Holy P cow. It's already August. I think I'm leaving the islands on. That's the plan as of right now. I gain a day coming back so I'll either arrive on the 17th or the 18th. Not sure. It depends how long I'm stuck in Hawaii and a million other places along the way.
Sister Boutu and I had a really great week. We found more people to study with and most of them are progressing. Most of them are women who's husbands/boyfriends are less active (either because they haven't gotten married yet or they smoke and drink and chew betelnut-- disgusting stuff). The women are all really interested and are helping to bring their boyfriends back to the church. We had a lot of people come to church yesterday, which was really great. Granted, most of them left after Sacrament Meeting but it's hard to get most of the members to stay for more than that too.
In the evening we had a Relief Society devotional/fireside. It was good but way too long. We had been at the church all day (because we have church at 1 and then we had to prep for the fireside), and so we were starving by evening. Luckily Lerutia brought us a big bowl of chicken and rice, along with the donuts and soup as refreshments. They always make donuts and soup or donuts and gravy for refreshments. The soup is mostly rice, fish, a few carrots and celery, and coconut milk. it's pretty good, except that there are always a lot of fish bones in it. When I was in Lae someone made a really yummy corned beef gravy to eat with donuts. Mmm, so good. And so full of grease.
I got the package last Monday. Thanks! The chocolate survived, and so did the stuff for making S'mores. Thank you so much. We made the S'mores at the Kiribati family's house on Thursday night. We waited until the tide went out and then we made a little fire on the beach using coconut husks and shells. For skewers we used the ribs of individual coconut leaves. The smores were yummy.
I think I told you about the man we're studying with that goes to SDA. This week we started studying with his wife. We'll see how things go with them.
What else...there are so many drunks in Jenrok. A lot of them supposedly make a drink with water, sugar, and yeast and drink that to get drunk because it's cheaper than alcohol. All of them want to study with us, or talk to Sister Boutu because she's hot stuff. All of them call her "likatu in kiribati" meaning "pretty girl of kiribati." There are also a lot of Kiribati in Uliga and Jenrok. Boutu finds new cousins and aunts all the time that she never even knew existed. Everyone knows everyone in Micronesia.
Have you guys seen the "my family" book that the church recently made? It's to help people fill out a 4 generation pedigree chart. Family history is near impossible here because there are no records. But most everyone lives with extended families, so at least 3 generations live together. We're trying to do FHEs with members and to help them fill out the book. They should at least be able to get to their grandparents names, and if they live with their parents or grandparents they should be able to go back farther too. When you meet a Marshallese person you always ask them what islands they're from. Usually they list off 4 outer islands where each of their grandparents are from. It's really important to them which island their from. And there are jokes about each one. If you're from Jaluit, you talk way too much...etc
Sister Ellen Butler