We had a beautiful Sunday in Lenakel, Tanna. It was a bright sunny day with a light mist of ash from the island’s volcano, Mt. Yasur, being blown toward us due to the strong winds over the mountaintops. Every day we wake up to a light dusting of ash that has coated every surface on our sailboat both inside and out. It is a unique experience living in the shadow of a very active level 2 volcano. Yesterday I scrubbed out the cockpit and 30 minutes later, walked outside to see ash sticking to all of the surfaces where the water had been drying. It looked worse than when I started. In the morning I had to ask Orin to climb to the top of the back of the boat and sweep off the solar panels as yesterday, they were only working at about 25% capacity during the heat of the day.
We woke up early for church and all got dressed and ready. After walking in our best clothes to the meeting area I saw two missionaries sitting down at the entrance to the community hall where the meetings were going to take place. I commented to them, “I guess we are on time” to which they said, “Oh, meetings here are supposed to start at 9am but they don’t usually start until closer to 10… Tanna time.” It looks like they have their own schedule in Vanuatu.
At 9am there was only half of our family and 6 others there. The rest of our family (Kirsten, Alyssa and Jaeden) came a few minutes later followed by a slow trickle of church members. By 9:30 I guess they figured we had enough people there to get started. Because we were there they were kind enough to have someone help translate the classes and meetings for us. I tried understanding Bishlama as best I could but still had a tricky time with it. There are many words which are similar or the same but the organization of the words are much different. For example, God or Heavenly Father is translated as “Papa God”. It has been quite fun to try to follow the language but most people speak a good amount of English in the main city of Lenakel. We enjoyed our time at church with the people of Tanna and made many new friends.