On Saturday, around 7:30 in the morning, I went out to the coastline behind the construction of the new church building. It was quiet and there were no people or children around. It was a great place to spend time in prayer. After awhile I heard some snorting around in the bushes and a big hairy pig popped out with her little pink piglet. The sight made me laugh. They snorted around along the coastline and then piggy’d on out of sight. An hour or so later I still hadn’t seen a single person until this little figure came walking around the corner of the church. I made a quick glance and it was a small boy, about 7 years old. He came over and gave me a big smile then said something in Marshallese. I said, Do you speak English? But he did not. So I pointed out over the ocean at a boat and said ‘boat’. He smiled and said ‘lon’ similar to ‘lawn’. I said ‘Attom’, which was asking him what his name was in Marshallese. He said, Colin. Then I drew some pictures in the sand with rocks, a broken off aluminum can and a dried bandana tree branch and he laughed. He was a quiet one, and really just wanting to come sit near me, perhaps curious but not acting so much so. I was thinking, God you’ve brought me someone, what would you like me to do Lord? Always stay open, always listen because you never know. I asked him about Jesus, God and praying but he couldn’t understand. He also held his stomach like he had a belly ache. About this time several children, one of them was my little Miko Rowa, came running across the open church building and were talking and flittering about, throwing things around and laughing. A stark contrast from my quiet visitor. I proceeded back home and Colin tried speaking to me again in Marshallese without success. But I prayed for him. I thought to myself, God will be bringing him by again.
(the glasses have chilled coconuts on them, the milk inside to be poured into the glass and enjoyed)
Monday night we celebrated Pastor Hone’s birthday. What a good time – the Marshallese (at this church anyway) know how to throw a party. Balloons and music and dancing, and food, food, food. Little crabs, steak, chicken, hot dogs all bbq’d on the grill and tons of other things which I passed on…I’ve tried some things that I had no idea what they were. I prefer to pass. Amen! There were a few hundred people there with kids running everywhere. My students would pick me out of the crowd (really, it’s not that hard to spot a green polka-dotted giraffe, or at least, that’s what it feels like being a white person on this island) and they’d run up and begin chatting. I was busy with taking pictures and trying to make my way through the crowds of kids surrounding me when I turned to my right and noticed a familiar face. It was Colin. He had made his way over after hearing the party (because I don’t think his parents attend our church) and was mingling with the crowds.
(Colin is on the left – I’m unsure who the other kid is.)
I looked at him directly and said ‘Colin’. He smiled and gave a wave. I will be praying for this kid for sure. God has a purpose. We’ll see what unfolds in this precious life. Amen!
Last Saturday I noticed a huge ship anchored off the coast of the lagoon side. It was dark gray and I assumed it was a U.S. Navy vessel. But word gets around the island and I found out it was a ship with doctors that had come to the island.
The doctors are all volunteering their services and their time. There were 2 medical doctors, two dentists and one eye doctor. I was talking with one of the church deacons Monday night about it during a fellowship dinner. He travels quite extensively and he said that no matter what the disaster, he has noticed that the U.S. was always the first to be there and offer aid. And he noted how, when listening to the U.S. news, they rarely report good things that America takes part in. I agreed.
Thursday night I got a phone call instructing us to take our third grade class to the medical center on Friday – the doctors were going to give our children medical exams. Hallelujah!! Praise God for His faithfulness and the willingness of the medical crew to volunteer their time and expertise. All the third grade classes on the island could see the doctors on Friday.
When we got there Friday morning, people and children were everywhere. Lines were backed up in front and in back of the center. The children were priority so we did move through fairly quickly. Mrs. Gracie asked me to ask the doctor if they would also see our fourth graders. Dr. Grigsby. She was the medical doctor. Very enthusiastic and ready to help. She said to bring them right after lunch. I knew Mrs. Gracie was out in the lobby walking and praying. I gave her the news – our fourth graders are in!
Most all of my kids got a clean bill of health. Though the doctors instructed me to be sure and teach on physical fitness and diet. I was ready having brought some instructional material from the states. The dentist, Dr. Garza, pulled me aside and said they had just come from the Philippines. In the villages, where the teachers were more proactive, the students had less cavities. He said they had their students brush everyday while they were at school. I told him we could do that.
On our way home, all my kids had there ‘shades’ on from the eye doctor visit. He gave them all sunglasses. They were all walking down the street looking like cool cats. God is so good…
I just wanted to show you some pictures of my kids! I have a total of 17 third graders. The new building is still not ready yet. Construction on the fourth grade class room will be completed at the end of September. Then I will move into my building which Trecie is now using for her fourth grade class.
Little Miko with an ice candy. I’ve been teaching them that sugar is bad for their teeth – among other things. But we have plenty of fun while we learn.
Taylor and Robby having fun in front of the camera.
It’s getting late so I better wrap up. We made it to Kwajalein today (ahhh, Subway sandwiches and pizza) so I have a ferry to catch at 8:00. Best be on my way!
I went to the sauna today. Actually I didn’t have to go anywhere…I had one right in my room:). Somehow, the breaker blew out when we hooked up a little washing machine outside to do our clothes and the a/c went out around 12:30. Shew…87 degrees, 90,92.8, all they way to 93.4 and I stopped looking. I sweat out all kinds of impurities I’m certain. Lol!! I was listening to the word. By the end of the message, the bright idea to hook the a/c up to the outlet on the side of the house that was working came to me…two hours and 10 degrees later… Praise God anyhow! So it worked. Then 5 minutes later, the electric guys came and fixed it. I considered it a nice little sauna. My skin is smooth and refreshed…glory.
The washing machine was quite interesting and a nifty little thing. It’s made of plastic with a powerful motor and it washed my clothes just fine. We had to do the rinsing part. Now that’s hard work! But at least we didn’t have to do the washing part too. Then we hung them out to dry. Ah, our clothes smelled so good hanging out to dry. But I won’t mislead, that was hard work.
I had my first full day of classes today. The kids are so smart! And they really try so hard and it shows. They are so cute. I have one little one called Miko and she is precious. They all are but she’s just the tiny one in the bunch so I watch out for her. I really had them working too and they hung right in there. We had some fun games because after all, they are third graders. But Ms. Ashley doesn’t play when it comes to learning. These young men and women work hard and God is rewarding them. We’ve been working on not being afraid to speak out even if the answer that is given is wrong and they are responding favorably. They will speak out and even come to the front of the room and participate, confident that even if they are wrong, they are in a learning, critical-free environment and they will get the correct answer to remember for next time. That’s one of the main areas we work on with the Marshallese, confidence and self-esteem knowing that their God is with them and that they can do all things through Christ. It’s awesome to see them growing and stretching and becoming all they can be in God. Amen!
New York is an island. Ebeye is an island. The similarities are a bit curious. People never sleep on this island. I’m still trying to figure out when they actually go to bed. The taxies run all night from one end of the island to the other. Of course Ebeye doesn’t have a Starbucks on every corner block…yet. They party all night long sometimes. Huge parties! One night Lenka and I were out talking to one of the praise leaders and he pointed to a boat just off the shore from our house – it was launching out into the midnight blue and he said they were going fishing and they would return in the morning with a load of fish to cook and prepare for the next evening’s church fellowship.
Wow what a party! There were a dozen varieties of fresh fish (which the Marshallese cook and serve whole, head, eyes, teeth and fins) vegetables, rice and all manner of food. The party started about 10:00 pm and didn’t end until 5:00am in the morning. Good times on an island I call Little New YorkJ
I found out some very important information today. I was talking with Twyla (Mrs. Grace’s daughter and the kinder teacher) about dress codes for the island and I pointed out a woman who had a low cut shirt on, I said ‘her shirt comes down pretty far…’ and Twyla said ‘oh, she’s not saved or in church that’s why’. Then we both laughed out loud ‘cause I was about ready to make my caseJ Anyway, she said the Queen of Ebeye will chase after people like that woman if she sees them in the street wearing that kind of dress and tear their clothes. I was like, What!?! My God, I can’t imagine what I would do. And there’s no where to hide on this island either. Wake up, come out one morning with a cup of coffee and a shirt cut to low and suddenly, the Queen is coming after YOU. Shew, better cast that anxiety down…
There are some palm branches hanging over our path way we use to walk to church and to get to town. At the ends of the palm leaves, there are flies that hang there after dark. It’s intriguing. They just hang upside down at the tips of the leaves. You have to be careful not to disturb them or you have a huge swarm of flies everywhere. This morning as we were all working on cleaning the school and getting everything ready for tomorrow, I decided to go trim the branches back. Have you ever tried to cut though a palm branch? With a pair of plastic school scissors? ANYWAY, as I was pruning, an older lady walked out of a house smiling real big at me and then stopped in her little walkway and stared, expressionless. I followed the branch across and realized it was her palm tree I was cutting up! So I smiled real big and said, “I’m giving it a haircut”. (Jesus help me, in Jesus name…) So she walked on. I made a few more clips and went back inside. On my way back to the church later that morning, I noticed the whole palm branch was trimmed back and the walkway was completely cleared. She had cut them back for me. The Marshallese are some of the most thoughtful people. I am just now getting to know them and already they hold a very special place in my heart.
Apparently, now is the summer season. There are so many Marshallese that are saying how hot it is. Thank God this is about as bad as it gets…because as I said before, I thought it would be worse. The rains and the wind are coming sometime in September/October so they say. And things will cool down. That’s nice. It’s about 86.6 degrees in my room with the a/c on. But that’s pretty comfortable…outside it’s hotter but the winds blow from time to time so it’s bearable. It’s that direct equator sun that can heat things up – and even give someone as pale as me a nice little tan in less than 6 days J I believe it’s all in how you think about things and praying in the spirit. Time with God is the key to success.
The food is interesting. It’s some of the same foods as we have in the states but prepared differently and with different textures. Fresh fish, chicken, rice and noodles. The store has mostly American canned goods. And most all of them expire within a few weeks. The same products expire within years in the states. We have to watch the exp date closely. If we take the ferry over to Kwajalein island there is a small American eatery there that sells hamburgers and stuff. I haven’t tried it yet but hopefully it is good. I may need a big greasy burger soon to comfort my soul, lol. There is a fresh fish market on the dock. I haven’t been there yet.
The island in some ways is like a small town. Here I have to answer the door. It’s almost like a pastor’s job. There’s no end or beginning to it no matter how late it is; it’s not about my nap time. Amen. It’s a different lifestyle to get used to. Always on call. At the same time, it’s comforting. It reminds me of simpler times where if you wanted to say hello, you would knock on your neighbor’s door instead of calling on the phone. It takes about 1 minute to walk to church. If church starts at 7:30, I can leave at 7:30 and make it on time. Hehee…I find that amusing.
The helps ministry is…well I can’t even think of a word to describe it. Anointed, that’s all I can say. There are people everywhere in the ministry ready and willing to help with anything, anytime. Lots of anointed helping hands blessing people everywhere they go. Praise the Lord!