Palau is considered one of the world's natural wonders both above and below the surface of the water. I came here in March 2007 for a week long dive trip with Ken and Crystal Pierson and had a blast. Much of our time was spent underwater. Now I'm not complaining about being underwater at all because I love diving . . . but I didn't get a chance to explore the island at all! During this trip with Real Christian Theater I was hoping to see more of the island, the culture, and it's people. Check out the water! I was itchin' to drop into the deep blue!
A picture of the bridges that led into Koror, Palau's main center where most visitors stay and eat. We were staying at Palau Mission Academy about 30 mins away.
Real Christian Theater is about sharing our belief and love for an amazing God. We perform skits with underlying themes about forgiveness, dependance upon God . . . We strive to not only perform the skits but to actually LIVE what we perform. Sometimes its easier to talk the walk than walk the walk. I'm definitely not perfect. I know that sometimes I struggle alot with what I believe and what I do. But I learned and grew a lot during my stay in Saipan and during this Palau trip.
Sean preached Saturday morning at the Airiri SDA Church. He talked about whether you have a relationship or a religion. I think that sometimes you can get discouraged when you try to keep all the rules and fail. Sometimes when you focus on doing everything right you start to lose sight of what is really important. I've often felt that religion can suck the life out of you if it becomes to legalistic. I think that what God is seeking is my heart not perfection.
Different members from our drama team took over parts in the divine service. Some performed special music, read scripture, or prayed. Miss Veronyka below read and directed the children's story.
A picture of our team with the kids at the SDA Elementary School. They were all so friendly. Some even prayed with us after our skits. They just felt really blessed and it made us feel like God was really speaking through us.
I remember how tired we were starting to get towards the end of our trip. We woke up at 8 am and didn't go to bed till 11 pm every day. School tours can be tiring because you are constantly on the go. One of the highlights of this trip was being able to perform last minute for the local prison. Here's a picture of Joy, Xian Xian, and Tali performing a skit entitled The Big Question. The prisoners were so thankful for our visit. It was a really touching experience to see them on fire for God. This visit to the prison was the perfect way to end our year.
*** Diving in Palau***
Last time I went diving in Palau the weather was perfect! We had sunny skies and the water was like glass. Unfortunately this time around in Palau it was a bit stormy. Actually there was a typhoon just passing over Palau so the water was rough. I have learned from past experiences that just because its gray skies doesn't mean you'll have a bad dive. You just have to make the best of every situation.
The first day I went diving by myself with Sam's tours at Saies Tunnel just west of Ulong Channel. The current was strong and the visibility wasn't too great. When I first dropped into the water at Saies Tunnel I looked down and saw a Manta Ray!! How lucky am I to see that when I first got in. I was so shocked that I was fumbling with my camera to take a picture but by the time I turned on my camera the Manta was gone=( But I saw turtles, sharks, and all kinds of marine life on this dive. The Second dive I went on was at a shipwreck called Chuyo Maru. Plenty marine life and coral that has grown on the wreck! I had such a great first day of diving.
The following day on Thursday Sean, Mai, Jess, and I headed out for a two tank dive with Sam's tours. Unfortunately the weather got worst and the dive boats weren't allowed to go outside the reef because of the strong current conditions. That was bad news because outside the reef are were the great dive sites like Blue Corner, German Channel, Blue hole, and Ulong Channel. We couldn't even go to Jelly Fish lake.
So you can imagine that we were all pretty bummed that we weren't going to see everything that we had heard about. We ended up diving Pincher's cove and the shipwreck Chuyo Maru. We didn't see any turtles or sharks on the second day like they were hoping=( I guess its just another excuse to make a trip out here again because the underwater show at Blue corner is truly amazing. I'll never forget that experience on my last visit. The second day of diving was heaven for me since it was mostly macro diving. I was looking for Nudibranchs and other cool things.
The famed rock island Arch.
A huge clam I found on the beach where they filmed Survivor Palau.
Diving around the shipwreck Chuyo Maru. The tops of the masts are gardens of corals and sponges that attract schools of fish.
Giant Sea Fans
Cotton Candy Corals blooming on the sheer walls that drop. You can't even see the bottom when you are diving!
I have no idea what this is! Anyone know?
Tridacna squamosa (Giant Clam)
Overall the dive wasn't a total disappointment for me. Seeing big things like Manta's, sharks, and turtles are exciting. Sometimes we forget that the small macro stuff is just as fascinating as the big stuff. I have a feeling that I'll be back to conquer Blue Corner and hook into the reef on my next visit! What a great trip and a great way to kick off my year in Micronesia.
Real Christian Theater girls on the bus ride to Koror
Tres amigas: Mai, Me, and Jessica