The weeks are running into each other. We are as busy as ever. I think we are so much more comfortable with our responsibilities. I feel like I have a good routine. My saving grace is a tracking system that helps me keep track of when things are due for each arriving and departing group. Things overlap. At any given time I will have assignments I’m working on for three different transfer groups. The thing that causes me the most anxiety is the travel. This next week we have elders and sisters departing to far away places. One sister is having a layover in a hotel in Manilla, and other missionaries have up to 4 flight transfers. Yikes!!! I’ve gone over the itineraries with them, and President Bekker will do it again before they leave. I wish they could send me a text and let me know they arrived safely. I’ll just have to trust the Lord.
Devon and I have been busy this week shopping for house goods for new apartments. We’ve made about three trips to Costco and Walmart. Wednesday we delivered things to a new apartment in Kaneohe and helped those sisters move in. Sunday we made a delivery to Laie for two more apartments there. After this transfer we will be up 12 missionaries throughout the mission. This means finding new apartments, and doubling up in the larger apartments. It also presents a problem with a lack of cars. That affects Devon because if they don’t have a car he has to find them bicycles. Guess he’ll be buying a few new bikes this week.
While we were in Kaneohe on Wednesday, we stopped at the Kanilea factory. They produce handmade custom ukulele (the Hawaiian alphabet doesn’t have an “s”, so there is no such things as ukuleles or leis). It was fascinating! I have a new appreciation for a Hawaiian ukulele and understand why they are so expensive. I splurged and bought one about 2 months ago. It’s a treasure!
This is where a ukulele begins. Live trees are never cut to make ukulele. They harvest trees that have died. The Kanilea company has a reforesting program on the Big Island. The dead stumps "cure" for 2 to 4 years in the forest before they are used.
The stumps are sliced into about 1/4" slices...
...and then matched. The front and back pieces are two mirror image slices of wood that are glued together.
The front and back are matched with side pieces and stored on this shelf.
The neck is laser cut out of various types of wood, but not koa wood.
The front and back of a tenor ukulele. You can't see the glue line. This one has an abalone shell inlay.
Unique bracing system of Kanilea ukulele.
Molding the sides of the ukulele.
Nearly finished ukulele. They have a unique uv type of finish applied after they have been sanded various times by hand.
Kanilea factory showroom.
Friday was Sister Overduyn’s birthday. I bought a yummy chocolate cake from Costco and got the word out to the local missionaries. President Bekker was in the office for interviews, so between the local missionaries and the ones coming for interviews, we had a steady flow of missionaries dropping in to wish her a happy birthday. She was thrilled, and she deserves it. In the evening we went to dinner at Red Lobster with Overduyns and Bekkers and had a really nice time relaxing and visiting with each other.
Saturday we met the Overduyns and took the city bus to the International Marketplace in Waikiki. It’s been newly remodeled and so we were interested to check it out. I was really disappointed. I had expected a street vendor type marketplace, but this is an actual mall with very high end stores. It was beautiful – no doubt! It was build around a magnificent Banyan tree – stunning. We walked around a little, but I have no desire to go back.
The International Marketplace had these beautiful statues of beloved Hawaiian royalty: Queen Emma, King Kamehameha IV, and their son, Albert.
Saturday the missionaries found out their fate – whether they would be transferred or stay. There is always so much anticipation. It’s so bittersweet. I know a couple of elders that actually teared up at the thought of losing their companion. Those that are going home don’t want to talk about it! Many want to start all over again. Transfers is a time of high emotions. Sharing God’s love truly touches your life. These are a few missionaries that have touched mine.
L to R:
Elder Furner, Elder Hardy, Elder Eborn, Sister Smith, Sister Ogawa, Elder Sant, Elder Ramsey.
L to R:
Elder Jones, Elder Orihuela, Elder Ball, Elder Sant.
L to R:
Elder Kempe, Elder Johnson, Elder Phair, Elder Villanueva.
Sunday was Fast Sunday. Our wonderful bishop request that the ward come together and fast for greater involvement and commitment to missionary work. Right after church we met together in the gym for a short talk from the bishop and then a pot-luck dinner. It was really nice. This is a really great ward.
And so our week ends. We feel blessed to be here and love serving our mission. It’s hard work, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Personally, I have felt so many tender mercies – sweet heavenly gifts of reassurance, comfort, and confirmation of God’s love for me. I wouldn’t trade a single minute.