Monday, March 30, 2015

Ebon Week 7: March 30, 2015

It rained all week and Sunday, the only clear day, was Palm Sunday. Because it was Palm Sunday all the other churches had programs all day so not many people were home. I also harvested coconuts, buzzed all my hair off and read and understood the Book of Revelation.

The week ended with seven lessons..way sad. Rainy days are way worse here than in Majuro. School is cancelled her on rainy days. Basically this week has been sitting inside waiting for the rain to clear up a bit. There is no worth going out in the rain. Besides the fact that you get drenched in a minute, everyone is sleeping and cold. I don't blame them, I feel the same way.

This week we also went down past the airport to study with Taulon. Wednesday he was gone and on the way back it started pouring. Thursday we went back down and we get to the airport and hear he's gone-it also poured on our way there. As Elder W and I come back up we see him doing coconuts. Just way awkward how people here are so nice but will just avoid you if they don't want to study. Just really frustrating because we volok'd some of the only times it wasn't raining to go down. Going past the airport was a pain, the bicycles we have are way broken. My chain would fall off every five feet, and it took almost an hour to ride there.

Teaching my Primary kids has been way good. Right now I like to incorporate an Article of Faith into the lesson. It's funny, they get way excited to see how long it takes them to have it memorized. Family Home Evenings are always fun because we play games and even the adults get way into it.

We went in a motorboat to Anen Aetok to go do coconuts. It was pretty fun.  First, you collect the coconuts that have fallen and then break them open to get the actual coconut. I'll have to explain for sure more in detail how all of Kawainini works. The couple down there is way cool, Lawyer and Camila. They have in their "yard" the boat from Mexico and she put a bunch of buoys everywhere. She kept calling it "Capital City an Camila" and wanted me to take a bunch of pictures. We also helped kill and cook a pig to eat. So, I don't have a problem with red meat I just don't like the taste or that they're usually way processed.

Hope all is doing well. I'm hoping you'll send some letters so I might be able to ready them out here.

Love you all,
Elder Weenig

Monday, March 23, 2015

Ebon Week 6: March 23, 2015

This week was long. Probably one of the longest weeks of my mission yet. A lot of the week was spent walking back and forth across the island. Mostly, people have been preparing for Ebon Day.

We just had Ebon Day today. Ebon Day is Marshallese Independence Day when Americans liberated Ebon from Japanese occupation. Today was fun-a lot of eating and just playing field games-way funny to see all the little kids play.

Family Home Evening was really fun this week we place this freeze dance game with Marshallese and Disney music mix. It was really funny. Everyone thought my dance moves were funny so every time I would get low they would pause the music.

All is good with the incident last week with L and R. It's nice now not to have all the kids ask us all the time for stuff. It was actually really good because giving them  things was causing a lot of problems with members and just some of the other people on the island.

The ship came with food this week. This mission office bought us food in Majuro and shipped it out here. It was way good because none of the sellers had bought anything. The only thing left on the island was sugar. So we're really grateful Majuro sent us stuff or else we basically would have starved.

This week I have really focused on my perspective and staying positive. I would be so easy to just give up here-go swimming and sit around all day-but as I keep working each week things keep getting better and better.

The inverter is fixed so we were able to charge things. I can actually use my iPod. So I have been able to read from the autobiography of Parley P. Pratt and a lot of other stuff. Just really grateful to have an iPod and a lot of church information to keep my sanity out here. Keeping my sanity may be the hardest thing: don't swim, keep my patience, keep working, stay happy.

Love you guys, hope all is doing well. There will be a lot to talk about when I get back from Ebon.

Elder Weenig

P.S. Happy Birthday to Sammy. Marshallese custom here is you can't cook on Sunday-just an example of how religiously devout the culture is here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ebon Week 5-March 16, 2015

I just finished hand washing my clothes and hanging them out to dry. It makes me grateful of so many simple little things. Sometimes it's weird to think about how many things are in America. Hot water, A/C, refrigerators, beds, carpet, cars, 2-story homes, the availability of food-all seems so distant.

This week may have been one of my hardest yet. I almost broke down and lost my mind. One of the couples, "L" and "R", in the branch pretty much hate me. First, I'll start from the beginning of how the problem started. There is a problem out here in Ebon where everyone comes to us and asks for things and just expects us to give it to them. This includes cans of tuna, our bicycles, and to some extent money. It created almost a welfare system for the members, with R and L being the worst about it. Over some time people got angry with me and accused me of being stingy and not helping. Some were saying how the Elders should be helping and how they are going to stop going to church. It is just a difficult and frustrating situation. I feel like I always look for opportunities to help and serve these people. However, because of previous Elders and the fact that I won't just given them things has made these people dislike me. It's good though now we don't have people coming to our door all the time asking for things. It's been hard and I hope the situation will move on.

About some of the people I talked about last week, the booboo (grandma) who said the Book of Mormon is true. This week she's like-Oh, that's nice but it's good there is a God and all churches are good and true. Also, old people will just go off about the Bible. If we study with an old person the lesson will go on for an hour or two. Elder W has read the Bible multiple times and thinks he knows it so it kind of eggs them on. We do have quite a few investigators progressing which is really good. We had 5 investigators at church! It's one of the coolest experiences to see the point where investigators can feel the power of the Holy Ghost and know that these things are true. Work is really starting to pick up and progress in Ebon.

Other things this week...people have been hooking us up with food. One of the members, Judy, made donuts for us. One of the best things is sweet breadfruit. I may be a bit delusional but it tasted almost like apple pie. Ami Tonals are way good as well, it's coconut soup and shredded coconut heated up and made into these sweet balls that are so good warm. Thinking about food is a problem-there is enough to eat but just thinking about American food is just ahhh...I get so hungry.

Well, love you all. Hope everything is well.

Elder Weenig

Monday, March 9, 2015

Ebon Week 4: March 9, 2015

You will be pleased to hear I have written in my journal and haven't missed a day. Also, I'm taking a bunch of pictures.  The coolest is I can transfer pictures to my iPod and take pictures on my camera.  Also, what's really nice is I can wear my rainbows (flip-flops) out here so my missionary attire is extremely casual. The week ended well but some parts of it were just difficult.

I had a pain my my stomach for three days and it just sucked. What sucks is everytime after I eat I just feel sick afterwards. I think my body is still adjusting to eating only canned meat, rice and ramen. Work here is getting a little better but the Protestant Church is still strong. My patience is really being tested here. It sucks. I enjoy working with Elder W, but I think because there so much time spent with him and we only talk to so many people.  Sometimes I just get angry and fed up. Like I'll just see stupid stuff or life finds ways to dislike him. It's just difficult spending so much time with one other person and there's not even Marshallese people my own age I can talk to. Also, sleeping is not great. I am somewhat sleep deprived; I think I may have permanent bags under my eyes.  It just much too hot to sleep at night. I think the food and sleep deprivation are really taking their toll.

As far as good news, I don't think I've written about Amy and Russell. They're both way cool; they don't have any kids living with them and work all the time. We've only studied twice but Saturday we dropped by and Russell was already just sitting reading the Book of Mormon.  Amy said she thought he couldn't even read before. It was cool after the lesson about prophets she's just like-I know these things are true. Elder W and I also have studied with two Booboos, which means grandma but I call all ladies that; both are way good. Again, just started but one has a Book of Mormon and once she got it she said she knew it was true. Another taught about Thomas S. Monson and the lesson was like 10 minutes and afterwards told us she know this is true and we need a prophet today. Little by little work is picking up.

Teaching Primary is still good. I teach 15-20 children. My studies are good; my knowledge of the Bible is rapidly growing. We have been birthdaying a few people so it is always way fun; Marshallese people are way fun. They have Papaya here but it sucks cause it's not ripe. Well, I'm pretty good.

Elder Weenig

P.S. I heard I am here for possible 6+ months

Monday, March 2, 2015

Ebon Week 3: March 2, 2015

The month of March means I have been serving for over six months. Quite crazy because I still feel as if it has only been a month or two.

P-days are pretty dull; most of the time is just spent laying around kind of studying. I am basically constantly sweating. Luckily, Ebon is significantly cooler than most islands because we get a lot of rain. However it is hard to sleep at night just because it's too hot. It really sucks because I'm tired the whole day. Waking up at 6:30 is hard to do, especially since the sun is not up and there is nothing to do. Basically, just laying there before starting studies. I am a little homesick and it's hard not being able to communicate. The food situation is not that great. A ship brings food to the island every 3 months. Right now we are in the 3rd month so the island doesn't sell anymore food. There not really a store you just buy it from on of two guys who sell in build from their homes. It's not very fun to eat the same thing. It makes me so grateful for just food and how nice everything is in America. It's sad to see basically what a lot of families eat is just straight up breadfruit and that's their dinner a lot of times.

This week we found out about 8 people who are less active. Missionary work is hard here just because it's so different from what you would think of. The whole island has been traced and door to door doesn't work. Mostly, it's a lot of serving people and trying to befriend them and then starting to share the gospel and teach them.

It's cool-most people here are really hard workers. Living on an outer island is hard so if people have a change them emigrate to Majuro, Ebey, or the States. Apparently, there are large Marshallese populations in Arkansas and many work on chicken farms. Since most people are busy during the week a lot of lessons we teach are on Sunday after church. Most of the people here are busy during the week harvesting coconut, breadfruit, and sea cucumber.

I am reading the Book of Mormon in Marshallese and besides a few words, I understand most of it. One really cool thing here is how they celebrate birthdays. A group of friends will go serenade a person on their birthday. The group sings a few songs-one where everyone will take turns dancing and another where they give the person a dollar. Afterwards, the person whose birthday it is will but coconut oil on everyone. It was fun. Elder W and I got to do it with a few members to an older lady; she was really excited.

Work out here is hard but I try to stay positive and keep working. I've been reading from the books I got for Christmas. The Power to Become is especially helping me as I read and think about the hard experiences I am enduring. I am grateful because through them I am strengthened.


Elder Weenig

P.S. I have been taking lots of photos