First thanks for all the email, notes, and postcards, we love hearing from you. Sorry to be so long between emails but it seems that we are either rushing somewhere, working, or sleeping.
Before I get into some of what we have been doing, I want to tell you about a wonderful sight every morning at dawn and every evening at dusk from our lani. There are hundreds of green birds that fly in huge groups from the Banyan trees across the street from us to the Banyan trees in the front of our building. It is in incredible sight to see them fly almost it seems in a pattern as one group leaves a tree, heads for another tree while a second group lands on the tree just vacated. They are a lime green color and while we haven't identified the species yet, they look almost like a big parakeet. We can almost set our clocks by the time they start their flying around. We need to do some homework and find out what kind of birds they are.
We continue to work hard in the office. While we are more comfortable with our tasks, it seems we never quite get caught up. Wednesday was new missionary/transfer day. We had 9 new missionaries come in and 11 go home. The call went out for more mini-missionaries and young adults from the various islands stepped forward to fill in the gaps. We also had two missionaries go home for medical reasons so it is a real help when young men and young women from the Islands put aside their plans and volunteer to serve as companions for 6 weeks. We miss the missionaries who left for home and those who have been transferred to other areas especially Elder Tipoki from New zealand who was in the Makiki Ward with us.
Last night we drove to Kailua to take Kate, Abby, and Emma to dinner (Jeri and Scott are on vacation and Joe was on a young men's outing). After dinner, we drove to Kaneohe to pick up a missionary who is returning to Orderville, Utah, for medical reasons. He hopes to finish his chemo and be back in two months. We hope he is back also.
A couple of week earlier, President Peterson asked us to take another young Elder to the airport to return to SLC for medical attention also. He plans to return as soon as he can also. It was interesting that he was flying to SLC without a companion which shouldn't happen but while checking in people he knew from his stake came to the desk and were on the same flight. We left him in their hands, they promised to make sure he got to SLC.
In six weeks we will receive 25 new missionaries and less than half that amount will be going home. So Elder Fowler is busy finding new apartments in areas that haven't had missionaries before.
We have been going to Joe and Emma's games on Saturdays when we don't have to work but they are through with sports for a couple of months so we will have to find some other reason to drive to Kailua.
On the 4th of July, we did games in the morning and then the Whitings come to our apartment to see the fireworks at Magic Island. We stood in the glassed in area by the elevators (thus staying dry and not having to fight crowds) and watched the fireworks. They were incredible, I think they lasted about 20 minutes and we saw fireworks we have never seen before. It was quite the sight.
We worked the day before the 4th even though President Peterson said we could close after the mail was taken care of.
We stayed mainly because it was quiet and we could get a lot of work done. Also we needed to take a day the next week and drive to Laie. zone leader conference had been cancelled so I needed to get commissary and name tags to them plus Elder Fowler needed to check out a pad. He oked it and called the missionaries, they were so happy with it that they wanted to move in that day. The drive to Laie is beautiful. We stopped on the way home at the Dole Plantation to buy some more pineapple candy (the missionaries love it) and were stopped by three couples who are LDS. We are easily recognized by our name tags. One of the couples lives in Layton, it was fun to talk to people so close to home.
One Saturday we took an afternoon hike to Manoa Falls. The hike was rated as easy so I'm not trying any that are rated as hard. As we started out a woman coming down from the falls gave me her hiking stick telling me I would need it. Our first clue! It was worth the hike and it only took me three washing to get the red mud out of our clothes. That says something about both how muddy we were and our "Barbie" washing machine. It was a windy day and blossoms were being blown off the trees. As we were getting into our car, a little girl yelled to her mom, "Look it is raining flowers." And it was.
We went to zone conference with the missionaries from Kaneohe and Mililani. It was a really nice day. The President uses the older couples to help with the teaching and it was fun. We were with another couple missionary, Elder and Sister Henley. They are retired military and are working with LDS military families. They both are in their late 70s and I am amazed that they manage to keep up with everything. Their schedule is less structured than ours but still, they keep busy.
We have had some type of a flu outbreak, it spread at the zone conference we didn't go to, but Elder Miles really got sick and missed three days work. His immune system is compromised anyway so the flu hit him hard. We do not know if it is the swine flu even though that is what Sister Miles (nurse/secretary) is calling it. Basically, the symptoms are very much like any other kind of flu and even like a cold. No one has been tested to confirm it as swine flu. Basically they were quarantined and told to drink lots of liquids and take Ibuprofen. No one other than Elder Miles was really sick.
I am sure you can imagine the phone calls we got the Monday after everyone had written home they had the swine flu. Parents, as they should be, were really concerned because the words "swine flu" were used. I hope we relieved the parents by telling them it wasn't confirmed to be swine flu, everyone was fine, no one had serious symptoms and were out of quarantine.
That is about it for now. Hope you are all well. Time is really moving along, we are into our 5th month here, well one week into our fifth month.
Attached are some photos of the recent transfer this week and the falls.
Elder/Sister Fowler, Ed, Carol, Grandpa, Grandma, Mom, Dad, neighbors and friends.