I told Elder Becker going on this trip is something similar to child birth...... you might have some extreme pain and discomfort through the hours of childbirth (boat ride), but as soon as you see that wonderful creation (the island and it's people) then all that pain was so worth it. And so with this trip, as time dulled my memories of the boat, my sea sickness and the heat, what stood out to me were the GOOD memories of the island, the wonderful new friends, and inspirational and spiritual meetings. The beauty of the island beckoned to us once again.
OCTOBER 24, 2014
There were about 25 of us on the boat this time around. We had the same boat, the same crew, and a few of the same people with us. For Sister Weir, this was an entirely new experience. And that's saying a lot since she has seen some amazing things from all her travels around the mission from the Marshall Islands to Kiribati (Gilbert Islands) and to Christmas Island. I felt blessed to have three wonderful women with me from the Kwajalein District to help with the training, Annmarie Loeak, District RS President, Maria John, District YW Counselor, and Sandy Bellu, District Primary President. Just the week before I had asked the Priesthood leaders for more help for the women, and these sweet sisters stepped up to the call. Amazing!
It was our intention to start loading the boat at 6am, but it was pouring rain. So, we had just a bit of a delay as we waited for the storm to pass. After we filled the hold with goods and ice we managed to slip away from the dock at 10am (only 2 hours behind schedule). We left the rain behind us, and never saw it again! Smooth sailing all the way.
|loading the people!|
|loading the ice with Carl Kilma|
|Pres and Sister Weir on the right|
|goodbye Kwajalein Atoll!|
The boat ride this time was SMOOTH SAILING! It was so nice. And much, much better than last time. The boat engine and the waves are so loud that you can't really talk much unless you are real close, so most of that time is spent in introspection. That's what I call it. Elder Becker just calls it SLEEP. He takes the Dramamine pills and falls asleep for hours on end. Me?
|Bro. Thomas,the missionaries heading to Lae, |
Elder Barlow and Elder Whetstone, and Pres. Weir
|Sister Loeak, being the "stewardess"|
I just sit and read my Ipad, play a game or two, sing to myself, and just stare out at the endless waves. I'm not much at sleeping while traveling as it makes me more sick, so I just sit and sit and sit and wait. With the Dramamine, it's kind of a mind-numbing trance at times.
Some people enjoyed some homemade bread (pilawe),
chicken (bao) and rice, but I stuck to my peanut butter and honey sandwich. I don't have much of an appetite on the boat. Many of the islanders like to smell orange rind, as they say it helps relieve sea sickness. Once I remembered that, I pulled mine out and shared my oranges with those around me. I don't know if it helps or not, but it does smell good!
|my "spot" for the next 8 1/2 hrs! yikes, not too lady-like!|
|I did get in lots of reading!|
|these 4 brought us in, Thelma Ned, Langbata, Elder Becker, and Drebon|
|royal greeting by the locals; greeted with singing and flower leis|
|arrival feast of rice, salt fish (raw), breadfruit, sea clams, pork, coconut milk and a coconut drink|
|visiting the sisters|
|our visit with Doreen outside her home. they sat on the coral, but gave me a mat to sit on! wimp!|
|fresh coconut to drink; great knife work!|
|visiting another sister in her home|
|Sister Weir sharing her testimony after our sister visits|
|beauties! I love them all!|
|Sister Weir and some of the children|
|Young Women training with the YW leaders|
|Elder Barlow, Actson Langbata, Elder Whetstone|
|I LOVE these women! Sandy Bellu, Annmarie Loeak, me, Maria John, all from Ebeye and Sister Weir. We helped strengthen the Lae sisters through Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary trainings as well as home visits.|
|Ujae Elders Siale and Price with Elder Becker and Pres. Weir|
|walking through Ujae|
|representatives to Ujae from the District and Lae.|
|our "three-hour cruise" around the Atoll|
|walking around on Langbata's island|
|stepping foot on "Becker Island"!|
|Weirs and Beckers|
|daily afternoon volleyball game in the church courtyard|
|always looking for another shell....like mother like daughter!|
|I gave out some lice combs to the sisters|
|love these ladies!|
|Pres. Weir speaking at the Conference|
|my buddy, Steven, and the Nebo girls|
|Steven playing thumb wars with Pres. Weir|
|Training class under the trees|
|bringing in supplies from the big boat|
|Lae church grounds|
Now, it was time to say good-bye. That is always hard to do as you never know if you will be coming back. But, I have this sneaking suspicion that we will be going back in six months.
I must say, the boat ride home was a ride to remember. I do not say that lightly, nor do I say that with any degree of fondness. We were met with the typical fall storms. In fact, we were already drenched before the captain even turned over the engine. Needless to say, it was a ride we will always remember. In fact it was too wild for the men to even fish. Now I know that's rough when they can't do that. Sorry no Tuna or Mahi Mahi to bring home this time. And it was too wet and wild to even take a picture. We were just glad we MADE IT HOME in one piece. Elder Becker's description of our trip was the most accurate of all, "it felt like we were on the spin and rinse cycle in a washing machine for nine hours." We tossed and turned, were rained and sprayed on by the waves, and were wet for the entire trip. As I sat there in my solace the words of two songs kept running through my head. And then I sang them out loud since nobody could hear me any way.
Master the tempest is raging! The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o'er shadowed with blackness, No shelter nor help is nigh.
Carest thou not that we perish? How canst thou lie asleep.
When each moment so madly is threatning A grave in the angry deep?
The winds and the waves shall obey thy will: Peace, be still.
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea or demons or men or what
ever it be, No waters can swallow the ship where lies The Master of ocean
and earth and skies. They all shall sweetly obey thy will: Peace be still;
peace, be still. They all shall sweetly obey thy will: Peace, peace, be still.
I prayed and prayed and prayed that the waves and the sea would be calmed. But it did not happen. The wind did not die down and the waves kept crashing in on us. What happened instead was that I received calm in my own heart. I had the faith that Heavenly Father could calm the seas if He wanted, but that was not His will. I knew that he was with us and protecting us, and I felt comforted by that thought. Then, my thoughts began to change gears and I started singing another song in my mind. At first it came to me in Marshallese (crazy, I know!), and then I would sing it in English. Funny how prayers are answered sometimes. But, this gave me peace, especially as I thought about the words to the hymn.
Count your Blessings
When upon life's billows you are tempest-tossed, When you are discouraged,
thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings; Name them one by one. Count your blessings;
See what God hath done. Count your blessings;
Name them one by one. Count your many blessings; See what God hath done.
Bwini menin joij kajo iair! Bwini im lo bwe ej Yokwe Yuk!
Bwini im lo watok kajo iaiar, Bwini menin joij an Anij non yuk.
I have been blessed in so many ways that I will never be able to count them all. I am grateful for all the experiences and people in my life who have made my life so rich. Jerammon aolep! (Blessings to all)