The Quick Basics

We live on Kwajalein Island, part of a small U.S. military installation on Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands. The atoll consists of about 100 small islands. Our island is the largest in the atoll at about 3 miles by ½ mile in size. It currently houses about 2,500 residents. We are mid-80s in temperature most of the time, with a strong, midday sun (being 700 miles or so from the equator) and high humidity all of the time. You can ride your bike here at a slow pace at 3 AM and still break out in a sweat. The sun is intense, so we try to avoid it as best we can between about 11 AM and 3:30 PM, which are the hours that some stores (such as they are) shut down anyway.

So, you ask, how has our life massively changed and how is it different since arriving to Kwajalein on August 7, 2007?

Back East vs. Kwaj

We have traded in...

-Mice for coconut rats

-Pesky mosquitoes for pesky mosquitoes and pesky flies

-Grasshoppers and stink bugs for geckos and skinks

-The 93 or Route 2 during rush hour for fiercely pedaling preschoolers with training wheels at 8:25 AM and 11:25 AM taking up the entire road

-Pats games for the “Bicycle Rodeo” and Kwajalympics (no, I didn't make this last one up)

-Orchard-fresh apples and berries for mangoes and coconuts (sometimes falling quite near our heads!)

-Major TV networks with prime-time TV for the Armed Forces Network and whatever they so deem interesting to feature on our 6 channels

-Regular mail and grocery availability for Tuesday- and Thursday-only mail and fresh produce

-Fresh beef for frozen

-Fresh just about anything for frozen

-AMC Theater movies at $9 a pop for the Yokwe Yuk outdoor movie theater running on weekends and free of charge

-Lake Winnipesaukee and Cape Cod for Emon Beach and beautiful blue-green lagoon waters

-Soccer cleats and snow boots for flip-flops and snorkel fins

-Deer and foxes for nurse sharks and huge sea turtles

-Starbucks and Wal-mart for the Sunrise Cafe and Um......okay, so here is where it all goes very wrong...nothing comes close to Wal-mart, but you get the idea. :) The Sunrise Cafe does make a mean cinnamon roll, however.

What We Intend for This Web Site

We are trying to put a little bit of everything on here, as you all may have varied interests in this funky, faraway place where we are living. There are tons of pictures of the kids for the grandparents, aunties, and uncles, and hopefully there are plenty of fun facts of our life here on Kwajalein. Obviously this is a developing story, and only 5 weeks of it have really unfolded before us so far, but it is a story of a dream Mark and I have had for a long time to take our family somewhere “different” for a few years. I think we hit the mother lode on “different”!

For us personally, it is also a story of how God's hand moves in our lives and the story of much answered prayer before we ever even got here. Some of you know that story, and some of you can ask if it interests you, but the best part of the whole deal, no matter where any of us are on this planet, is that the Lord hears when you call out to Him. That is part of our story, and it is interwoven throughout all that we plan to continue to share about the latest adventure He has taken us on. It is a story of daily frustration and personal “stretching” and growth (like when the bike falls over full of groceries for the 10th time, or the sky opens up and dumps buckets of rain on our heads with no warning mid-ride home). It is one of conquering fears (like the kids swimming and being around tropical aquatic life) and trying new things like snorkeling and scuba diving. It is about the small joys of a new discovery or the delight of watching the hermit crabs scuttle across the beach at dusk. It is about tears of missing loved ones but the beautiful experience of building new relationships in such a unique time of life. It is about the simple things. And it is about the prayers of 3 small children on their knees 5 months ago when we told them of this new plan and we all asked God together to give us what we needed to get here, do this, be safe, be healthy, be brave, and embrace this new life! It is about His provision, because we know that every good and perfect gift comes from our Father above. It is about following His still small voice all the way around the world, and it is about knowing He is very much here.

“So, Father, we dedicate this developing story to You, because it is You to whom we look up in the same night sky (with a slightly different distribution of stars than our U.S. compadres). May it encourage, edify, and bring Your sweet voice to anyone who also faces a new shift in the tectonic plates of their lives in any way. May each word and each picture bless, bless, bless others in Your Holy name. Amen.”

So, welcome to Kwajalein as the Crazy Island Smiths experience it. In Marshallese, we say: “Yokwe Yuk!”


Mommy, I don’t think we’re in Boston anymore....


The Smith Family Kwaj Page

Kwaj ClockKwaj_Clock.html