Wednesday, November 23, 2011


This is the 5th article we have run in the Solomon Star in the past five weeks.  Guess that makes us honorary contributing editors or something like that.....

 Church promotes dental hygiene
Edward katovai, Solomon Islands dental hygienist instructing children
at Lungga School

Happy children with dental hygiene kits

Dental Services of the Solomon Islands, in cooperation with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints provided dental hygiene training to eager children at three primary community schools last week.

Instruction on the importance of proper dental hygiene was given by Edward Katovai, Dental Hygienist for the Solomon Islands Dental Services.  He taught the children brushing techniques, frequency, and the importance of using toothpaste containing fluoride.  The children listened intently during his presentation.  He warned of the damage betel nut causes to the mouth, teeth and gums as well as oral cancer. 

Following the instruction, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints presented a kit containing a toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste and a cup to each of the children.   These supplies were provided by the Humanitarian Fund of the Church.  Humanitarian projects are an important part of the ongoing effort of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to assist people throughout the world.   

The staff at the Solomon Star have been very kind and generous to us in allowing these articles to be published over the past 5 weeks. 

One thing we have learned, being a contributing editor to the newspaper is like a lot of other things we all do.  You never really get done, when the job is complete it's just time to start over and do it again.   


The government of the Solomon Islands follows the British pattern with a few changes.  The Prime Minister is the leader of the government and he is elected by the Parliament.  Members of the Parliament are from geographic areas of the Island Nation and are elected by their respective constituents.  So the only vote the people have in the national government is for their own Member of Parliament. 

A vote of confidence can be called by the opposition just about any time they want.  One was called for and scheduled for 11th November, Friday.  Danny Phillips has been the Prime Minister for the last 4 years or so and has been friendly with the Church.  All week prior to the vote of confidence it looked like he had a solid majority of the 49 Parliament Members with 29 committed to vote for him.  However he was accused of misappropriating seven million of a 10 million dollar gift from Taiwan.  It was supposed to go to buy solar panels and systems for some of the small remote islands, but he had spent 7 million on his second wife and family. 

Friday morning prior to the vote he resigned because of the allegations.  At about 9:30 am on Wednesday 16th of November, the Parliament voted Gordon Lilo in as the new Prime Minister.  He received 29 votes but is very unpopular with the citizens.  We were down town at about 10:30am, but didn't see anything unusual.  By noon demonstrators were on the streets in downtown Honiara with a homemade banner demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister (who had not yet been sworn in) by 4PM or they would burn the town.  They walked through town blocking the roads as they went.  We did not know that they were headed for the Governor General's house just 1/4 mile up the road from where we live.  

Richard Osmotherly from the Pacific Area Office had been here doing some real estate work for the Church and he stopped at our home at about 11:30 AM to let us know what he had been able to accomplish while here.  He was preparing to leave to catch his flight when we heard a helicopter.  He immediately knew it was RAMSI (Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands) and left in a hurry.  At the time we didn't know but he had only gotten down Kola Ridge Road about 200 yards from our home when he met the demonstrators coming up.  He pulled to the side of the road with the other traffic to let the crowd pass.  Some of them tried to pull him out of his car but he hung on to the steering wheel and was eventually able to get the door shut again and locked but during the scuffle they broke his back window, smashed up his rental car and stole his briefcase with his cell phone and passport. 

We heard the demonstrators coming up the road and noticed that the gate was not locked so I ran out and locked it just as the first ones came past.  It was as if they didn't see me and continued on up the road.

I went back in the house and Cheryle gave me the camera and I snuck around the corner of the veranda and snapped this shot of them going past.

The RAMSI helicopter flew around our area most of the remainder of the day.  There was at least 1000 and maybe as many as 2000 angry demonstrators who passed us by on their way to the Government House where the Governor General lives.  They stayed there nearly 2 hours demanding to see the GC and tell him not to swear into office Gordon Lilo, but were told he had left to go to the police station down the hill. 

So down the hill they came angrier now, throwing rocks, bricks or anything they could find, rolling tires and trying to break out the street lights.


Never did they cause us any trouble or throw anything on the Church property but it was rather tense for a while knowing that anything could happen.  Note those looking at me while I was taking pictures from our steps with our security man, Willie who is a native, by my side.  Television reporters told us later that they had to leave because the mob started throwing rocks at them because they thought the police would use the pictures to arrest some of the demonstrators.

The Prime Minister was scheduled to be sworn in at 1PM but because of the trouble it was postponed and he was actually sworn in at 5PM.

The missionaries were all out proselyting and we talked to them on their cell phones and got them to come back home as soon as they could.  The elders in White River had to get through town so we got the help of Brother Poll, a New Zealander, who lives in White River to bring them home.  Once they were accounted for and safe we called the Mission Home in Port Moresby and notified Pres. Fata of what had happened.  Brother Poll knew a member of the Church in RAMSI and gave us his cell number with instruction to call him direct if anything happened here.  I spoke to him before we went to bed and was grateful to have him if we needed him.  The Burns Creek Elders were safe so we had them stay there over night and had the 4 Elders here sleep in our house.  Our security guard left at about 4PM and said he would return at 6:30PM.  He never came back until 8AM the next morning.  When he did come back I asked him why he did not return Wednesday night and he said he was "weak".  We all took shifts Wednesday night on the veranda on guard duty.  Cheryle & I took the 4 AM shift.  All was quiet through the night.  The Police and RAMSI had stopped the protesters from causing trouble in China Town and arrested about 25 of them Wednesday night.

As word got out Wednesday evening, especially that an employee of the Church from the Area Office had been hurt, the phone began to ring.  Everyone wanted to know if we were alright and if they should try to get us out, etc.  We assured them all that we were fine and safe and to leave us here.  We were never threatened and Brother Osmotherly was the only one hurt other than a few police officers that were hit by rocks thrown by the protesters.

Thursday morning at 5:30 AM I spoke to Brother Chase at RAMSI and he cleared us to go to Burns Creek to get the Elders there.   The trip was fast and safe and we kept the elders inside the compound most of the day.  Elder Tamihana and Elder Bourne went downtown and escorted Brother Osmotherly around to apply for a new passport etc.  As it turned out a little girl was found playing with his passport and her father turned it in to the Australian Embassy.

Thursday things were a little tense downtown with a lot of angry people, but not trouble.  Cheryle and I went down to the Hotel to make sure the reservations were all secured for Pres. and Sister Fata, Elder Vinson, and Elder Hamula, the Area President.  We guaranteed them with our personal credit card.  The Parliament met long enough to pass a motion to adjourn until Wednesday next week to allow the Prime Minister time to appoint his cabinet and Ministers of Government.  The weekend was very normal and things have been normal and calm since then.

Members and Missionaries were due to arrive at Honiara Harbor from Malaita for the District Conference this weekend and we snapped a few shots as we waited for them to come in.  This is a huge container ship leaving a little lighter than it arrived.  Much more is shipped in than is shipped out from the Island.  Nearly everything we eat and buy comes from somewhere else, however mainly because of Gold Ridge Mining, the country has a positive trade balance.

For the past few weeks most of our time has centered around the preparations for Elder Hamula's visit on November 25-28 to organize the first Solomon Island District.  We have made hotel reservations and adjusted them as schedules have changed.  Much time has been spent with Pres. Misitana in making the arrangements necessary for the conference.  There has also been a lot of things that needed to be cleaned, repaired or replaced. 

Cheryle and I have visited all of the media on the Island and delivered invitations to the radio station, 3 news papers, and One television to attend a news conference Elder Hamula will hold when he arrives Friday.  The invitations we made included his schedule for the weekend and suggested questions that they could ask him about the Church.  Everyone of them without exception said they will be at the news conference and cover the activities through the weekend. 

We created invitations and delivered them to "opinion leaders" for a dinner that will be held at our home Friday night with Elder Hamula.   The Governor General (the Queen's official representative) was unable to come and sent his regrets through his secretary who told us that his schedule would not allow him to come.  He indicated that his Excellency would be pleased if we would invite him another time.  We took Matthew Sauseru with us to each of these people because he knows most of them.  We invited the Deputy Minister of Immigration who said he would attend.  At the Minister of Health's office we left an invitation with his secretaries.  The owner of the Solomon Star Newspaper, an Anglican Priest, accepted our invitation and said he would let us know if he could come.  Dr. Ellison Vane, Director of Dentistry for the Ministry of Health who worked with us on the dental hygiene project, said he would attend Friday.  We also left an invitation for Dorothy Wickham, the owner of One Television and hope she will come.

No, Thanksgiving is not celebrated here like we do at home.  There is a holiday called Thanksgiving and it is scheduled the day after Christmas.  We are not sure if they do anything special.  So far no one we have asked seems to know anything about it but it is on the calendar. 

Today is Thanksgiving at home and we hope you all enjoy it.  We miss you all and miss the blessing of celebrating Thanksgiving Day.  Our preparations for the big dinner tomorrow seem to be all encompassing and we will be running all day to get the last supplies and make preparations for it.

Cheryle has full responsibility for the dinner with Elder and Sister Hamula, Elder Vinson, The Fatas, 2 Counselors in the mission presidency and the dignitaries (opinion leaders) who we have invited.  We expect about 20 people here tomorrow night.  Cheryle is amazing, planning the menu and preparing the entire meal with her 24" gas oven.  Most often she cannot find what she wants in the stores so she is busy replanning, and adjusting the menu to match the available ingredients here.  The dinner will be amazing and I am so grateful for Cheryle's great talents and hard, hard work.  I'll do the easy stuff and try to support her in the preparations.

These views of Honiara Harbor were taken from near the television station above town.

View of the Hyundai Plaza 

Elder Wanapo and Elder Yama are from the bush in Paupa New Guinea so we asked them if they knew how to climb a coconut tree.  Dumb question, I guess it's like asking if I've ever climbed an apple tree.

Elder Yama with the bush knife and Elder Wanapo starting up the tree. 

Elder Wanapo kicking loose a coconut

The jobs done so we need a pose for a picture from our veranda

Elder Wanapo handing down the bush knife to Elder Yama

As dusk fell Cheryle snapped some calendar views of the sunset over Kola Ridge from our veranda.  Yes we do live in a beautiful place in paradise.

Lights are out, have a good night!

Friday, November 18, 2011


Last week we gathered the supplies for 1600 dental hygiene kits.  Colgate tooth paste, brushes, plastic cups and bags.  Before a Humanitarian project can be done a plan is conceived by the local Church Public Affairs Committee.  The budget is prepared and submission is made to the Area Office for approval.  We submitted our proposal to do a dental hygiene project with three primary schools (grades 1 through 5) here in Honiara.  One school within the boundaries of each Branch here in Honiara.  Our submission was on October 27th and approval was given on November 1st with a proposed date of November 14th.  It was rushed through so we could complete it prior to Elder Hamula's visit when he comes to organise the first Solomon Island District.
Cheryle unpacking 1600 tooth brushes

Ken unpacking 1600 tooth pastes

The first of 1600 dental hygiene kits

Last Friday we gathered the last of our supplies and Saturday morning the members came and helped assemble the kits.  We wrote an article about the project for the paper and delivered it Monday,   This is the article ran Tuesday in the Solomon Star, the same day we actually took the kits to the school children.

Newspaper article printed in Solomon Star 15 November 2011


1,500 children from three local primary schools will be taught dental hygiene and provided with a kit containing a tooth brush, tooth paste and a cup today by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Members of the Church in Honiara put on their helping hands vests and assembled the kits Saturday morning. 

This humanitarian project is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Humanitarian Fund.  For many years the Church has been actively involved in humanitarian relief and development activities throughout the world.  These include emergency relief assistance in times of disaster and humanitarian programs that strengthen the self-reliance of individuals, families, and communities. 

All humanitarian projects are funded by donations from Church members and others.  One-hundred percent of these donations go directly to help the poor and needy. 

(article end)

Tuesday morning we were up bright and early and at Lungga Primary School ready to go before the bell rang.

Dr. Ellison Vane, Edward Katovai, Elder Mitchell, and Pres. Misitana at Lungga School

We coordinated with Dr. Ellison Vane, the Supervising Director of Dental Services for the Solomon Islands and they agreed to do the dental hygiene training.  Edward Katovai, the dental hygienist for the Solomon Islands, stayed with us all day and taught dental hygiene to each group of students.  He was great, had the children in the palm of his hand as he taught them how to brush their teeth, why it is so important, and what type of brush and toothpaste to use.  He also taught them of the problems of chewing betel nut.  At least 50% of the population chew betel nut which is a green nut that grows on one type of palm tree here.  They mix other substances with it and chew it like chewing tobacco.  It has some of the same results, causing mouth and throat cancer, gum disease and turns teeth, gums and lips an awful bright orange-red color.  

Children at Lungga School listening intently to Edward Katovai teach them dental hygiene

Excited girls with their dental kits

The head mistress was very pleased with our project and invited us back next year.

Excited young men at Lungga School with their brushes and paste

Then it was on to Green Valley Primary School

Edward giving instruction at Green Valley School

Excited Green Valley students under the school with their dental hygiene kits
The Head Mistress at Green Valley School was so happy with what we did that she invited the missionaries to come and provide a spiritual devotional to the children periodically.

On to White River to a little more primitive setting.  This assembly hall is called a leaf house and is quite common here on the Island.

Head Master giving instructions at White River Primary School

Children at White River School excited to get their brushes and paste

Sarah Taikanoa with White River Headmaster and teachers

President Misitana thanking members for their help with the project after we were done

Members and missionaries who helped with the Humanitarian Project

Members wore their Mormon Helping Hands Vests and worked side by side with the missionaries.  Each Head Mistress or Head Master was presented a Book of Mormon as a thank you for allowing us to come by the missionaries.

After Edward had instructed the children at one of the schools to use tooth paste that contained fluoride and explained what the fluoride would do for their teeth, one of the members that had helped us, turned to Cheryle and said, "what is fluoride?"  Then a little later she said, "I used to brush my teeth".

Just yesterday we had some school children wave and smile at us and indicate they knew we had been at their school earlier in the week.  When we visited the television station yesterday, one of the employees asked if it was us that had given the tooth brushes and paste to the school children in Lungga.  He said he had seen children with the kits on their way home and asked them where they had got them and they told him it was us.

It was a great day and we feel so blessed to have been part of it.  As we came home we felt the Spirit of the Lord very strongly and talked together of what a good day we had  experienced.  This has been one of the highlights of our mission.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Cheryle and I are having a great time on our mission doing whatever needs done.  It seems like every day brings us new challenges and blessings as we strive to hone our talents or in many cases find new ones we did not realize we possessed or even needed.  Cheryle has become an excellent teacher and speaker.  I always knew she had this talent but she preferred and still does prefer not to advertise it.  However, it is very evident that whenever asked, she is ready, willing, and capable to step up and do what is needed.  It doesn't matter whether there is no notice at all or time to prepare, she rises to the occasion and performs amazingly.  I am so proud of her and all of the talents she has, especially her ability to show love to the people and their response to her.

We have been given a responsibility for Public Affairs here in the Solomons as part of our missionary duties.  This has not been one of my favorite areas of focus in past years.  My experience with the media has not been good so I have naturally concentrated my efforts elsewhere, until now.  A part of our duties here are to work with the media and surprisingly it has been a very rewarding experience.  They all seen to be open to us and are willing to accept input and report on what the Church is doing in the Islands.  At home the attitude of many in the media toward the Church seems to be rather negative or uninterested.  For instance, just try to get a positive article about the Church printed in the Standard Examiner.

Five weeks ago we met with editors from the Solomon Star, the leading newspaper here, and asked if they would allow us to prepare articles for them to print on occasion in their paper.  They welcomed the idea and suggested if we brought articles in on Mondays they would run them on their religious page on Tuesday. Cheryle and I, with our combined GPA of B- in High School English,  wrote our first article, copied it to a thumb drive, and took it to the Solomon Star on Monday.  Tuesday there it was big as life and word for word, published in the paper.  They have printed our articles each week and seem to be very happy to do so into the future, so it looks like we are unofficial contributing editors to the Solomon Star.

Some of you at home have requested that we include these articles in our blog to give you a flavor of what is happening here in the Church.  Or could it be that you are amazed that we might be doing something like this.  Well, we are.  It also might give you a good laugh, but that's OK too.

 Solomon Star 25 October 2011

Four Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have completed their two year missions in the Solomon Islands and will return to their homes.  Elder James who has been serving in Burns Creek will return to Vanuatu, , Elder Pakalani who has been serving in White River will return to Tonga, Elder Gisa who has been serving recently in Honiara will return to Samoa, and Elder Vi who has been serving in Malaita will return to Tonga.
These four young men have faithfully proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ for 2 years to the people of the Solomon Islands and will be missed greatly.  They will return to their homes to pursue their educations and careers.   Elder Parere will also return to Papua New Guinea to continue his mission for the Church there.  Five Elders will be sent from the mission headquarters at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea to fill these positions in the Solomon Islands.
Young Elders in the Church 19 to 30 years of age give two years of their lives to serve in the missions throughout the world.  They are normally supported by their families during their missions and are sent to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Currently 52 thousand full time missionaries are serving in the 344 missions of the Church.  88 young missionaries and 6 senior couples are serving at this time in the Papua New Guinea Mission which includes the Solomon Islands.

Solomon Star article 01 November 2011

On October 1, 2011 young men and women ages 12 to 30 from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put on Mormon Helping Hands vests and spent the morning cleaning up the cemetery at Kola Ridge.  They filled hundreds of trash bags with debris. This service project was part of a Youth Conference held by the Church in Honiara.  Pres. Fata, the Mission President, and his wife traveled from Port Moresby to preside at the conference and instruct the youth.
 Service to others is an important principle of the Gospel and members of the Church often participate in projects that help and bless the lives of others in the community.   Church members believe that service to others as taught by the Savior Jesus Christ is a blessing in their own lives.  Opportunities for service are readily available to all of us and most service is just one person doing something good for another person in need. 
Youth groups and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Solomon Islands often plan service projects in connection with church conferences and other activities.  Thomas S. Monson, Prophet and President of the world wide Church has taught that prayers are often answered by the kind acts of another person.

Solomon Star article 08 November 2011

Five New LDS Elders to serve in the Solomon Islands

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has assigned 5 new Elders to serve in the Solomon Islands. 

They join three Elders who will continue to serve here.  Elder Aisa is from Papua New Guinea and will join Elder Daun to serve in the Burns Creek Branch.  Second and fourth from the left are Elders Wanopo and Yama both from Papua New Guinea.  They will serve in the White River Branch.  Third from the left is Elder Bourne from New Zealand.  He will join Elder Tamihana and serve in the Honiara Branch.  Elder Ramo in the picture on the right is also from Papua New Guinea and will join Elder Maesi and serve in Fauabu on the island of Malaita.

Each of these young men is dedicating two years of his life to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.  As you see these young Elders around town please welcome them with a Solomon Island smile.

Banking and other stuff in the Solomon Islands

We arrived in the Honiara, Solomon Islands on Wednesday October 28th.  We had been advised by the missionary department to only bring $100 each with us.  Well, we did not feel comfortable with that, so we cheated and brought more.  Thank goodness that we followed that prompting. 

Our mission President, Pres. and Sister Fata, were here until Monday when they flew back to Port Moresby.  We went the very next day, October 4th to the Australia and New Zealand Bank and applied for our account.  We were promised that our account would be open and we would have our ATM cards in about two weeks.  To make a long story short we got our account number on October 24th, but no one at the bank could figure out how to transfer money from the US to the Solomon Islands.  We made trip after trip to the ANZ bank trying to get information about the routing numbers and what US bank they worked through.  Meanwhile T.J. was at home trying everything he could figure out to get the money to us.  On October 28th with T.J.'s ingenuity and lots of prayer and a little information from ANZ, he wired us $100 as a test.  On November 1st we found out that it worked, wow, we were down to where it was getting scary and now we knew we could get our money from home.  The money had actually arrived the same day T.J. had wired it to us.

We still did not have our ATM cards but were promised that they would be here in about 2 weeks.  (sound familiar?)  Last Thursday while in the bank we asked if we could bank online.  We signed some forms and were told to check back in two or three days.  Today we went to the bank and asked if our ATM cards were in.  Wow, they were except they are both in Cheryle's name with two separate pin numbers.  The teller said she was sorry and if it was a problem I could reapply for mine.  We are always together so it really doesn't matter and I guess if we lose one we have a spare.  They also gave us a number to call about our internet banking and when we called we were told they would have to find our application and would call us back.  The great news is we can get money now and we don't have to worry any more about running out while we are here and we finally have a card that actually works at the ATM machine.

We're in the money now!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Elder Victor Gibb the senior missionary over public affairs for the Pacific Area visited us and gave us a whole new job.  He took Pres. Misitana, who is the public affairs committee chairman of the Solomon Islands, and us to visit the media here on the island.

First we met with Dorthy Wickham, the owner of One Television, the only local television station in the Solomon Islands.  Her station is working on a shoe string budget but they are in business and struggling to continue.  They do a remarkable job and we hope for their success.  Elder Gibb had met with her on a previous visit and this time he presented her with two Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert tapes.  He had her watch a little of them and told her she could run them whenever and as much as she wanted.  He then presented her with a DVD of Church short public interest clips that she can run whenever she desires.  Then he offered her a contract for the Tabernacle Choir Music and the Spoken Word broadcasts every week.  There would be no cost to her if she qualified to sign the contract.  She is very excited and wants to sign the contract but needs to check to see if she is signed up with one of the music copyright organizations as required by the contract.  We have the assignment to follow up with her in a week or two. 

We then visited the Solomon Star and were welcomed there.  The Star said they would accept articles from us for their Tuesday addition and print them on their religious page.  Cheryle and I will write the articles and deliver them to the Star.

The am radio station for the Solomon Island Nation is the SIBC.  We also visited them and they agreed to participate with the other media in a news conference at the Airport when Elder Hamula visits later in November.  They will also cover the celebrations we have planned as the District is organized by Elder Hamula.

So public affairs is now one of our major responsibilities and will fill much of our time.

Cheryle and I took Elder Pakalani to his area in White river so he could familiarize Elder Tamihana with it before he leaves for home.

Sister Mitchell on the jungle trail to the Islands culinary water source at White River.  Note the flip-flops.  (She didn't mean to wear them that day we just left in a hurry and she forgot to change her shoes.  LOL)

Elder Pakalani, Elder Tamihana and Elder Mitchell in the jungle at White River.

As she came out of the jungle, Sister Mitchell spotted a wild boar walking across the trail near the river.  It was undisturbed and paid us no mind.

Diversion structure for the culinary system at White River.  This provides all of the drinking water for the Island of Guadalcanal.  A beautiful area high on the mountain.

Coming down off the mountain above White River we saw these great views of the ocean looking north west up the coast.

It seems we've been living at the Airport.  We took Sister Lovelyn Michael there so she could fly to Port Moresby for her interview with Pres. Fata and be set apart as a missionary.  Then we took Elder Gibb. Elders Pakalani, Gisa, Vi, and James who were leaving to go home.  Elder Parere would return to finish his mission  in Papua New Guinea in two days.

Elders Aisa, Wanopo, Bourne, and Yama who we picked up at the airport to replace those who had left.

Elder Ramo who arrived with the four Elders above as he prepares to leave Honiara for the boat trip to Fauabu, Malaita where he will serve.

We attended White River Branch for the first time to support them and see how things were going there.  They meet in a government school which like all of the schools here is in very bad need of repair.  We were greeted by 4 dogs tied up to the railing but rather well behaved.

The class room we met in like all of the others, had some serious termite damage.  The 3 gaps in the floorboards are where the termites had finished their job and boards were missing.

Termite damage to railing post.

Sister Taikanoa, the Branch Presidents wife, visiting with Sister Mitchell and children while waiting for Sacrament Meeting to begin.  36 were in attendance at the meetings and Cheryle assisted Sister Taikanoa with the Primary, teaching them songs.  Pres. Taikanoa asked Cheryle and I to bear our testimonies in Sacrament Meeting, I gave the invocation, blessed the water and the bread, and taught the adult Sunday School class.
We felt very privileged to be in the meetings and both of us felt the Spirit of the Lord very strongly in this little branch in White River.

We were given approval by the physical facilities group in Australia for new cushions for our living room.  Cheryle picked them out and they look great.

Each week we shop on our preparation day for our supplies.  The city market in always one of our stops where we can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.  This huge open warehouse is filled with vendors selling many different varieties of bananas, melons, cabbage, beans, pineapple, papaya, guava, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, etc.  It's always packed as you can see.

How could you be homesick when your companion is your best friend and you get to be with her all the time for 23 months doing what the Lord would want you to do.  Here Cheryle brings her talents to the Solomon Islands as she kneads bread dough.  I've been spoiled just like at home with chocolate cake, brownies, no bake cookies, snicker doodles etc. and that's just desert.  We are having a great time together and what a blessing to be so busy doing things that are important not only to these people but to the Lord.

Just the other day Cheryle said,  "you know because we are trying so hard to understand and learn pidgin we probably won't get Alzheimer's disease".  We laughed and laughed thinking about that.  I think it might be working too, because a few days later as I was driving, Cheryle told me to take a right at the next lazy susan.  I'm pretty sure she meant the next round a bout.

We think we might be getting acclimatized to the heat and humidity here.  Yes it's still 85 degrees most afternoons and 65 to 85 percent humidity, but we think we're adjusting.  Or maybe we're just getting used to being sticky and sweaty, who knows.  Anyway we are loving being here and can't imagine doing anything else right now.