things happened this week.  My companion was playing volleyball on Saturday and she set a ball off a serve, which you aren't supposed to do, and it hurt both of her thumbs.  One of them is just jammed but the other swelled up and got really bruised and ugly.  When we went to the health clinic to tell the doctor about her foot appt, he saw her hand and made her go get an x-ray.  So we got to go into the real world (aka across 9th east) to the BYU health clinic.  It was pretty eventful.  I saw something on the news about some explosion in Philly?  I couldn't catch what it said.  I hate not knowing what's happening in the world.

Well, the MTC doctor said a bone was broken in her thumb joint, so yesterday we again got to go into the real world to the Utah something health place across the street from the hospital.  The MTC doctor clearly doesn't know how to read x-rays and sister seeg just has a really bad sprain.  So we're all really glad that her departure date won't be delayed.  We also have a shuttle pass to go get her new shoes today.  Hopefully it doesn't take too long.  The real world is weird.

When we were out to visit the hand specialist, a couple of elders from another zone were in the shuttle with us and we realized how mature our elders are compared to them.  Oh man, it was bad.  One of them listed off the 9 bones he had broken and told the story of every single stupid thing he's done and I told him that his mom must hate him.  The other one said he doesn't want to get robbed on the mission and that if he does he'll come home.  I told him that I would rather get robbed once a month than have diarrhea for 18 months.  

Sister Seegmiller and I taught an awesome lesson yesterday.  We planned on teaching our investigator Stephan (Brother Swain, who looks remarkably like Elder Lau from our freshman year at Bryn Mawr) about the plan of salvation. We went in and sang a hymn, prayed, and asked him if he had read what we asked him to from the last lesson.  The spirit was strong and seegy and I looked at each other and realized we needed to teach him about baptism.  So we ditched our initial plan and we opened up to 2 Ne 31, but I didn't know what verses to read and it's kind of impossible to choose which ones when you can't scan over the verses very well in a different language.  So I explained what the chapter talked about and then miraculously Seeg was able to figure out what verses to read.  It went really well.  We're getting a lot better at listening to each other during lessons.  At the end our teacher said it was the best lesson we've taught yet and that he didn't feel lost at all during the lesson because we first explained what we were going to teach.  It was pretty sweet. 

Sister Seegmiller, Sister Whitney, and I all sang in the choir during devotional on Tuesday.  About half of the missionaries sing in the choir.  It's huge.  We sang "how great thou art" and we had to hit a high F, but I think I did it.  There wasn't an alto part.  Did I tell you that our district sang in church two weeks ago?  I got to play "come thou fount of every blessing" on the violin.  It was a lot of fun.

We got about 50 new people in our zone yesterday.  They're all speaking Fijian or Tongan.  We got 10 new sisters.  I'm learning a lot of Hawaiian slang.  I've already told Annie some of it.  I'm not sure how to spell any of the words.  "choke" means "a lot," so Sis. Moea'i always says "There are choke palangi girls here."  "Salty" or "salty balls" means to be a sore loser.  "two meals" means above and beyond.  "Crims" (really not sure how to spell this one) means gross or ugly. 

Meagan, do you know if Amanda got baptized?  Did Elder Lindsley come back to Philly to visit?  He said he was going to try to make it for her baptism, but I'm not sure when that is happening.

I've been named "Bubu Butler" by my district.  Bubu means grandma.  They think it fits and it's also fun to say.
I love getting to know all of the elders and sisters from Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, Vanuatu, Marshalls, New Zealand, Australia.  They'll all crazy.  I love how relaxed everyone is.  There's a place outside where the whole zone meets every night before we head off to our residences.  We all just talk and sing and...sometimes it gets to be9:45 and grumpy branch presidents will walk by and tell us that we're breaking all the rules and that we're supposed to be inside our residences by 9:30.  I tried making a joke that we're all chill island people so we're not always paying attention to the time.  Needless to say, that didn't go over very well.
The rules are sometimes ridiculous.  My favorite example:  "Be back to your residence by 9:25 pm" and "Do not return to your residence until 9:30 pm."  That's a solid 5 minutes that I'm breaking a rule either way. 
Did I tell you that we get to stay in Hawaii for a night?  Whenever we get there we get to stay in a hotel and then leave for Majol the next day.  We're going to see how much time we have and see if we can work out going to the temple in Hawaii.  The Kiribati sisters fly from Hawaii to Fiji and then to Kiribati, so they get to go to the temple in Fiji. 

Our classes have mostly just turned into conversation hours now.  We choose a topic and take turns talking.  Tomorrow we're starting to teach other students.  We all got to choose someone we know to act like them as an investigator.  I'm going to be Sara Jane.  Our teacher interviewed us about our person and we let them know how much to tell the missionaries about ourselves.  It should be fun.  We're going to start teaching twice a day now.  Our lessons have been too long, so we're supposed to cut them down.

I'm trying to think of some Marshallese I learned this week.  "Wururrur" is what you say when you drop something.  It sounds like "whurrhurhhurr" ...kind of.  Pakalolo is weed and Ripakalolo is pothead (ri for person).  Oh, this is a fun one.  You add "ka" to the beginning of a word to make the thing happen.  So, "buroro" is red and "kaburoro" is to make red, or to blush.  Except don't say it the wrong way, or else those words mean "pregnant" and "to make pregnant" as we learned last week when Sister Seegmiller tried to say one of the elders made me blush ...
So "katak" is to study and "rikatak" is someone that studies, or an investigator.
I like this example too. "loor" is to follow.  "rikaloor" is a person that follows, or a disciple.

I think that's all from this week.  Love you,
Sister Butler