Sunday, December 27, 2009
Merry Christmas from the Aruban Missionaries. Elder Pietz wanted both pictures of us displayed to show how tall and skinny the cactus are.
I got up early to go to the cliffs along the ocean to watch the sunrise Christmas morning with the elders and sisters. Then we stopped off at the beach so one sister could make sand angels.
For Christmas dinner we made dinner for 21 including all 14 missionaries, so Elder Pietz and another man had to make two round trips about an hour and 15 minutes to pick them up and deliver them back to the far side of the island. We all had a great time. The food was great. We had lots of fun with the missionaries with white elephant gifts. Our phone was used for 8 hours straight for some of them to call home to family. They only talk to family at Christmas and Mother's Day so it was a very special time for them.
Close to us is a neighborhood that for 20 years has planned a decoration of lights. Each year the display changes. Now I think they have sponsors that give some financial support. Not many people put up decorations and if they do, it is usually not elaborate. This display uses marine plywood that can be taken down and reused. There were stairs going up there for people to actually walk to the top. Many people brought their lawn chairs and just sat and enjoyed the lights. The pictures just show a portion of the lights.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Time still went by quickly here even though we were not busy with holiday gift buying and decorating. We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner here in our courtyard and even cooked a turkey. We went to another cave on the island with our elders and sisters. Had great fun with all the missionaries(24) from the three islands-Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao--at our Christmas zone conference. We celebrated at a Japanese restaurant for a lovely luncheon with fun chefs cooking the food for us. We had a nice Christmas program and dinner at church. The elders and sisters are teaching many wonderful people and we are able to go with on many lessons.
Monday, November 23, 2009
This past weekend we had a baptism both Ssturday and Sunday mornings at the beach. We had them early at 7:30 so no one else would be on the beach. We had a song, prayer, and talk at the chapel and then caravaned to the ocean. Sunday Dad was able to baptize a wonderful lady who was born in Surinam, grew up in Holland, and then moved here to Aruba about 20 years ago. He then confirmed her during the regular Sacrament meeting.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
This past week we went along the coast again and found a beautiful spot. It was a steep climb down and up again and all of us had on just beach sandals (except Dave with his cowboy boots), but that didn't stop the younger ones. We viewed them from the cliff top.
Last Saturday the missionaries and our Branch President and another friend went to help clean up the government cemetery. Most of the cemeteries are owned and maintained by the Catholic Church. This one was totally filled with weeds and trash. The graves are on top of the ground and covered with cement and then tiles. Dave got into a wasps' nest. We were all tired, sore, and hot. All the community did make a small dent in the cleanup, but it needs more work.
On preparation day last week we went with the young elders and sisters driving along the coast. You climbed the stairs and went into a cave that had many small caverns in it. Any caves I've ever been in were always cool. However, this cave was super hot and it seemed very short on air. There was a guide who took us through the cave. He was actually there to make sure no one bothered bats or destroyed the stalagmites and stalactites. Luckily I didn't go into the last part because that's where the bats were sleeping during the day.
Friday, October 23, 2009
All the houses are built out of cinder or concrete blocks. Then they add stucco to the outside and paint them. They love bright colors--blue, lime, purple, yellow, mustard, and burnt red especially. The fences around the houses are all different and unique. They too are painted bright colors. I loved the lime green fence. The house with all the palm trees is more upscale. Other than at the highrise hotel end of the island often you find a rundown house next to a very nice house. Often the people work on the houses themselves to try to save some money. Everything is very expensive here. Many of the houses are small.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
One sister is hitting her ball which is in the rough. You can tell by the red post on the left of the picture. We didn't venture far into the cactus or bushes, so we didn't see any snakes. However, we did see donkeys and about 75 goats. It was a strange sight to see goats on the "green". Afterwards we had a barbeque at our place for all of them.
One of the young missionaries is teeing off on the first tee. As you can see it is pretty desolate and yet here there are no cactus or bushes as your rough. Another missionary went to retrieve my ball from the cactus. You need to take a club with you because of the snakes. The close up picture of cactus includes a dark colored flat surface that is the green. This is all sand that has been mixed with oil. You can use a carpet as a kind of rake to smooth the green before you shoot. The only trouble is that the greens smell. Also your ball does not roll well. Of course, your ball doesn't roll well on the course either. Once the ball hits the sand or rocks it pretty much stops dead. I hadn't golfed for over 40 years and this was Dave's first attempt. He didn't see why so many people get so much enjoyment from playing golf. It could be that the temperature was over 100 and the humidity high and the wind was very strong. His whole head today is very red. We had golf carts and the "kids" saved us the new cart. However, there was a lot of walking because we didn't hit the ball that far and it was easier to just walk. Hole # 1 took over an hour to play. We had a sister missionary who had never played before either and there were six of us playing together. After 3 1/2 hours we had finished 5 holes.
Each week we have one day to take care of personal business such as laundry, shopping, haircuts, email,cleaning, etc. and hopefully have some time for fun. This week we decided to get all the missionaries (14) together from all parts of the island and go desert golfing. Eight of them took the bus to this end of the island and we squeezed in cars and went to the course. The well at the golf course ran dry several years ago and has now reverted to what most of the island looks like--desert, rocks, and cactus. Here is a picture of all the missionaries except us as we were taking all the pictures.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Yesterday our Branch President took us and two senior sisters from Bonaire on a tour of the island. We saw many parts of the island that we had never seen before. We saw beautiful luxurious homes and townhouses, 2 golf courses, and many beautiful beaches. We drove through a national park which mainly consisted of rocks, cactus, and brush. Notice the picture of a cactus wall and a stone wall for fencing. The ocean water is turquoise colored.