We made a quick touch down in Majuro. On our descent I snapped a photo of a rainbow that was showing through the clouds; a good sign, a covenant sign. As I stood up to deplane, I thought, I’m practically on the equator now. In a little less than five hours I went from Wednesday to Thursday and nearly half way across the northern hemisphere. By taking one step at a time with Him, I have managed to step myself across the Pacific ocean. God can take you places.
I met one of Pastor Philip’s friends, Elmer. He had some kind of dried fruit root (I think!) and it is was a lot like our potato chips. It was very good.
We touched down on Kwaj, the U.S. Military base, about 41 minutes after departing Majuro. Once we went through immigration, we were met with the Marshallese from the church and they had little flower head bands and necklaces for us. It was a warm welcome. I got to meet and talk with Pastor Hone and Mrs. Grace his wife and assistant principal of the school. We picked up our luggage and headed for an American eatery and then on to the check point to Ebeye.
Final Destination: Ebeye
We took Pastor Hone’s speed boat from Kwaj and headed toward Ebeye. We were in anticipation of our new home that God had called us too. We passed smaller islands along the way and the water frequently turned from deep turquoise to icy blue as the reef shallows around the island shores.
Upon arrival, the boat was slowly drifting into port and I saw a familiar scene of the kids playing on the beach in the lagoon. They were using boogie boards on the sand much like we would use sleds in the snow. We stepped off the boat and into a very hot van. But the good thing is, I was expecting the outdoor heat to be as stifling as it was in that closed up van – I was happy to discover that the weather here, though no doubt hot, is not stifling. The Marshallese kept saying to me “this is a very hot day”. Praise God because if this is a very hot day, it is still better than I had expected. My body is adjusting easily to the climate. My soul is comfortable. This is God’s grace working on an individual.
We began driving down the street on the lagoon side of the island. It was lined with palm trees and other tropical vegetation as well as vacant, broken down structures. Alongside some of the more dilapidated looking structures were some very well kept properties; the street was quaint and the homes and hangouts within very close proximity. Some homes were more like tin shelters thrown together, others were actual houses that were painted.
There were hangout places where I saw groups of people sitting on window ledges or leaning against the porch banisters smoking and talking. Some were strolling slowly down the street. (On a hot, humid island the best way to move is to stroll.) There is a slower, less energetic feel to it all. Until the real life of this island make their way up to you…
And when they do, it’s never less than two of them at a time…the children. Like little butterflies they come fluttering about, curious and bubbly, chattering to one another as they invite themselves to walk along with you wherever you’re going.
As we made our way to church Thursday night, a group of them appeared and playfully accompanied us along the dark path from our houses to the church. For the most part I could only hear them, their high pitched voices speaking their native Marshallese. But sometimes, through the palm branches, the street lights would catch the sides of their little faces and I’d see them checking on my progress along the path; with the twinkle of a brighter future in their eyes.