It seems like another lifetime ago that we were going to Nevis with instructions that we should have our family come and visit us there. Fortunately President Smartt rescued us from that instruction and told us that we could come to St Thomas for a visit from our kids. So we arrived on St Thomas on November 11, Kendra's birthday and one day before our one-year mark.
We had the typical LIAT delays in getting here, but we made it. The sisters picked us up and brought us to our apartment. They took us to the grocery store and we decided to try to find our way home. We made it with only four phone calls to the sisters asking for directions. I think the best way to learn our way around is to try to do it on our own. The next day we spent an extra hour getting lost and found, but now we know our way around pretty well. The sisters even had a family for us to teach a lesson to, which we loved doing.
On Wednesday Kendra and Ryan arrived. It was late at night for us, but was it ever exciting to see them come into the baggage area! It seems that we have been gone from home for ever. We made our way home, with a couple of wrong turns, and finally got to bed about midnight, which is only 9 pm for them.
Thursday was decompression day. We got a late start and then wandered our way to Magen's Bay Beach, just down the hill from our apartment. It is one of the most favored beaches in the world, and now we know why.
There is little wave action, just lots of soft sand, no flies or mosquitoes, picnic tables, rest rooms, showers, and lots of ocean.
After a nice day we returned to the apartment for the afternoon nap. Sounds like a tough life, I know.
Friday we loaded on the car barge to St John, another of the US Virgin Islands. Most of that island is a Virgin Islands National Park, thanks to a big donation by JD Rockefeller.
We spent our time at Trunk Bay, the most photographed beach of the Caribbean (or so they say).
This one has medium waves crashing in on the beach, so it was fun to go out and bob up and down.
The ocean sure is salty, and the salt sure does sting my eyes and nose.
After the beach we returned to St Thomas and went to dinner at the Shipwreck Tavern. Then home and to bed.
Saturday we were up early and on the ferry to Tortola.
They have a new boat since we last rode this route, and it is really nice, quiet, and smooth. We found a rental car and drove to the apartment where we lived when we were there. The couple there moved out last week and there is no couple to take their place yet. The sisters there had the key. It was fun to be there again.
We soon changed into our swim suits and went to Baptism Bay for swim and snorkel.
Kendra and Ryan had a good time paddling around.
They saw a couple of rays, fish, sea fans, and lots of other stuff. Then we returned to the apartment to shower and rest. Dinner at Pussers in town finished the evening.
Sunday was exciting as we met with the Tortola Branch again.
Those sweet folks hold big bleachers in our hearts and we enjoyed hugs and handshakes.
The branch is growing.
The chapel now has curtains on the windows, after 9 years of asking the area FM people for some help.
Anyway, we were privileged to be present for the setting apart of Kendrew as a missionary. He leaves Tuesday for the MTC in Dominican Republic and then he will serve in the DR, speaking Spanish. He will be a great missionary. Kendrew is one of the young men we helped prepare to become an elder and then went through the temple prep class, along with two other young men who also have their calls. The small Tortola Branch now has 7 full-time missionaries out! That is more than some stakes in Puerto Rico. The area FM people still think they don't deserve a better place to meet, but I have already said all I need to say about that.
The ferry trip back to St Thomas was nice, followed by a comfortable evening visiting with our kids. They packed up their bags and we all hit the sack.
Today we took Kendra and Ryan to the airport for their return to Utah.
They are probably almost home by now. This all went by too fast, which I am sure is a harbinger of what our next few months will be like. In just three weeks we will go to the mission office for some training, then we will become the mission apartment and vehicle supervisors. That could be exciting since we will be working in Puerto Rico where Spanish is the language du jour. Stay tuned.