Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014,

Greetings from Ajeltake

Sister Chamings and I had such a good week.  Sister Chamings did get strep throat and we were inside for a couple of days, but somehow we still got a lot done.  On Saturday we had a baptism.  Our investigator named Hersey (think of the chocolate) got baptized.  She's 15 and her parents go to a protestant church and they weren't so happy about her getting baptized at first, but they've slowly warmed up to us.  On Thursday morning we went over to their house and did yard work with Hersey's mom.  We raked up breadfruit leaves and collected fallen coconuts.  Do you know that noni stuff that people drink that is supposed to make you really healthy?  Well, those trees are everywhere and the fruit falls off when it gets overripe and it smells disgusting.  The Marshallese call it "nin." Anyway, we raked up those too.  It was good to work with her and also get to talk to her some about the church.  She said that her brother is a member and he wants her to go to church.  Hersey's parents were going to come to the baptism but they didn't end up coming.  The baptism was really nice though and we actually only started 15 minutes late, which is unheard of here.  I think we won some brownie points from the branch president that wants things to actually start on time.

The craziest thing that happened this week is that a couple we've been teaching got married. Normally it takes a couple of months to get a couple married, and the date usually gets pushed back a few times.  Well, we talked to them on Monday evening about marriage and asked them to set a date before we met again.  We studied on Wednesday and they informed us that they would be getting married on Sunday.  We were so surprised.  We had heard from the second counselor in the branch presidency that there was going to be a wedding on Sunday, but we didn't know who....Danny and Mato live in Lomajurok, the place where a whole bunch of recent converts live.  Anyway, it was pretty funny because we figured out that almost everyone knew they would be getting married before we knew about it.  The wedding was in one of the member's houses in Lomajurok and we had flashlights hanging from the ceiling so we could have light (because no one has electricity there). After the wedding we ate pork and rice.  Danny had killed the pig earlier in the day.  It was dang good.  

Sister Chamings and I sang at the baptism and then the next day right before church the branch president asked us to sing again in sacrament meeting.  It went okay, I guess but we started a little low.  Luckily I can sing a little low, and I'm glad I was able to hit the notes and that they weren't too low.  

What else is new?  Oh, we tried some of our tuna we bought last week.  I just rubbed a little salt and curry powder on the fish and fried it in a little oil.  It was really pretty good.  We were surprised.  We think we might eat the rest of the fish that way.  We're pretty sure it was a 10 lb. bag of tuna.  for $5.  

Okay, I think that's about it.  Stay warm.

Sister Butler

Saturday, October 25, 2014

October 20, 2014, Small Meat

I am finally feeling better and up and working again. The medicine seemed to help a lot and I'm happy to not be stuck in the house everyday.  It's so nice to go out working with Sister Chamings everyday.  Sister Chamings got her RMI driver's license and she's getting pretty good at driving on the right side of the street.  I love not having to drive all the time and she really enjoys driving, so it's a good mix.  I've discovered I really don't enjoy driving.  It's not hard but it's just not that fun.  I knew it all along.

Sister Chamings is great. She's really good at planning and since English is her first language we can plan and discuss things easily together.  We work smarter and don't overly exhaust ourselves.  She also is really good with making plenty of time for meals in our schedule, so we're happier and don't feel as rushed.  We've been cooking a lot more and we've had spaghetti and mashed potatoes and lentil soup (Sister Chaming's favorite....she requested it again this week) and tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches and other yummy things this week.  Sister Chamings is really funny and her humor reminds me a bit of my friend Ingrid sometimes.  I've learned a lot more about Australia too.  I hope I work with her until the end of my mission.  I should be able to work with her until the end if I stay in Ajeltake, because I know she's going to be in Ajeltake for a long time.  I think I'll stay.  I hope so.

Everything is going well with our investigators.  We're mostly just trying to get people married right now. Most all of the couples are excited and happy to get married, they just need to feel some sort of urgency to actually do it.  So, we try to set marriage dates with them so they can do the necessary preparations.  There's a couple that's been trying to get married for a number of weeks now and one of them doesn't want food at the wedding and the other one does, and so I said to the one that doesn't want food at the wedding, "well, I know you know that food isn't important but if so-and-so wants food then you guys should probably make's his wedding too." Hopefully they can make a decision and move forward.

We had Stake conference yesterday.  When we got there we wondered why there were so few people in the stake center and we then realized they had split the conference into two sessions because we could barely fit last time.  So we only had conference with the west side, so Laura, Ajeltake, and Long Island.  It was much nicer with fewer people...but it was still Stake conference.  So long.  It was nice to see people from Laura there.

We had a fun adventure in town today.  We had heard that there's a place where you can get a good sized bag of cut up tuna chunks for 5 dollars.  We kind of knew where the place was, but not exactly. We went into one building that was a fish company and luckily Sister Chamings knew the guy that worked at the front desk.  He was just getting off work and so he walked us over to the place....well, we ended up kind of near a warehouse by a fishing dock where I'm pretty sure no americans (or women) ever go to buy fish.  I think they wondered how we knew about the place.  They call the bags "small meat" and I don't think they really advertise it.  Anyway, luckily we knew Marshallese and so we weren't just dumb Americans/Australians and we walked away with a nice bag of "big eye" tuna. We're going to divide it up into smaller bags when we get home. But for now it's in a fridge, don't worry.

Sister Butler

October 13, 2014, Parasites and Chickens and Bears, Oh My

Holy P cow, I finally have a little time to email.  We were in the ER from noon until 8 pm. Shoot me now. Most of the time I just got an IV, which was great (I'm serious), to hydrate me. Dr. Ackley is great. He said that I shouldn't worry that I feel like I'm sick and that I'm going to get stuck on this island...he's a good doctor, he studied at "top medical schools in the US" and that the help I'll get is no different than if I was in the US. He's pretty sure I have an amoeba (well, lots of them I guess) because he says there are three things that cause diarrhea here: viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Anyway my symptoms all lead to the last ones. I also have some new pills he gave me that I'll be taking for the next 5 days.

The hospital was freezing and they didn't have any blankets but finally someone found me a sheet I could wrap up in. I took Sister Chamings with me (my new comp) and she kept me sane the whole time. She's got a great Australian accent (born and grew up in Adelaide and then moved to Cairns) and she sang me songs and told me stories, and we played games. At one point I was afraid they were going to kick us out for being loud...that would have been nice because we were so cold. The nurse came with us too. It's 9:20 pm and we're in Long Island at one of the senior couple's apartments.  We're going to either sleep here or go over to the sisters' apartment next door and sleep there. We still have to do our laundry and shopping since nothing got done today. Don't worry about me!  I'm feeling loads better. IVs are great things.

Love you.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

October 6, 2014, I Only Have 10 Weeks Left

Greetings from Ajeltake,

Transfers are this Wednesday and my new companion will be Sister Chamings. She's short, white, and from Australia. My first non-islander companion, which will be new. She's been out on the mission for about a year now. I'm excited to work with her. Changes are always good. Hopefully she drives so we can share that responsibility.

I only have 10 weeks left.  I think I'm getting ready to come back.  Maybe that's because we're hanging out with Sister Crane and Sister Tofa today and they leave on Wednesday.  Sister Samuel left yesterday. We went to the airport to say goodbye to her before church.

I've been so tired recently. I stayed home one day while Sister Notise and Shimiko worked and then I worked the next day, and then I stayed home the next day...I took a big nap on Saturday before the baptism and that helped a lot. I never really felt that bad, I just need to take a little time to rest and not work myself too hard.

Lunch on Friday: Canned tuna, rice, and coconut
On Saturday evening Seiko got baptized. It was a really nice evening. I always enjoy baptisms because as frustrating as the work can be at times (or as tired as I am of companions) the baptisms are always nice and we feel like we're actually doing something.

At the baptism
Yesterday we did a split with a couple of the YW and then we went down to Lomajurok to meet up with the others.  We found them down on the beach by the lagoon and we hung out there for a while.  It's always low tide at night so we hung out and played the ukulele and pretended to dance Marshallese dances and drank coconuts.  The moon was full but the clouds were partially covering it so everything kind of glowed.  The evenings here are the best.

Chilling on the beach
Thanks for the package, mom and dad.  The dried fruit and nuts have been great.  I also got the photos.  I'm going to make copies and keep those ones safe.

Okay, that's about it.  Love you all.  Tootles.