Friday, March 11, 2005

Adventures in Tahiti

March 11th, 2005
It is the day before we leave for Tahiti. God has not shown us any of the details as to what we are doing, where we are staying, etc... but He has given Jon and I His perfect peace concerning all of the details being worked out.

At school this morning, I was given a $500 support check for the team and $40 from a parent to spend on Candace and myself.  The student body had a commissioning service where they prayed for the health of the team (as 4 of the 5 seniors are sick), the details to be worked out and for us to minister to the people of Tahiti.

This evening I was getting uneasy about not knowing all the details and leaving in the morning.  I picked up the book "Secure in the Everlasting arms" by Elizabeth Elliott and read while I soaked.  One of the excerpts in the book made me hit my knees concerning the details.  I prayed for a fleece to be revealed (a sign).  As soon as I was pau praying the phone rang.  It was Nicci Pou saying they had finally gotten in touch with Michu and that she would work out the details.  Nicci called back a little later to let me know that a lady named Freda is picking us up and we are staying at the First Assembly Church in Papeete!  My how God answers prayer in the 11th hour!

"Thy shoes shall be iron and brass and as thy days, so shall thy strength be" Deuteronomy 33:25

 March 12th-  Day of departure

When I woke up this morning it was raining.  Lisa and I went to Stanley's for breakfast and then I headed to the airport.  When I arrived I was told that all Molokai Air Shuttle flights were cancelled due to the rain.  I went to the Island Air counter and they had 2 seats on the 10:55 flight but they were $110 a piece (one way).  The lady said that if I went to see Shirley Rawlins, I could get them for $90 a piece.  So I went to town and ended up getting them for $65 each.  My how God works it out.  Tirzah and I checked in and flew to Honolulu.  On the way I met two ladies from North Carolina- one from Charlotte and one from Asheville. 

Once in HNL, Tirzah's dad picked us up and we went to Costco and Walmart.  Went back to the airport to pick up the rest of the team and was told their flight was delayed until 4:45... which puts them being into HNL at 5:10.  As I just finished that last sentence Bill Umi pulled up with the rest of the team.  Praise the LORD!

Now we are sitting in HNL airport waiting for our plane to arrive.  I just called to check in with Dan.  We are now on the plane headed to Papeete.  I have just started reading when this passage stuck out to me.

"It is for His kingdom and His will, yet we ought not to ask it unless we ourselves are prepared to cooperate.  But how pitifully tiny our efforts seem, how ineffective, how absurd. (pg 34)

early March 13th- Arrival into Papeete

Our flight was a fairly smoth one that allowed me to take a 3 hour nap while the movie was playing.  I sat beside Tirzah and it was like flying with someone who has just flown for the first time.  She was so thrilled.

We arrived at 12:15am and had to go through customs.  People met us at the gate with gardenias or Tahiti's flower and singing with Ukulele's.

When we walked out a group from the church met us with fresh flower lei's.  I met a young man that worked at Molokai General Hospital.  He now owns a Christian tv station in Tahiti and asked if we would come to the station and talk about what we are doing.  He gave me his phone number so I plan to call him this week!

The universal langage is love!

I woke up at 6am this morning with the sounds of voices outside.  The youth singing group werer getting ready and practicing.  Even though we do not know much french, we can truly understand that they are worshiping our Lord.

Dieu est la source de my joie
Psalm 119:9-12

After sitting through a 30 minute prayer service, then onto worship through song and message.  The worship through song was awesome even though we could not understand.  The message was translated into 3 languages - French, Tahitian and English.  The service lasted for three hours.  Jon and I were proud of the kids for sitting through the service.  After the service we had lunch, talked story, learned Tahitian dance, had a meeting with the church board as to what we are doing here.  We are going to paint the inside of the church and lunch room.  They said they were thrilled with what we were going to do. 

John (black) came by and took us down to the river.  It was so beautiful and clear.  We all stayed there until the sun set.  We then came back... had leftovers for dinner.  After my shower I had a good conversation with Hetote, a 23 year old local guy that was raised in Miami.

March 14th

Today we all woke up with few mosquito bites due to the mosquito coils in our room.  We slept really well in our new rooms.  It is close quarters but livable.  Joelle was to come by at 9am to exchange $ and do some sightseeing.  I learned Tahiti time is the same as Molokai time.  He came at 9:45.  We all loaded in his truck and headed out.  We went to the bank and then headed to the overlook on Taiarapu Peninsula.  We were able to see Tahiti Nui (the big part).  Then we drove to Teahupoo, so Jon could see where the pro surfing tournament takes place.  By the time we got back we rested a while and then walked down to the black sand beach where we played for a long time.  I found 4 conch shells and brought 2 back with me. 

Every stop we have made today we have had the opportunity to talk with local people.  Thankfully Tia has been here to help translate.  It is really cool to be able to communicate with everyone.  We have been learning French from the local kids hanging around.  Most want to talk English as much as we want to learn French.  At the beach I met a 24 year old girl that had twins.  She asked how many kids I had.  I explained I teach school and have 10 children in my class at school.  Something got lost in the translation because she thought I had 10 children of my own.  oops!

March 15th

This morning I got all the girls up thinking the guys all went to town to get painting supplies.  We ate breakfast, had devotions, and then started on work projects.  Christian and Daniel came in and said they didn't go to town.  Oops!  After we cleaned the bathrooms, the kitchen, our rooms, and wiped down all the walls of the kitchen we had a group meeting.  I talked to the seniors about what they had been learning.  Most of them were thankful for the things they have on Molokai.  They ahve enjoyed the times of worship in French and the friendliness of the people.  I think it is really cool that we have only been here two days and the kids are already seeing that.

Right before lunch, I took the kids (5 seniors and 3 local kids) down to the river to play.  It has been so stinkin hot and the water is so nice and cool.  We played down there for an hour and then came back to lunch.  Shortly after lunch Joel came back with Jon and the painting supplies.  Joel then took the girls and I to "hyper Champion" to do grocery shopping.  I got 2 nights worth of food and spent $30.

March 16th

Today was paint day.  We all got up and ate breakfast then had a share time of devotions.  When we were through we got out the paint stuff and painted the fellowship hall.  The paint was oil based so it was difficult to get off of our skin but it looked really nice on the walls.  It took more paint than we were expecting but that's ok.  When we finished, they had prepared lunch for us so we ate.  All the kids except for Kanoe went to the river.  I stayed behind due to Kanoe being here.  So far I have done some reading, laundry, writing in my journal and I am about to head down to the store.  As I finished that last line Jean Marc came by and volunteered to take Kanoe and I to the store.  We went grocery shopping and to a clothing store.

Evening Bible study lasted for two hours.  Worship was awesome and all the kids understood the message.  I am amzed at the turn out of youth on a Wednesday night.  The music with all of the voices was absolutely amamzing.  After the service Naomi gave me a beautiful shell labeled with Tahiti.  We all sat out on the lanai and talked story and snag.  It was so great.  The mosquitos were really bad.

March 17th

Woke up bright and early at 7am.  Had breakfast with the team and then did a devotion on God's perfect peace.  We painted the sanctuary until we ran out of paint.  Tia and a couple of the other guys bought Chinese food for lunch.  You have to bring your own take away containers.  After lunch we rested and then went on a long hike to the waterfalls.  We walked for an hour until we came to a crystal clear pool of water flowing from the mountain.  It was beautiful.

March 18th

Today when I woke up my right leg had lots of little red blisters on it from the branch I ran into yesterday.  The team met in the kitchen for breakfast and devotions.  We all got ready and when John (black) came by we hopped in and caught a ride down to the Gauguin Museo.  We walked around there for an hour.  Great history of Paul Gauguin and the island of Tahiti.  Tiana's mom works there and she got us in for free instead of the 600 CFP's.  We started walking home after the museum and got picked up by Joel, taken back to the church, changed clothes, and headed to Paparo beach.  Jon wanted to surf but had no board so he body surfed.  Then we went to Vaima (the river) to rinse off and grab a snack.  We got back to the church, ate, showered and had a worship service.  There was dinner afterward but nobody told us about it.

One other exciting event is the mother dog here got torn into and Jon offered to stitch the dog up.

It was a struggle to get the kids to bed because they were so wound up!

March 19th

My alarm went off at 4am.  Paco had slept in our room so she also got up.  Joel came to pick us up at 5am.  We drove to Papeete, drove the trucks on the Arimonte ferry and we headed to Moorea.  The ride was 45 minutes and cost 650cfp per person per way.  The car was 3500 each way.  We got to Moorea about 7:30 and went to Joel's sisters house for breakfast.  We enjoyed a time of fellowship with them and then headed around the island.  We stopped at Usine de Jus de Fruits where they make fruit juice.  Then we drove to Baie de Cook then up to the old Temanoha Village and then to Le Belvedere Lookout.  Moorea is a beautiful island.  At lunch we went to Tamae beach where the water was crystal clear and white sand.  We played and rested there until we needed to head back to the boat dock.  We took the ferry back to Papeete and then drove back to Papeari just in time for service at 7pm.  Our seniors were tired and fussy.  They didn't want to go to the service so I gave them the choice.  You can go to the service or you can go to bed.  Kelly chose to lay down and the rest went to the service.  We had a great time of worship and then watched a dvd on YWAM-Pacific Quest.

March 20th

We have officially been here a week.  It feels like longer because we have done so much.  Tirzah woke up at 3am screaming... shortly after Paco saw Jon using the bathroom in the bushes.  We got up at 7am.  People were outside raking the yard and cleaning up everything.  Daniel's stomach was sick so he spent all of church in the bathroom.  We did a short performance at church.  Jon, Kelly, Kanoe, and Christian sang Shout to the Lord while Tirzah signed and I did a hula.  Church went from 9:30-12:30 and by the time church was pau I was feeling really sick.  I went and laid down.  Somebody came in and coearced me to eat lunch.  I ate and felt no better.  Sadley enough I have been in bed most of the day.  I got up to watch the Tahitian dance practice but the drumming was hurting my head so I laid back down and have stayed here except for a couple trips to the bathroom.

March 21st

Today is Monday morning.  We spent the day painting the rest of the church.  We repainted all of the trim red.  By the time we finished it was 4 o'clock.  The church looked very snazzy!  After painting Jon ran to the store to pick up ham and cheese for sandwiches.  Once he got back we cooked up dinner and I went to lay down as I was still feeling a little funny.  I had to give the kids a 10 o'clock curfew because I was getting tired of them waking me up at 1:30am and then not wanting to get up the next morning.  I did some reading before I went to bed.

March 22nd

We got up with the thought of Joel coming to pick us up and taking us around the back side of the island.  Jon went surfing with Teva's friend named Teva.  John ended up coming to take one of the other guys to the doctor.  He ended up taking us cruising with him.  We went to Taravao then came back picked up Tia and headed to Papeete.  The kids begged to eat at McDonalds so John stopped there for us to have lunch.  A kids meal was 560 francs and a "value" meal was 780 francs.  We then went to Le marche de Papeete and I bought pareo's and a couple of necklaces.  It was a fun day.  We ran into several people from the church in Papiera.  We came back and ate dinner with the guys here.  After dinner I went out to wash clothes and Kelly and Tirzah came in to talk to me.  Glad that these girls trust me and want to know my opinions on certain issues.

March 23rd

Jean Marc was supposed to come by and take us to Papeete shopping today but he never came by so I spent the day reading my Bible, praying and reading in the Elizabeth Elliott book.  It was a nice relaxing day.  Kanoe and I took mattressess under the tree and laid out there and read.

I actually had my first half warm shower today because I was the first person in and the water in the pipes was warm.  I made speghetti and green beans for dinner.  Jon ran down to the store and bought ice cream.  We had Wednesday evening service at 7:30.  The worship again was absolutely amazing.  We had a time of prayer and then Freida gave a message on Joshua and how each of us are called to be Joshua's.  She also added in how sometimes God calls people to be Joshua's from a long way away to bless others by painting their church.  I was blessed by the hospitality and kindness that has been shown to us in our time in Tahiti.

After service Naomi left a bag of pareos and black pearls for all of the girls and t-shirts for the boys.  She has been such a blessing to us!

March 24th

Today we all slept in and had devotions at 10am.  Joel came by at 11am to pick us up.  We were supposed to head around the island to the other side but Joel's wife was sick.  We ended up going to the bank to exchange $ but it closed right as we arrived at 11:45am and didn't reopen until 2pm so we went to Papara to swim then to the Fern Grotto.  It was so much cooler and beautiful.  We had lunch at the beach.  Hamburgers and french fries.  Yummy!  When we got back to the church, we rested, read, played cards, and talked story until dinner.  We had saimen and bread for dinner with ice cream for dessert.  Paco fell asleep in Kelly's bed and didn't leave until early this morning.

March 25th

Kelly woke up this morning saying how much body heat Paco radiated.  We got up and had devotions under the tree.  We talked about the significance of Good Friday.  As we were finishing up it started to rain.  Each person was given a job to do.  With 7 of us the tasks got done really quick.  Taimati was to take us on a hike but due to the inclement weather we were unable to go.  The weather during the rain was very cool.  I finished my book and rested.  Freida, her daughter, and Naomi all came.  Frieda cooked us a traditional Tahitian dinner.  Her daughter taught us a couple of Tahitian dances.

March 26th

Our last day in Tahiti!  A bitter sweet moment.  I have enjoyed my time here and have been extremely blessed.  Last night/this morning the girls raided the guys room.  Kelly painted Jon's finger and toe nails bright red.  The funny thing is that we had no fingernail polish remover and paint thinner didn't work.  We got up at 5:30 to catch the bus into Papeete.  We waited until 8:15 when the bus finally came.  We shopped for a few hours and then caught the bus back at 11:15.  The bus was super crowded but we made it back.  We packed our suitcases and cleaned up.  Frieda's daughter took Naomi, Kanoe, and myself to Champion to get a few treats to take back with us.  We had evening service where we were thanked for coming and serving.  They asked for Jon to share something.  He did and then I shared how 2 weeks ago we were strangers visiting a foreign land.  Today I feel like I am leaving family.  Each of the kids got up and told what the Lord had been doing in their lives while in Tahiti.  Then we had a time where the people there prayed over us.  We are so blessed to have met these wonderful people.  After service they gave us dinner and then we said our goodbyes and headed to the airport.