Monday, February 28, 2005

Coming to Saipan

I was recently asked to write down what brought us to Saipan, so I thought I would post it here.

What brought us to Saipan? God brought us here.
My husband came out from his personal prayers one day and said that he felt that it was time for him to start looking for a new job. He was the head of facilities and engineering at Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor, Maine. We loved it there--it's beautiful and it was only a two-hour drive from our families. Since he had often expressed the idea that Mount Desert would be our permanent home, I thought something must be wrong at work. When I asked him, however, he said that everything was fine and he was as surprised about the inspiration he was receiving in his prayers as I was.
We started looking in newspapers, trade journals, and the internet. After about a month of searching, we found a position on one internet site that said something along the lines of "work on a beautiful tropical island". Right. It had been posted 4 months before, and I told Casey that I thought that it was a "phantom job"--the type of thing you see on the internet that nobody actually gets. He wanted to apply anyway, so he did.
That all happened at the end of January 2000. In April of that year, Casey got a call one night from a lady at the Commonwealth Health Center on the island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of The Northern Mariana Islands. They had quite a lengthy conversation and she started talking to him about coming out for a site visit within a month, but which actually took place at the end of August. As that summer dragged on without hearing from anyone at the Health Center, we began to think that this was a lost cause and we should turn our effort in some other direction. Yet, whenever Casey prayed about it, he felt that he should just be patient and hang in there with Saipan.
One day I related to him a strange experience I had had the week before. I had been wondering about what it would be like to live on a tropical island, and suddenly I experienced a--sensation? I'm not sure what to call it, but I knew what it was to live on Saipan...not the laying-on-a-white-sandy-beach kind of living, but the day-to-day living...almost as if I were remembering instead wondering about it! It was very different than just thinking about something--I don't ever recall having an experience like it before or since. The thing that really amazed me, was that Casey related an almost identical experience he had had about a week before mine. When I told a friend about the incidents, she looked at me and simply stated, "You're leaving." This was in July and we hadn't heard from the Health Center since May.
There were many other things that happened--prayers answered, obstacles removed--that brought us eventually to Saipan. We arrived here in January of 2001; a year after we first saw the "phantom job" on the internet. Sometimes I still wonder why the Lord brought us here, but I never wonder if He did--because I know He did.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Quote and Re-quote

I found this on our niece's blog. The following is a brief excerpt from the biography entitled, Fire in the Bones: William Tyndale--Martyr, Father of the English Bible , by S. Michael Wilcox. My own feelings on the depth of expression found in the KJV of the Bible were so completely contained in Wilcox's words that I wanted to include it. She relates that 90% of Tyndale's translation was used in the KJV. She also includes an illustrative sample from the book. Thanks to you Lindsay.

"If the medium does not match the holiness of the message, the sacred truth is compromised. Beauty of expression helps us live a holier life, instilling faith and courage much like music."
--S. Michael Wilcox
Wilcox includes a comparison between two versions of Matthew 14:28-33, Tyndale's version vs. The Phillips Modern English version. The difference is striking. Here is a brief sample:

"Phillips Modern: "But when he saw the fury of the wind he panicked and began to sink, calling out, 'Lord save me!' At once Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, saying, 'You little-faith! What made you lose your nerve like that?"

"Tyndale: "But when he saw a mightily wind, he was afraid. And as he began to sink, he cried saying: Master save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said to him: O thou of little faith: wherefore didst thou doubt?"

Is the KJV harder for us to understand than more modern versions? Probably, but maybe by having to work harder we will gain more. My experience is that the scriptures are multi-layered in their meaning and with lesser language I wonder if we only scratch the surface--if that. As a society that has belief in the power of the written word, we must realize the importance of choosing the right words. And if we have learned nothing else of language in the past 10 years, we have learned that great variance in meaning can be attached to even the smallest of words!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Callings and Blessings

I was sustained by the membership of our local branch of the Church today to be the branch pianist. After all of the meetings, I asked the branch president and his counselor if I could be set-apart and be given a blessing before I had to go in to choir rehearsal. I knew that they had a lot to do and there had been a lot of changes in the branch organization that day, but I felt like I really wanted that blessing. We went into the branch president's office and Brother Lonsdale, the counselor, set me apart (for the calling). The first part of the blessing was for the ability to play the music and that the family would behave while I was at the piano. Then, unexpectedly, the blessing turned to the importance of maintaining a relationship and contact with my extended family. I've thought about it all afternoon. On Friday, in Seminary, we started this year's Book of Mormon Project, so I've been praying about to whom I should give my copy. I had thought about writing a very personal testimony in it and sending it to my father, and now since that blessing, I feel like that is what I should do. I don't know that it will make him jump into taking the discussions from the missionaries and get baptized, but it is a good thing, and I need to be doing all the good things I can.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Saipan Movie Premier!

Friday night we went to the Saipan premiere of "Baptists at Our Barbecue". It was so much fun, because a friend of ours, Matt Smith, was co-producer and co-screenplay writer for the movie. It's based on a book by the same name written by his brother. We really enjoyed the book and had so much fun going to the movie! Matt and his family arrived at the show in a white stretch limo. As a congratulations gift we gave him a 5 pound Hershey's bar that we found at a local store; Del Benson, another friend and a photographer, took our picture with Matt and the candy bar in the lobby in front of one of the movie's posters. When Matt walked into the actual theater it was packed and everybody cheered and clapped, which they did again when his name appeared in the credits and when we saw his son as an extra on the screen. It was just so much fun--it wasn't the best movie I've ever seen at the theater, but it's definitely the most fun I've ever had at the theater! I wonder if this is how they feel in Hollywood!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Receiving Revelation

In our Sunday School class today we talked about what it feels like to receive communication/revelation from the Holy Ghost. I thought about the times I have been sitting in church listening to a speaker, or even when just having a conversation with someone, and I suddenly become very focused. It's not quite the same feeling of having my attention riveted when discussing some interesting subject; the only way I can explain it is to say that my senses are heightened. When this happens, I feel very intensely that whatever the speaker just said was true (or not true), and that the Holy Ghost "has born witness to my soul" of it.
I've been thinking a lot about this phenomenon. I know that God is a God of truth--that His perceptions are pure and accurate and not distorted or misconceived in any way. The scriptures say that all things are constantly before Him--things as they were, are, and will be. I also know that God wants us to learn truth and to make right choices, but although truth is eternal, right choices often depend on the situation. I believe that as we receive communication from the Holy Ghost, our perception of any given situation becomes clear and accurate--after all, this is communication with God--and as that happens we come to understand truths and know the right choices to make.

Saturday, February 05, 2005


We just had an earthquake here! I was at Price Costco; the kids and Casey were all at home. I had stopped a minute to look at my list and as I leaned on my cart, I felt a vibration. It occurred to me that it could be an earthquake, but it wasn't much and since I was near the shipping door, I figured that it was probably a forklift or something outside. As I started to push my cart again the tremor really came on and the whole building started to rock! People were rushing toward the front--I mean in these warehouse merchants you could have a television fall on your head if you're not careful! I stayed near the shipping door--I thought that was probably safer than going by all the shelves toward the front. It stopped in a few seconds, but it was a while before I could get a phone call out to see if everyone at home was okay. On the way home, I still needed one more thing, but the grocery store was closing so they could clean up the jars, bottles, and boxes that were broken in the aisles. Everyone at home was alright. There have been several earthquakes in the area lately--there was one south of here that measured 6.2 on Thursday (I didn't feel that one.) Of course, people here are concerned about the possibility of a tsunami, but it would have to be quite an earthquake to send a wave that could get through the Marianas Trench!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
--Marianne Williamson