Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Aloha from Paradise!


We're here!  We arrived last Wednesday.  Here's our blessings from Day One:

Our first view of the islands
  1. We had GREAT seats!  Front row of Coach.  And just two seats so it was just Elder Jones and I - not that we don't like people, but it sure was lovely not sitting in the middle seat.
  2. We arrived early!
  3. We were able to pick up our car, Marvin - this really is amazing, because we were scheduled to arrive at 2:40 and the transport company was scheduled to close at 3:00.  Since we knew that that would mean another 3 hours drive back and forth from La'ie, this was going to end up being a hassle.  Lo and behold (as I mentioned) we were early AND we when we called, Matson said that they were going to stay open until 3:30.  Zipitty Zoom we went and we were happily reunited with out car.  Poor Marvin had a couple of scrapes - but otherwise, none the worse for wear.  He's going to go thru a whole lot more just being here on the island, so we are counting ourselves lucky.
  4. We were taken to dinner at a local hamburger joint that had FANTASTIC burgers (including this amazing avocado veggie burger for me) I can already tell I'm going to have to work hard to not become a member of what they call around here the "40 pound mission".  
We were then dropped off at our new home.  It is a 'pretty close to finished' apartment built as a top floor over the home of a family of 6 - Keni and Rachel Kalama and their 4 really adorable girls Kalia (11), Aotea (8), Raiha (5) and Ani (6 weeks). 
Quick preview of cuteness
which is Raiha
...and more cuteness...
which is Aotea

And this is Keni, his father Danny
and Elder Jones in his Hawaiian missionary attire at Danny Kalama's
home on the seashore.
Anyhoot, the apartment is it's own floor.  It has windows on all four sides so we get to really take advantage of the tradewinds, which is wonderful.  I haven't felt unbearably hot yet.  Sure, it's a little toasty around 4:00 pm, but that won't bother me as I will be at the Administrative Offices during that time, and they have air conditioning.  The apartment is not large, but it's everything we need.  It may be just rewards that our kitchen has a two-burner hotplate and an on-the-counter toaster oven, just like what we provided the missionaries who lived in our Sequim home.  So here's what I've learned: Throw a crockpot in there, and grab some pans from the 2nd hand store and we are perfectly fine.  This all adds up to Blessing #5:  We love our apartment and we LOVE our landlords!

We are in a sweet little town., though I'm still trying to say "La'ie" right. It's NOT pronounced how it's spelled - at least in boring mainland language - If I want to say it correctly, I don't even dare look at the spelling.  There are about four variations, but most people agree that the pronunciation is: "LAH - ee  - aye".
We must say, the living is excellent here.  We've been to the beach every evening.  We LOVE the beach, and I'm perfectly happy to be able to jump in after the sun drops below the trees.  (Blessing #6)  Of course, we're just newbies.  It will not be like this starting this week - there is so much to do.

Elder Jones next to an authentic replica of a Hawaiian sailing ship
about to be launched (well, actually, it took two days to get it
all the way into the water.)

Day Two - the ship prepares to sail away

Just another stretch of road heading towards La'ie
I won't lie - our first morning here I was a sobbing mess.  If I don't know what I'm up to and why, I have a hard time with change.  And then there was the most adorable picture of our youngest grandbaby right there on Facebook when I woke up.  Here, I'll show you:

Now, seriously.  Can you blame me for missing this little cutie?
By the way, any picture of any of our darling grandchildren could
have produced the same results...
So, the waterworks began.  But Heavenly Father let me have about a 10 minute pity party and then threw me into the middle of training.  We have been kept extremely busy since then and I've grown to love it here more and more each day.

We were fast-tracked on our orientation and Elder Jones started working in the Facilities Engineering Dept. today.  How true to form for a facilities department:  meetings, meetings and more meetings.  The most significant part of his day way going to a birthday luncheon.  They are really hyped about the experience base he's bringing to the table.  He's hoping he can live up to their expectations.

I am going to be working in the Administration Office - something around Marketing / Website.  I'm a little nervous, but excited too.  I did not start today.  I had the fun task of going to get Marvin (our car - remember?)  registered.  This first task on the list was to go to Sears to get a safety inspection.  FIVE HOURS LATER.....I was driving off to get our car insurance.  What was meant to be a one day excursion is going to turn into THREE trips.  I now have to actually get the car registered, and THEN have the silly car reinspected.  It's all so convoluted, and makes no sense to me, but this is the Hawaiian way, I'm told.  The good news is that I had a shopping stop at Ross for the household items I desperately needed.  Our landlord's mom Robyn, went with me.  She is a DELIGHT!  I haven't been shopping for anything besides food in a couple of months - so besides the crazy wait at Sears, it was a really lovely day.  So, shopping buddy = Blessing #7

We have been assigned to a University Married Ward for church.  This means that we will be attending church with married college students and that my job really is going to be "grandma extraordinaire"! Obviously this is Blessing #8, and it's probably the best blessing of all!  We didn't get the word until after church yesterday, so we haven't been to that ward yet, so I just can't wait until next Sunday!  There are members from EVERYWHERE!  All of the islands, all over Asia, some from Africa and so very many from Utah. Our Bishop is Tahitian and is supposed to be a very happy, wonderful and (if you can believe it) organized man.  Hurrah!

Now, I have promised to drop back down to writing on this blog once a month now that we're here....so I'm going to keep to that promise....hard as it may be.  Look for our next edition at the first of next month.

So, to close, here are our missionary thoughts:

This comes from our church's publication, Preach My Gospel, Chapter 1 "What is My Purpose as a Missionary":

You are surrounded by people. You pass them on the street, visit them in their homes, and travel among them. All of them are children of God, your brothers and sisters. God loves them just as He loves you. Many of these people are searching for purpose in life. They are concerned for their families. They need the sense of belonging that comes from the knowledge that they are children of God, members of His eternal family. They want to feel secure in a world of changing values. They want “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23), but they are “kept from the truth because they know not where to find it” (D&C 123:12).
The gospel of Jesus Christ ....will bless their families, meet their spiritual needs, and help them fulfill their deepest desires. Although they may not know why, they need relief from feelings of guilt that come from mistakes and sins. They need to experience the joy of redemption by receiving forgiveness of their sins and enjoying the gift of the Holy Ghost.

These words, and the scriptures they reference, hit me so hard when I read them this week.  We've been given this great opportunity to share the wonderful, important, life altering message with people that God not only knows them, but loves them completely.  No matter who we are - no matter what we believe - it's important to feel loved and to learn that we are important and needed.  I haven't even been here one week and I already love these people, love this land and love this mission.  Most of all, I love the Savior so completely that I am excited to share His gospel.

All our love and wishes for health and happiness.

Nina and Ron / Mom and Dad / Grandma and Grandpa / Elder and Sister Jones


  1. Dear Sister Jones, Thank you for sharing your experiences and your emotions on your transfer from one paradise to another. I can relate to the excitement and the tears. Missions provide unexpected blessings of finding and loving new brothers and sisters, while still longing for children and grandchildren. (I agree, that grandchild is pretty adorable. Thankfully Skype and email can keep you in touch with their growth and activities, which makes it easier for us than it was in early days of the church. One of my grandfathers was born in Hawaii because his mother had joined his father when he extended his mission in Hawaii for additional years.) We love you, we are praying for you, and know that you will be amazed at how much you continue to be blessed during your time there. Enjoy every minute because one day you will wake up and realize your time there is running out and wonder how that happened.

  2. Nina and ron, ALOHA!! I told u that u would love it!! It brings back memories when u sent the pictures and by the way some of the pictures u sent are not coming thru, like your grandkids. Anyway. You guys make me home sick and I can'twait until we may have to opportunity to come see you. Oahu is a busy island, so u should say bring into the fold maybe 100 people on your mission( I have exaggerated a bit) but may be possible. These people have big hearts as you've already seen. Anyway, I know you will wake up and realized "Were did the time go" as Claudia said, because with so much to do, people to talk to in such nice weather year round, it will fly by fast. So until we speak again. ALOHA and OHANA (Family) because that is what these people beleive as you have already seen..Bless you