Sunday, September 28, 2014

Goodbye Sister Ale

Whew!  Another crazy wonderful week on Palau!

Monday morning started out with Elder Carter inspecting the missionaries’ apartments and continued with a bunch of cleaning at our own apartment and visiting a couple of the “tourist” shops looking for treasures. We stopped for a few minutes at Long Island Park to talk with missionaries and members as we enjoyed Sister Ale's last preparation day on Palau.
Sister Ale & Delilah

Part of the crowd

Maria & Elder Malais

Sister Ale, Esther, Maria

We arrived at Palau Community College just a few minutes before 7:00 P.M. to prepare a classroom for the young single adult family home evening.  As the clock struck 7:00 we stared at each other for a while and wondered if anyone would attend. 
Catching a nap

Where is everyone?
About 15 or 20 minutes later the students began to arrive—all except the one who was to give the lesson.  Another student offered to give the lesson and did a great job teaching the 10 Commandments and the importance of living them.  We had a getting-to-know-you snowball fight and finished off with Rice Krispie treats.  Attendance was greater than the previous week, and to help matters for next week, we changed the start time to 7:30.  Let’s hope that helps!
Ready to start

Careful listeners

Reading the "snowballs"

Good guess

Finishing the game

After FHE treats

Elder Striplin serving treats

Everyone loves Rice Krispie treats

Last ones out
The Relief Society president had asked Sister Carter to teach how to lead music at the monthly activity Tuesday night.  The sisters brought a wonderful meal to share and since it was Sister Ale’s last day in Palau, they celebrated her dedicated service here. 
Sister Ale and Marjorie

Sister Ale & Maria

Jordan & Bree


Sister Talakai & Sister Ale


Sister Purcell & Sister Muller

Angie holding Scarla's baby

Relief Society sisters

We love our Relief Society!

Joanny, Sister Ale, Jenny, Kali, & Jordan
Rain had fallen throughout the day, but when we met for Relief Society we heard cracks of thunder and saw a couple of rare lightning strikes.  In the middle of dinner, the power went out, so someone turned on their car headlights and directed them into the chapel while a few others used cell phones to brighten the room.  Sister Carter happily determined that a lesson in the dark wasn’t a good idea and we all chatted for the balance of the evening.  The power remained off until everyone hustled to their cars in the pouring rain.

All the missionaries gathered at our apartment Tuesday evening to say farewell to our sweet, dedicated Sister Ale as she completes her mission.  We ate giant portions of peach cobbler and ice cream before Sister Ale answered all of the “going home” questions and enjoyed the aroma of all the leis created for her.  She left in the middle of the night for Guam and should be home in time to read this blog entry not long after it’s posted.  We miss you Sister Ale!
The sisters are late

Sister Purcell & Elder Malais

Waiting for Sister Ale--after a long day

Sister Talakai, Sister Ale, Sister Muller

What a smile!

Lots of flowers

Reading a question

Explaining an answer

Sister Ale on camera

Elder Bush & Elder Murdoch

Have to think about that one!


Sister Talakai

Learning a lot

A tough one

Relaxed listeners

Ready for more

All done

The Palau Zone

Beautiful sisters & crazy elders

Leaving our apartment

Almost a hug!

We love you Sister Ale!

A tearful goodbye

Wednesday seemed a little strange with Sister Ale gone, which meant that Sister Muller returned to just “Rolmi” again.  Her full-time missionary service ended the same time as Sister Ale.  All of us were stunned to learn that President Zarbock will not be sending new missionaries to Palau this transfer.  That means that Sister Purcell and Sister Talakai will serve together in Meyuns, Elder Malais and Elder Murdoch remain in Airai, and Elder Striplin and Elder Bush will serve in Midtown AND Topside.  How strange to have no sisters live in the apartment below us now!

Sister Carter refuses to believe that Wednesday night was her last Seminary class.  Seminary is cancelled October 1st for Independence Day and all the activities, but she’s still looking for reasons to gather her students together at least once more before we leave.

With the big “no transfer” call Wednesday night, Sister Purcell and Sister Talakai spent a while Thursday morning cleaning the extra apartment and moving all of Sister Talakai’s belongings to Meyuns.  They left the extra car parked next to ours, which means that we now have our car, the extra car, and the elders’ old truck sitting outside our apartment.  We’re a three-car couple again—at least until October 14th when the truck is shipped to Chuuk.

We traveled to Aimeliik Thursday night for a quick visit with Erwin Angeles.  We all talked while he prepared dinner for the men working at the farm.  He hurried so that we could eat too, but sadly we had to decline to make it back in time for Institute. 
Erwin & Sister Carter

Erwin & Sister Carter

Elder Carter & Erwin

Erwin ready to chop
This was also our last Institute class since it will also be cancelled next week because of Independence Day, but fortunately we have more opportunities with these students.

One of those opportunities came on Friday as we attended the young single adult monthly activity at Long Island Park.  Several students came to play volleyball and eat the 40 hot dogs, chips, and treats. 
Rolmi & Esther--the only two girls

Tommy & Elder Bush

Elder Bush & Elder Striplin in "casual" attire

Elder Carter can't believe how much they eat!

Good food

Tommy & friend

Eating just to be sociable

Almost gone

Rolmi & Esther

Enjoying the treats

Tommy, John, & friend

Luke & Rolmi


Trad & Rolmi
While eating, some kids were kicking around the ball, but one missed and it flew into the ocean.  We all watched it hoping that it would drift back to shore, but the wind and current had other ideas.  As it drifted farther and farther from shore, Tommy Obed stripped down to his underwear and swam like an Olympian to save it.  Once he had the ball, swimming back was much, much more difficult as the current was swiftly going the opposite direction, but he made it and acted like it was no big deal.  It was a big deal to us that he made it back safely—and with the ball—since this is the third volleyball purchased in the last three months (the other two popped).
Can you see the ball way out there?

On the way back

Made it!

No worries!

Every three months we and a couple of single men in the branch get to clean the chapel together.  We spent two hours Saturday morning preparing the building for Sunday services and love this different type of service in the Lord’s kingdom.
Rodney & Sister Carter

Rodney & Elder Carter

Looking good

Enjoying cleanliness

We always look forward to our Sunday meetings, even when we expect to teach a class or two. 
Hideo, Boni, Luke, Jose

Hideo, Raphia, Desiree, Idu, Kali, Boni, Luke, Jose (youth Sunday School class)
We were looking forward to the choir singing two hymns during Sacrament Meeting as a special treat for Rolmi as she was speaking prior to serving her mission.  Imagine our surprise when John Jr. asked us to speak also!  We determined it was a distinct blessing to not have any notice so we couldn’t stress over it too much.  In spite of our lack of preparation, it went well and Rolmi did a beautiful job talking about following the Prophet and enjoying the security we feel as we do.  She is a powerful missionary already!
Look at all those white shirts!

Rolmi speaking

Part of the congregation

John & Tommy

We met with Erwin Angeles one more time Sunday afternoon for a quick piano lesson and to say goodbye.  We love Erwin and pray that we will be able to determine a way to see him again.
Erwin & Elder Carter

Erwin & Sister Carter

The missionaries gathered for dinner on Sunday afternoon.  That’s not unusual, but what is unusual is missing two sisters!  Only two are gone, but it seems like 20!  How we love our young missionaries and are grateful for their determined and inspired service.
After dinner happiness

Relaxed sisters

One of the greatest blessings of serving a mission is loving the people.  We can’t possible express the depth of our feelings for our branch family except through continued service as long as we’re here.   We are so blessed! 

A few random photos:
Abigail & Sister Carter

Sister Kesolei & Sister Carter

Elder Carter & his dentistry team

Elder Carter & Sato

Choir practice

Deliveries with a dog

Melinda & Sister Carter

Charles Sakuma

Juliana brings us bananas

Nice spelling, huh?