Tuesday, June 30, 2015

We promised big news - and here it is!

An opportunity has come our way that proves that the hand of the Lord is in control. We stumbled across a house, on the beach here in Laie that was in need of a new caretaker. After much prayer and soul searching, we have decided to take on the care of the house - in addition to our missionary duties, of course.

This 7 bedroom, 5 bath house, is co-owned by 28 families.  It includes a 2 bedroom/1 bath apartment. We will live in that apartment. It's not new, and rust is an ever present problem that will make life interesting, attacking anything metal, including cars, (oh NO, MARVIN! Will he survive???), machinery, computers, tvs, appliances, faucets, doorknobs and hinges. Yep - EVERYTHING. Also, there is a very well used famous beach right next to the house. Earplugs may become a part of the nightly routine. But hey, it's workable.

The caretaker duties are pretty straight forward. Every two weeks a different family comes to stay in the house. They stay for 13 days.  During their stay, the only caretaker requirement is to maintain the landscaping. We have 6 – 7 hours to clean the house top to bottom in between when people go and when the next ones come.  General maintenance of the house is needed on Saturdays, which includes yard work.

The other part of the chores is the occasional need to come pick up or drop off a family at the airport. There is a 14 passenger van provided for that.

The greatest advantage for us is a living rent free in exchange for our services. The apartment comes fully furnished and we are even allowed to use the staples provided, such as detergent, cleaners, tools and equipment.

This is a great, great blessing to Elder Jones and I. Of course, it does not come without sacrifice. We will be working even harder as we are determined not to let any of our missionary duties lag. 

Another blessing, as if all of this wasn't enough. We have one more year for our mission. After that year is over, we can choose to convert to volunteer status at the Polynesian Cultural Center and continue serving here for the time period we choose.  The departments that we work for want us to stay and are very supportive of this opportunity. They are thrilled that we want to stay longer.

It gets better! The current caretakers have family here and have actually asked if they could come take over for a month or so every few months, allowing us to travel. It's like a dream come true for us. A means and a way for us to live on our limited savings, go hiking about in other lands AND live in paradise. 

How long will we stay? Only time will tell, though it appears that two years seem to be the norm.

The hardest part for me is leaving the family we have grown to love like our own. I don't think I could do it if it wasn't for the fact that we're only going to be about 3 blocks away (well, and because it was clear that we were suppose to do this). The apartment is going to be held by the mission and they have full intentions of placing new missionaries here soon - we have a number of new couples coming in during the next couple of months. They had BETTER be super good ones! The Kalamas deserve no less.

It wasn't our plan, but it appears that it was the Lord's plan. So here we are - for a bit more. We greatly appreciate your prayers and support. We start this Wednesday and oh how I want it to work out beautifully. Like I said, it won't be easy, but it sure will be an experience! Ron has dreamt of living on the beach his whole life. I felt bad trying to keep his expectations for such a thing low. How wonderful that Heavenly Father felt that those dreams had merit.


In other news, as if this wasn't enough, I just finished getting my diving certification. What an adventure!

But, as much as my beloved would hope otherwise, all I can say is "I'm glad I did it, but I don't think its for me". Mainly because I got so seasick each time I went out. It's not the underwater part. It's bobbing around on the surface strapped to crazy, heavy equipment and a blow up vest that did me in....lol.
A little visit from a local before we jump in the water

Ron - in underwater heaven

Our instructor -with a crabby little friend
Nina trying to decide what she really thinks about all this

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Tongan Devotional and Pickled Mangoes

Today was the Tongan Devotional. Each of the 6 villages holds a devotional every year. June is always Tonga.

We missionaries have come to love these events. There are always talks by the students about what they have been learning by going to school and working here in Laie. They are so humble and inspiring. We Americans forget how blessed we are to have the plenty that has been poured upon us. These students speak of living in poverty, many times without electricity or running water. They talk about the opportunity to come here, and how difficult it is at first to live in a completely foreign society, but also how wonderful it is to have a piece of home with them every time they come to work.

Here are a few pictures of today's devotional:

We started with a flag raising ceremony

We sang hymns in Tongan

We listened to speakers.  Siope Tafuna spoke on mamahi'i me'a, or Loyalty. He related how King Taufa╩┐ahau became the first Christian ruler of Tonga and the courage he displayed when he placed his people under one God. The King stated, "God and this kingdom are my heritage."

Siope Lani Tautua'a spoke on loto to, or humility. She joked that she is known as the loudest and most talkative one of the village, but then she spoke about Queen Salote, who humbled herself while attending Queen Elizabeth's coronation, and how that humility and love of country helped others to become interested in her beloved island nation. She stated that she was very grateful for the examples of humility that influences her as she serves at the PCC.

The subject of Faka'apa'apa or respect was handled by Etuate Cocker who conveyed how he learned to recognize through working at the Tongan village how much his father sacrificed to raise him and his siblings. His father's love and care was a true example of respect for his family.

Akanesi Ahonima presented the virtue of tauhi va or maintaining relationships. This could be your relationship with God, with family and friends. It could be everyone around you. How can you accomplish this? By loving one another. There is no other commandment greater than this.

After we were greatly inspired, we were greatly fed. Elder Jones and I are getting used to all of the various Polynesian dishes. Hey, I even ate Tongan raw fish, and LIKED it! There was also this amazing coconut bread in a caramel sauce. Soooooooooo good!


One other fun activity happened last weekend. I was given the assignment to pick mangoes and make pickle mangoes. Normally this is not a difficult assignment, but I had to take it a step further and try different varieties, menus and methods.  I now have pickle mangoes coming out of my ears....or at least my fridge.

Here's the funny part.  I appears that Elder Jones has a bad reaction to mango sap. This is actually not unheard of....except by us.  The mango plant is from the same family that gives us poison oak. So, for the last week Elder Jones wakes up, takes a shower and (don't ask me why it happens this way), comes out looking like Popeye - one eye squeezed shut, tingly lips, and itching like mad. Benedryl keeps him sane, but let me tell you, we are SURROUNDED by ripening mango, so I am trying to keep things clean, clear and away from him. For those who know him, you will know that the most difficult part is keeping HIM away from the mangoes. He loves em! Swollen lips be danged!

He's so fun.

Anyway, I blogged about my experience making pickle mango, along with providing two recipes for them in our Shop! Polynesia online Food Blog. Take a look if you are interested:

We have a big announcement in a couple of weeks and I will be blogging about my upcoming Scuba Diving certification class (Elder Jones conned me into it....and yes, I am a nervous wreck!!)

We're still having a GREAT TIME over here. Drop us a line sometime!