Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Good Fight

So our team "kraken" was undefeated the whole CNMI four man beach volleyball league and made playoffs. But during playoffs we lost one man due to a knee injury and one guy had to go on vacation=( So there were only three of us and we needed one more person to play. We had to ask a couple of hotel guests to play with us because we couldn't ask any of the other players to join us. Needless to say, we had a good season but sucked in the end. I'm such a sore loser. Oh well, we fought good till the end and got fourth place. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!! Well, atleast I got a tshirt.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

On Progress

Feel the fear and do it anyway. If you fail, you get up and you keep trying again.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Yellow Submarine

USS Buffalo Submarine

Looking through the parascope :P~
Layla, Grant, May, and me

We played beach volleyball at Micro Beach and some Navy boys joined us. After a game of "jungle volleyball" we were able to get a personal tour of their nuclear-powered submarine. They say that they stay underwater for about two months at a time and they come up and dock. I couldn't imagine not seeing the sky or breathing fresh air for that long. I think I'd go nuts.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

So Long old Self

Pastor Ravia peforming Miko's baptism.
Miko and His teachers at Saipan SDA School.

I did something that I never ever thought I would do. I sang a solo part with the choir for church today. Sorry no pics! I have to admitt that the whole thing was a blurr to me. I just remember the song starting and I opened my mouth and stared at foreheads! lol I was really nervous and I just kept praying that God's voice would flow from me because I didn't think I could do it. Anyway, I remembered all of lines and survived.

Today was a beautiful day. After church, we had a baptism ceremony at the beach down the street from our church for a young student named Miko. The church members sang hymns and we prayed together at the water's edge. Pastor Ravia performed the baptism. It is a wonderful feeling that we can leave our old self behind and have a new life through Christ.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Grotto

Diving in paradise

Some of the Passages we swam through that leads into the Ocean

This is the entrance into the Grotto. You start descending into the cavern here. The snorkelers watch you from above as you descend.

We have made some new friends to dive with. Tammi and Mark took Missy, Layla, Brit and me on a dive with them to the famous dive site called the Grotto. The grotto is a beautiful sunken pool connected to the ocean by underwater passages. It is a underwater cave that the roof fell in on. You hike down about a hundred stairs with your gear on where you enter the water. The sunlight shining on the ocean outside the cave gives the water its amazing deep blue color with typical visability of 100 plus feet. The Saipan Grotto is one of Saipan's best diving spots. Considered by many as one of the best shore cavern dives in the world. After entering the water through a large limestone hole, divers realize they are in a huge cavern. From here, there are three different exit holes to the sea. Once outside, there are beautiful walls, swim-throughs, and caves to explore. Turtles, sharks, and wrasse, are some of the many types of sea life to be seen at this magnificent dive site.

I was alittle nervous at first because the grotto is considered an advanced diving site. But if you go with people who know the site well then you shouldn't get lost in the underwater passages. We descended about 80ft below and swam through underwater passageways and entered into the ocean! It was amazing! I think the highlight of the dive was seeing baby sharks sleeping in the rocks below. They were probably were about 4-5ft long. Not as scary as I thought. I had a hard time equalizing my ears at first descending down, so I stopped at about 80ft. This dive is far my most favorite dive spot so far! Enjoy the pics courtesy of Mark James.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

gObble Gobble

Barbara and Sean Maycock were gracious enough to host Thanksgiving dinner at their home
The Missionaries and Friends

Tofurky =)
My choir buddies
Its exciting to be here in Saipan because I live in such an amazing and beautiful place! The best thing is God brought me here! He brought me to a place where I could rest in Him and focus only on Him. I'm so thankful for many things. I'm thankful to be alive. I'm thankful for my family that has supported me through my ups and my downs. I'm thankful for my old dear friends and the new friends that I have made. I'm thankful for my job out here in Saipan. I have escaped "the office space" and am happy that I am not living an ordinary life. When you take that leap of faith, God blesses you and surprises you with more than you could of ever imagined. Happy Thanksgiving.

"Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good: his love endures forever" - Psalm 107:1

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Lighthouse

There is this old, abandoned lighthouse that sits atop a place called Navy Hill. It is an eye sore at first glance, but there is something about old buildings that I love. I love architecture and I love to imagine how alive a place once was. I always visualize how I could restore the building and how I would change the layout. Overgrown trees surround the lighthouse and there isn’t much of a view of anything on the bottom floor. The white paint is chipped and worn down from the sun. There is a great porch that wraps around the front part of the light house. The windows have been removed exposing the inside to the great out doors and the walls have been overtaken with graffiti. Doesn’t sound too great, eh? But I loved it.

The missionaries and I entered the lighthouse and climbed the narrow stairway that spirals up to the second floor. On the second floor sits a steel ladder that leads to the top of the lighthouse. When I reached the very top of the lighthouse I was overtaken by the panoramic view of Garapan City and the Philippine Sea. The water is turquoise blue, the navy ships are resting just beyond the reef, and it is a bright breezy day.

So we just sat on the ledge of the windows and enjoyed the view. Some of us taking the opportunity to write letters to family and friends, and some of us took out our sketchbooks. I was listening to the song “beautiful day” by U2 on my ipod and just sat there daydreaming about . . . stuff

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Tsunami Scare

Early this morning the CNMI issued a tsunami warning for Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Marina Islands for 1:30 am. I didn't find out about it until my neighbor was banging on my door to leave. My heart was racing. Apparently there was a earthquake in Japan that was 8.1. Everyone was leaving the compound to evacuate to higher ground. So i'm like freaking out. Just jumped into some jeans and a t shirt. I just grabbed my wallet and took off to higher ground. When I pulled into the main road there was major traffic. The whole island was out at one in the morning in a panic frenzy. There was traffic going up the hills and people walking all over the place. I felt like I was in that movie War of the Worlds. It really was crazy like that. Anyways, it just turned out to be a scare . . . but that was the first time I felt alone. Maybe the first time I felt like going home. Anyways, all is well and I am back at work.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Morning view

Brit is catching some last minute zzzzzzzzzz's

Aww, there she is.

my favorite part of Sabbath

Bonzai Cliff

Love the feeling of the wind on my face

Every Sabbath at 5 am we drive to Bonzai Cliff and catch the sunrise. I can’t imagine starting off Sabbath better than this. What an amazing sight! Sometimes early in the morning when the water is calm you can spot dolphins and sea turtles near the rocks below the cliffs.

What a week! Its crunch time and our choir has been practicing nonstop for our up and coming Christmas Canta concert. Sometimes practices run for four hours. Yes, four hours. Its been fun hanging out with them. They speak Tagalog during practice so I feel like I’m understanding a lot more as the days go by! Just love how they all look at me and laugh if I look confused during group discussions. We are still trying to name our group. We also just got our custom made dresses from the Philippines for our concert.

Been keeping busy at work. We now have a new replacement for a periodontist, Dr. Gateway. He gave us a lecture on implants and shared with us his experience about what he's learned in dentistry. He uses an old slide projector to present his pictures. It kind of reminded me of my favorite teacher at LLU, Dr. Thomsen the pathologist=) Sitting and hearing him lecture made me miss school! Can't wait to get into Dent School=)

My v-ball group's name is "Kraken" and so far we are undefeated in the four man CNMI V-Ball League=) Just a couple more games till we hit play offs. I'm excited. I'll post pics next week.

Miss my familia. My familia sends me pics of them at home. I think what really slays me are the pics of my cute neice, Katelynn. She's getting so big and I wish that I could see her more often. My brother, Ed is in Hong Kong by himself! I'm so jealous. He emailed me from some trendy jamba juice type of hang out and sounds like he is having a blast on his own. I hear the skyline in Hong Kong is amazing.

Church has been keeping me busy. The church is in the process of switching new officers and the nominating committee has appointed me to help out in four categories. Yes, four categories. I've been appointed to lead out in women's ministry, help with the church social committee, Deaconess, and the Youth ministry. I'm a bit overwhelmed with these new responisibilities but I am up for the challenge. I have to be honest that there are times when I get discouraged and just want to do my own thing. But then I have to remind myself that serving God shouldn't merely be a chore but done to praise and glorify HIm. Please keep me in your prayers.

Happy Sabbath=)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lau Lau Turtle

Sunday Mornings!

We dove at Lau Lau Beach this past Sunday. We completed our final scuba diving skills! So now I am officially scuba certified! My dive buddies have nick named me "bubbles". Its because I tend to suck up my air in my tank really fast=) Scuba has taught me a valuable lesson underwater and in life. . . KEEP BREATHING no matter what! I had to remove my face mask completely off my head and put it back on with my regulator in my mouth. When I first took it off, there was a slight moment of panic because my nose was exposed underwater, my eyes were closed, and I was 40ft underwater. My first reaction was to FREAK out, but I knew that I had to remain calm and just keep on breathing. Phew . . . I made it =) It really is mind over matter. Here's a short video clip of a sea turtle about 40 ft deep at Lau Lau Beach courtesy of Ken Pierson. Ain't he cute?! =)


Beach Volleyball @ Micro Beach with the SM's and The Piersons.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Ode to Hygiene

I thought I'd post a couple of pics of me working . . . then you will have to believe that i'm working hard and not just playing hard =) I love being a dental hygienist. I love God and I think God has a funny sense of humor. Now that I look back, I realize why God had first brought me to Mission Viejo. It was at Dr. Caplanis' periodontal office that I was able to gain more experience with gum disease. I have learned so much from Dr. Caplanis and working for him has made me feel more confident about my hygiene skills. I'm not so scared to give gp injections or "go to town" on my patients. God really was preparing me for my work out here in the mission field.

Here is a picture of a "typical" case here on the island. Many of these patients haven't seen a dentist from one year to even thirty years! Some have never seen a dentist at all and they are adults. Most of Saipan consists of migrant workers that come from China, Korea, or Japan. Alot of these patients don't have insurance so seeing a dentist is a luxury for some. Most of my patients come in with stage three or four gum disease. Their mouths are filthy and rotten =( It really is a sad sight. Most patients need "deeper cleanings" called root planings.

The natives here chew something called Betel Nut. A “betel nut” refers to the nut of the areca palm, which gives a mild narcotic effect when chewed. The “betel” part actually refers to the leaf of the betel vine, which is used as a wrapper for the various ingredients of betel chewing. the betel nut is chewed as part of a package consisting of small pieces of the betel nut combined with some lime paste or powder (from limestone or coral) and some times tobacco, gambier or other spices, and these ingredients are packaged in the betel vine leaf. This whole package is referred to as the betel chew, quid or wad.The final ingredient is saliva, so the betel wad has to be chewed on in order to get the required effect. In the picture is a moderate case of Betal Nut Stain. You can't see it in the picture but the inside of the mouth is alot more stained than the front. If you can imagine the consistency of Betal Nut on teeth is similiar to tar. Sometimes when I am cleaning I will find twigs and part of the vine in my patients teeth. I usually can't finish a moderate or heavy case in one sitting so I have to reschedule for another appointment. One time I was calling my patient in from the lobby, he got up went out the front door and spit out the betel nut chew and then came in to meet me. It was gross =(

On a possitive note, what I love about hygiene is seeing immediate results of my work especially stain removal and supracalculus removal. It really is exciting for me to see stuff "fly" off. =)