June 17, 1939
Dear Mother, Dad, and All,
This may be the beginning of one of those perrenial newspapers that I am accustomed to make when I arrive on a new Island and just add to every once in awhile until a ship calls by on it's way in to tahiti. The next ship to the States is schedualed for the 17th of July, so if a boat calls by between now and then, you should receive this letter in August sometime. Then closely following, on the 29th another leaves. Whether I can get one on each remains yet to be seen. Am expecting next mail from home next ship out this way, and as all three ships that take this "run" are "above" now, around Hikueru, Hao, etc., this letter may be sent in before I receive next mail out.
Continuing from where I left off last letter, we were waiting for our ship to leave, I will attempt to bring this letter up to date tonight before retiring. We didn't get off the 'next day', or the next, but Sunday, the day of Pres. Hardy's Conference address, we left just before meeting was to start. About an hour's ride and we were back with a repair job to be done on the motor. Meeting, meanwhile, was finished. So, we waited around all day Sunday and Monday and then left in the evening. I guess the trip was well worth waiting for anyway.. It gave us a good chance to see if we could take a rough sea, as we surely hit a good one.
Leaving in the evening, we went to sleep on the hatch cover soon after we started, so the night passed peacefully enough. The first day, though, was awful! I hit the rail eight times, and it wasn't 'cause I wanted to watch the waves. Not being able to eat anything I had nothing to give, but that isn't saying I didn't try hard. Remind me never to go ocean riding when I get back. Elder Price was a much better sailor than I; he only went to the edge once. The other time he attempted to, a wave splashed in on him and discouraged his standing at the rail very long. Believe me it was a heavy sea. (But that's nothing; I'd get sick on a lagoon now it seems.)
The third day we arrived in Anaa, taking a total of sixty hours to come two hundred miles. We weren't able to land, or go ashore in the small boat, as the wind was to strong for a couple of hours. Meanwhile it was raining and giving our blankets, mat, and us a good soaking.
Regardless of all that, we got ashore. No one was there to meet us. We left our things sitting on shore and walked through the village from one end to the other... spoke to about four people, one being the black-robed Priest. (He didn't know who we were the first time he met us so he spoke.) I had one name in mind, and that was our one Mormon here. I inquireed of a Chinaman where this fellow was. (Gauta.) He showed me a little gathering of houses and an old man and said there's where he is.
The old fellow welcomed us, found out how long we were going to stay, and started preparing a place for us. He and his Reorganite wife and son and "sleeper" (a Catholic) moved from their little one room shack into the cook-shack and another one room place, insisting we take the best. Regardless of our protestations they would have it no other way. A bed was set up, a mattress even, and a table borrowed, old shelves torn out, and the place swept clean as clean. Our things were brought from the shore and now here we are just as comfortable as ever... except for fleas. Fish and rice and hot water have been food so far. I think before long, as soon as we can without hurting their feelings, we will take care of our own food buying and cooking. Right now they won't listen but a week from now the newness will be worn off and they get tired of serving right in the house here every day.
Now back to our Priest friend: he found out who we were, I guess, 'cause the next time we met, he hurried by with his head ducked. I made a passing remark about the weather to him, (in Tahitian,) but he didn't even look up. Elder Price felt a little hurt about it but he has a lot to learn yet. I felt the same way when the first one slighted me. Now, I can surely smile and think to myself, "Poor blind fellow." He spent a pretty busy aftenoon warning his people that he would pull their ears if he saw any of them talking to us, probably. Anyway, we have been snubbed openly by a few, but as a whole, they are swell people.
Last night we held a little gathering here in the house. I guess there were close to thirty kids, girls, fellows and older people here. We sang a few songs, I told them how glad we were to be among them and expressed the wish that we can all be friends. We got a good start with the young fellows during the afternoon. I taught them a little baseball (soft-ball), and today they were back to borrow the ball. Gee, they're quick at learning a new game.
Next week we are going to begin a little tracting and meet the people in their own homes. They surely have to be handled just right and with plenty of tact.
Well, I believe I'll call it a night tonight and just sort of wait for the ship now. News tonight was the "Gisborne" is due in any time. I may get to meet Elder Asay on his way in to H.Q. So, until later, I'll say, "Good-night."
June 22.. The ship came early this morning; we just got up from a good sound sleep. She will be leaving in a few minutes so I'll have to close this letter. Everything is going fine.... only had a third of the people refuse tracts, etc. so far.
No telling when I'll get another letter written. By next boat to the States, I guess.