We decided to give the Allen family a gift for Br Allen being ordained an elder. That ordination has not happened yet, but the interviews are completed and the formality of presenting his name is all that remains before the ordination will take place. We will be back on St Kitts but we plan on coming back here when that takes place. I am sure angels will be rejoicing with us.
Our gift is to take them around to the offices and pay the fees for their new passports. The cost of the passport has quadrupled in the past couple of years. They both had old passports which are are now expired, so while we have the vehicle here we have wanted to help them get around to the various offices in town to get the applications completed. Wow, what an ordeal!
Last Friday we spent the whole afternoon driving them to the government Office of Island Administration, to the police station, the bureau of vital statistics to get a certified copy of birth certificates, to the post office to purchase the stamps that would be used by the government office, etc. None of these offices are near each other. In fact they are a mile apart in some cases. Sister Allen could not find her most recent old passport, so the office said they would need to go to some attorney to have some document drawn up to certify something. I, being a minister, wrote on the back of the photos we had to take them to get that the photo was a true likeness of the person it said it is representing. They would not take the word of the person holding the photo up next to his/her face, but they would take the word of a minister they had never met.
So the plan was to take them Monday morning to the office of the attorney to get the legal stuff that they needed. We drove all around town getting what they needed, but they still needed to go to another office for some certification, on a different day. No problem. Today we spent the whole morning doing the same thing. We had to go between the attorney and the Island Services office three times (they are a mile apart from each other) before we finally got it right. We would get what they told us and then they would tell us that something was missing and we had to go back and get it right. Three times! Bureaucrats are the same all over the world. These sweet people could not have done it without our help. They live 5 miles away, they do not have a vehicle, they do not have the money to pay a taxi to take them to the various offices, and they cannot physically walk very far. Sister Allen has arthritis, a bad knee, a bad ankle, diabetes, and she gets tired quickly. Br Allen is 64.
Anyway, we got it done, so now they just need to wait for two weeks and then go in person to pick them up. They will need a ride to get that done, but we will not be here. They will figure it out. Or we might be able to come back and finish the job. We want to come back one time during the week and hold a branch social with all the people we have grown to know and love here. It is amazing how fast we can grow to love one another when we serve one another.
We are now house-mates with two wonderful young elders. They arrived in St Kitts on Wednesday, so we took the truck over to pick them up and get their bikes and bags brought over to Nevis. This apartment has two bedrooms, one with twin beds that we have pushed together for our king-size bed and a double bed in the other room. The twins are now separated and the elders are using the larger room for their quarters. We could have moved into the apartment over on St Kitts, but the senior couple there are not leaving until Saturday afternoon. We would rather share the apartment with the young elders than with them, so we are staying here for a few days. Besides, we get to take them around the island to meet the members and contacts here and help them get settled. They will be riding bikes, but that does not phase them in the slightest. Elder Durfee is only 6 weeks from going home. Elder Rasmussen has been here from the MTC in the Dominican Republic for two days, as green as they come.
Both are really sharp young men. They like each other, they are workers, they are fit and active, they do not complain, they want to learn and to serve, they are thankful and respectful, they clean up their dishes and make their beds, and they want to be here. Elder Rasmussen has had a little music training so he has started practicing the keyboard in preparation for playing the music for Sunday. They will hold one set of meetings at the apartment on Sunday morning, then they will climb on their bikes and ride the 5 miles up the hill (uphill all the way) to the Allen’s home where they will hold another set of meetings. Then they will ride back home. And they are excited to be doing it. We are so honored and blessed to be around these young men.