One of the amazing blessings of serving here in the Marshall Islands is experiencing the spirit of “going the extra mile”. Working on the island of Majuro has presented many opportunities to help out with extra activities. Apart from the formal job of teaching at Delap SDA School, I enjoy helping with other duties and am always humbled because I get to practice different areas of expertise. Being an engineer, I have been called upon to use my training for fixing school vehicles, maintaining the “Glad Tidings” sailboat, and providing technical support on our Delap and Laura radio stations. I am grateful to God and the people around me who have helped me a lot. Special thanks to two key people who have been very instrumental – Mr. Matthew Dodd for the radio training and guidance to troubleshoot technical glitches that come with radio equipment and software-related issues, and Capt. Michael Porter for being there every time we need to sort out any technical issues with the sailboat.
One of my most recent thrilling experiences was installing the solar panel system at Lanlon 89.1 FM located at the Ebeye SDA School. Ebeye is one of the Marshallese islands in the Kwajalein atoll with a population estimated at 20,000. Lanlon 89.1 FM covers a very large area and has been an effective tool for spreading the good news to the people in Ebeye. However, intermittent power outages occur due to the old generator that suffers from the wear and tear of aging. Therefore, they needed a solar power system to provide continuous broadcasting. Previously, there was an obstacle to installing the solar system due to government restriction. We thank the Lord for allowing the government to accept solar installation. Solar power will also cut down grid power consumption by 80% and help reduce the high electricity bill.
The project was estimated to take about a week. Mr. Kevin Ndemo, a volunteer teacher at Ebeye, and Mr. Abra Matthews, one of the church deacons, were very instrumental in the solar installation. Mr. RD Lemari, the radio manager, also ensured that we lacked for nothing during the installation process. Pastor Rene Suhot’s family played a key role, as his wife prepared sumptuous meals for my stay. Principal Raman Sathiyaseelan and the whole school team gave us ample help during the process. He ensured that we were able to purchase materials needed to complete the project. Blessings be upon these men and women of God! There were of course a few glitches here and there due to limited materials that were quite hard to find and the Lord provided 95% of the things we needed to finish the project. We had to find alternatives that would definitely not compromise the procedures and standards of solar installation requirements. Even challenges with the weather when working during the outdoor activities did not stop us.
By Tuesday, six days into the project, we were done and the system was working perfectly. Praise be to God! That afternoon, Kevin and I went to the Air Marshall office to confirm my return ticket for next day, but to my surprise, the flight was postponed until Friday. This disappointing news took me aback as I had already put a one-week pause on my online Master’s degree studies. Now I believe this all was God’s plan. My original desire was to finish the solar installation before Tuesday so I could have time to help with various electrical jobs at the school. There was a need since the maintenance volunteer returned early to his country due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Unfortunately, this was not possible because I finished the solar installation a day late.
See how God works? He clearly allowed the flight to be postponed, permitting me time to finish His work. Most of Wednesday and Thursday were spent on school-related maintenance jobs. I was happy that among the tasks I was able to light up the church and the pavement.
After completing my work on Thursday, we took the afternoon to tour around on a boat ride. Seeing dolphins swimming around the boat was one of the most memorable experiences. We visited Carlos Island and I jumped off a 131-foot ship wreck twice. It was such a thrilling moment!
Friday arrived and I was ready for my flight, however the weather was not favorable for flying the small Air Marshalls plane, again postponing the flight to the next day. At least this time I was prepared since I guessed the weather would not improve by then. That evening on Ebeye, I enjoyed Friday vespers and spending time with the awesome family of Mr. Michael Love and his amazing wife Justice Love. This family will always remain in my heart because of the kind and wonderful ministry they are doing on Ebeye. They have a ministry that reaches out to people through music and trains children to play the ukulele for use in evangelism. I’ll cherish our time at the ocean side beach where they invited me to fellowship over dinner.
Sadly, I had to go back to the airport on Sabbath morning though I honestly do not like to travel on Sabbaths. My hands were tied, as the next flight on Tuesday would definitely put me in trouble with my professor, among other already delayed commitments. Landing safely in Majuro, I was glad to be home. Ebeye will always be in my heart because of how warm, hospitable, and welcoming the people are. Always happy, the kids would shout with a broad smile, “Hello, Mister, welcome to Marshall Islands!” If I ever find the slightest opportunity to return to Ebeye, I would grab it with both hands. I pray that the Lord will keep the radio and solar equipment safe so that His word can reach many people. This is chiefly why I serve God – to finish the work the Lord has given us so that we will soon go home! May this be your prayer too. Amen. Special thanks to everyone I met who became family in Ebeye – the teachers, church members and other friends.