So much has changed for us in the past week+ that our heads are still spinning. So, to help you understand, I’ll write some quick observations to give you an idea of our new settings, and the events of the past week.
We arrived on Clove Island a couple of days late, due to our boat trip being delayed (We flew instead. These sorts of delays are usual, we were told).
We live on a beautiful tropical island. The sun shines brightly, and it is never cold here (although, it does get quite hot). Tropical fruit such as mangoes and pineapples grow like weeds, the people here are almost always quite warm and inviting, the ocean is a beautiful blue color, and we eat fresh tuna and other fish caught from it on an almost daily basis.
There is another side of the story however. There is trash everywhere, although it is the worst by far at the beach. The high tide line is marked by trash so thick that you cannot see the sand. The poverty here is widespread, most of the people are unemployed, and while the clothing standards give the appearance that fidelity and propriety are important standards, divorce and promiscuity are rampant.
In short, this place is like most places: There are many many sinful people here, with many of the same problems that we have everywhere else. I suppose the one thing that sets it apart in my mind is that there are so many who have not heard of Him.
Thankfully, as I was reminded this week, Melissa and I did not bring God to the islands. He was here working before we arrived, and will continue to do so after we leave. We already have found that we love the people here, and we hope that we can help them by teaching English, and telling them about Him.
Some other details, to fill in the blanks:
Melissa and I just finished a week long orientation (We’ve been living out of a suitcase since we flew out from Georgia on November 1st.) We have had an amazingly wonderful experience being close together with the other 6 teammates on our team in a hotel together. Phin now has 6 wonderful aunts and uncles who love her and look after her very well. When she was having such a hard time adjusting, they were a great encouragement to us. (She is doing much better now, by the way!)
We are super excited to be moving into our house tomorrow. One of the values that we have chosen to do here is to live simply so that we will be able to minister naturally to those around us. This means that we won’t have most of the luxuries of life that we enjoy back in the states, however (read: warm showers, etc), but we are eager to have a space to call our own once more and to be able to finally meet the people in our new neighborhood who we will get to know as we learn language and live life with them.
Starting Wednesday, we will be spending a full week with a family in one of the more rural villages here. Please keep us in prayer as this will most certainly by an incredible opportunity and challenge for us.
I got a chance to play soccer for the first time today since we arrived (We’ve kept to a very intense schedule of language learning and orientation so far, so there has not been time to do so). The islanders are very skilled, and I am hoping to be able to work towards getting into shape so that I can play with them regularly. I think that this will be a good way to develop relationships.
We’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that the food here is amazing. There have been very few dishes which we have not enjoyed thoroughly. Phin, however, has not been eating as well. She is still eating enough, but we are hoping that she gets her former insatiable appetite back before long.