Monday, October 20, 2014

Mission Homecoming Day

 We had our Sacrament Meeting mission homecoming talks on October 19th in Mesa, AZ.  We gave our talks and then had family and friends to our home for Hawaiian Haystacks (a truly island dish...) and cake and ice cream. 
 Our neighbor made this beautiful and delicious cake for the event.  It included a flag for Micronesia and missionary shirts!  Very beautiful.  The cake was fruity and good.  We served about 35 people at our home, and enjoyed our day.  It is a relief to be done with that stressful event!  Now we can continue to catch up on things here and receive new callings.

We enjoyed our 17 months in Micronesia and Chuuk, specifically.  We hoped we made a difference.  We remember many good friends and acquaintanances and will always remember our good times there.  Now we move on to a new chapter in our lives.  Best wishes to all who continue to serve in Micronesia Guam Mission.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Coming to an End in Chuuk!

 On our last week in Chuuk, Elder Crisp was asked to do a teachers meeting inservice at Chuuk High School.  Before he was finished, 37 people attended, with World Teach and regular h.s. Chuukese teachers.  Kalika gave E. Crisp a W.T. bag and card signed by many to say thanks for his help during the summer and 2 school years.
 A few days after the inservice, these World Teach teachers invited us for dinner!  Very kind of them.  We have very much enjoyed getting to know many of the 27 W.T. people.  Seated around the table are:  Maya, Cory, Aaron & Layla, Marybeth, Lita and us!  The W.T. are making a great difference at the schools they work at: high school, Iras, Mwan and Akoyikoyi. 

We "borrowed" a few pictures from President Zarbock's facebook pages from our last meeting with him and our Elders.  Here are E/S Crisp giving final testimonies, our group, and while we were doing "Sacred Role Play" with Elders Kleven and Siren (Chuukese)!

   "We call it "sacred" role play because it is through role play we create "spiritually" those things we want our investigators to learn and understand, before we teach them in their homes.

Just as the earth was created "Spiritually" before it was created temporally, role play, when done in this manner, can be a very powerful tool, and inevitably we feel the Spirit as we practice our teaching.
The Chuuk elders are a wonderful, powerful group of young men the Lord has chosen to bring the gospel to a beautiful people. It is my belief that Chuuk is on the cusp of amazingly spiritual growth. I have the utmost confidence in this group of valiant elders. I love you elders. President Zarbock"

Chuuk Police Station and Jail

We go to the police station when we need a "police clearance" for a departing missionary who needs a visa for somewhere.  We did one for Mfour Mateaus, who is currently serving in California.  Australia has been VERY SLOW at giving him his visa, and now,  9 months after first one, Australia wants another "clearance" on a person who hasn't been here for 6 months, and guaranteeing his good conduct for the next 18 months!!  What government could do that, when a person is not living here, and who knows ANYONE'S future conduct!  Maybe USA should give them one, since he is living there now.... So we got a clearance up to this weeks date...

This mountain is out our back door.  E. Crisp thinks these Koreans or Japanese are doing something "scientific".  As Eakins said, "nothing is very scientific" in Chuuk!  It looked like they were mixing up some cement.  We won't be around to see what they are actually doing.  They are NOT building a house.  The mountain is very steep!
We went to Akoyikoyi School to check in with them, and say "goodbye".  We were greeted with leis (2 for me!!) and cards and a Thank-You certificate from Clark Graham.  He runs a great school at Pedia.  Actually the best elementary one in all of Chuuk.  He has K-3 this year, with 4th to start next year.  In K they learn English and progress from there.  Great place to visit.  E. Crisp helped them get better organized, and they were one of only 3 schools in Chuuk that got accredited this year!  Way to go Clark and helpers.  He trains an administrator each year from his group of teachers.  They teach a year, act as admin. the 2nd year, then go on their way.  It's a great plan.

The leis smell really nice, too.  These girls placed them on us!

We were invited to lunch at the Blue Lagoon by our friends at the education department for Chuuk.  The Director, Gardenia Alik (sitting next to me) put together the luncheon.  Her Deputy Director Noah Ruben sits by E. Crisp. Our high school principal, Paul Hadik sits by Gardenia.  The other ladies help hold everything together!  Paul also helps the district office with accreditation and teaching some at the h.s. Great people!!
Wow, they were generous. In addition to giving us (lunch),  leis, we were given a shell necklace each, Christmas ornaments for the tree, a lovely fan (with embroidery) and this beautiful floor (or wall) mat.  It is made from tree pieces, sort of like palm fronds. Very lovely.

 On our way home, we stopped at the airport to see how we could get the floor mat home, and met up with our 2 "dying" elders: Rainey and Peck.  They completed their missions and were heading home.  We got there just in time to say goodbye, before they headed through the gate.
I posted both, since some look better in one than another pix.  top row: Elders Payne, Schroath (new zone leader),  Crisp, Plocher (z.l.), Simpson, Kleven, Holmes, Jeffrey, Heim & S.Crisp. bottom: Elders Vanisi, Rainey, Peck & Telona.  E.Payne will be heading to Guam to train a new elder in a Chuukese area and E.Telona will be going to Saipan to be a zone leader!  Meanwhile, 7 of our Elders are currently in Guam, being trained to train 7 new elders coming to Chuuk!   With 14 Elders to get plane tickets for, there is a slight delay.  They will be gone 9 days before getting back to begin training.  The elders who will be training are: Garae, Tafuna, Fermanis, Canakiavata (Coach for short), Hokoa, Siren and Paulis.  Vanisi will continue training Jeffery, Simson w/Heim, Jonas w/Andrada and Fabiano w/Maughan.  Busy place...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

7 Seminaries may be going (with pix) & Pres. Zarbock makes an extra visit to Chuuk!!

 We visited our Mechitiw Seminary class one evening (5:30) and they were waiting for a few more to come.  We played some games until 6 p.m. I forgot to get pix of the balloons, since I was playing with them!  They have several non-members attending their classes.  Always lots of children trying to attend, as well!  President Weita has been coming, along with 2 team teachers: Buddy Herry and Memory Weita.  They are having good success so far.
 At Mwan Seminary, they are having their large numbers getting out of the habit of attending.  Sis. Oriko Ewar is diligent as always, and has moved the time later, to 6 a.m.  Lass Newyear and Herselina Walter are the regulars. Her name isn't on the rolls, even though her dad used to be District President!

President Zarbock got the impression Chuuk Zone needed him, and his wise counsel.  He came with Sister Zarbock, and didn't do a zone conference, but rather training meetings.  We weren't invited to all of it, but enjoyed the parts we attended, including lunch!

 We met at the Blue Lagoon Resort, and as always, the grounds are beautiful.  It is probably the nicest location on Weno, for the scenery.  The yard guys have acres to keep trimmed up, with no lawnmowers!  President and Sister Zarbock always give good lessons and counsel to we missionaries.  We have 24 young elders at present, but might get back to 26 next week on transfers, even though we lose 3 to missionary work.  They will go home to pursue their life's preparation for the work force!  The missionary experiences they obtain definitely help them for this preparation, and eternity...
 Our Zone leaders are Elders Rainey (for a few more days) and Elder Plocher.  They do a great job training and taking of business here.  There is a LOT of business to take care of, with so many guys to look after.  We help when we are asked.  We don't want to interfere in their business and callings.
Here are random shots of our missionary force.  I hope the families looking can spot their Elder! 
 President Zarbock has a new name for a necessary part of the training:  Sacred Role Play.  Our Elders are young and inexperienced in life's ways.  "Practicing" teaching the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ can help them know how to teach their "investigators", seeking understanding and knowledge of what we have to bring them.  We know all religions have many "truths", but as President Hinckley said, "we'll take what you have, and give you further light and knowledge" of the gospel message taught by Christ. (not his EXACT words!)
 We had a third opportunity to give our departing testimonies.  Elders Peck, Selander and Rainey leave next week.  We leave a few days later.  These are good young men we work with!  We have enjoyed our time helping whenever and wherever we are asked.  We hope we have made a difference.  We see small steps coming from some of the work we have done here.  We will be replaced by another couple soon, and hope they will continue a BLOG!  We hear from families thanking us for helping them to know how their missionaries are doing.  And, just seeing pictures, etc.
Near the end of our meeting, Elders Fabiano, Kleven, Peck, Selander and Jonas sang a song for us. They did an excellent job.  Of course, we always end with our Mission Hymn--a fun song to sing in Chuukese.

Monday, September 8, 2014

September Elders, Family History Hursts Help Chuuk

 It's always fun to see our Chuukese Elders after we have said goodbye. At the MTC: Elders Kata, Paulis and Amatus with Nick Obray...without the "traditional elder" facial hair look!! Well, he's in school now, so it's okay, I guess.
 Here, former E. Huppe was called in to translate for a day. Elder Masauo joined the group.  How's your English coming, Elders?

 President Tarsisio Walter, from Romanum, helped Gladwin Singeo prepare to leave on his mission A LOT!  We thank him.  He even gave him a job, so the Church didn't have to pay for his passport.  We like to help our young people learn to "help themselves" with mission costs.
 Elders Telona and Vanisi from Wichap came to say goodbye to Elders Vehikite and Ladore.  We are back to 24 elders for a few weeks until transfers.
 The mission Family History couple, the Hursts, came to Chuuk for a few days.  We took the "nice facilities management boat" out to Uman, Paata and Udot. Tonoas was unavailable at the last minute.  Uman had lots of interested people doing their pedigree charts.  Uman folks will be some of our next people to prepare for a temple trip to Manilla Temple!
 As the big people were doing their "geneology paper work", the children had a good hill to slide down sitting on palm tree fronds and having lots of fun.  Uman has 6 nice big water collector barrels provided by the Church, to help the community with their water needs.  Our Church does this around the world to help communities.
The basketball court on the Church grounds is also used by the community.  We help schools and communities around the world to have some basic "necessities" to help where needs are communicated to us.  Lots of great people at Uman.
 We took the boat out 2 days to get with these 3 Church groups for family history.  Here we are at Paata. Some of these people are not members "yet", but they are interested.  Elder Hurst was able to buy a very beautiful shell from one of these "prospective members"!  As we were gathering the group for a pix at the end, this older lady was still intent on helping others finish their charts.  She seemed to have a very good recollection of family members past and present, way beyond her personal family members.
 We went to Udot next.  The Group Leader, our Elders and Pres. Walter, who came over from Romanum, were involved in a wedding and then a baptism, so we were able to find some women and children near our new "tent chapel" to help with family history.  We had a nice group here.  The little girl had a pet "chucka or chucko" (don't know if it was a boy or girl chicken) that we hope will survive the "handling" that day.  I guess that until the baby chicks get used to where their home is, they keep a pretty tight leash on them!
 We were gluttons for punishment, as we took the nice boat out 3 days in a row, because we wanted to see what was happening on Fono, our newest island to be opened.  We hadn't seen Elder Selander's new companion yet (Elder Hokao) and President Wainis was invited to join the investigators for their Sacrament Meeting.  We tagged along, although for the 3rd day out on the water, we put hats on.  We already were very sunburned. We hoped that might show in this picture.  We had a nice group there, and the Elders are planning on at least 8 baptisms for their first month there.  Lots of very nice people on Fono. The first pic shows the "glassy ocean", lovely day for traveling, looking toward where our apartment is on Weno.  Next pix of our "stick" helper guys on our f.m. boat.
 E. Selander acts as the Branch President, for now.  This pix shows their house. Church is held in the "garage". It is a large space, with extra walls of stacked bricks.  Only problem was a Catholic Church nearby that rang their bell every time we were praying...maybe they had a spy somewhere nearby...
 Monday we went to Mechitiw and Sapuk Branches for F.H.  On the way home, these little guys were coming from school.  The white shirts were our contributions to help them get into school, since there are no uniform shirts available at present.  The backpacks were contributions from our Church for many of the students around Chuuk.

Monday evening we had our Sept Zone Mtg.  Elder Plocher is a new Z.L. and did a great job, along with E Rainey.  Two good elders. Crisp's, the A.P.'s from Guam (Elders Petersen and Barrus), and the Hurst's are shown here.

 Elders Jonas and Andrada are on Romanum (training).  Elders Payne and Fermanis are on Uman.  Elders Heim and Simpson are in Nantaku (training). Elders Hokao and Selander on Fono (training).
 Elders Kleven and Siren are serving on Udot.  E Siren is Chuukese--we sent him off a while back!  His Chuukese language knowledge was needed in a hurry, so he was imported from Guam! Elders Vanisi and Telona are serving in Wichap.  Elders Schroath and Garae are in Neuo.  Elders Fabiano and Maughan are serving in Paata (Pokocho)--training.
 Elder Holmes is now training E. Jeffery, out of Nantaku house.  Elders Tafuna and Peck are on Tonoas.  Elders Paulis and Canakiavata are also on Paata--Sopota.  I baked 5 of my eggless wacky cakes for our extra large group of 30 for Zone Meeting.  Had no complaints, hope there were no stomach aches!  The pieces were pretty large.  Sister Hurst brought 2 lg chocolate chip cookies EACH!! from the Truk Stop Hotel. Their food and desserts are good!  This, and j-Max for a drink, was perhaps an overload of sweets. Everyone seemed to get them down okay though...
 E Jonas was leading our songs again.  He does a fine job!  The Mission Hymn is always a joy to hear, with the elders standing for it.
And that's a wrap for this Zone Meeting.  We hear that next week, we are having a Zone Conference!!  Sort of a surprise to everyone.  So, more elders pix next week!  I think our Zone is learning a little more about "EXACT OBEDIENCE"!!  President Zarbock has "Raised the Bar" for our Elders!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

S&I Opening Inservice, Opening Fono & 3 Chuukese Elders leave for Missions!

 School is in session now, almost everywhere, but we have scheduled S&I to start up September 1st.  We got in our Branch Presidents, Counselors and Seminary & Institute Teachers to present the new curriculum to them, which is Church History and the Doctrine and Covenants.  One-third of the Book of Mormon is all the LDS scriptures they have at present, so we put together some curriculum for them, translated into Chuukese, to accompany the "Doctrine and Covenants Stories" which we DO have in Chuukese.  We found large pictures of the Manilla Phillappines Temple for each Branch Building, along with some varied Church History pictures we had brought with us.  They will do more good with them, than sitting in our apartment!  With 10 Groups & Branches in Chuuk, we couldn't possibly do the teaching of these classes.  We train and encourage, and pray for them to do the rest.  We showed the movie:  Joseph Smith, The Prophet of the Restoration.  They don't see much videos around here, and it was well received.  Most of our B. Presidents speak a bit of English, although they don't read it much.  Elder Crisp gave some training about the program, and had District President Wainis translate for him, to make sure he was understood.  Each Branch was given two Triple Combinations, in English, if they can be of use to them while teaching.
 President Tarsi Wainis gives further encouragement to all these leaders to carry out the Programs of the Church.  They are for the benefit of all, especially our youth, when it comes to S&I.  We had about 40 people in attendance.  One Branch was not represented for this Inservice and Training.  Our most stalwart Seminary Teacher had to work, but we know she will do the Program!

 We had promised to buy "uniform" shirts for the children at Mechitiw Branch who had not been going to school, who said it was because of not being able to afford the shirts.  To them, that meant all the Mechitiw children who would be attending the 2 schools involved!  So we bought 8 yellow shirts for Iras kids, but no blue stripe shirts were available for Mechitiw School.  The Principal declared that a collared white shirt and dark pants or skirt could be worn.  I was able to get a good price on 44 white shirts in sizes from 4-18, and since more than half had long sleeves, I spent a day cutting the sleeves short and re-hemming.  We gave them to the B. Pres. to sort out with who needs them.  We were able to get some backpacks from the District left over from last school year, and gave them out with some school supplies while they lasted.   We caught "Branch kids" on the road to school and gave then out.  We know that some high school and elementary kids went back to school after years of absence, or started for their first  time ever into school.  We know that education is the key to a successful life.  We hope they will continue on, and improve their situation in life.
 In the past few days, we saw Elder Selander take his new "trainee companion", Elder Okao, out to the small island of Fono, which we can see from our upstairs porch.  They are being well received, and are excited about the work to do out there.  There are several other churches already established out there.  The 50# bag of flour that I am processing into bags for the freezer (2 days turned on to kill the weevil eggs), is the best way to save some money here.  I guess buying in bulk is the way to save $ most places!  Anyway, between white and wheat flour, I have been through around 300 pounds baking for people and events.  I was cooking/baking for our Inservice Meeting and had been out of flour!  (bottom rt. pic) When people commit to speak in Church, and then get cold feet, the local Elders are then called on to take up time during the Sacrament Meeting.  These Elders: Schroath, Rainey, Plocher & Garae, did a great job filling in (we think they did, we did not understand many words...).  I am SURE that this impromptu stuff helps the Elders to grow in Testimony and conviction of what they are teaching.  This is part of the reason they come home so much "grown up"!!  We have great Elders here, and many good leaders--future leaders in the Church!

Brothers Branch and Dalton came to Chuuk for nearly 2 weeks to help fit Chuukese into prosthetics, who have lost some body parts due to diabetes.  They came with us 2 Sundays to Church.  We thought that they needed a better "cultural experience" than the "real building" we have at Mwan, so the second week we took them to Mechitiw for meetings there--see next pic.
 At Mechitiw Branch we had record numbers, about 90 people attended a fairly small room.  After talks by Memory Weita, Sis. Weita and Pres. Weita, Tarson Amateus gave his testimony before leaving for his mission to Suva Fiji that night!  His mother and 3 sisters (2 are hiding behind) sang a song we didn't recognize, between their tears.  It was a lovely sight.  (Branch and Dalton are here at b.left pic.)  This Branch has 5-10 kids for every adult that comes to church.  Some of the kids come w/o parents, and go in and out frequently, which is quite a distraction.  We have had Tarson come to our apartment, whenever he was willing, to help him with his English.  He hasn't been in school since very early elementary years.  He doesn't write much of anything.  We helped him some, and the Provo MTC will continue to help him read and write English.  Luckily, Fiji is mostly English speaking.
 TL + BR shows Elder Crisp doing teacher inservice at Zavier High School.  They have 12 teachers, mostly from America, and it is the premier high school here.  Of course, that comes with a monthly tuition cost to the students.  Chuuk High kids hardly come up with the $10 fee at registration.  As long as we have English speaking educators here in Chuuk, things will improve.  Chuukese teachers don't bother to use English much, and since hardly any books are printed in Chuukese, it retards their education and skills. B:  E&S Crisp spent a few hours in the Mwan Branch library.  Boxes of materials come from the Church,  and most things stay in boxes or piled up, so not much use is made of them.  We helped to organize the room, so manuals and teaching materials can be found by those leaders who need them.  TR:  This pic is taken Monday morning about 12:30 a.m. at the airport, as Nuno Kata from Sapuk, and Tarson from Mechitiw are leaving for their missions together.  Nuno heads to Brisbane Australia after the MTC.  He graduated from Chuuk High, and speaks pretty good English.
Earlier in the week, we sent off K-Last Paulis to his mission to Brisbane, Australia as well, by way of MTC in Provo.  This is his parents and a brother, with S. Crisp.  K-Last doesn't speak, read or write much English, but we weren't able to get him to us to help him improve.  He may be in Provo a while!

Now a note to parents of Missionaries... please think before you send your missionary items that are NOT on the approved list of missionary accessories!  You might find your missionary home before you expect it.  We as missionaries are expected to "follow with exactness" the mission rules.  We are NOT a "social media" mission...we can't even keep the internet going at Mwan Branch!