Welcome to the Island

"I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,

Over mountain or plain or sea;

I'll say what you want me to say, dear Lord,

I'll be what you want me to be."

This Christmas is for everyone.....

Monday, October 29, 2012

So many wonderful men & women leading the church here on Kiritimati Island

Sunday, October 14, 2012


One day when we were driving back from Poland Dee and I saw a big object out near the beach.  From the road we couldn't tell exactly what it was so we drove off the road to investigate.  As we got closer and closer we both felt kind of sad to think someones beautiful boat had come to such a sad ending. We found all kinds of rubbish along the beach leaving us with the suspicion that it must have been driven onto the coral during a terrible storm. The next day Dee was in a meeting with the Kiritimati Branch presidency and mentioned seeing this sad site. The president informed  him that it was his boat that had broken away from it's mooring during a big storm.  Then we were really sad that we hadn't even known to make our regrets to him.


One Saturday afternoon some of the branch elders gathered at the church lot to clean off the coconut trees. The coconuts grow in clusters at the top of these tall giants. As the individual fruit ripens it crashes down with mighty power damaging anything unfortunate enough to be under it. The many trees we have in the back yard don't do any damage but the 1/2 dozen in the front yard are dangerous to members and their vehicles. I watched them for a while before asking if someone would go back up so I could take some pictures to show the g-kids back home. They sent the 10 year old kid up who had been helping them. I was worried for a minute but as I watched him jump up, leap onto the trunk and begin to climb, I realized it was something he probably did very often. 

Home Sweet Home

You will enter through the only outside door to our home. It leads you into our kitchen/office. Even though it is small it has all a woman needs to plan, prepare, serve then clean up a delicious meal for up to 4 people at once. The stove/oven is gas which is good because the city electrical power goes off now and then. The tap water is automatically pumped from the well out back, it is handy and good for many of the everyday needs. The rain water funneled from off the church buildings is collected into large storage tanks located close by. This treasured commodity is right across the driveway where we refill our 5 gal bucket once or twice a day so we can pump it through the filter system located just to the side of the sinks water taps. Our versatile table can be pulled forward when needed to provide a bigger surface for meals/office work or pushed back under the shelf to allow more space for walking around the kitchen. We have a micro wave oven, a toaster, 2 laptop computers, shelves for our dishes and  food, 2 way radio, telephone and more shelves for office supplies. We spend most of our 'indoor' time here.

Next to the stove, down the three foot hallway (where the washing machine sits) and through the curtained off doorway, you will come upon our sitting/sleeping room. It really is comfortable and so very handy. This window looks directly onto the church building area where we can keep an eye on the coming and goings of the islanders. We sit quite a little distance from the road so we have a lot of privacy and unless there is an activity going on (which we generally join) it is really quiet. The 'night stand' to the right of this photo is a couple of loaded storage bins covered with a white cloth. On the other side is an easy chair (easy to move from place to place) that blocks 1/2 of the closet's double doors. There is an upper and lower shelf for books and extra storage. I am standing next to the doorway to the little bathroom which has a stand up shower, small sink & potty. What more could a couple of busy people want. I can sweep the whole place in less than 15 minutes and dust the one piece of real furniture in 1/2 a minute. Pumping the water is a 2 to 3 times a day project. We fill at least 10 water bottles and a water pitcher each time. Then there are the 2 meals a day that I slave over (JK). Definitely a great place to be!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Kiribati Day of Celebration - July 12, 2012
This picture was taken on one of the days of the week long celebration that is held each year to honor the freedom of their country.  Most of the events were held here at this stadium. This special area is set up for 'important' people of the island and visitors. You can see Dee up front to the far left of this picture. He is watching the soccer game very intently. It was a great game. The table behind the sitting area (at the front of this photo) is for the food that will be set up for lunch a little later. The wonderful women cook and prepare for days. This long expanse is heavily loaded with these foil cooking pans covered with tin foil. We walk along filling our plates from the large selection supplied for us.  I tried to down load another picture of the other bystanders watching the game but it didn't come up.  Toward the back of this photo you can get a glimpse of the place where the teams are grouped. It was a wonderful day. We had such a good time all week watching several sporting events, marches, parades, and dances. We went to watch the beauty contest but it didn't get started until after 10 pm and we had to be back home by 9 pm. Friends told us the next day that it didn't get over until after 1:00 am. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

October 2012 General Conference
While it was still dark at 6:00 AM Sunday morning, several members of the Kiritimati Branch in the South Pacific gathered together at a member's home to watch the first (Saturday) session of General Conference. All six full time missionaries serving on this beautiful island (Marshall Island Majuro Mission) were in attendance.  The sun was shining brightly as the morning session ended and we all prepared to regroup back at the meeting house where our regular Sunday meetings would soon be starting.  We will travel back over there tonight at 7:30 PM to watch the rebroadcast of the Saturday afternoon session that will start at 8:00.  It will be a late night by the time we get home. Then tomorrow morning (Monday) we will retrace our travel to London, to watch both sessions of Sunday's live broadcast. Our wonderful hosts will supply lunch for the gathering.  The saints here on Kiritimati Island in the Republic of Kiribati are amazing people.  
Beautiful white beach just a short distance from Poland

About a month ago we took the sister missionaries with us when we drove up to Poland to pick up the Elders who had been up there finding, teaching & preaching. The six of us drove on to Paris so we could gaze at the beautiful waves from that location. On our way back home we stopped for a short time at the mystical white beach. The sand here is so soft, white and clean. One of the islanders told us it is a moving beach. Over a period of so many years it will actually move along the coast line as the waves gradually shove it around. Bless her heart, one of the sisters offered to take our picture. We don't have many of the two of us together.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Relief Society Social
A while back the Relief Society in Kiritimati Branch had a special opportunity to learn how to make virgin coconut oil from an amazing woman visiting here from Tarawa. There was a really good attendance out back in the mwaneaba (big hut). We had lots of coconuts gathered into a pile ready to be cracked open (that is an art by the way). There were several women set to work grinding the pulp into the big clean bowls. The next step is to place the shredded pulp into the center of clean dry cloths, wrap them tight and start squeezing the oil into another big clean bowl. I'll tell you what, that squeezing is a hard job! Next they heat the oil over a slow heat, stirring the whole time. I left about that time so the secret of making virgin coconut oil is still just that.....a secret!!!  Had you going there, didn't I!! It is really great stuff.  It is used to soften skin, and condition their beautiful long hair.  Personally I think you could put a sparkling shine on shoes, fancy up the tires on your new car, polish the surface of your desk, make your pots shine, cure chapped lips, soften the bottom of your callused feet, your pointed elbows, the and those rough knees. No kidding, it is really great stuff and it smells so good. 
There are a ton of little stores in each of the five main villages.  That makes it really handy for the islanders to buy items close by their homes. There are also a couple of larger general stores that have a good selection of foods. This is what  Matientoake, one of the big stores located in London, looks like on the inside. Besides what you can see from this picture there are several containers outside where extra stock and big things are stored. Going a little further south,  around the corner heading east you will come to the mall.  Yes, we have a mall!  It is an outside mall. There are seven little stores with openings towards the road. The other main store is just outside of Banana. JMB is owned by John who is from Scotland.  His wife lives in Hawaii where she is the purchasing agent. They have several grown children who help run the business from both locations. 

Elder Falke is from northern California. He worked really hard at learning the language as well as the lessons. His companion/trailer, Elder Turner is from central Idaho.  The two of them were here on Kiritimati Island by themselves trying to run the office as  well as meeting, greeting and teaching the gospel to members and nonmembers alike. We will always think of them as our wonderful 'parents'.
Our trip to Tarawa, Kiribati for the zone conference and the stake conference was more than amazing.  One of the really wonderful 'things' we came away with was this group of fine missionaries.  We took the flight over to Fiji on the first part of our homeward travel. The very first thing they wanted to do after we landed was find a MacDonald's and buy real American french frys and a Big Mac hamburger. The desk clerk at the hotel were we unloaded our luggage told us to catch a bus and go 'that way'.  
I thought they would want to order their meal first but NO, they wanted to take this picture. 
Sister Kimmons from Bedias, Texas is sitting next to her trainer/companion, Sister Barlow from Logan, Utah who is being pretty 'friendly' to old Mr Mac.  Elder Veikau from Nausori, Fiji is standing behind our jolly fellow along with Elder Eneri who is his trainer/companion. We were happy that Elder Eneri returned with us so he could help these three new missionaries find their way around the island.

We borrowed these lovely flowers from the pulpit to enhance this photo of these wonderful missionaries.  Elder Hosler, from Blanding, Utah and Elder Eneri from Tarawa, Kiribati are on either side of Sister Valo from Papa, New Guinea and Sister Babo from Tarawa, Kiribati. All four worked very hard as they walked/biked around their assigned areas. 

Let me introduce you to some of our missionaries. Sitting on the floor by the door is Elder Gittins, his companion, Elder Taorobaw, is sitting on the floor next to the fridge. Elder Turner is at the table with Pres. Mabey, his companion, Elder Falke, is sitting on the floor back in the corner. Mission President Shaw is sitting on a chair next to the fridge. I can't remember for sure but I think I was sitting in the kitchen sink so I could be back far enough to take this picture. Perhaps Sister Shaw is squeezed back into the bedroom or perhaps out on the porch.  There isn't much space in this kitchen/office/family room, but it works.

Our first set of sister missionaries came to Kiritimati Island to replace the elders who were here to greet us when we arrived here to start our mission.  Elder Gittins is standing next to his companion Elder Taorobaw. Sister Valo is smiling at her companion, Sister Babo. We two elderly folks are next in line. We act as support, the youngsters do all the hard work. We are so happy to be able to associate with them as they serve the Lord in this great work.



Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dad told me that one early morning when he got up (still very dark outside) he was pretty shaky.  He didn't dare try to walk across the 'bridge' to the potty so got down on his hands and knees and crawled across the coconut polls.  Inside there isn't a place to sit down or to even aim at...there is just space between the polls. Sometimes it gets pretty messy inside there. I think he said the sides only come to about middle so he felt pretty exposed. It is easy to flush, you just let the waves wash away you 'business'.

Banana Branch invited us to their service project a while back.  The YSA gathered very early in the morning to walk along a couple of miles of the main highway on the island. We were divided into three groups. One group on each side of the road piling up rubbish along the way. The third group followed along with the truck tossing the piles into the back to be taken away. The pop cans made up the biggest part of the 3 truck loads. These cans were crushed then taken to be recycled at the nearby store (JMB) where they await transport from the island by boat. What a fun morning. You can tell the size of the road if you realize that the kids are standing on the full width. Don't worry about them getting hit, there are very few cars traveling along the road, actually on the island. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

 This is at the 2 year anniversary celebration of the Banana Branch. It was so fun!
The people in the center are beating the rhythm on the drum (box) as this young girl dances to the delight of the whole group. Although she is young, does a really good job as she swings her little hips to the music. 

Often the branchs gather together to perform for each other as well as for us and other visitors. They are amazing singers, dancers, and games. The Relief Society sisters of Kiritimati Branch sang during a contest between the three villages that make up this branch. This is London Villages joining as an amazing group.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Getting ready for an ocean baptism

   In Banana the members don't have a meeting house yet. We rent space at the local school. Included in the "we don't have yet" is a baptism font so we use the Pacific Ocean. On this particular Saturday afternoon we are gathered near the area where we generally go to perform this Holy ordinance. These fellows had to turn around to go down the slight ridge to get into the water (which isn't as rough as it looks from this view). This was a very special day for this young man who wants to serve a mission.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


New Year's Eve 2011

The day started with the baptism of single young man in his mid 20s. It was due to start at 9 AM but didn't start until after 10 am but that was alright because we finished up in time for the branch party that was to start about 11 AM but actually started closer to 12:30. The Relief Society sisters cooked the food that the branch provided with the balance of the ward budget. While we all waited for the food to be brought up from the back of the lot where the sisters had been cooking it, the president led the youth and children in games. They played 'Simon says' which was fun for all of them and 'musical chairs' (which was so hilarious watching the older teenagers loose to the little kids).
Once the food was brought up the older folks (we were well qualified) were invited to dish up our food so we could eat as the different groups performed their dances. You just couldn't believe what good cooks we have in the branch. That went on for hours with everyone moving to and from the food ladened tables. About 4:00 the groups had finished so the whole congregation was invited to dance to the loud, thumping music. So fun to watch, especially when a sweet young teenager took your father out onto the dance floor. HE WENT! HE DANCED!!
After relaxing for awhile we went with our two missionaries on this New Year's Eve to dinner at Rodney's house. He is an active member of the church who is the father of 4 little children. He offered to turn his television on for Dad. He has ESPN and was very pleased to be able to offer sports to him. Your father graciously turned him down. His sweet wife and several of their children brought large platters of food into their living room, and set them down on the floor. I have heard about this since before we ever came here but it was still strange. We sat in a circle around the food, where Rodney blessed it. As is the custom, the guests (us 4) and the men (Rodney) were the first to be fed. Before we started filling our plates, Elder Turner asked if the rest of the family could please join us so we could all eat together. They did come in but didn't actually start eating until we had a good start. There was so much food. Potato salad, big bowl of rice, hot dogs, fresh tuna fish (so delicious), bone fish, chicken (bbq), fresh tomatoes, cabbage salad, 3 huge shrimp, soda pop and cool-aid. It was all sooooo good. Dad & I tried to stay sitting on the floor but we had to sit back up on the sofa (to the delight of the whole group).

Local homes just off the beach.

This is a row of well built homes that sit along a back road just off the beach pretty close to where we live. Just to the right of this picture is a small rise that drops down to the Pacific Ocean beach. We have friends/members who live here. I asked a lady if the noise from the big ships disturbs them. She gave me a wondering look (I guess we get use to the noises we hear all the time) then explained that they like the big ships that drop anchor off shore because they light up the night. It is really amazing to see the big giant ships at night. It is like seeing a big 10 story building fully lit from top to bottom out in the middle of the blackness just beyond the 'hill'. It is not unusual to see at least one or two of them resting peacefully out there. Most of the local homes don't have more than one or two lights, sometimes without any additional electricity.  

Beautiful sunsets

   One afternoon I went over to the Mia Maid leader's home to give her a copy of the Young Women's Conference CD that was sent to us from the mission home. We talked for a while but when it started getting late I drove the van on the little dirt 'road' along the beach. The sky began changing as the sun lowered into the ocean. I knew the camera was with me so I pulled over to see what I might capture through the lens. I have only slightly lightened this photo so the body of the ship would show.

Taken on a beautiful Sunday morning....all ready for church.

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Let's see if this works

Pres. Dee Mabey and I got to Kiritimati Island mid December with hopes of putting together a blog that we could update at least on a monthly basis. However that has not worked. We finally have the internet to the point where we can get on once in a while. Pictures seem to be a problem but perhaps I can get someone back to add a few photos.  It is now September 2nd, Sunday evening. I will go back to try include important  or just fun information.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

         I am trying to put together a little history of our time so far here on Kiritimati Island. It is actually July 26th and we first got here on Dec 15th. but the internet didn't work so we couldn't do much with this blog. Hope you enjoy our journey. 
     The houses on the island are very small. Made out of about anything they can get their hands on: tin, scraps of wood, branches off coconut trees, thached roofs, cinder blocks, sticks, card board, cloth to cover windows. Many don't have floors, most are very short, some on sticks to elevate them off the ground. They weave mats to sleep on, sit on, use as coverings, for privacy.
       At the gatherings you see some of the people, all ages, using their fingers to eat with, sometimes out of a single central bowl. Many of the little children run around without any clothes on. The stores sale diapers one at a time because the little children pretty much go around with out bottoms.The people are starting to gather here for this special night. They will not be sleeping in the empty cultural hall (like last week) but out in the huts in the back. I wish you could see these places. The main one is pretty big and has a light at the top peek. They are carrying in their mats. The mats are works of art, they are so beautiful. These wonderful people are so happy, they are well dressed, and very excited to be together. You should hear them sing. They are so amazing. I love being here.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


It has been a long time since we have been able to actually work on the internet on a continuing basis. It will be such fun putting our life out there for you to share with us.