Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 8, 2014, My Driver's License Looks Fake--It's Got a Coconut Tree On It

Greetings from Ajeltake,

I finally got my Marshall Islands drivers license last week.  We drove into town on Tuesday with the zone leaders (the west side zone leaders are the elders that work in Ajeltake) and when we got to the police station, they told us to come back at 1 PM. So we went and got lunch while we waited. The whole process took way too long and I don't think we got back to Ajeltake until almost 4pm, so just in time to pick up kids for seminary. My drivers license looks pretty fake.  It's got a coconut tree on it.

The most exciting thing that happened this week is that we got a new branch presidency yesterday, because our old branch president moved to Delap (town).  Our new branch president is...Elder Robison, a ripelle (American) that's one of the senior missionaries.  He and Sister Robison were assigned to work in the Ajeltake branch.  We were all surprised and at first I wasn't sure how the Marshallese people would react to having a white guy as their branch president, but now I think it'll actually be good.  Ajeltake is still a branch, and it's the only branch on the island, so we're trying to make it into a ward.  Elder Robison is going to help and teach the leaders.  His two counselors both got baptized this year and they don't really know what they're doing yet.  So I think it's going to be good.  The Robisons are only here until December, so he'll be the branch president for just a short time.  I think the elders and sisters will be able to work more closely with him, since he knows what to do as a branch president.

I emailed president weir today and asked if I can stay in Ajeltake for the rest of my mission. Hopefully he says yes! We ate some good food this week.  mostly rice and fish, but that's always good.  Johnty, Neitaak's husband, is really good at fishing so we've requested to eat turtle and shark in the next few weeks.  And dog, but you don't need to go fishing for that.  I'm planning on making some pumpkin bread and banana bread this week, if I can get a pumpkin and a bunch of bananas.  I like working on the green side of the island.  

We got permission to switch houses with the elders again (it's a long story) but we're not sure what we want to do.  The other house is really big and nice, and has a super nice kitchen.  But the little house has hot water.  Hot showers have been really nice.

Driving down the Ajeltake road is fun.  You have to dodge coconuts, potholes, and dogs.  Some of the dogs are so stupid and love to chase cars. They crouch down and right when you drive past they start running and barking at the tires.  I'm so worried I'm going to hit one.  They're so stupid.  I haven't had too much of a problem with the pigs. They stay to the sides of the streets.  The chickens are pretty speedy and careful to get off the road. I've definitely run over some crabs and a mouse or two.  

We're studying with a woman named Charlene, and the elders are studying with her husband.  They have plans to get married within the next two weeks and then get baptized.  We weren't sure if he'd be ready to get baptized when she would, because we knew he smoked, but the elders told us that Charlene gave him a pamphlet about the Word of Wisdom and he read it and kajju (straightaway) threw away smoking.  Pretty cool.  We're excited to have them get baptized on the same day.  It's pretty normal to have the elders study with the men, and the sisters with the women, but I've also studied with men.  Men that actually want to study are always very respectful and we usually make fun of each other and they always make us yummy food.  

We see the elders a lot in Ajeltake, since there's only one road.  It's nice that we have a shared area. It's normal to drive past them as we're going to different lessons, or to have them drive behind us at night with their brights on just to annoy us.  They made fun of me a lot when I was driving pretty slowly at first, but now we can keep up with them.  I can now also officially pass other cars, although it's not my favorite thing to do.  

Okay, I think that's it. Love you all. Tootles,

Sister Butler

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