Sunday, October 9, 2011

One Week

Honiara off the wing of our airplane flying in to the Solomon Islands

Hello everyone- We have been here 1 week and thought we would let you all know how things are going.  We have been very busy.

President and Sister Fata
 Pres. and Sister Fata met us at the airport Wednesday afternoon in Honaira. We were so surprized!! They thought our plane was coming in an hour later than it did and it arrived about 30 minutes earlier than it was supposed to so we waited about an hour for them and the APs to pick us up.  I told mom that in 15 more minutes I would hire a taxi to take us to the house where we stay and about that time they showed up.  When we got to the Church all of the members of the Branches were there to welcome us.  They placed leis around our necks and sang a song they had composed especially for us.  These are the words:

We waited and waited to welcome you here.
We long for the day you will come.
And now you are here we are glad and rejoice.
For this is our very warm welcome.

Welcome to Solomon the place that we live.
Welcome to you our couple.
And now you are here we are glad and rejoice.
For this is our very warm welcome.

They sang it two or three times and then all of them shook our hands and smiled brightly at us.  Then then fed us a dinner they had prepared with native dishes.  What a wonderful and warm welcome.

Pres. and Sister Fata stayed with us until Monday morning when they had to fly back to Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby.  They trained us and held Zone Conference with us and all 8 young elder missionaries in the Solomon Islands.  They also held a youth conference Friday, Saturday and Sunday here for the 3 Branches on Guadal Canal, Honaria, Burns Creek and White River.  Then Sunday held a conference for the 3 Branches as well.  We gave 3, 40 minute talks during the meetings.  The Branch in Malaita is too far away to come here normally and only the 2 Elders from there came in.  It is not possible to recieve General Conference sessions here because there is no satelite dish and the time difference is so great.  T.J. figured out that we add 7 hours to our time here and subtract one day, or you would add 17 hours to Utah time. 

Pres. and Sister Fata were so nice to us and so fun to be with.  They took us to dinner at really nice resturants here on 4 different nights.  Pres. Fata gave Mom and I some pretty heavy responsibilities with the work here in the Solomon Islands both with the missionaries and the Branches.

Our home in Honiara for the next two years and the Toyota Land Cruiser we'll drive
We also found out that when Pres. and Sister Fata or any of the General Authorities come they always stay in a nice hotel down town so you can come anytime of the year you want to and stay with us.  We have two queen beds in our big bedroom and two other bedrooms with 2 single beds in each room.  Plus the family room is probably 20 by 30 feet.  We just suggest that you check the weather for that time of year on the internet because we still don't know exactly what to expect during the rainy season.  It has surprised us that so far we have had sprinkles twice in this week, but neither time did it cover the ground.  The tempurature here is 75 or so at night and 90 or so in the day with humidity between 50 and 80 percent so far

Pres. Fata told us we would be going to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea at Christmas time with all of the other Elders.

We will be going to Maliata to visit the Elders and the Branch and to assess what service we can do at the Hospital there in 2 weeks. 

On November 20th Pres. and Sister Fata and Elder Hamula will come for a conference to organize the first Solomon Island District.  What a historic event that will be and we are excited to have them all visit.

We don't know if we can send photos mainly because we will have to figure it out.  We have recieved photos from Brenda and Scott so far so we know we can recieve them.  We have 5 or 6 SD cards 4gb each which we will transfer to our computer when they are full and then mail them home.

The official language is English, very British.  They sound to us like Jamicans.  English is usually their 3rd language.  They speak pidgin most of the time even in Churh sometimes and it is hard to uderstand but we are learning how to interpret it a little.  I saw a sign that said "uz im toilet paper".  You figure it out.  Here are the words to I Am A Child Of God in pidgin:

Mi pikinini blong God
Hem sendem mi long hia
Hem givin mi gudfala pies
Witim Mami an Dadi tu

Lidem mi gaedem mi
Waka baot witim mi
Helpem mi faedem wei
Tisim mi evriting mi mas duim
Fo stap witim him oldwe

Mi pitinini blong God
Oketa nids blong mi hem bik
Hilpem mi fo save wod blong hem
Bifo hemi kam to let


Mi pikinini blong God
Ris blesing hemi stap
Sapos mi lanem wil blong hem
Bae mi stap withim hem oldwe


Solomon Island Zone
left to right Elders Parere, Maesi, Pakalani, Vi, Gisa, Tamihana, Daun, James
The Elders that are serving here are Elder Gisa (Neesa) from Samoa, Elder Tamihana from New Zealand, Elder Pakalani from Tonga, Elder Parere from Daru (Papua New Guinea), Elder Vi from Samoa, Elder Maesi from one of the other Solomon Islands, Elder James from Fiji, Elder Daun from Paupa New Guinea (the place where they had all the baptisms in the crocadile infested river), English is their 2nd or 3rd language. We listen very carefully to understand them.

Our walks in the morning are on a dirt road. (we are just beginning to find places to walk) on this dirt road, we can see the sea after 1/4 of a mile! It felt so good to really walk fast. We had been walking in the compound. around and anound and around!!! We are safe as long as it's daylight. There is not much crime here the missionaries say, but they all come from places that we don't understand. Our not much crime means something different than their not much crime.  In Malaita there is a man who hates the Mormons, he has chased 2 different sets of missionaries with a big bush knife!

We now have our official VISAs and work permits and our drivers licenses and opened our bank account with ANZ bank.  We didn't even have to take a test or anything to get the licenses, only show our passports and US licenses and pay 94 Solomon dollars each.  I drove about 25 miles today and did pretty good.  Mom thinks I do OK and she is comfortable with me driving here.  We also went to the Market and shopped in town with the 8 Elders following us, carrying our bags of food and looking like we were important and they were our security detail.  It was fun.

We hear thunder right now so probably well get our first rain this week tonight.

Quite a week don't you think?

Love, Elder and Sister Mitchell

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