Monday, April 9, 2012

Time Stand Still for No One (Unless you are a clock in the Koror Branch) (#30)

One of Sister Johnsen’s first acts of compassion when we came to Palau was to replace the clock in the Branch President’s office. According to some reports, it had not been working for some “time.” Elder Johnsen was determined to resuscitate it. He put it in our bathroom and reset it twice a day! Finally (4 months later) Sister Johnsen disposed of it. But recently Sister Johnsen was in teaching the Young Women a song to sing in Sacrament meeting and discovered that their clock didn’t work. Luckily it was only a battery problem. Shortly after that, we noticed the clock in our chapel wasn’t working, so we took the clock out of the Branch President’s office and put it in the chapel. Obviously we need the correct time more in sacrament meeting. Sister Johnsen brought the ailing clock home and was going to put it-where else, in the bathroom. She put in new batteries which didn’t help it, and finally resorted to the tried and true method: she whacked it. It’s been working ever since, but we are waiting another week before we put it back in the Branch President’s office. Meanwhile, Sister Johnsen found an inexpensive clock to hang in the BP office and maybe we’ll actually get that one back for our own apartment.

AND speaking of time: Elder and Sister Johnsen passed their 6 month mark on April 3rd! Amazing! They will have been on the island 6 months on April 15th and are proud to say they feel certain that they will have located all 356 members. (There are only about 290 now because records for about 80 have been moved off island to places where people really are living. About 20 others who live here but who were not on the rolls are now on the rolls.).

And speaking of where people really are, we were sad to see Brother and Sister Oie leave the island for Arizona this week. They went out to the airport on Monday but couldn’t get out because they were flying standby, and there were no seats available. This is difficult because all the flights to Guam leave at 2:50 AM. Then they went the next night and there was room on the flight, but the immigration officials said Brother Oie couldn’t go because he didn’t have the proper documentation/clearance. The Lord intervened in their behalf in the form of divine positioning. President Kesoloi just happened to be at the airport waiting for a flight to Chuuk and learning of their plight immediately talked to the local officials to see if he could pull some strings. They explained the problem, but to obtain the clearance (Bro. Oei has a Dutch passport) he had to go into the internet café’ (for $15/hour) and frantically drill his way down to the right spot, use his credit card to pay a $14 fee then write down the clearance number. With that number the Oei’s were able to board their flight and begin their move to Arizona. All that time and expense was on top of President Kesoloi giving them $150 for a freezer (which wasn’t worth over $60) so they would have some cash for the trip. (You can appreciate this expense better when you know that everyone on the island works for $2.50/hour.)

The Sunday before the Oie’s left was fast Sunday and Sister Oie left us with her testimony. Elder Johnsen wanted to preserve a little flavor of Sister Oie and asked Sister Johnsen to write down something Sister Oie said, exactly as she said it. She was talking about her hospital stays and her illness which went mostly undiagnosed. She told us that the doctor said, “I don’t know what kind of sick what you got.”

And speaking of language, Elder Gubler is leaving us in the dust with the improvement of his Palauan skills. He says things to us in Palauan and we look at him blankly. However, he was a little confused when he met a young woman this week. He shook her hand announcing, “Hi! I’m Elder Gubler.” She replied with something that sounded like, “I’m sorry.” He wasn’t sure what to make of that. “You’re sorry, I’m Elder Gubler….?” Actually her name sounds like “sorry” but it is spelled Sauri.”

One of the things we have LEARNED though is that “time” is a funny thing. The past 6 months seem like a minute, but the year ahead seems like an eternity (for Sister Johnsen). However neither one of us are “sorry” or “sauri” about the opportunity to serve, and the blessing of being called as missionaries in the Micronesia Guam Mission!

All the senior couples in our mission!

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