The Twelve Hour Year: 9 O’clock AM

It’s the third hour…already 9 a.m.  It’s early still, the mist is only now lifting from the surface of the path I walk upon, the sun peeking over the mountains and warming this sometimes chilled body.  The crisp morning air in my lungs gives me strength for the next stretch…and then it will be High Noon.

He’s calling to me…“And the foundation of the thresholds shook at the voice of Him who called…”

I feel a reorganization; a subtle slowdown, if only to wait on Him to show me what’s next.  Meanwhile, as my soul rests the world whizzes by me in notes, school papers, broken pencils, chalk dust, salty ocean winds, sticky fingers and blue, blue everywhere.  He is all I’ve got.  Everything I might have is because He has brought it to me, made room for me, or shared it with me.  My Friend, how you have my heart…

I have seen many wonderful things these past few hours but the price has not been cheap.  Only in losing my life do I find His…even if only for the moment.  The sun is up on this clear day and it looks to be a beautiful one at that.  There is much to do in preparation of the coming hours…not the least of which is to pray.  Pray. Pray.

Lunchtime!

I’m happy to announce that Gem School is now offering a lunchtime menu complete with snacks, drinks, soup and ice candy.  Because we have two grades which are running all day long, we didn’t want the kids to have to take a taxi home and then back to school for the afternoon classes.  Mrs. Grace put together a plan and it has worked out wonderfully.  Anything Mrs. Grace or this church puts their hands to, prospers!

The lunch consists of chicken, hotdog or ham with rice, cucumber slices and an orange slice.  I’ve had a few myself and they are really good!

We also have a fifteen minute break in the morning where the kids can get out and stretch a bit.  They have a choice of chicken or fish soup, ice candy or boiled eggs, any one just a quarter.

Other side items include a split baked potato with a slice of ham, donuts with chocolate frosting and on Fridays, popcorn!

It’s so exciting to see this school growing and such a privilege to see it happening with my own eyes.  I am so grateful to God for this opportunity to make an impact, to see a future changed for good, to be a part of someone else’s vision coming to reality.  It has so changed my perspective on life and the way I want to live out the rest of my time here on this earth.  It truly is much better to reach out and help others.

Radioactive Red Snapper Part II

I remember talking with the team and some of the pastors when we first arrived here in August.  They were talking about eating fish caught in certain parts of the lagoon and how, if you take a bite and your lips go numb, you’ve probably gotten hold of a radioactive fish that has been feeding on contaminated vegetation; at which point you should hastily spit it out and throw it away.

There are still parts of the Marshall Islands that are suffering from the affects of nuclear fallout from the 1950’s along with German Nuclear submarines that were shot down in the lagoon by military planes and then leaked out into the waters.

My friend said he knew the Red Snapper was contaminated, but that it’s so good, he ate it anyway.  The first bite numbs the tongue…if only it stopped there.  He continued eating, savoring every bite until the plate was nothing more than scattered bones.  It wasn’t long after the delectable meal that his entire body went numb and into shock.  Then the fever.  Lying in bed he tried drinking water, but it felt like burning hot coals stabbing at his throat and inside of his body on the way down.  He couldn’t move, and worse, it was excruciating to lie on the bed because everything that touched his skin, he said, felt like scorching hot needles poking him from the inside out.  The radiation from the fish was being absorbed into the tissues of his body.  He couldn’t move for two days until finally, the radiation in his body had released and he found himself able to sit up, dizzily, and drink with less pain.

If the people knew what was happening to the tissues and organs of their body, they might reconsider.  The workers who shared the Red Snapper ate knowingly as well…progress at the construction worksite ceased for two days.

The good thing is that the people know what parts of the reef not to fish for the general public and this type of fish is not sold in the market place if it’s caught in questionable parts of the island chain.  It would be considered illegal in English terms…but I’m not sure they have those kinds of written laws here.  It’s just something people don’t do.

Strange isn’t it?  The consequences we will endure to have something we want…

My son, eat honey, for it is good,

And the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.

Know that wisdom is such to your soul;

If you find it, there will be a future,

And your hope will not be cut off.

Prov 24.13.14

Radioactive Red Snapper Part I

The Marshallese are avid fishermen.  Most of their diet consists of fish and rice.  And in the outer islands, you can add coconut to that.  Twyla was telling me that sometimes, when the small planes are delayed and unable to deliver food to the outer islands, the people have to eat shaved coconut until more supplies arrive.  It can be a stressful dilemma.  Sometimes the same anxiety happens to residents on Ebeye when they run short on rice.  I remember watching the documentary of how a movie (Pirates of the Caribbean maybe?) was made on an island and the crew and director kept talking about how difficult it was to feed everyone, provide water and shelter and sanitation for around 1000 people simply because everything had to be brought in on a boat…I was like, ‘Tell me about it…”

My friend ran into some workers who had gotten their hands on some Red Snapper which is pretty rare on this chain of islands.  They offered him some of their wares and he excitedly accepted.  Whether his joy was slightly tempered or not by what he knew was the reality of eating a Red Snapper caught in this portion of the reef, I do not know.  But regardless of certain consequences, he was going to eat good tonight…

One of the larger catches fished in these waters is the Marlin.  The fishermen can get a fairly good wage out of selling one of these big fish to the local fish market here on the island.  There are not many shell fish that come through here.  Every now-and-then you’ll see a crab for sale and sometimes little baby octopi.  They are served cold.  I’m not sure if they are cooked…they don’t cook their fish which generally reflects the Asian influence of the Japanese whose customs were intertwined with Marshallese culture.

Then probably the biggest would be shark.  I’ve not seen shark caught by fishermen yet but Nyasha did last year.  What did they use for bait, you ask?  Oh, you really don’t want to know, I promise.  But somehow, they lured the shark in and pulled it out of the blue waters about a hundred yards from my house.  The lagoon is infested with sharks.  If they could find a way to ship them to China efficiently, they could probably make some big bucks.  Or maybe that’s illegal…

But, back to the fish, namely, the Red Snapper.  My friend had secured a rather tasty meal for that night.  Happily he prepared it; then happily he ate it.  He knew he shouldn’t have.  He knew what was going to happen to his body in the hours to follow.  But the craving of good fish meat trumped his better judgment, and so he ate.

Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy,

Do not desire his delicacies,

For he is like one who is inwardly calculating.

“Eat and drink!” he says to you,

But his heart is not with you.

Prov 23.8.9