Saturday, May 31, 2014

Fantastic Four - crew on Lae

Crew on shore in Lae

Aaron and I shared our testimonies in an open air program.

Alyssa was welcomed in the local church.

First Birthday Party. 

Pictures from Lae

Sailing across the Lagoon in Lae Atoll.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Outreach to Lae

Dear Friends,
We recently returned from an outreach to the isolated islands of Lib and Lae in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Lib is 30 miles south of South Pass in Kwajalein Atoll.  Lib is a coral island with a narrow coral shelf that drops straight down: deeper than 120 feet that our depth sounder reads.  We could not anchor there so the local boat came out and picked up a teams of 8 with lots of supplies.  Kimberly, one of the leaders of that outreach let me share her story on my blog. You can read about it

After giving the team time to get settled on Lib, our crew of 4 along with 2 Marshallese crew members sailed on a beam reach overnight to Lae.  I was so thankful to have Anilang with us to guide us through the pass and direct us to a safe anchorage.  

There are so many hi-lights from our time on Lae:
Having a safe and secure anchorage so all 4 of us could be together on shore.
The welcome Ceremony.
The tour of the island given by Carol Curtis who first went to Lae with the Peace Corp in 1969. 
Hosting many of the islanders on board the boat. 
The Local work party of young men who helped us repair our dingy.
Anilang and Biamon making a very professional installation of our new step for the dingy.
Mothers Day celebrations at two churches and on board the boat.
Sailing to an uninhabited island across the lagoon in a traditional sailing canoe.
Sharing my testimony during an open air program attended by all ages from all 3 of the local churches.

We also had more time for community building with each other.  The crew decided on their own to read "the Purpose Driven Life" together. We are all supporting each other to be transparent in our walk with Christ. The level of trust and depth of spiritual growth has been awesome.

We are wrapping up 10 days in Ebeye and head back to Lib and Lae next week.  

I could not be doing this without your prayers and support.  Here are some specific prayer requests: that the Coast Guard would renew my License without any delays, that the engine and all of the systems on board the Hawaii Aloha would work well, and that God will send just the right people to crew on the trip from Majuro to Honolulu with stops in Tarawa and Christmas Island.

The YWAM base that processes tax deductible donations has upgraded their website.  Here is the Link.   
Be sure to include my name Ann Ford

I would love to hear from you,
Kommol tata,
Captain Ann

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Outreach on Lib Island

This post was written by Kimberly Ward, one of the Leaders of the outreach on Lib Island.  There is no place to anchor at Lib so we dropped the team of and sailed on to Lae Atoll. 

I hope this finds you all doing well! I just wanted to do a little update in regards to the Lib Outreach. 

As soon as we climb off the ship we were welcomed by the entire island population - 166 people. Lots of hand shaking going on as we passed down the line of men, women and children singing a delightful song. Speeches of welcoming, more songs and food, lots and lots of food!  

Once the official welcoming was complete Mela, Loreta, Boneta, and I began the process of the immunization clinic from house to house. The crowd seemed to move with us through the village to watch each person get poked with at least one needle. 

Now, it’s not uncommon to find me, in villages such as these, holding the babies. Reality check for Kimberly. They all screamed when I made eye contact, except for a little one month old who was too small to know the difference. The bigger kids could not wait to touch one of the Rubelle, or white, but literally meaning clothed one. 

After about 24 hours the nurses and I had completed the task of administering vaccines so we went for a walk to the lake in the center of the island. Our guide took us around the quicksand, but we did end up falling into the marsh up to mid calf in order to make it into the interior of the island. The beauty and peace of the place was amazing! (Photo 4)

The next day a little speed boat came in to drop off items and pick up the nurses. Watching the Hawaii Aloha sail away from shore was easy, but watching that boat sail away my heart sank knowing there would be an entire week before we could get off the island. My angst was short lived as Sunday turned into a day of celebration! 

Mother’s Day arrived, as did the song, “Happy, happy Mama’s Day...” We attended church and realized no one brought money for the offering. It would not have been problem except, everyone participates in giving and dancing for all 5 offerings... OOPS! 

Food, always in abundance for us could have fed everyone at the Port and still had enough leftovers for another partial meal. We no sooner had finished the Mama’s Day celebration when we were invited us to a baby “sour”. Not being certain what this was we agreed to participate, as any good missionary would. The team found ourselves at a house down the street sitting on the floor and praying over Melinda, the little one month old baby. No sooner had we finished then the mother hands us a “snack” - a palm leaf plate filled to overflowing with another meal. Attempting to eat more food less than 1.5 hours after a VERY full meal was overwhelming, but we continued to watch the baby “sour” unfold before us. Gifts, candy, Laundry detergent were placed in front of the mother holding the little one... and... then it clicked Baby Shower! Jessica went running back to our place for a gift to give. But the day was not finished. If you could have seen our faces when our host announced dinner!

Throughout the week days we all worked in the various classrooms teaching Bible, English, Math, Science, etc. In the afternoons each of us befriended different Marshalleese families. We would learn about Masrhsalleese customs like how to wash clothes (Photo 1) or teach guitar, play with the kids, or have heart-to heart conversations on topics such as purity or why a 38 year old woman is not married (this became cause for real concern among the Marshalleese people). 

One afternoon the pastor’s wife called me over to chat. I sat down and the discussion once more turned to why I was not married. Evidently, she was not getting the answers she was seeking. She turned around and pulled out a dress and said, “For you.” “Thank you” I responded. Her husband saw what I had in my hand and left. Not thinking anything of it I quickly took control of the conversation preventing it from going back to... “and why are you not married?” We were laughing when her husband returned. “Here,” he said, “this is a gift for your special friend”. Puzzled, I took the gift and unfolded it. “Oh!” I exclaimed, eyes wide and mouth round in shock. I held up the matching man’s shirt to my dress and the Marshalleese around burst into laughter. (Photo 2)

With outreach drawing to a close we began to hear: “We are going to miss you,” “I shall cry for days when you leave.” “We have not had so much fun for such a long time.” “Can I go with you?” “We will be so boring when you gone”. My heart began to feel the isolation of how they live. To just drop by is not possible. Internet is hit or miss with the Satilitte and if one person is online there is no way anyone else can access the signal. No cellular network and treacherous shore line add to the isolation.

It’s now the night before we are to depart, another ceremony every person in the village comes bearing a gift - men, women, children. They walk through the line shaking our hands, singing a blessing over us, each leaving a gift on the table of handmade items. Many of the children had gone shell hunting and filled our laps with beautiful, exotic shells. 

While giving a speech that night I shared from my heart. “I have been to 32 Nations around the world and left a piece of my heart in each, but here, on Lib Island I leave behind a large piece of my heart.”

We tried to out serve them and failed! We tried to out give them and failed! We were embraced by the community and made a part of the family.