Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December 9, 2013, Transferred to Ajeltake


Well friends, I'm no longer in Laura.  I got a call from the APs on Saturday morning and Sunday after church I got a ride over to Ajeltake. I really miss Laura and Sister Samuel, but Ajeltake is pretty awesome and everyone that has served there really loves it. I'm so glad I'm still on the beautiful west side of the island.

Ajeltake is the long, skinny part of the atoll and it's beautiful just like Laura. I don't think there are as many banana or papaya trees, but there's plenty of coconuts. I thought I was maybe going to get transferred to town, so I'm really happy to be in Ajeltake. It's a big area (well, for the Marshall Islands....it's small for everywhere else in the world) so we have a car. The car is definitely nice, and it's nice to be out of the Laura van. I do miss my bike though.

My companion is sister Moea'i. She's from Hawaii but she's full Samoan. We were in the MTC together, so we know about the same amount of Marshallese. She's been in Ajeltake her whole time on the mission, so at some point once I know the area she'll probably get transferred. I'll need a companion that can drive though!

It was sad leaving Laura, but I'm glad to be in a new area. There's just a branch in Ajeltake, and the sisters didn't have very many investigators before, so we're going to try to really get to know the members and find people through them. I had met some of the members when I came to Ajeltake for baptisms before, so I already know a few and they are all really excited I'm working here now. They all ask about Sister Samuel, because she came from Ajeltake to work in Laura. I'm still in the same district as before, so that's nice. And holy cow, our house is so fancy. We each have our own bathroom, the house is huge, and we have a huge kitchen. I'll have to take pictures of it sometime.

I'm emailing in town at NTA (the phone and internet provider) so I now have to pay for email. It's about ten dollars for 2 hours or so.

I'm trying to think about what happened this week. Oh, we had a fun experience with our water in Laura. On Saturday night we heard the water pump working but we realized there wasn't any water turned on in the house.  We thought about what it could be, but then we just ignored it/forgot about it. It's not really that loud, so you don't always notice it. Sister Samuel woke me up Sunday morning and told me we were out of water. We figured out our water heater is broken and all rusted, so the pump pulled out all of our water in the night. So we called the Barlows (senior couple that take care of problems with the houses) and then we asked our neighbors if we could have some water. We took about 4 buckets of water from their pontoon for our showers (bucket showers are the best) and we had some soapy water in a basin left over from rinsing laundry that we used for flushing the toilets (or "flashing" the toilets, as my companions called it). We had the Barlows bring over drinking water, since they come to church in Laura with us. Hopefully they have water now! Luckily it's monday so they can fill up the pontoon with water from the pipes (since the water is on once a week).

We've been helping teach seminary at Laura high school the last couple of weeks because their teacher was selected to take a class at USP for the next month or so. The have seminary during lunch time in an elementary school classroom. The high school and elementary school are right next to each other and there's a 2nd grade teacher that teaches it, so they all come over to her classroom. It was a little crazy at first because it was during the elementary school lunch time and there were kids everywhere eating their rice and chicken and running around, so seminary only lasted about half an hour, but it was still good.  We taught in english because most of the high school students know english pretty well. It was hard to know how much they understood, but it got better as we went along. They're studying the book of mormon this year, and it was fun to try to explain some of the stories. I think Samuel and Tafili will take over for a couple of weeks.

I hit my five month mark this week, which is crazy. Time is going so much faster now that I can actually communicate with people and that I like my companions. Sister Moea'i is really relaxed but also wants to work hard, especially since her last companion was injured and they weren't able to work as much as she wanted to. 

I was telling Annie about this, but I haven't told the rest of you. It's actually not that hot here right now. We're in the rainy season in Nov-Jan (or something like that. maybe it's Oct-Dec) and it's definitely cooled down a little.  There are still really hot days, but it seems a little cooler overall. Sadly this is the time that I'm in a car (I would rather have the car when it's super hot) but I'm not complaining. I guess it's because we're still in the northern hemisphere and so the sun isn't quite as direct? I'm not sure how much it matters so close to the equator. I'm not sure why it's the rainy season either.

I'm trying to think about what else happened this week. It was a pretty solid week in Laura. We got a big nice papaya from Tomiko, which was delicious. I love papaya. We also got another big bunch of bananas. On Saturday night we got fed by the Jolets, which was nice. Lots of meat and rice. I did get some awesome pork last night in a really good tomato sauce. The pork was so tender and delicious.

Another funny story from a lesson with a 12 year old boy: We were reviewing for this kid's baptismal interview and we asked him what we're not supposed to do on Sunday. He said "jab wia (don't buy stuff), jab kukure (don't play), and jab raru (don't clean up/rake)" It was super funny because we always say "jab jerbal (don't work)" instead of "jab raru," so we don't really know where he came up with that one. It was super funny too because that's what all the women say when you asked them what they did today. Breadfruit trees drop a million leaves and overripe breadfruit, so the marshallese people are constantly raking and cleaning up their land. You can rake and pick up leaves, and then in the afternoon it looks just like it did before. I don't know if this story will be funny to you, but it was pretty funny to us. I love hearing what the kids come up with.

I think that's pretty much it. I'm not going to get Christmas boxes home until Jan or Feb, sorry about that. I haven't had time to get gifts yet, and then once I send them we'll see how long they take to arrive. No worries about boxes being late. I really don't mind. Thank you for sending me presents!  Let me know if there's anything any of you want.

Sister Moea'i's old companion left a lot of vegemite in the cupboards, so I know what I'm eating this week. haha. I tried some on a cracker a few weeks ago and it actually wasn't bad. Why do they say it's really healthy? I've got to find some uses for it, unless the sister can come back and wants her vegemite.

I miss you all. Thanks for your letters and emails. They really mean a lot to me.


Sister Ellen Butler

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