South-Southeast of Tarawa
Sister Bush and I got to visit Aranuka with President Maunga (Sam) to conduct training, advance two brethren to the Melchizedek Priesthood and to hold branch conference. It was a wonderful experience, with warm, dedicated saints of the church.
The plane carries only 17 passengers and the pilot/copilot are open to the passengers. Air Kiribati has 2 planes in its fleet. One has a partition between the passengers and the luggage and one doesn't. This one does.
There is always a welcoming group of family and friends of those who come in on the plane, as well as people just curious to see what and who comes in.
We always have to confirm our return flight. Just because we have a ticket doesn't mean we have a seat. The man below is the head man at the Aranuka airport.
He used to work for the government as an agriculture extension agent. As such he travelled among the islands and also learned English as a youth. He is now retired and 61 years old. He planted the palms below about 10 years ago.
Before they joined the church, they drank every day. The young missionaries met them when they were drunk and just wanted to practice their English, but the elders kept coming back every day, teaching them. They have great testimonies of the gospel and are a great support to the branch.
Since they had just built their maneaba, they still needed mats to sit on.
I wore Judy's latest creation as I rode the bike. It was a little hard getting used to driving the Honda 90 with an automatic clutch, but no hand brakes. The only brake was a right foot brake.
Our hotel is in the background in the picture below.
This picture is in front of the missionary flat, which is 5 feet from the maneaba where church services are held.
A Young family below attended the meeting and social.
His little boy was pretty happy to see him, after he had been gone for over 2 months to Tarawa waiting to get dental work done.
When Sam (President Maunga) visited the branch last year for conference, only the branch president's family and 2 YSA young women were attending. Now there are about 30.
|Sunset on Aranuka, with 2 fishermen coming home.|
|Inside the church maneaba where we had sacrament meeting and training.|
In the lava rock is a shape like a man's foot, which the locals believe was from a large man who first came to the island.