Quick Update

Greetings everyone,  I just wanted to send a quick note for those wondering where I’ve been, and let you know that the internet has been down at the house and I’ve been unable to load pictures and update the blog.   When we get back online, I’ll have plenty to post!  We are wrapping up the fourth quarter here at Gem School and once I get internet connection, I’ll post all the updates.

Love you all!

 

God’s East Wind: Tsunami 2011

The more I began hearing about the details of the tsunami caused by the 8.9 magnitude  earthquake in Japan, the more I have thanked God every day.

I had set my alarm to get up at 2 a.m. to make a phone call to the states.  I got on the internet and was greeted with emails from friends and family urging me to contact them and let them know I was alive.  I was honestly in shock.  Earthquakes? Tsunami? Marshall Islands?  It was all surreal and I remember turning my head for a moment to listen for the rush, or the calm or whatever you listen for when a tsunami is barreling down on you.

I quickly began emailing to diffuse their anxieties about my well-being.  We were all sleeping, except me and my phone call, and we hadn’t heard a word about the danger.

As the days passed, the story began unfolding and my heart rejoiced more and more in our God.  The initial warning went out just a short time after the earthquake that all of Ebeye was to be evacuated.  The school administration did not inform us but were waiting, I suppose, until they absolutely had to; all the while hoping, praying and believing in God.  The police were canvassing the streets and people were preparing to evacuate. How was this going to happen?  There are sixteen thousand people on this island.  Twyla said she turned to Nobel that night, just hours before the tsunami was scheduled to hit and said, “Where are they going to take all of us?”

I doubt there are enough boats, even using those from Kwajalein, to hold all the people here.  And you need a lot more time than a few hours to transport that large of a number of people and children.  And what about family’s homes and possessions? Even if they took us out to sea, which would likely be the safest place, what would we come back to? Where would we sleep?  And all the food would be washed away. I was thinking about all these things as they were telling me how close we came to disaster.  But God was watching…

An hour before impact, the warning was lifted.  We were all still soundly sleeping.  By the time I had awakened, the danger had passed.  Nobel said the scientists had all their data and charts in front of them and they charted that the winds had shifted, which in turn, stopped the energy of the wave.  He said, “…the scientist have all their data and numbers about the East winds changing direction, and all that scientific stuff but…all I know is that God saves His people!”

I know.  I know that East wind.  They can call it whatever they like. Put a number on it and chart it in their little books. But His eyes are on the righteous and not a sparrow falls to the ground without Him knowing about it…much less sixteen thousand of the most precious people I know, the apples of His eyes.  Closer to peril than I would otherwise ever want to be, I know God and I believe in miracles.  Thank God I’m here writing this blog post to you today.  Thank God for that.  Thank God for His infinite mercy and steadfast love which never ceases.  And thank God for the friends and family and all the people who got down on their knees and prayed, because God answered them.

I just Thank God that I belong to Him.

(Edit) Update 3.14.11

I was talking to Annalise who lives on Kwajalein, about the circumstances involving the evacuation of the islands in this area. We were exchanging information and one of the interesting points she mentioned was the geography of this area.  The islands are part of the largest atoll in the world; we live on the rim of a sunken volcano.

So unlike most beaches in the world that have a slow grade rise up to sea level, we have a 100+ foot drop to the ocean floor.  Tsunamis gain their power and height as the ocean bed ‘pushes’ the mass of water up before hitting land.  But here, when the energy of the wave reached us, its power struck the 100 foot wall and dispelled around the atoll and consequently all the islands were relatively untouched.

She said the scientist and forecasters still aren’t sure what happened (funny that she mentioned that).  The tsunami did come onshore, but it was also perfect timing; low tide.  The majority of the shock was absorbed by the drop off and no damaged occurred.  Thank God!

Putting On The Roof

The church which the school is associated with (B&J Church) is building a new church on the school campus grounds.  I’ve seen it rise these past 20 months and things are going good.

One problem with undergoing construction of anything here is the issue of supply.  That really is true for anything an island nation needs – it all has to be shipped in which in turn, can delay things.  Currently, they are waiting on bolts to be made on Majuro – apparently these are backordered.

These huge wooden trusses will be lifted into place once they are all constructed and then the roof will be laid.  Until then, they are protecting them against the elements until they can be put in place and the church completed. Under the platform is a 100 gallon water catchment to be used for future school operations on the campus.  There are trailers for the teachers next year which have been purchased but not yet brought to Ebeye. Once here, they will be situated at the end of the church next to the catchment, and consequently, right on the lagoon.  It’s a good location.

A Little Art Inspiration

I love children’s art!  I always have.   When I give the kids time to create I get inspired by their work; so free, vibrant and whimsical.  Children’s art is pure.  They inspire me to create more myself and so, here is a small collection of my kids art and my own rough sketches.

And the work they’ve inspired in me:

Hooray for Crayola and copy paper!  Not much to choose from in terms of variety but the inspiration is what counts.  Thanks 4th Grade :)

Chocolaty Creamy Goodness

It was hot.  Our electricity was out and the temperature in my room was a stifling 89.8 degrees.  I had purposefully exited at around 86.4 because anything beyond that is a hazard to my emotional health.

Sitting comfortably on the couch in the library, I opened all the doors and windows to the school allowing the breeze to blow where it may.  Wasn’t much of a breeze. But I had my handy battery-operated fan and it was doing the trick.  I opened the pages of my Bonhoeffer book and feeling content, lost myself in the story for awhile.

Then it came to me…the cold, rich and creamy goodness of that chocolaty confection known as Dean’s Chocolate Milk.  I remembered.  I had left a half-quart of it on the door of the refrigerator the night before I departed for the islands.  I stared at it thinking, I should drink all of this. It will be my last for 10 months… but I could not drink another drop – it was eleven o’clock in the evening and I had already filled my belly to sheer fullness-of-joy.

Now I’m remembering it.  Like that long, haunting melody I Am Calling You, from the quirky film Bagdad Cafe…its a-calling…

I wonder if my friend Amy drank it, or tossed it out?  Dairy products are one item scarcely found on an island. It’s way too hot and too far to travel by boat that the whole delicate freshness of it is not lost somewhere after day 3 of transit.  But I miss it the most it seems.

I looked up over the rim of my book and glanced through the glass blinds to the lagoon.  I imagined what I would be doing if I were still in my old life, before God broke in and stole me away to this marvelous island and its people.  I’d be doing the boring, meticulous daily routines of that deadline oriented, high-stress job.   Here, I may be hot, hungry (only in appetite), and without certain comforts of my American Heritage, but I’m free.

So free.

I can think, move and breathe within myself with ease and joy.  It’s truly indescribable.

And I will be all the more enriched, happy and full from my experiences here when I return home.  Content knowing that just around the corner there’s pizza available, departments stores waiting and of course, Dean’s Chocolate Milk ready to be twisted open and gulped down; one chocolaty, creaming goodness at a time.  And next time, they’ll be no half-quarts left on the door of the fridge.

That is, until God calls again…