It's been a crazy week. We started out the week with no water since it hasn't rained in a long time and our pontoon ran out of water. We went to the water place in town on P day to see if they could bring a truckload of water out to fill up our pontoon (1000 gallons for 75 bucks, which doesn't seem bad to me), but they said that the two water trucks on this island are both broken and they didn't know when they'd get fixed. One of the missionaries told me they heard an axle broke on one of them, so we were pretty worried since the Marshallese really don't know how to fix cars here. Luckily Barnny and Sandy (the people we rent from) have connections and by Tuesday evening when we came back after the day we had a full pontoon of water! We went inside and washed all of the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen first thing. And then we showered. Water is so great.
Everyone on the island is really struggling right now since there's so little water. We've seen some people washing their clothes with salt water. We've also taken containers home to fill up for people.
I got a whole bunch of Christmas cards in the mail last week. Thank you everyone! I don't have time to respond to all of them, but I appreciated them. I got an envelope with a few from PV4th ward members, which was really nice.
One day this week when it was low tide we walked out a little ways in the lagoon. We were helping mama Lang collect shells with some kind of creature inside of them. I've eaten them before. I don't know what they're called in english though! They're like little crabs but they just have one jagged leg/crawler thing. They're not hermit crabs but they kind of look like them. They're bigger than hermit crabs though. Anyway, we also saw a lot of other sea creatures like jelly fish, a puffer fish, and sea cucumbers. There's a Marshallese saying that's "kiki in jibinbin" which means "sleep like a sea cucumber," which is really appropriate because sea cucumbers do absolutely nothing. They're really soft though. I'll attach a photo. The Marshallese don't eat them, but my samoan companions say the sea cucumbers are pretty good raw. One of the kids found the puffer fish and started throwing it around like a ball. Poor fish.
On Thursday we did an exchange with the Long Island sisters. Sister Tago and I went and worked with Sister Crane in Long Island. It was my first exchange out of my area. It was a good day, but long. I don't really like exchanges because I'm either working in a new area and don't know anyone or I'm working with someone I haven't worked with before, so I don't know how they teach and do things. But it was actually a really good exchange, probably because the three of us are good friends. And being in Long Island (where all the senior missionaries live) means we got ice cream and chips and a yummy bean dip from some of them on wednesday night. The missionaries in Long Island always get fed a lot.
We got back from Long Island after the exchange to find that the sisters had gotten in a car accident while we were gone. They were fine and the car isn't terrible. There are so many kids here and they love to run out into the road, so to avoid one the sisters drove the car off the road. They didn't hit a tree...I think it was like a couple of fallen tree trunks. So, the face of the car is a bit messed up on one side at the very front and the headlight is broken. We were then without a car, so we've been sharing a car with the elders. The elders and sisters have done this before when a car has needed work in the past. We all meet up and drive to one part of Ajeltake and teach lessons, and then all drive to another area. Luckily we have investigators in the same area. It's fun when we all work together because we spend more time getting to know each other, and we still get a decent amount of work done. The APs brought us their car on Saturday night so we have something until our car gets fixed, which might be a few weeks.
My new address:
Sister Ellen Butler
Marshall Islands Majuro Mission
P.O. Box 5939
Ebeye, MH 96970
I'm going to Ebeye! I got a call from the APs on Saturday night telling me I will be flying out Tuesday morning...tomorrow morning. I already knew I was going, but I didn't think it would be until the end of this month. One of the sisters on Ebeye is dying (aka ending her mission) at the end of January, so I thought I'd go and replace her. But actually the other sister from my intake is coming back to Majuro and I'll be killing the other sister. Don't you love mission lingo? I'm not sure who my companion will be at the start of February. I think once the sister leaves my companion will be a member until they send me a new one. My companion will be Sister Mahit. She's also from Vanuatu and I'm really excited to work with her, even if it's only for two weeks. This means I have to learn the whole island (and all 3 branches) in two weeks. It should be good though.
You may send me letters and packages to the above address. I do get to email, and my P day is Tuesday, so I will be emailing again tomorrow. After I eat subway or burger king....not really a huge fan of either of those, but I think it'll be worth it. I've heard it's really weird arriving on Kwajalein after being on Majuro for a while. I don't know how long I'll get to be on Kwajalein until I need to get on the ferry to Ebeye. I think I'm traveling by myself too. Luckily I can play the dumb foreigner and just speak in English. That's my plan anyway.
We had a really good week for missionary work. Sandy and the 6 kids are all getting baptized on the 25th of January. We're really excited for them. It's not very often we teach whole families here, because it's usually the mom that wants to study. I guess that's also the case here, but the kids are all teenagers and aren't just following what their mom is doing. I'm sad I won't be here for their baptism, but I'll make sure to get a photo from the sisters here. I'm really going to miss Ajeltake. The branch members are great here and the work has really progressed. We had some really good lessons with a woman named Neitaak this week. We're also studying with her son, and her husband is a less active member. I'm sad to leave when we have so many people really progressing. And I've loved working with Sister Tago because she's so good at Marshallese and it's helped me a lot.
I'll email more tomorrow! I'll try to send photos then too. I'll send some in a few minutes too. I miss you all. Thank you for your emails and letters!
Sister Ellen Butler