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".

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Chuuk Zone Thanksgiving: Football, Turkey and all the Fixin's

Sports Update:  Elders take on other Elders in the highly competitive Turkey Bowl held at Anderson Field, Weno, Chuuk, FSM November 28, 2013.  The field was a tad bit wet and yes, the Elders got a little muddy, but they had a good time.  Best of all, there were no major injuries.  The final score, well, no one really told me what the outcome was, but they had a great time!
Above you can just make out Elders Selander, Hunter (background with the soccer ball) Rainey, Kleven Telona, and Toa.  The next is a sideline shot with Elder Hunter getting ready to make a fancy soccer move, even though we are talking American Football. 
More from the field of play and a few sideline shots!  Elders Schroath, Jonas, Daniels, and others while Elder Mackie gives us the "It's me!" pose! (His parents have had a hard time receiving his letters, and we want them to know he is still alive, and kickin!  Being assigned to Paata--the furthest out of our islands--doesn't make it easy for him to get letters to somewhere that they will be mailed.  And our texts and phone calls seldom reach them)  They all made it back to the Church a little muddy, but no worse from wear!  A few minor scrapes, but hey, it's football!
After a little bit of clean up comes the Thanksgiving Feast!  Elders Johnson and Peck scope out the serving table for the main course and Elder Walters looks on the dessert table!  The day did not come off in perfect fashion, as the power went off in one of the kitchen areas for a while and it is not an easy task to get food for 26 while working from three different areas, transporting over the "wonderful" roads here, and not having all the things and supplies you want and need that would be in your home kitchen. There were two 20# turkeys, 30 #'s of mashed potatoes, gravy slightly burned...., corn, cornbread dressing, candied yams, green bean casserole (since there were no plain green beans to be had ANYWHERE, we used a variety frozen pack including broccoli, onions and mushrooms, baked with the traditional cream of mushroom soup), jello, ambrosia salad, rolls, cranberries (shipped from AZ!) olives, etc.  Lemonade was on the menu, but with the bumpy roads, a can seemed to land on the spout and now the lemonade is all over the back of the area of the car.  There were 9 pies, peach cobbler (pie), cookies, brownies, and chocolate cake!  We wanted to make sure that the Elders were full and had plenty of things to choose from. 
 This was the basic set up, 14 at one table and 12 at the other.  This is the beginning of dinner as Elder Telona grabs a roll before he makes it into the line.  There was a variety of music going on. Here, Elder Crisp plays "oldies" as Elder Vanisi looks on!  A number of people played.  This is quite a talented group of young men!  (These men are the gentlemen of the group, waiting their turn to line up for food!)
Here is Sister Crisp, the one who put all of this together!  It took a lot of planning and  4 days of cooking to bring it all together! Here you can see Elders Vanisi, Rainey, Schroath, Kleven, Bowers, Daniels, Peck, Jonas, Plocher, and others in the background!
Elder Vehikiti loaded up his plate and we all wondered if he could really eat all of it!  The answer:  He could and did!
Here you can make out Elders Mackie,  Simpson, Peck, Jonas, Plocher, Vanisi, Rainey, Schroath, Kleven Bowers, Daniels, Fabiano and Obray.  Below are Elders Crisp, Allen, Johnson, McEwan, Telona, Fermanis, Selander, Roque, Wlaters, Vehikiti, and Toa.  The empty space was Sister Crisp (she was taking the picture).

Here Sister Crisp sits with Elders Allen, Johnson, Selander, Roque, Walters and Toa!  The bottom and final shot here is the fact that the Elders got every nook and cranny filled and had to rest on the floor to make things spread out so they could have dessert!  Leftovers were taken to the Zone Leaders apartment so everyone could have a bit more later in the evening!  It may not have been "perfect", but it was a good day and everyone walked away content!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Computer Glitches, Trainings, and Donations!

 There have been a couple of computer glitches that have kept us away for a while.  Our main computer basically shut down and required a system update.  So we got that done and now we endure the numerous updates that have to come each day just to get us caught up, but we are dealing with it!  We are just glad to be back in business.  The first three photos show our Branch Presidency Training.  Our District President, Tarsi Wainis wanted his Branch's to be more functional and to use the people in callings.  So, Elder Crisp was called upon to demonstrate, show , and explain just what the responsibilities of the Branch Presidencies are responsible for during meetings and what auxiliaries they help to oversee. 

 We talked about callings and how the people needed to be actively involved and engaged in the gospel, even if they are the "greeter" each Sunday.  Then we outlined the budget process and how each Branch needs to use it wisely and not to overdraw or cause the District to become overdrawn (yes, there has been an issue with this).  Sister Crisp provided cake, rolls, and fresh water for the meet-ing! If you feed them, they will come!

Elder Crisp was then sent on an Educational Training Adventure to the isle of Udot! He met with the principals from all the schools in Faichuuk, a group of islands in the lagoon.  It was a very interesting group as they have little or no real training in being a school leader.  So, he started from square one and proceeded.  He was well received by the group and invited to come back again!  Notice the green Tupperware containers?  One of these was filled with a lunch I was provided.  There was more food in that container than I eat in a week!  They are very generous!  I ate a bit, but made sure that the remainder went back to the family on the island (I was told I could take it home)!
The lady in the yellow and red to the left is the Executive Director of Education in Chuuk.  She made a small presentation and then stayed for mine (she really had to because we were riding in the same boat back to Weno)!
We received several boxes of clothing donations from Guam, which was from a large collection from a nice, generous Ward in USA.  I believe a young lady is doing a project for MIA and also needs pictures of the recipients of these clothes.  Chuuk has many young prospective missionaries, both male and female.  Sister Crisp is sorting the items, cutting and re-hemming many long sleeve shirts and skirts that are out-dated because of the length.  It is a big, but important project for us to oversee.  After the current prospective missionaries are given several items to get them started, at least up to the MTC, there are many people in Chuuk that are very accepting of donations of clothing.  With all of our budding Branches, there are many needs for white Sunday shirts, ties and nice dress slacks.  We will be distributing all around.  We have been collecting many items ourselves from the States (by way of a good sister shopping Goodwill, etc. for me) and so between these donations and our own supplies, we were able to outfit a young man, Mfour, last night, who has just received his mission call today!  He will be delighted to go to Australia!  His sister, Kayrene, is soon to depart to Hawaii for her mission!  I have to re-hem items before I outfit her!  Two really great young people!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Chuuk Zone: October and November Gatherings!

This is the "Official" Chuuk Zone photograph from our Zone Conference with President and Sister Mecham in early October!  We just got the picture, so here it is!!  You may not have to find Waldo, but you can find your missionary!!

The top two pictures show one of our District Presidency, Seramino Walter, and his basketball prowess. He represented Chuuk for Olympic trials when he was 18 years old.  He was a star athlete when in high school, and them won many awards later on, for Chuuk.  It also shows who has been leaving tire tracks in the grass (his brother, Herman Walter's van)! Then we have Elder Jonas along with baptismal items his mother and other sisters made and donated!  They made pj style tops and bottoms for 8-12 year old children. We had a huge need for baptismal clothing and Sister Jonas and her group came through for the zone!
We ventured out into the lagoon to visit the group on Udot.  They have been awaiting us so that several of the men could receive the priesthood and get organized with a group leader!  This is all taking place now and we should have them totally up and running by the time our District Conference in early December ends!  They are a great group and were extremely reverent. They built their own Chapel and you can see their handy work.  They have grown larger now and have to take down a section so they can enlarge it this week!  It is a great little "chapel".
Here come the turkey's(below)!  No, not Elder Allen.  He is one of our fearless Zone Leaders, and he is carrying the two Thanksgiving turkeys they got in Guam for our Thanksgiving Day (with a lot of help from Elder and Sister Prince, who run the mission office).  He is demonstrating his strength as the weight of the cooler and turkey's was over 50 pounds.  He handled it quite easily! 
 Here (below) we are all gathered at the last Zone Meeting for the year!  The top picture is the "real" shot and the one below is the "posed" shot!  If you note, Elder Vanisi was hidden in the real shot, but makes his appearance in the posed photo!  24 Elders and Sister Crisp in the real shot, as Elder Crisp took the photo's.  You will notice Sister Crisp exited before the posed photo, a wise move!  Again, no Waldo, but find your Elder!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Service, Mission Nurse comes to town, and our Missionaries receive helpful advice from the nurse!

Elder and Sister Crisp continue the work at Chuuk High School Library.  From piles of discarded, outdated books, we find a few good books for high school students and teachers, and others for K-8 students and teachers.  We sort the good ones and haul the outdated and meaningless books to the "burn pile", where the Principal does a daily burn, when possible.  He has to use some gas to help get it burning, because of the continual dampness of our island.
Sister McClellan is our Mission Nurse.  She came to Chuuk for 2 days and made a great presentation to our elders.  She did some comparison shopping early on, to help the young men know how they could spend their monthly allotment of money to best advantage, and provide healthy (relatively speaking) eating to maintain good health.  They have dedicated two years to serving the Lord, and sickness prevents them from being able to accomplish this commitment.  So, with simple preventative measures, they can combat many of the infections and illnesses that otherwise would beset them.  With 24 young men, we have had our share of these setbacks of health!  Purifying their drinking water, using a triple antibiotic cream when a scratch first occurs, or when a bite has been overly scratched, are just a couple of measures they should be taking.
Wednesday this week turned into a Zone P-day, with our meeting with Sister McClellan climaxing the day.  Early on was emailing and shopping and basketball games.  One computer for 24 elders is hardly sufficient, so E & S Crisp try to get 2 more online to help the process.  Their families are very disappointed if they  don't get their weekly news from their elder.  A few handwritten letters are sent out as well.  They love to get real mail, so families, don't forget to drop some lines in the mailbox as well as emailing!  They need that mental boost every so often!
We love all of our Elders and truly appreciate how they work with the Branch Presidents on our behalf  with concerns about Seminary and Institute.  We can't get out to all of the islands and make visits all of the time, so the Elders step up and assist!  The group above us have been extremely dedicated to assisting in their areas this past month.  Elder Plocher on Uman has worked with our teachers and even found someone who can take over our Seminary program there.  Elders Schroath and Rainey on Udot gather the people and read the Book of Mormon daily.  Next, with Elder Plocher, is Elder McEwan who was great in assisting us while in Mechitiw and helping the teachers.  Our fearless zone leaders, Elders Allen and Johnson, are always busy and get the word out to all the Elders.  These guys are Heroes, even more so than The Avengers!
Here are our Elders on the Zone P-day, getting ready to visit with Sister McCLellan and/or waiting to email, or just relaxing.  Top left are Elder's Roque, Vehikite, Walters, and Toa.  Next are Elders Vehikite, Jonas, and Vanisi.  Below right are Elders Fermanis, Selander, Walters and Roque.  Next, waiting to email are Elders Bowers and Kleven.
Elder Telona is an excellent musician and always plays a tune on his Uke!  Elders Fabiano and Mackie are working on their emails.  The bottom photo has Elders Fabiano, Daniels and Telona emailing home! The Elders below are headed out for a little P-day basketball at the high school.  The photo below are Elders Telona, Simpson, Peck, Hunter, and Rainey just before the Mission Nurse takes over the discussion at the meeting.
Here are some shots of Sister McClellan as she addresses the entire group on cleanliness, budgeting, nutrition, and the like.  The group took an interest in several of the topics of concern and had some good questions for her.  The Zone Leaders also discussed the goals for the rest of the year and our goals for 2014.

Elder Jonas, from Wichap, leads our songs, and does a rousing job!  Below, Sister McClellan takes a look at several of the Elders who had some current issue, like sores, blisters, and a sore throat! She took good care of them all!
Overall, it was a great week and a great visit with Sister McClellan!