Thursday, May 23, 2013

New Discoveries Tracting and Teaching with the Mechitiw Missionaries

Today we went tracting and teaching with Elders McEwan and Fermanis.  This picture is taken from the top of the hill in the jungle just above where our apartment is located.  The picture does not do it justice, but it is a beautiful scene, one of the very best on the island.  We enjoy going out with the young missionaries and we get a real chance to be a part of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We met with an inactive member today and could feel the spirit as we talked to im about becoming active again.  He has faith and knows that the church is true, he just struggles with some issue with friends, etc.  He would really be an asset to the youth if he could put it all together again.  We are going to work with him as he has expressed a desire to possibly teach seminary or institute.  This would be excellent!!!

Elder Fermanis showed us a couple of new fruits that we did not know existed on the island, as you can't find them n the markets or the little stands along the road.  There are Paw Paw's on Chuuk.  I know them from Kentucky, but here they are!!!  He pointed out another, but I couldn't really tell what it was.  He will show me next time he has one.

The Lord's work continues and progresses in Chuuk!! 

District Meetings

We have such an awesome district.  We meet every Wednesday Evening, review the goings on of each set of missionaries in the district, then have a spiritual thought, and then we are taught by our district leader.  In the photograph are Elder McEwan, Elder Bowers (our district leader), Sister Crisp, Elder Walters, Elder Toa (on bended knee),  Elder Fermanis, and Elder Mackie.  Missing are Elder and Sister Eakins who were in Guam and Elder Crisp who took the photo.  This is one amazing group of Elders.  They are strong in the Gospel and spread the Lords Gospel at every opportunity.  They have multiple teaching opportunities!  These young men are the best.  Elder Bowers has given lessons on Accountability and Learning the Language during our meetings.  He does a great job and the Elders in the district are supportive and follow the guidance given. 

After our meetings we sit down and have dinner prepared by Sister Eakiins and/or Sister Crisp.  This week it was Sister Crisp who did the preparations.  We had one of Elder Crisp's favorites, Puerto Rican style Rice and Beans.  This was a first time experience for the Elders, but I can say, nothing was left over save a couple of slices of cucumber.  We also had a "dutch oven" style cobbler made of tropical fruits and yellow cake mix.   After cleaning up, the Elders posed for the picture and then went right to work planning and preparing for upcoming teaching assignments and tracting.

These young men are strong in the language and grow stronger everyday.  Elders McEwan, Bowers, and Walters are trainers and their companions fit right into the work methods of the mission.  We opened a new area this week and there has been success already.  These missionaries are just "AWESOME", and we love them. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Yes, we celebrate birthdays!!!

Here are Elder and Sister Eakins along with Elders Toa and Bowers, they are our Sapuk Elders.  The occasion is Elder Bowers birthday.   Sister Eakins baked him a cake (sorry, no Ice Cream) and we all enjoyed a nice healthy piece and sang Happy Birthday.  After that we brought the Elders to Mechitiw where all of our District Elders will meet up and do a blitz in the new area we opened, on Monday morning.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

D & C 31: 3 ...."for now is the hour of your mission"...

This is one of my favorite scriptures and it relates to each missionary, each day.  It actually applies to every member of the church, as we are all called to "open our mouths" and preach the Gospel.  This is one of our outer islands and we made a visit to it yesterday.  We had such a good experience on Uman and Tonoas.  We taught English to a few young men on Uman, which turned into about 15 people.  Then we helped with the Institute lesson and the activity afterwards.  Then we hopped the boat to Tonoas.  While hopping on board, Elder Crisp missed and slipped falling into the boat.  Yes, it hurt, but he would not admit it.  In the process we lost our umbrella.  It was in a shallow area, but there is a rule that when a funeral has taken place in the recent days, that if there is a Palm Branch on a post in the water, that you cannot touch the water.  They watch closely, because if you to go into the water, the family with the lost relative can claim your boat.  So, the umbrella is now in the briny deep (but not really that far down).
At Tonoas we were part of the Institute Lesson about parables and the lost sheep.  It was well attended.  It is amazing, that as soon as you get to the island, the people run and tell everyone, then we wait for all to arrive to begin the meetings.  By the end of any meeting there are at least double the number than what we started with.  Our missionaries are just awesome.  They are so blessed and the prayers of everyone are felt greatly here!!
On the way home, there was a downpour and everyone on the boat basically got soaked.  There is a cover on the "big" boat, but the rain blew right on in and yes, we got wet.  By the time we landed in Mwan the rain was coming down hard and we had to get off the boat and get even wetter (if you can imagine that).   These are just some of the highlights of our island adventures!  The best part is working with the missionaries and being a part of the Lords work here in Chuuk.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Monday: P-Day and Mother's Day

The Elders were brought in from all areas and islands to view one session of General Conference, which was translated into Chuukese for the members.  They were also allowed to visit with their families for the occasion of Mother's Day.  We are almost a day ahead, so this was done on Monday.  These Elders were waiting their turn to Skype their families.  P-day is a kick-back day, usually. For those doing any shopping, they weren't allowed to wear their grubbies!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Called to Serve

These are the newest Elders to arrive in Chuuk!  They are Elders Mackie, Elder Toa, Elder Vanisi, and Elder Lavites.  Elder Lavises has been here and has now returned.  Elder Mackie will be in Mechitiw, Elder Toa in Sapuk and Elders Vanisi and Lavetas will be on the island of Paata.  We are still awaiting the arrival of an Elder from New Zealand who is awaiting his visa.  We expect him here by Wednesday.

Now, I offer a plea to all senior couples who even have just an inkling of serving.  Right now we have two couples on Chuuk, but one goes home on the 8th of July and there is little promise of another couple coming our way.  We need senior couples to come out and support these young men.  There is no greater joy than to be working and serving with these young men.  You will be blessed!  Talk to your Bishop and make plans to come join the ranks!  We are all Called to Serve!!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Getting ready for a temple trip to Manilla, Philippines

Here Elder Crisp helps Mwan Branch president, Riaton Newyear get his names for the upcoming temple trip to Manilla.  This is a great trip for the members as they prepare, gather names, and go to the temple for themselves and for their kindred dead.  The trip lasts a week and the entire family gets to make the trip.  Children will be sealed to their parents and the work for their ancestors will be completed.
 This is how the locals prepare Breadfruit for sale at the market.  It is peeled, boiled, and then smashed.   Then they take it and wrap it in coconut leaves.  They look like little boxes in the stores and in the local fruit and vegetable stands.  The mallet is made from coral and the base he pounds it on is a hard wood.  This was taken in the Wichap area, up in the jungle. 
Here are two of our Elders: Rainey and Kleven.  We gave them a few bananas for a snack.  The bananas are rather small, but very flavorful.  It takes about 3 to make up a good sized banana like the ones we see in the states.  They have a variety of bananas here, but some are just for cooking, not peeling and eating.  These Elders work hard and teach often.  The people are receptive to the gospel and it is not difficult for them to gain a testimony of the Savior.  Our Elders learn the language quickly, truly amazing, as I still struggle with some simple phrases.  The people here appreciate hearing you speak their language, or at least giving it a try.  I know a couple of phrases and when I use them, they all think I can speak Chuukese.  I am trying and I can always get a short lesson when I am with them. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Strippling Warriors on Chuuk

This is a shot of what we have to look at each day.  Beautiful waters, lush greenery, a virtual paradise.  Alas, we are not to go into the waters, yet they are so inviting.  We do some extensive travel on top of it however, as we venture to other islands in Chuuk.
You were probably wondering about the Strippling Warriors comment as the title of the blog.  Well, here are two of our stalwarts, Elders Huppe and Hunter in Wichap.  Yes, we hiked through the jungle to visit members and the Branch President.  We visited with Anson and Pepsi.  Anson is bed ridden and Pepsi asks us to pray for his health.  A lesson was presented about repentance and coming unto Christ for forgiveness of sins.  Elders Huppe and Hunter did the translations and added their own comments.  We read from Mosiah 4:5 about forgiveness, repentance and coming unto Christ.  It was a good visit!  The people love to be visited in their homes and they definitely love the Elders.

Yes, we all go through the jungle.  Here is Sister Crisp hiking the trail in her flip flops (the kids around here call them slippers).  Some of the areas are pretty steep but we make it!  Between the hikes, the heat, and the humidity, one tends to get a little slimmer as time passes on.
The final photo is a picture of the "Great Lakes" that are in front of our apartment.  We drive through Ontario, Superior, Erie, and turn just as we enter Michigan. And you thought Minnesota was the land of lakes.  Our roads have more than the whole state combined. We are having a great experience, and we love the elders.  They are always happy, and ready to do the Lord's work. There are transfers this week, and we sent Elders Bowers, Walters and McEwan to Guam to pick up their new companions.  They will get back on Friday.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Chuuk Zone, District Conference

These are the Elders from the Chuuk Zone.  They are on Weno, Uman, Romanum, and Tonoas.  Elder Jones is going home today and this is the gathering to send him off at the airport!  What a great day to spend with these fine young Elders!!This is also our district  conference and Presidents Mecham and Davis came out to meet with the saints.  We had a Priesthood meeting and we were instructed to do the work and bring more souls unto the Savior. 

Boat Trips and Family History Visits with Olsens

 Here is a photo of our Uman and Tonoas Missionaries!  They are awesome.  Elder Plocker got a box from home and they had a district meeting, then a lunch provided by the senior couples.  Elder Peck did a great job of working with our institute teacher in getting him to go out with the missionaries and they will help him with understanding his lessons.  It took a boat ride to Tonoas to get the one set and then on to Uman.  Earlier in the week we had an opportunity to be a part of the lesson taught to an investigator on the northern part of the island of Weno.  This is such a great experience and you can feel the spirit each time you are with these young men.  We have made visits to Uman, Tonoas, and Romanum.  Each has a unique beauty and the missionaries are doing a great job!  We love these young men and the work they do!
 This is on the island of Romanum, where we and the Olsens were greeted with head wreaths provided by Sister Walter.  This is a beautiful island and the people are so friendly.  If you give a strong "Ran Annim" and wave they will respond heartily.  The three little "Ninjas" were on the top of the island, they are definitely "cuties".  The people live a simple life and are happy.  These Islands were part of the Japanese stronghold in the south pacific.  You can see why we had a hard time finding them here.  The overgrowth is lush and thick, it can hide anything.
We have met so many great Elders here: Obray, McEwen, Jones, Sofele, Peck, Plocker, Johnson, Rainey, Walters, and a few more that I am trying to remember (as my brain is older than all of them combined and remembering can be troublesome at times.  Today we are having a district conference and we intend to get pictures of all of these Elders and post it next time.  The work is strong here and these Elders are the best in the world. 
All is well here and we are happy to be serving the Lord on Chuuk.  It takes a little getting used to, but it really is a great place, with great people.  I have the opportunity to use my educational background to work with the students and schools here along with my responsibilities for seminary and institute.  We have been here a week and we have been busy, busy, busy.  We truly "crash" in the evening.
That's it for now!  We love the work and helping to watch out for these fine young missionaries!