Monday, March 12, 2012

Snow in Palau and other Crazy Adventures! (#26)

Last week we mentioned that the Elder’s had a couple of tires explode. This week Elder Johnsen inspected the cars; we’re happy to report we might have figured out why we have exploding tires in Palau. A couple of the tires on the Elders car had over 70 pounds of air (the gauge only goes to 70 psi). We reduced them down to a more reasonable 35 lbs but the mystery may have been solved. Speaking of cars we finally got ours out of the shop, the dents the Elder’s put in it have all been repaired, and we’ve (Elder Johnsen has) been a little paranoid — worried about scratching our new paint job.

We had a pretty funny district meeting this week. Elder Adams and Elder Early reported what happened in their area. They found out one of our members that attends our Unit in Meyuns is pregnant out of wedlock. To make matters worse, the father is already married to someone in Saipan. They are teaching a guy who is super paranoid and thinks people are trying to kill him (including the Elders). One of the younger couples had a problem because she is having an affair and her husband found them together and stabbed him (he said he just poked him twice, but they still took him to jail). Someone else is hearing voices that say “burn the Book of Mormon” someone else wants their name taken off the rolls of the church and told the Elders “to never come back” and actually by the time they got done we were all laughing pretty hard. What else can you do when it seems like the whole world has gone crazy?

This week we worked on updating the Priesthood service night visit roster and maps for the known additions of members who we continue to find. We are still beating the bushes for more lost sheep. While we were out searching for a lost member with the Elders we came across a group of men who were smoking, joking and drinking beer, one of them turned out to be our missing member—who was off from work in the middle of the day because his co-workers were out fishing in the rock islands. (He was very curious about how we found him) One of the guys who was sitting with him drinking beer was someone who must know a little about the scriptures and asked Elder Johnsen whether he was a sheep or a goat. Of course, he remembered the scripture and answered “Sheep.” After we finishing talking to the member, taking his picture and getting his phone numbers the guy was asking the Elders with us the same question—so we took the opportunity to break into the conversation and tell them S. Michael Wilcox’s story about a flock of wild sheep that he (Michael) found as a boy out in the desert in Utah. He and his friends got the great idea to catch them and bring them back to the ranch—and of course the sheep didn’t want to be caught but the boys thought it seemed like something they could do because there were 5 of them with Michael. As the boys inched forward, the sheep found a way to dash through their tightening circle. So they got the great idea of forming a semi-circle and backing the sheep up to a nearby cliff—when the lead sheep saw that there was no way of escape through the boys and that it would likely result in his capture, he turned the other direction and jumped over the cliff to his death on the rocks below. Now the startled boys backed off—but each of the other sheep in the flock followed the lead sheep over the cliff to the rocks below. Then Elder Johnsen asked them the million dollar question—do you know what the moral of the story is? They didn’t know, so he said, “ The Moral is Don’t leap with the Sheep.” Just because all your friends are engaging in destructive behavior doesn’t mean you have to follow their course. Since they were all drinking, I’m sure the lesson’s direct application to them went completely unnoticed.

After that visit, we headed out to visit and drop an Institute Party invitation with an institute age young woman. While we were there we saw all the women gathered outside around a big table and they we’re separating Palauan cotton from the pod, disposing of the seeds and putting the cotton in a large garbage sack to later become pillow batting. The pods come from giant 75 foot tall trees that grow wild here. We said “Ohhh” and “Ahhh” as they worked and then the matriarch brought us out two pillows that she had made and gave them to us as gifts. Now we have something to sit on when we go to the Unit or we can use them to make our computer chair more comfortable while we’re typing at the computer. (We’re using it right now and “Ohhh” and “Ahhh” this is awesome)! Elder Wright and Elder Gubler visited a house this week where the cotton was coming down out of the trees, and they said it looked like snow. Snow in Palau…cotton snow.

After that visit we stopped at a sister’s home to see why she hadn’t been coming to church, she said that her foot was really bothering her so we gave her the name and phone number of the Doc at camp Katuu and told her to give him a call—that he had an open clinic on Wednesday and all the drugs and the visit would be totally free.

Our final stop was at the Oei’s home they had just arrived home from the hospital after more than a month stay. We told them that we just saw them separating cotton and that got us talking about pillows. Bro Oei asked us if we knew what a Dutch Wife was. “No.” we said. He then explained that a Dutch Wife was a long, large pillow that you could sleep next to and drape your leg over to relieve back strain. He then told a story about a guy who was visiting in Holland from England. Someone asked him if he needed a Dutch Wife while he was visiting Holland—he said NO he had a wife back in England, and then they had a great laugh as they explained what a Dutch Wife was.

Elder Johnsen and the Elders went out to the scenic overlook on their preparation day to see if they could build a bridge across the water. They found that bamboo is hard to cut down and heavy. The bridge idea was totally scraped so they tried lashing together some bamboo to make a raft, to ferry themselves to the nearby (50 feet away) island but it also takes a lot of bamboo to make a proper raft and the Elders aren’t supposed to be in the water, but it was crazy fun adventure anyway. They all came back to our apartment and ate Poke and Pour cake and played a game.

Trying to build a bridge/raft to that island

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