Can you believe it has been a year already?
We’ve been here a year already!
Can you believe it has been a year already?
We left Port YWAM in Kona Hawaii where we both had volunteered in positions there. It was a good time of building relationships and learning YWAM Ships Kona protocols which has come in real handy while here in the Marshall Islands representing YWAM Ships.
Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands
We arrived in Majuro the capital of The Republic of the Marshall Islands on May 1st which is Constitution Day. Our arrival was very receptive as we had several “yachties” waiting with their dinghies at the mooring ball ready to hand off lines to us! Once we cleared customs we set out to see the YWAM Ships Kona team that we had met and built some relationships with while in Kona! Three weeks went by so fast, then we sailed north to Kwajalein Atoll, more specifically the island of Ebeye, where we felt God calling us to base our family on our 60 foot sail boat Cloud Nine.
Ebeye, The Republic of the Marshall Islands
We set out to build relationships and really lean into God for His direction as to what he wanted us to do while here including working towards starting a DTS in Ebeye. As you can imagine, with a family of 4, we have life to live besides spending all day knocking on doors. We have school to do along with the general maintenance on the boat, otherwise things start to break down. So by the time we get done at the end of the day sometimes its actually the next day as many of the bible studies that we attend end around midnight or later! This should not be a shock to us as we had witnessed this in the Philippines, as the evening is cooler and most of the men are back home from work. The weather during this time was beautiful, almost a consistent 82 degrees with a nice wind around 15 knots from the northeast!
We got the word that a team was coming in the summer but we did not have a place on land yet to house this team. So we began looking even harder for a home, but to no avail. God knew what we needed and at the last minute (at least in our book) God made a two story house available for the team to use! God is good, Anij emmon!
Lae Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands
While the 9 member team was here we did an outreach to an atoll called Lae Atoll. Lae has around 300 inhabitants which we served faithfully in many ways for 10 days. We served them with a VBS (vacation bible school), wound cleaning clinics, food distribution, giving of reading glasses, clothing distribution and of course discipleship.
Carlos, Republic of the Marshall Islands
As we left the atoll to return to Ebeye, the winds had picked up to over 20 knots and the seas had climbed to over 15 feet. Unknown to us, a tropical storm which did not pop up on my Grib files (satellite weather) was passing over the region or more so, right over the top of where we were going. To say the least, this was the beginning of a season of literal storms in our life. Every night was a night of waking to the anchor alarm alerting us that we were dragging the anchor! We were in a constant state of prayer, as anyone should be anyway, but more so because of the weather for us! In this time, we built relationships on an outer island that now is hard to reach due to it being on the windward side of the atoll, Carlos Island. God had plans for us to be there for them in their time of need, HE had this planned all along. While we were there, they were having high fevers on the island from a mosquito virus called Chikengunya, and we were able to provide acetaminophen for these people! Like I said, God had a plan. Around the end of October the storms started to be less frequent and less powerful as well which allowed us to install a mooring that allowed us to leave the boat as a family, because before we had to anchor and when on anchor specially with the winds we were having we had to always have someone on the boat to watch for the anchor slipping. Thru the gracious giving of one of our financial supports in the amount of around $2000 we were able to order all the materials to install this mooring!
Oregon & Washington, U.S.A
We had planned to go home for Christmas but during the year we had discovered that our batteries had gone bad, so the price of new ones was over $5,000. Then we received word that the church on Kwajalein Military base was going to pay for our batteries! So we put the word out that we were looking to go home and received a donation from our family that allowed us to fly home for Christmas. What a time this was driving all over to see family and friends. We figured that we stayed in around 7 homes during our stay and spoke to 3 churches and several Bible studies about what God is doing through us in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. While back home we had a goal of raising funds for a new boat tender/dingy to shuttle people from shore to the boat with as our older model was always leaking and to small for any large groups! We made our request known to our home church pastor and he presented this need to the congregation and by the end of the year they wrote us a check for an amount that covered the cost of the new boat and a motor for it which was around $6,000! God is so good.
Wotho Atoll, The Republic of the Marshall Islands
Wotho Atoll, around 70 people and 16 households! We came here with a Nurse specializing ing the education of diabetes and with a bible to give to each house hold in the Marshallese Language. We held a clinic where we did diabetes screening and blood pressure testing. In doing this we were able to see that the people that live distant to Ebeye or any of the major cities live in a healthier habitat. They tend to eat more natural foods when they can thus showing that doing so helps keep them from obtaining diabetes. We also gave away food, clothing, medical supplies, eye glasses & misc donated items.
Ujae Atoll, The Republic of the Marshall Islands
Ujae is one of those hard to get to places you have to go thru the only pass which is located about half the way up (10 miles) the length of the atoll then go all the way to the end and that is where Ujae Island is. Pictured above is the Island which is connected to the reef that makes up the atoll. We anchored just where you see the water in the lagoon (middle) is dark blue and where it starts to turn green just at the end where the island is. So your ship is right between both reefs! Anyway God arranged for us to have a great stay here while we pretty much did the same things as we did in Wotho. We did the diabetes screening and blood pressure testing along with the giving away food, clothing, medical supplies, eye glasses, and misc items that were donated for this trip. It was amazing to work with both of the churches on these islands. It is good to be part of an organization that is non-denominational because we would not be able to work with most of the people if it were not the case. Each of these islands have different specialties like handie crafts like the ones below. Wotho is known for there bags and Ujae is known for there fans and other wall hangings.
Paul and Rachel Baldridge May 16, 2016 at 9:57 pm
Thank you for your faithfulness to serve. So exciting to hear what God is doing in the Marshalls. Rachel and I have spent most of the last 32 years in Micronesia, including Saipan, Pohnpei, Guam and Yap.
scottsuderno June 7, 2016 at 12:15 am
Thank you Paul & Rachel. We are but servants just walking out simple obedience!