As for the 'store story'...there are some main stores in the town of Colonia and then there are little "corner stores" all over the island and it is important to remember that the island is only 15 miles long. Most of the stores have no signage so unless you know where they are you would not likely find them. Many of the residents of the island who live outside of town do not have cars and having the little stores in their neighborhoods is helpful. As a result every village has one! ...and now that we know what they look like we are noticing them more often. They mostly carry the same things with the occasional unique offerings...we have our favourites already and know where to go for specific things. Leigh has been doing some repairs to the furniture in the apartment ..younger missionaries lived here before we did...and one of the local hardware stores has become Leigh's favourite. There is an employee at the hardware store...a nice young fellow...who has adopted Leigh and takes care of him whenever he goes there.
We attended the smaller Thol Branch recently and found a few faithful souls waiting for the others to arrive (13 people...including us and two young Elders)...one sweet sister was quietly reading her Yapese scriptures and one of the young boys was somewhere else in the small open air chapel singing hymns to his heart's content. I think it was the sweetest prelude music I have ever heard! It was testimony meeting and nearly everyone bore their testimony...most in the Yapese language or one of the Outer Island languages...so we could only understand the spirit of what they were saying. They have one young woman attending, Francy, who is one of our seminary students, and she takes care of the music. That means she is responsible for choosing the hymns and finding them on the portable keyboard they use for the music and everyone just starts singing when the music starts. She and I are going to be doing a class next Sunday during Sunday School time...for the whole branch...about conducting the singing...that way she will have trained people to assist her. We are both looking forward to it.
Sister Francesca who had been driven to church has difficulty walking long distances so we gave her a ride home...actually, we only got her somewhat closer to her home, as the roadway to her home had turned to mud and water filled potholes...our car would not have made it! She hugged me and then stood in the roadway until we had turned around and then waved us off.
Fruit trees across road from Chapel
After the meetings we hung around outside for a bit, enjoying each other's company. The Branch president, President Ravino, explained a bit about the fruit bearing trees on the property and the roadway. Each tree and large plant that bears fruit on the island belongs to someone...and no one takes from trees that belong to someone else. The church property and the roadway have trees that belong to the branch...an orange tree, papaya tree, passion fruit tree, banana tree and several others I can't recall.
The boy in the blue shirt in a previous picture climbed up the orange tree to get us a few oranges and they picked up the ripe passion fruit from the ground for us and the Elders. President Ravino also cut down a bunch of bananas that he would take to a family in need. It was a delightful day!
Myself, Francy, Sister Martina and Sam