Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Venus in Tahiti: 8 August – 27 August 1917

Venus in Tahiti: 8 August – 27 August 1917

By: Ardis E. Parshall - December 08, 2013

 (Previous installment)

Takume, Aug 8 & 9 1917

Felt much better, not having to sleep in the damp & cold wind. Attended to two little girls who were covered with nasty sores. Held a splendid priesthood meeting of the Elders at our house at 3: pm & set the following day apart as a day of fasting & prayer, that the natives would be successful in their diving, for up until now they had found very little shell & were becoming discouraged & complaining.

For supper Pres. & I ate some fish that had been given to us, & in the night I was awakened by severe pain, all over my body, & I realized that I had eaten poisonous [fish?] of which there are a great many in these islands. By morning the pain was so intense that I asked Pres. to get up & get me some medicine, but I kept getting worse all the time, it seemed that my whole body had the chill blains & every bone was throbbing & aching with pain. I couldn’t move a limb, not even a finger, for with the slightest movement the pain was doubly increased. I asked to have the Elders come and administer to me, which they did, & as soon as they had finished the pain was greatly lessened for about two hours, when it started in again worse than ever, in fact it was so terrific that I could only draw my breath in short gasps. I could neither move nor speak. Pres. seeing my condition knew that he wouldnt leave me long enough to go for the elders, so he administered to me alone, and again the pain left me for about two hours. Then it started in again gradually until by night it was unendurable again, so we sent for all the elders again & they held a prayer circle for me & administered to me again. The pain left again as before & I was promised that by morning I would be entirely well. I soon fell asleep and when I awoke in the night every particle of pain had left my body & in the morning I was well as had been promised me in direct answer to the anointing. I surely was grateful beyond expression for the goodness of the Lord to me, for I don’t know I couldn’t had endured the excruciating pain I was suffering very long.

Fri. Aug 10, 1917

All pain gone, but I was so weakened by the intense pain I had suffered that I didn’t have strength to move, and could hardly breathe, so I remained in bed all day & Pres didn’t leave my side. The night before when I was so bad, all the natives were squatted around on the ground outside the door in the darkness, waiting & listening as to how I was getting along.

Sat. Aug 11, 1917

Since I have been poisoned the Saints cant think of enough nice things to do for me. To-day the Relief Society sisters of Takaroa made some lovely woven mats & brought them down to put on our gravel floor. Carried white gravel to scatter all around our door yard & planted 27 small cocoanut palms around the edge of it & made the place look like a miniature park. Ah Siong our Chinese baker brings a fresh loaf of bread & two small cakes or pies to us every morning. Other[s] send us oranges & bananas, crabs etc. etc. Toriki sent us a piece of pork, and Kiriano has a turtle which he is saving until I am well enough to eat a piece.

In the afternoon we held a grand priesthood meeting in our house & I was able to sit up in bed & bear my testimony of the goodness of the Lord to me since the last meeting. The elders also reported a great increase in shell & a much better spirit among the people since our day of fasting & prayer in our behalf.

Sun. Aug 12, 1917

While Pres. went to meetings Kuraingo came to stay with me. Baha & Hominy also came in for a while. After Sacrament meeting Elder Robertson b[r]ought a nice big bowl of soup over to us, which we appreciated very much.

Mon Aug. 13, 1917

The Takaroa sisters came over again to-day & made us a thatched bath house & a toilet. I am beginning to feel a little stronger. When I wash myself it smarts & burns my skin as though I was on fire. My skin also smarts terribly when the wind blows on me.

Tues. Aug 14, 1917

Walked around a little off and on all day. At night I walked over to church but when I arrived there I was so weak that they had to take me to Mapuhi’s house to lie down until it was time to go home again.

Wed. Aug 15, 1917

Walked over to the village with my husband and felt quite strong. Peni Perry gave us a can of cocoa. Attended gospel class at night.

Thurs. Aug 16, 1917

The Elders commenced daily classes for the young people & children & also a Tahitian grammar class, besides a gospel class which is to be conducted daily by Pres. Rossiter. Visited among the saints & attended Relief Society at 7: pm.

Fri. Aug 17, 1917

Spent the morning visiting among the Hikueru saints, teaching them songs, gospel & the care of children. One place I found the mother feeding her baby from a terribly sour smelling bottle, so I showed her how to boil it & keep ti clean & smelling sweet all the time. Held gospel class in the afternoon, & in the evening the Josephite people & their minister Mr. Ellis came up to hear us expound a question that he had put up before us: “Plural Gods.” Just before meeting we held a prayer circle that we would be able to confound their evil designs & I [our] prayers were certainly answered, for while Mr Ellis was speaking, although his delivery was smooth & oily there was a sound of tinkling brass in his words & when Pres. arose to give his views on the question he spoke with such power the people were all spell bound, & Mr Ellis dropped down in his eat like a wilted plant, for he as well as everyone else present could see that he was speaking the truth & was being helped by a higher power than his own. We felt that our prayers were wonderfully answered.

Sat. Aug. 18, 1917

San Francois arrived with the mail. So I hurried & wrote a letter to Sister Compton to get off o nit. Received word in the mail that she & Marama had arrived safe in San Francisco & neither were sea sick on the way, which I was relieved to learn.

Sun. Aug. 19, 1917

Attended meetings all day & Pres. & I visited among the Saints between meetings. Had supper at Takaroa quarters with Elders Davis, Burton & Robertson.

Mon. Aug 20, 1917

Visited among the saints. Cut out a lot of “buttoned on” diapers for Paulina, the little native baby that Elder Burbidge had named after his sweetheart. Held elders gospel class from 1-4 p.m. Kiriano killed his turtle, which he has been saving since I was poisoned & sent us over a nice steak of it. Meeting at 7: pm.

Tues. Aug 21, 1917

Took a bowl of molasses & a box of crackers down to the Hikueru Elders. Spent the greater part of the way carrying medicine around to sick babies. Gospel class at 7: pm.

Wed. Aug 22, 1917

Called again to see all the babies & carry medicine to them. Spent the afternoon visiting the Takaroa Saints. Held Relief Society at 7: pm.

Thurs. Aug 23, 1917
Went over to show Mapuna how to bathe her baby & when I left she gave me a nice baby. [sic] She has a beautiful baby with skin almost as white as mine. Went over to the city to see Tabuta’s baby Roberta & was glad to find him much better.

Takume, Aug 25, 1917

Held priesthood meeting at 3 pm after which Elders Burton & Larson left on the “Papeete” for Tahiti. Elder Burton to have his teeth attended to & Elder Larsen to re[cu]perate from a siege of dysentery.

Sun. Aug 26, 1917

Attended meetings all day & visited with the Saints between meetings.

Mon. Aug 27, 1917

There are a great many of the smaller children & babies sick with terrible coughs, sore throat etc. & it keeps me busy going from house to house, seeing that they are being properly cared for and to feed them olive oil & cough syrup & rub their chests & throats with oil.

(To be continued)


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