Sorry I wasn't able to write a real letter last week. We didn't have time to go on Tuesday and we all decided to just wait until this next week.
I told you a little bit about our new companion, Sister Tafili. She's really nice and she's learning Marshallese quickly. She eats a lot. She goes through about one package of hotdogs in a day. And lots of white bread. I thought I was safe because I buy wheat bread, but once the white was gone she went for that too. She doesn't really know how to cook, so Sister Samuel and I have been cooking most days. She does wash dishes though, so that's a help. She does make an awesome Samoan drink though. It's called "cocoa samoa" and it's basically real hot chocolate. She has a huge block of real cocoa (and it's hard as a rock) and she gets a knife and shaves off chunks of it and boils it with a little sugar. It's so good. The first time I thought it was too sweet and so I asked her to put less sugar in the second time (and she could add more to hers if she wanted) and it was delicious. It was a little richer the second time too, so it was like drinking pure dark chocolate.
I met a boy named Cedar this week. He knew that it was the name of a tree. Poor kid.
I made lentils in a green sauce this week. There's no cilantro or mint to speak of on this island, so I added a little dried basil to make it look a little green. It was pretty good, but I didn't have hot dried peppers so I just used cayenne.
Mercyla's baptism finally happened last Saturday. We got to the church building and it started pouring and pouring. The wind was so strong and everything just got dark. The bishop asked Mercyla if she wanted to wait until next week, but she said it was fine. It was getting dark quickly, so we just had an opening hymn and prayer and then those that wanted to walked down to the lagoon. I think only the elders, sisters, mercyla, and a couple of members walked down. Most stayed in the building. The rain mostly stopped but the wind was crazy strong. The waves were pretty big and it was so loud that we couldn't hear the prayer. It was pretty cool. The elders that are witnesses usually just roll up their pants and walk into the water about up to their knees, but they got pretty wet from the waves. It was pretty crazy having a baptism in the middle of a storm.
Roscoe died Saturday night. Bubu Jolet told me in church on Sunday. He must have eaten something that was bad, because he threw up a whole lot and then kicked the bucket. We went over to their place last night to have a kajemilok barbeque for Roscoe. Jemilok means to end or close, and kajemilok means to cause something to end or close. We had a yummy mixture of rice and pumpkin and then really good bbq chicken. They just marinate it in shoyu (marshallese spelling: joiu) and garlic, but it's really good. Bubu Jolet's prayer to start the bbq was so sad. She started talking about their "menninmour" that they loved so much. Mennimour literally translates to "thing of life" or "thing that lives." We sang hymns and stuffed ourselves with food. Poor puppy roscoe.
I heard about the Philippines. I heard they think 10,000 have died? Is there an updated number now? I've seen some little pamphlets/books passed around from some Australia Aid society about preparing for typhoons. I guess they can happen in micronesia, but they haven't for a long time. That's what people in Laura have told me.
We got pulled over by the police the other night while we were on our bikes because we didn't all have flashlights. I had forgotten mine. It was pretty funny because the police men didn't say anything at first. We learned from the other missionaries that if you just talk in english they'll go away. I think they were bored and didn't have anything to do. The funny thing is that this island is so blasted tiny so information travels so quickly. Tomiko (a member we know pretty well) told us the next day that she heard the police had stopped us.
Two weeks ago three elders left to go home, and one of them was serving in Arrak near Laura. We were invited to a kajemilok party for him, and we ate some awesome food. There was some really good sashimi. I don't know what type of fish, but it was dang good. My favorite dish was a papaya salad. It only had the green part of the papaya, and it was cut into long threads. It was mixed with lime juice and maybe a tiny bit of vinegar and then something spicy. It was amazing. They also had a big platter of red papaya chunks too, bbq ribs that were amazing, a chinese noodle dish, taro, banana balls rolled in coconut, etc. And there was a big cooler full of ice cold green coconuts. It was good food.
I love you. Thanks for your letters.
Sister Ellen Butler