Thursday, June 27, 2013

Part 3: Takaroa—Church and Goodbyes

Getting to church is no easy feat when you live on the other side of an atoll—like the Palmer family does.  The Mormon church is a good 5 miles across the lagoon, and in rough weather, it can get a little wet.
First, you have to cross the lagoon by dinghy.
Then a walk down a long dusty road.  Mind you, Robert was ahead of us all.  Even at 80-years-old he still had a young spring in his step.
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The gang on our way to church.
Once at church, I couldn't resist the cuteness of all the little kids.  What you don't see is that Robert brought a package of beef jerky to give to all the children.  I told him that there was one like him in every ward and as a kid, I knew who had the candy and would directly go up to him.  This tactic still seems to be working as all the kids were loving on Robert like he was their grandfather.  Such a precious scene.
A Mormon missionary from France playing with the children.  Again, I couldn't take my eyes off how beautiful the children were.
Our photo in front of the church in Teavaroa.
Sue and David joined us for church.  We are trying to make our way back to the dinghy and the road is a little less than ideal. It's never easy with a stroller, but we always manage.
Soon it was time for us to leave.  We waited for the Palmer's to return after church since they had meetings and visits with members.

Finally, after a few hours we couldn't wait any longer because we had to catch the right tide out of the lagoon.  So, Martin and David took our "thank you" package and placed it on their dining room table and then we pulled up anchor and started to navigate through the minefield of buoys ourselves.  I'll tell you, I never said so many prayers in my life, because on top of having to navigate around the buoy's, we had to also avoid the coral reefs.  It was a good 20 minutes of white knuckles all around.
Three miles out into the ocean, low and behold we see the Palmer's heading straight for us to say their goodbyes.
They even had the missionaries with them because the Palmer's were taking them to their house to feed them and had to speed out of the lagoon to come say goodbye to us.  See, they are just amazing people.
I love that they are in their shorts.  It get's so wet on the boat that they change into their slacks when they get to church.

Thank you, Palmer family for such a fun and wonderful experience.  We will never forget our time in Takaroa and are so grateful to Joey for introducing us to such an amazing family.  They exemplify what Martin and I are always striving for, i.e., to be better people, to always be more caring and always able to extend love towards others.  They have mastered it, and we will continue to work on it.  Thank you for being such wonderful examples in showing Christ's love to others.

I am terrible at goodbyes and I was especially tearful with this one.  I pray that they continue to prosper and are always blessed.

Now we are off to Fakarava!  It's a 120 mile trip which will take us about a day.  I hope it's as memorable as Takaroa was for us.