Friday, May 29, 2015


May 28, 2015

It's hard to believe that it's almost the end of May.  I was looking and noticed only one blog for this month so we'll try to throw something together.  As usual I will let VaLynne fill in the details and I will show some pictures.  She is much better than I am with words.

As you know by now, along with all of our other assignments, we have been helping in the humanitarian effort as much as possible. Although most areas are now have water and are able to capture and store rainwater, I still have the opportunity to carry water sometimes to people who have the need.  Last week when we were taking water to one house, we came across a youth service project.  They were clearing this area to plant a garden.

One of these days, the food supplies that the Church, Government, and other agencies have been able to provide are going to run out so everyone is trying to plant as much as they can as soon as they can. one of the problems is getting enough seeds

It' a lot of work, but they were having fun doing it.  The one in the blue cap just returned from his mission.  He speaks Bislama of course and is very fluent in English.  He went to French school, so when he was called to the Canada, Montreal mission you would think he would have spoken French. Not so.  He learned Spanish for his mission.

We wanted to spend the rest of the day helping our friend Mauriella work on her house.  On the way we took a detour to an area above the city and had quite a nice view.  Sometimes a picture just isn't good enough, but it really was beautiful.

When we arrived, we got to see them preparing Lap Lap.  It's kind of the national dish here and they have quite an elaborate preparation process.  I won't take time to describe it but you can find it on you tube.  I will say that underneath all that is a concoction wrapped in banana leaves cooking on coals.

The men were busy pouring concrete

This is Mauriella's daughter.  She has been accepted to BYU Hawaii and we are all excited for her

It looks good, but there is still a lot of finish work to do.  

Finally.  Almost dark.  Time for lap lap.   It was a great way to spend our "P" day

John Bennion is the FM manager here and is the driving force behind a lot of what we do.  He knows where and how to purchase, store, deliver and organize.  I rely on him for a lot of guidance because he has been here for a long time and knows the ins and outs, and the customs and people.  He has kept me from making many mistakes I would have made because of my lack of local knowledge.  Besides all that, he and his wife Kula are good friends and neighbors.

Thankfully there are still food and clothing supplies coming in.  This is how you who are contributing to the Vanuatu humanitarian effort are doing so much good. Many of you have asked what you could do to help. The best way is to donate to the Church and let those that know how do the buying and shipping.  Once it gets here we know what to do with it

Break time

A big part of our humanitarian assignment now is trying to find where and for whom we can do the most good.  I spend a lot of time now with Branch Presidents looking at what has been done and how very much more there is to do.  Once we have identified the areas we want to concentrate most on, we will meet with the village Chiefs or Councils and work with them to help as many people as we can.

Last Saturday, I was in Etas.  You may remember Etas from the pictures from the day after Pam.

This was the school then

And now.  One day we hope to be able to rebuild this school, but first come food, shelter and water.

The concrete pad is where their house used to be.

This is Branch President Hilliman with two of the widows of the neighborhood.  The one on the right lives in the house in the rear.  Once again, you can see where the original house was because of the cleared area

I like taking pictures of our friends here because I know after we leave we may not have an opportunity to return and I never want to forget them

Amid all the turmoil, life goes on.  This is Sarah and her newborn.  When I saw the baby, I immediately named him George. (I call everyone George.  That way I don't forget their names)  I was informed that George is a girl.  Oh well, Georgina I guess

Of course you know I can't resist

This was the Presbyterian Church.  Another rebuild project.

Always handy to have an "out" house

Another day I went with President Henry Basil to Erakor.  He took me to see the former Erakor Chapel.  They grew out of this one three or four years ago and built the one that we call the "miracle
 Chapel".  It's the bush chapel that survived Pam perfectly intact when all the area around was heavily damaged

Show a former High Counselor a pulpit and he has to say something

I looked through the trees and saw someone carving on this big tree.  It looked like he was building a canoe so I had to go investigate.  It turns out I was right.  I asked him how long it would take to finish it and he said two or three days.  Then I asked how long he had been working on it and he said about two weeks.  I was amazed.  Three weeks from tree to water.  I asked if he was going to sell it and he said "no, I'm going fishing".  This President Basil with John and his wife and daughter

  It turns out that John was the first member to be baptized in Erakor.  It was in 1979 when he was 13 years old.  We had a great visit and he showed me all around explaining the different trees, plants and lots of other stuff.  I won't remember all of it but it was a lot of fun learning.

The stadium is almost gone

We were coming home one night and noticed this.  We thought it might be just a little early to start our Christmas shopping until we realized that it is the middle of the Winter here.  Oh well, Merry Christmas 

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