Dear Mom and Dad,
I want to talk about how I am blessed when I keep busy.
On Saturdays we work in Tabuntebike and on this particular day there was a massive bootaki (party) that most o the people in the town went to. Some a y turned one, but we didn't know them. Everybody just went for the food, and a party is more exciting than general life. We were able to teach 2 people. We went down every street of town but no one would listen to us. So we decided to go back to Tuarabu, where we live, and see if we could teach our people there. They were all gone. We again went up and down the street and asked for refferals, but we taught no one. Then a boy told us that he found a tube for our bike. (Last week my companion ran over a fish bone and the person that tried to patch it ended up tearing a hole into the tire tube so we have been borrowing a bike for a week.)
The only problem with this tire, he said, is that we would need to patch it first. We were happy so we took it and found that there were 6 impressive holes in this tube. But having nothing better to do and really needing our bike back, we set to work to fix it. A short way into our work we both looked at each other just amazed at how depressingly unsuccessful our day was and yet we both felt so good. We were just so happy sitting and chatting with the family that we were borrowing the bicycle pump from. So from this I strongly believe that when you try your best, even if you have not much to show for it, God blesses you with peace. We were just so happily content which is one of the ways that I feel the Holy Ghost. I love seeing God's hand in my life.
This next story is about a very unique tender mercy and how the gospel perspective helps you see God's hand in everything. A huge cultural thing here is that if you go to someone's house, even just to ask a question, you have to sit down and chat with them and have a drink. Usually we break culture and speed it up as much as possible, but this day was a p-day so we had time. Also the cups here are ginormas. That circle (he drew a circle about 5 inches across) is the size of a standard cup. (He also drew the height of the cup at about 5 inches and the level that it was filled to at about 4 inches high.) So this morning we had a service project. On the way we stopped and asked one family where it was, so we sat down and they made me drink 2 cups. (It is very against culture to refuse a drink or leave a house with out finishing your drink.)
Then we waited for one of them to come back so we could walk together. While we were waiting, another man called us over to talk and we probably drank at least one cup there. Then we did our service of cutting down the huge coconut leaf fronds for them to weave into a rough mat used like carpet so you don't sit in the dirt. After the service, we really wanted to run off and do email, but they invited us in. They gave us 2 cups of drink plus something called ABC. (Already Been Chewed, somebody gave it this nickname and it stuck. What it really is is rice in coconut milk and water. It tastes like sweet oatmeal that you drink.)
When we left there, I needed to empty my bladder so bad, but we were super late for email so we were biking super fast back to the house. But as we were going by a family's house, they called us in for doughnuts (think scones) and a drink. The drink wasn't ready yet so they gave us a 'in the meantime drink'. They also gave us the doughnuts and some dried fish that wasn't done yet, and was still raw. I looked at it and knew that it would make me sick, but I had to eat. inally they gave us the drink and I wanted to cry. It was one of the big cups full to the brim.
I knew that as soon as I drank it we could go, but my bladder was so full. I drank maybe 1/4 and felt like I was going to throw up. I have been told that it is a huge insult to culture to eat something and then throw up right after (sorta common sense) so I was in turmoil Literally trying with all my might to not throw up. Willing my body to not do it. Then I would take a sip and start praying with every ounce of my being to strengthen my body so that I could finish the 1/2 full cup, so that I could email my family and not throw up and insult this family that I just met.
However, it was not to be. All of a sudden my body rejected it's contents and in the space of 3 seconds I probably lost more than a quart (probably 2) of liquid. I felt awful, but really my body is impressive. It was like a fire hose out of nowhere. Here is the miracle, the tender mercy just for me. First, I immediately felt so much better, 2nd the family wasn't angry. This island's culture is that if you throw up you must have been sick and now the sickness has left. Also they suggested that we leave. So we were able to quickly get out of there. Plus that sketchy food was now out of my body. By no means was it the solution that I would have chosen, but it did everything and more than I could have asked for.. The knowledge that God had helped just made me so happy, almost giddy. Just so simply happy, that God helps me out. This happiness lasted me through even after email didn't work. So I didn't have to suffer through the usual 'after the false hope of email blues.' God gives us such wonderful blessings unique to our situation if we will just look and be willing to see them.