Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December 16, 2013, Ajeltake is Just Great!


It's been an awesome week in Ajeltake. It went by so quickly. I can already say that I love Ajeltake more than I loved Laura. Maybe that's bad, but Ajeltake is just great. The branch members are all really nice and outgoing. I already feel like I know a lot of people's names in the branch. Our house is awesome. I love our huge kitchen and gas stove, and we have some super comfy couches that we crash on every night when we get home. It's also really nice having a car. We taught a lot of lessons this last week. Sister Moea'i was really happy to work.  Everyone calls Sister Moea'i "Sister Kiki" because her name in Samoan means "eat and sleep" and kiki means "sleep" in Marshallese.

More Island Flowers
Pretty Island Flowers
Ellen by the lagoon in Ajeltake
I forgot to tell you about a store we went to last week. There's an awesome Chinese grocery store in town that some missionaries found, and now it's the place everyone goes on p days. It's called Best Foods and they have real fruit smoothies and bubble tea. The smoothies are $4.50 but they're huge and worth it. I've only tried passion fruit and mango so far, and they're both so good. I also got some gyoza wrappers and green onions and cabbage there, and Kiki and I made gyoza this last week. I also got a bottle of calpico! Or whatever that stuff is called.  There's a lot of japanese and Chinese food that I want to get, but it's all really expensive.

Our House--Yep, It's a Palace
One sad thing about our house is that we don't have a washer, so we have to take our clothes to the long island to do them. It's not bad though. We didn't have electricity on Thursday (I swear it's always Thursdays when it's turned off) so that was a fun no shower day. It was so hot in our house in the morning so we drove down to peace park (a park that has a pretty ugly WWII monument) to do our language study. I'll see if I can upload some photos. These computers at NTA aren't quite as nice as the ones at CMI.

The Ajeltake elders had a baptism on Saturday. A young couple named Jao and Carlos got baptized. It was really nice. I had gotten to know them pretty well this week, so I was glad to be there for the baptism.
Carlos, Elder Sherman, Sister Kiki, Jao, Elder Gappmayer, and Ellen

Thanks for the camera, mom and dad. It's nice to be able to take pictures again. I got some nice sunset ones this week. The sunsets here in Ajeltake are awesome. It's so pretty. In some ways Ajeltake is prettier than Laura because when we drive we can see both the lagoon and the ocean. Laura is wider so you can't see both. I do miss all of the bumpy, dirt back roads in Laura though. There are a few papaya trees here, but they all seem really small.  I don't think any of them are producing fruit. There are bananas, but not as many as in Laura. We got a huge bag of pandanas fruit this week though.

We made lunch for some elders yesterday. A number of them are leaving this week so some were in Ajeltake saying goodbye to people yesterday. I made kuku paka (without a blender, but it worked. And we made fresh coconut milk too. So good.), green lentils (without cilantro), rice, and of course hot dogs. No meal is complete without hotdogs. Oh, and I also made some oven fries because I was worried we wouldn't have enough food.  Big islander elders can eat a lot.
Sister Kiki and two elders returning to Kiribati
We've been trying to find more investigators this week, since the ajeltake sisters didn't have many before.  We've found some. Most are teenagers, but that's good. One thing our mission president has wanted us to do is find all of the 9 yr olds and up that come to church but haven't been baptized yet. We try to teach them and have their parents there in the lessons. Usually the parents are less active and the kids keep coming with other active family members (since extended families all live together here), and so teaching the kids helps reactivate the parents. We've been teaching a kid and we found out his mom is a less active member, so we asked if she also wanted to study with us. It's a really good way to find. Another mom of a teenager we're teaching isn't a member but has studied with missionaries before (like every other person on this island) and so we're starting with her again too. We also try to visit members a lot and get referrals from them. Referrals are hard to get though.

I didn't write much in my planner to talk about this week. I really enjoy working with Sister Kiki. She's really relaxed about things, which is so nice. We understand each other really well. It's nice to have a companion that really knows English.

I love you all. Thanks for the emails and letters. Let me know if you have specific questions about the island. I feel like I say the same stuff in my emails these days, and I've gotten used to a lot of things here, so I don't talk about a lot of things that would probably be interesting to all of you. I have yet to eat turtle or dog, but I hope it happens soon.  I've heard bbq turtle is awesome. Thanks for the work gloves, mom and dad. They've already come into good use.

Sister Ellen Butler

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