Pages

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM CHUUK!!

This is a story that you just may not believe.  It is New Years Day in Chuuk and the celebration has been going on since yesterday afternoon!  There were barbeques, family gatherings, lots of food and music.  Then around midnight the fireworks began and the shouting and pan banging!  There were 314 rounds of fireworks that went off, one at a time so it took some time for this to happen.  Getting up later in the evening the parties were still going with music and people sitting around!  Then around 6:00 AM the truck parades started.  They bang on anything, yell out a saying, then the drummers keep a specific beat.  They all did the same beat throughout the day!  It was relatively quiet between 1 AM and 6 AM.  Then we got hit!
The above shots are the "people's" parades.  They came from everywhere and all day long!  There may be a lull at any given time and then it kicks in again.  They come in large groups and in twosomes, but the beat is the same and so are the chants.
By droves they parade up and down the streets of Weno!  Even as we took a walk in the late afternoon, new groups were coming.  These bottom photos are those taken around 4:40 PM and it appears that the party will continue on into the night!  We were told that New Years was at least a two day celebration.  So we will see just what happens into the evening!
 Happy New Year!  As the locals chant "Happy, Happy New year", and then sound the beat!  Another group comes by as I type this into the blog!  Much is in Chuukese, so we aren't sure what all is being said, but everyone is passionate about it!  I believe that everyone jumps into the "parading" activities at some point.  Our neighbor said it was just "tradition"!
It is hard to feel rested.  We will watch some videos with the fan on high, and might get a little sleep tonight, as last night.  And a local said that Mwan area is the noisiest.  I doubt it!   E/S Crisp

Thursday, December 26, 2013

More Christmas pix and other December events!

This group of young people are the newest addition to the World Teach group who are working at the high school.  As I trained the initial group back in July, it was only fitting that the director Matt (in the background) ask me to work with these three young ladies!  One is from Florida and the other two are from California!  I train them on effective teaching strategies, lesson planning, and what to do on the first day to ensure success. They don't know what subjects they will teach yet, but they are anxious to begin.  Classes resume on January 6th!
Elder and Sister Crisp found themselves in Chuuk for Christmas (unlike this picture of past days preparing to be in Chuuk).  We made 23 teddy bear breads for the elders, and brownies for their dessert.  The brownies got iced, as well.  Sister Crisp went to every store in Weno before baking and found NO chocolate or chocolate chips, so had to rely on our own stache!  This is a tough place for cooking whatever you would usually cook or bake!  Back at home, some of our family were able to view the beautiful temple lights at the Arizona Temple.  It is always a delightful place to be, between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

Waiting their turn to Skype found the elders hanging out and trying to find stuff to amuse themselves.  Elders Simpson and Telona had ukuleles handy and Elder Johnson learned a few chords and strums!  Elders Monson (Great-nephew of our beloved Prophet) and Rainey were awaiting their turn as well.
The hours were many to wait, and upper pix is Elders Schroath and Obray hanging...  Elder Monson received a BYU shirt from Grandma, and was very pleased.  Elder Johnson received a fun marshmallow gun, but unfortunately, marshmallows begin sticking together even before the bag is opened.  Maybe they can find some small hollow balls, or wait till he gets home! Elders Jonas and Selander look on.
Some of our elders have very nice voices, and occasionally we get to hear a few lines.  They were trying to remember a few lines to familiar songs they all "sort of" knew.  Elders: Simpson, Telona, Johnson, Selander and Roque (back to us--he is tired).  Some of the elders slept on the tile floors in Mwan building, some in Zone Leaders house, and some at Neauo.  Sleep is hard to get, under such circumstances.  Elder Roque did let us hear his lovely voice in song, before he zoned out!
Next: Elders Fermanis, Delore, Allen and Mackie hang out for a bit, always waiting their turn, or waiting for something else to happen!  Two pretty long days!  Nice R & R for the elders, I think.
Receiving the word that dentists from America (more specifically from Oregon) would be giving appointments and check-ups and cleanings, etc., Elder and Sister Crisp were waiting before 8 a.m. on the 23rd to get in line.  The Chuukese lady ahead of us pushed us in first, so we had the first two seats for a dentist and hygienist.  They came into town for just over 1 week to do some humanitarian service for residents here in Chuuk.  They didn't ask for money, so we didn't give any!  The Chuukese pay for almost nothing!  The local (Korean) dentists who are always around, working out of the hospital wing, don't give much for the cost of free, so their usual work includes pulling problem teeth.  If you want more done than that, you have to come up with some cash!  I had a cleaning for $10, but it didn't seem to "take"!  We were lucky we weren't on "island time", because a group of children from Akoyikoyi School came in after us, and that slowed things down a bit!
We finished sorting the good/decent books from the "bad" books piled high in the "library".  We didn't have additional bookshelves given for the project, so the "teacher materials" made it to the shelving, and we designated places along the walls for K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, beyond.  Hopefully people won't continue just going through the pile and throwing things back helter-skelter...  Mfour helped us sort things. He will be leaving in March for his mission to Brisbane, Australia.  Elder Crisp is the judge of which pile/stack each book belongs in.


Christmas in Chuuk-- 2013

The M.G. Mission sent each elder a new towel and a goodie bag with a pr of socks and candy. The Crisp's added 2 pr of socks and Teddy Bear Bread to the gift.  The elders were pretty happy to get something from here!  They were really happy as well when they opened their boxes from home! The Crisp's were equally happy when goodie boxes came from home (family).  Thanks to all!!
The companionship's and their Christmas Goodies are here in order by seniority and then alphabetically!  Here are our Zone Leaders, Elders Obray and Johnson.
 Elder Toa from Mechitiw! We await his companion who will arrive soon!
 Elders Vehikite and Roque from Nantaku.
 Elders Simpson and Hunter from Neaou.
 Elders Delore and Allen on Paata!
 Elders Mackie and Fabiano on Paata.
 Elders McEwan and Telona from Romanum.
 Elders Selander and Fermanis from Sapuk.
 Elders Plocher and Kleven on Tonoas
 Elders Rainey and Schroath on Udot (with Elder Jonas from Wichap).
 Elders Monson and Vanisi on Uman.
And Elders Peck and Jonas in Wichap!  (Elder Crisp is checking on the Skype situation)!
I think the elders enjoyed their down-time, and spending time with each other.  Mwan gets pretty busy when all arrive.  Some came in Christmas Eve, and others were delayed because of Branch parties and/or baptisms!
District President Wainis killed one of his pigs and roasted it for Christmas dinner.  The elders seemed all too happy to witness this event! (Those who were not scheduled for Skypeing at the time)  Because guns are not allowed in Chuuk, the pigs are not shot first and then allowed to "bleed-out", as might be done elsewhere.  Elder Allen attests to having the annual roasted pig without all the squealing that can go on for a very long time.  We (the Crisp's) witnessed a pig slaughter a few days before Christmas right in front of our apartment.  Maybe the people are inexperienced at this activity, but we heard the pig squealing loudly for an hour or so, and didn't care to be anywhere near the Wainis event!  We made brownies for their dessert.  We encouraged the elders to complete their meal by themselves, and with the help of our new Elder Monson (already trained in culinary skills), they made scalloped potatoes and cornbread. The meal took place about 8 p.m.!  They never mind the lateness of anything!  Elder and Sister Crisp just settled in early, to arrive at Mwan before 7 a.m. to begin the Skyping event for 2 days.  Not our best ever Christmas!  No gifts, only chocolate bars and home made cardamom bread for breakfast.  At least we can say we "served" others this Christmas!
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Seminary & Institute Rewards Activity and Inservice

We invited our active S & students and their teachers+spouses, Branch Presidents + spouses to come to an activity to celebrate Seminary and Institute!  So many groups don't try hard to accomplish having regular classes, that we wanted to reward those that do.
All activities need planning and preparation and what kind of activity doesn't have balloons?  Here Elder Crisp gets the balloons ready for the juggling contest and Sister Crisp hangs Christmas lights and pictures. You have to have some good pictures and lights at Christmas time!
Above we have our most excellent helper, Mfour, yes, that is his name!  He came in and wanted to help us, so we had him give out the wrist bands and later in the day serve up the ice cream.  He will be serving in the Australia Brisbane Mission beginning in March.  Sister Crisp stands next to our theme board, "Hold to the Rod"  and a picture of our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson!
 These are photos of our "Round the Table" ping pong game.  It really gets interesting when you whittle the numbers down to three and even more precarious when there are only two.  You hit the ball, put the paddle down, and move around the table.  Miss or hit the net, etc. and you are out!  You really need to know how to hit that lob shot when it comes down to two people.
Here is the balloon juggle!  Your team must keep the balloons in the air for five minutes!  Sometimes those pesky balloons just get away from you! Elder Crisp served as the referee!
These photos are of the in-service portion of the activity.  Teachers, students, and Branch Presidents were taught about the Doctrine of Christ and holding to the rod!  We need constant reminders about enduring to the end. So it is necessary to go to church, read the scriptures, and attend seminary or institute class.  It is best to be actively engaged in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  We also had a scripture chase to test our students on the Scripture Mastery scriptures for the Book of Mormon! There are only 13 of the 25 found in the Chuukese Book of Mormon, but one of our classes is learning everything in English, so they were pretty sharp!
These two games are the "Shoe Fly", where you try and get your shoe to land right side up on the table! You have one minute to make it happen.  The other game is bounce the ping pong ball into the cup on one bounce.  Again you have one minute to succeed!
You have to have some team relays in a good activity and these people were ready!  They had to run to the chair, go around it, and get back without dropping the ping pong ball off of the spoon.  They did pretty good, until they rushed at the end and dropped just as they were about to finish (this meant they had to start over, thus losing the game!).
Sister Crisp baked cupcakes and cakes for this event!  We had over 130 cupcakes and 4 different cakes! We also provided water and ice cream (a food staple at activities on Chuuk).  It turned out to be a huge success and the prizes were always welcome when they completed or won a game!  We had 61 attend the event!  It was a lot of work and very tiring, but very worth it!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Elder Scott D. Whiting follows the direction of our Prophet: Thomas S. Monson

President Monson was always a favorite "Stake Conference" speaker of mine, since hearing him a few times while growing up in Mesa, AZ.  He has always been an example of a Believer and Follower of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  He has recently reminded the Church leadership and members to help the world know of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We, as missionaries, teach "The Doctrine of Christ" through example, service, lessons, and love.  President Whiting prepared a lovely laminated hand-out for us of his "unofficial" version of "The Doctrine of Christ".
 He expounded this message very nicely to the Chuuk Zone.  Following is a copy of his hand-out.  Basically, it is summed up by the Fourth Article of Faith:  "We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are:  first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost."  He added "Endure to the end".  That is what we believe.  We believe in being "Saved by Grace" AFTER all we can do.  In other words: good works, serving our fellow man and family members, loving all mankind and living the Commandments that were given to Moses are what we call "enduring to the end" of our life.  That is our goal, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We are far from perfect (many of us), but are trying, and repenting of sins, and trying to be moving forward in following the example that Jesus set when he was living here on earth and serving His people, the Jews.
 These three young people were given some clothing to get them started as they are soon to be leaving Chuuk to serve full-time missions.  Tarmy awaits her call. Mfour is,headed to Brisbane, Australia, and Kayreen will be going to Honolulu, Hawaii in January.  We are very excited for them.  Serving the Lord should be a life-time pursuit of Church members.  A 1.5 to 2 year mission is a nice way to prepare yourself in the Gospel, to be a benefit for the rest of your life!  Elder and Sister Crisp did not serve missions when young, but we are feeling good about our service now. These new missionaries will learn lots more about "The Doctrine of Christ"!
 Another part of the Gospel, and our mission, is to teach "Temple Preparation" lessons to members of the Church.  After being a member of the Church for at least one year, people are able to receive a Temple Recommend, based on their personal worthiness in keeping the Commandments, and then to go to the "House of the Lord" to make personal promises to the Lord, to keep his Commandments and serve one another. The people in the Micronesia Guam Mission currently get to go to the Manilla, Phillipines Temple.  Our Temples are the most sacred place we have to worship.  It is truly a blessing to be able to go to the temple.  The blessings received there allow us to be "sealed" to our families for eternity, if we "endure to the end".  The Chuuk Zone of this mission is growing quite rapidly.  We have our Elders on 6 islands, with more coming soon.  The boat travel, expense, and time limit the "Senior Couple" from giving all these "Temple Prep" lessons that should be taught, so we (as you see E. Crisp working in the Family History Room) are assembling "packets" with these lessons and visual aids for each of our Branches/Groups in Chuuk.  The Branch President or the Elders can then give these lessons as they are requested and needed.  The Crisp's are trying to save the Church money by not taking out boats regularly for the various duties we could do on these outer islands.  Instead, we are giving our local Elders just a little more responsibilities to help, where we cannot be regularly.  They encourage our Seminary and Institute Teachers, as well as their Branch Presidents and the youth 14-30, to be participators in this program.  It has not been real successful in the past in Chuuk, but we try to get the youth (and everyone) at least reading their scriptures daily when Seminary and/or Institute is not available to them.  Of course, regular Sunday church attendance is part of being a faithful member.

Presidents Whiting (Area Presidency from Tokyo) and Mecham come and expound their great Knowledge and Spirituality!

Here are the Chuuk Zone Elders having a pre-conference lunch at the Blue Lagoon.  Once this was accomplished we headed to the meeting room so that we could conduct the training with the Mission President and a member of the Area Presidency along with their wives.
President Whiting of the Area Presidency, and a Seventy, came to District (Stake) Conference to teach and train the Elders and to encourage and inspire the members of the Chuuk District.  The Spirit was strong as Elder Whiting taught about the Doctrine of Christ to the Elders and the divine calling of each of them!  Below, Elder Jonas leads the group in song as we began the meeting.
The left photograph is President Mecham expounding on "Open Your Mouth"!  This method has lead to a great number of baptisms. President Mecham is a fine example and practices just what he teaches.   Every one who sits near him on an airplane gets a good introduction to the Gospel!  Below, Elder Vehikiti draws a bit of laughter in the meeting

Below, President Whiting and his wife, along with President and Sister Mecham and President Davis visit our humble apartment for a post conference luncheon.  Sister Crisp worked hard in getting everything ready and it turned out wonderfully.  President Whiting gave us and our abode a blessing before they departed.  It was very special and we greatly appreciate his words!  The bottom picture is of President Whiting, Sister Whiting, President Mecham, Sister Mecham, and President Davis on the stand at our District Conference.

December Transfers, losing some, gaining some, AND much Humanitarian Work is done by our Church!

Transfers are always exciting, but it is tough to see some of these young men leave Chuuk for other destinations in the mission. Elder Allen has been a great Zone Leader, but as he enters that last section of his mission he is going out to Paata to train a new Elder.  Elder Bowers, standing next to Elder Allen, is going to Saipan to be a Zone Leader.  He was one of the first missionaries we went out with and served as our District Leader.  He will be missed!  Elder Daniels is going to serve in Guam and Elder Walters is going to be a Zone Leader in Guam.  We will miss Elder Walters at our District meetings as he sat right across from Sister Crisp during our dinners and meetings.  He will make a great Zone Leader!  The bottom picture is of our Zone.  Missing are Elder Toa and Elder Vehikiti, as Toa went to Guam to pick up his new companion and Elder V. was with Elder Johnson as Elder Allen went to get his new cmpanion.
The arrival of the new Elders!  Elder Monson with his trainer, our Gentle Giant, Elder Vanisi, Elder Allen with Elder Delore, from Pohnpei, and Elder Toa.  Elder Toa's companion will be coming later this month!
These two shots, top and bottom, are of our Elders as we met with President and Sister Mecham along with President and Sister Whiting of the 70 for our Semi- Annual District Conference.  Our meetings with them were all grand and the messages presented were full of the Spirit and inspirational!

This is President Davis and Koji of the church Humanitarian and Welfare Department surrounding Clark Graham, the director and founder of the Akoyikoyi Center. This is one of the schools Elder Crisp works with to improve education on Chuuk.  They also have a "Health Clinic" that provides a service to the Pedia community.  The church has provided the medical supplies for the center and a nurse comes out every weekend to serve the people. Below are President Wainis, Koje, President Davis, along with Paul Hadik, the principal of Chuuk High School.  The church has been instrumental in assisting the high school and Paul does great things to help the students on Chuuk.  This school is one that Elder and Sister Crisp assist at as well!
This last Photo shows Elder Crisp, Paul Hadik, President Davis, President Wainis, and Koji as we leave the school and head out to other areas!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November Happenings around Chuuk...

 "Agriculture" is an interesting place.  They start seedlings for you, for free.  We happened to find 2 remaining tomato plants to acquire and one cabbage.  Our back patio has sun and rain, so I hardly have to pay attention to keep them alive. They are growing.  I had hoped to get cucumbers, but none available.
 The last day of November brought 4 baptisms at Mwan.  The young man third from right, from Romanum, did the baptism of one of four persons.  The other 3 were family members of the Primary President from Mwan.  Elders Simpson and Peck (left) and Elders Allen and Johnson all helped with the day.  President Joseph and President Wainis from Neauo gave the talks about "Baptism" and "Receiving the Holy Ghost".  It was a nice service.  Meanwhile,
 Elder and Sister Olsen, from Guam, who are the mission Family History Consultants, were giving training to members from Mwan, Romanum and Uman.  They do a great job in their presentations, and we are looking forward to more families going to the Philippine Temple in 2014.  In the Olsen's absence, Elder and Sister Crisp will, no doubt, be helping them enter their families online to FamilySearch, so that they will be able to take their own deceased family members through the temple, after they have been through the necessary sessions for themselves.
Their "boss", Keiji, in Family History was traveling with them. They hit several islands in the Micronesia Guam Mission, visiting Pohnpei for F.H. and Koserea as they are getting set up to help get birth and other records scanned and online for indexing.  That will help genealogy research for many more people!  While in Chuuk, Keiji set up 2 more computers in our Family History room.  He is a talented man.  The power was out for some time, but finally got back on, to complete his set-up.  Our 24 Elders will have access when in Mwan, to do their emailing.  They get 45 minutes or so per week, when able to come to Mwan on Zone P-day.  Sometimes that is 1 X per month.  Missionaries are now able to bring "investigators to the church", to the church to see LDS sites and get more information about our church!  Social media is a great tool.  Unfortuneately, many Chuukese don't have computers in their home.
 This is a very rainy day, and if it starts in the early morning, you can be sure that most of the schools will not be in session..... The exceptions are 1 or 2 private schools, and Akoyikoyi School.  Maybe if they had a donation of rain slickers they would be able to function better when it rains, and education would bump up a notch or two. As it is, school days are usually very short to begin with.
 Elders Walters and Roque had a nice baptism for Mechitiw this month.  Getting into the ocean can be tricky.  Between rocks and coral, it is slippery and difficult to find a place the right depth for both people.  These elders work hard, and are an inspiration in our district.
Well, it's beginning to look a bit like Christmas around here.  It is still warm (year round), so it hard to feel "Christmas in the air".  None the less, we have decorated a little with a few items we found in our apartment, as has our apartment people.  We are wrapping socks for our elders.  They are sockless half the time.  Socks wear out fast, and get dirty/muddy quite fast, and nothing washed dries very fast.  So, we thought a couple of pairs each might help a little.  Unfortunately, almost all the elders sent to Chuuk are "Big Foot".  We had to order a second time, so we could get some socks for sizes 12, 13 and 14!
Well, it is only December 1st here, but we are pretty much ready for Christmas.  There is really nothing in town that we need as gifts, so helping the elders Skype home will take up most of our "Christmas Time".