Friday, January 31, 2014

World Teach, New Island for Chuuk, LDS Dr comes for our Elders

 Last week Helen Sievers visited Chuuk.  She is the Executive Director of WorldTeach, which has 400 teachers placed this year around the world.  Approximately 25 are here, at our high school.  She is LDS, and we were happy to take her to meetings here with us, at Mwan Branch.  It is the most comfortable of our buildings, so we thought we would all enjoy that setting the most.  Our elders did some translating for her.
 As we look over in the reef from our apartment, we can see a fairly small island called Fono.  President Wainis, our District President, lived on that island when a young married, for 2 years.  He made an appointment with the mayor to visit, with us and our Zone Leaders.  This is his family.  They were very cordial toward us.  We had taken food to their family, and they cut coconuts for us to drink.  This is all local customs.  We have been invited back this coming week, which Elder and Sister Crisp will go, along with the Zone Leaders, to look for housing for a new set of Elders!  President Mecham has given the go-ahead!  Guess we will be up to 26 Elders soon!
 The island has several different religions, and this mayor is Catholic.  We will see what we can do about that!  I believe he said the island has about 600 residents.
 This past week there was very little educating going on.  Only the private schools were in session all week.  The high school took off Thursday and Friday.  It was all for a type of track and field event.  You could hardly drive on the streets in the area, and had to make a bunch of detours.  Sports are far more important around here than education.  Even on a regular week, the elementary kids are going home very often by 9 or 10 a.m.  The high school goes from 8:30 till 12:15.  If you have $40-50 a month per child, your best bet would be enrollment in a private school, or Clark Graham's Akoyikoyi School.  They work in English all day long, and the kids learn a LOT!  They utilize a full day for school.
 With 10 Branches/Groups around Chuuk, it is hard to have baptismal clothing around when you need it.  It is hard to get clothing returned to Mwan Bldg. after being used.  Sister Crisp made 2 more baptismal muu muu's and put a bunch of small to medium white shirts in the closets.  Guam gave us some more shirts for our collection that we have been acquiring from thrift stores.  Tokyo sent a bunch of nice, even mostly new white shirts for Micronesia Guam Mission.  We save the best for our prospective missionaries and new members.

 Knowing that Dr Skinner, an LDS doctor that is acquainted with one of our elders, was coming for a short visit to Chuuk, Sis Crisp baked mini loaves of banana bread to share with our elders on this trip out to Paata.   Our 4 elders there, the z.l.'s, Dr. S. and the boat drivers were given a loaf each!  Very well received, along with a bunch of nutritious and desirable food  brought out by the doctor!

 Dr. Skinner with Elder Fabiano, past neighbors in Gilbert, AZ.  Elder F. has had ear infections, etc. and was able to get a clean bill of health from the doctor, although he does have some hearing loss due to the severe infections he went through.  The doctor was able to talk with other elders and give our mission nurse some advice for treatments.  Nice to have a doctor visit!
 Dr. Skinner with E. Fabiano and E. Mackie.  They love their little island.  Paata has a new Branch on the other side of the island (Sopata), which Elders Allen and Ladore teach and visit around.  Our actual building is located with these 2 Elders at Pokocho.  Their group is much smaller.  All 4 elders attend both sets of meetings on Sundays.
Yep, these Elders were so excited to get some "real food" that they needed to document it with pictures!  They eat a lot of breadfruit, tapioca, bananas, coconuts, fish (?), taro, etc.  We aren't daring enough to eat most of the local food.  We have food from our home pantry shipped here regularly, so we know what we have!  Many items are not even available here, such as dried beans and sour cream.  Speaking of sour cream, Dr Skinner was nice enough to bring us some food as well!  This included sour cream, real "never frozen" cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, flour tortillas, etc.  What a treat!  We bought some gr pork and made buritos. Yea!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

January Senior Missionary Conference in Guam

OK, so we will start down here in the middle of things because the computer has decided to act like HAL in 2001 Space Odyssey! The first photo shows all the senior missionaries at the Seniors Conference.  This included President and Sister Mecham along with two doctors from the Asia North Area.  These doctors help out with 12 different missions in the area.  Then we have a picture taken at Vitale's Italian Restaurant. We all went there on Wednesday for lunch. Vitale's Restaurant for a nice meal! Here we have Sister McClelland, the Crisp's, the MacCabes, the Norton's, the Carter's, the Chandler's, the Strother's, the Eliason's, the Graham's, and Sister Mecham at the end!    

These two young people are the Strothers, from New Zealand, serving on Yap!  They call themselves the Kiwi's.  They entertained us by singing and having us sing some old Kiwi folk tunes that were just plain fun!
They also had all the Sisters up with a bolo type instrument that you swing around and get to do some fancy things!  Yes, it takes a bunch of coordinations but our sisters did well!
Here are some of the seniors gathered for a nice dinner at Tony Roma's with the Strothers, the Carters, the Crisp's, and the Chandlers.  These are good times, as you don't find such things on our islands and we only get to see our counterparts once every 6 months.  Then to top is all off, some of these people will be leaving before we meet again!

The pictures below show us at Family Home Evening at the Norton's.  Leading the music is their 13 year old neighbor and very active in the church.  The next picture is of the Stake Patriarch, Brother Gittens and his wife Liz who works at our service center.  They were both very entertaining in their presentations and told us of things in their early life and then how much they loved each other and the gospel.
Here are Elder and Sister Chandler, on Pohnpei, along with our Nurse Sister McClelland visiting with the neighbors and other members of the branch in the Norton's area.  Below is Elder and Sister Norton, on Guam, who will be leaving next week after serving for 23 months.  She prepared "Cafe Rio" for the group, and yes, it was very good!
This shows another table at home evening with Elder and Sister Prince, the office couple who are loved dearly, and whom are leaving in March, along with Elder Crisp and Elder and Sister Carter, on Palau.  We were in the MTC with the Carters!  The bottom photo shows President and Sister Mecham with our two doctor couples; the Grahams and the Eliason's!  It was nice to be able to visit with them and learn ways in which we can assist the Elders!

This final shot of the Seniors Conference shows our CES leader, Freddie Nicerio as he reviews the issues about Seminary and Institute he asked us to provide so he could share this with the Area Leaders.  It seems we are not alone when it comes to transportation and other things that slow our progress.  But we still work with it all and make the headway we can each week! Overall, this Seniors Conference was inspiring, heart warming, and fun!  It is great to get to know those who serve with you, even if it is distant!

Elders coming from Guam: new Elder Payne and our visit to Chamorro Village on our visit to Guam

Our latest addition to our Chuuk Zone is Elder Payne, coming in from Guam with Elder Fabiano (who has been attended by the doctors in Guam), and E. P.'s companion: Elder Peck.  They are assigned to Wichap.
On Thursday afternoon, the Senior Missionary group headed out to the Chamorro Village (Chamorro Cultural Park).  We had a fun and educational tour.  Elder Crisp and another man were daring to "help" the Chamorrons with a dance.  The workers at this village have a lot of enthusiasm and are fun to watch doing their various "native" activities.
A young man climbed the coconut tree, tossed down 2, and then came down the tree head first, showing off muscles and know-how.  The native people from Guam use many of the plants for medicinal herbs and nutrition.  Coconuts are very healthful, and all parts of the coconut are used for various items.
A stick dance was fun to watch.  Lower left, the native cuts the meat out of the coconut.  The tour guide, showing his tattoos and explaining what they all mean, was very animated with the group.
The group learned to weave palm fronds to make fish, as you see here. Sister Mecham and others from our group are shown here, watching a demonstration and weaving fish!
Here is our tour guide, meeting Sister and Elder Prince.  They head up our mission office and are EXTREMELY hard working missionaries!  Elder Crisp and Pres. Mecham are shown here, after checking out this typical "hut"?

Monday, January 6, 2014

4 Baptisms, 3 prospective Elders and Deputy Director of Ed: Noah with E. Crisp

 We had two baptisms this past week with four different individuals becoming new members of the church.  The first was out in Neaou where President Joseph, of the district presidency, baptized his 8 year old son.  It was a good ceremony and some of the talks were given by other children.  The baptism took place in the lagoon at President Wainis's home!  The singing was lovely and our Elders in the area attended as well!
The second baptism took place out in Sapuk.  Here three members of one family were baptized.  It was a mother and two of her sons.  They were baptised by Elders Fermanis and Selander.  Smart Kata was one of the witnesses.  The ceremony took place at Smart's home.

This picture below is of the three Sapuk young men ready to fill out their missionary paperwork. (They will all have less hair as missionaries!)  Smart Kata is in the front and the three potential missionaries are Nuno Kata, J.T. Ande, and Emerson Kata going left to right!  All three are good young men and should be great missionaries.  We expect them to leave right after the school year ends in June!  They are Seniors at Chuuk High School.

Below is Elder Crisp with Deputy Director of Education Noah Ruben.  Noah is a good man and really cares about the education of the Chuukese youngsters.  I have been working with him at two different elementary schools and training principals.  Over the holiday period, we worked together on creating directions for teacher evaluations., School Improvement Plans, and basic data analysis for the improvement of test scores! He wants me to stay for another 18 months.  I told him I would give him another good 9 and get things started in the right direction for more of their schools!  It is a pleasure working with him!

January in Chuuk: Zone Mtg and Branch Presidency Training

Here is the photo of our Elders at the most recent Zone Meeting, January 6, 2014!  Let's see if we can name them all:  Back Row standing tall:  Elders Plocher, Allen, and Fabiano.  Next row down:  Elders Hunter, Peck, Simpson, Jonas, Crisp Telona, McEwan, Selander, Kleven, Fermanis, Canakaivata (our newest Elder--from Fiji), Mackie and DeLore.  Kneeling Row:  Elders Rainey, Vanisi, Johnson, Vehikite, Schroath. Seated: Elders Toa and Obray!
This picture shows the Elders gathered again, but the bottom picture includes Elders Monson and Roque (on the ends) with Vanisi and Vehikite.  Elders Monson and Roque were late to the meeting so they missed out on the group shot (but we did want to include them)!
Here, President Tarsi Wainis is training the Branch Presidencies and the District Young Men's Presidency (though there were a few absent)!  He reviewed things concerning Church Welfare, Branch President Responsibilities, and the upcoming youth service project on Weno!  He  works hard at keeping things running and it is a pleasure to be working with him.

Below you see evidence of the tuna (angarap) sandwiches and chocolate chip bar cookies that were provided for both meetings by Sister Crisp.  It is hard slaving over a hot stove in Chuuk, when you just don't know if it is going to work like it should and it is just as hot outside!!