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Monday, March 3, 2014

March Zone Mtg & Donation from U.S.!!

 We were in luck this day at Chuuk High School, as this many came for Seminary.  We sometimes get NONE!  They know where we are, but don't always want to stay after school (12:30 class). They are HUNGRY!!
We visited Mechitiw Branch with Presidents Wainis and Joseph.  President Weita was sick, so P. Wainis took over running the meeting.  P. Weita had taken time to gather loose remnants of songbooks, do some hole punching, and used his wife's fabric scraps to tie them together.  We were impressed, but wanted to add the missing pages to the books, and so took them home and made copies of pages, used a prong fastener for each, as well as my fabric scraps to get the complete books back together.  The spiral binding used for these small books doesn't hold the pages in very well, especially when the children can easily pull pages out!  We hope they will take some pride in these complete books!  When we got to Mwan Branch a few days later and noticed their books were in the same kind of condition, we took them home and fixed them up as well.  It is very frustrating (probably not only to us) to not be able to find most of the songs as they are sung in meetings.  The ones most sung, are the pages most gone from their books!

 The Jeppesen's contacted us before coming on a "diving trip" to Chuuk.  (We are the Truk Islands, famous for WWII Japanese ships that were sunk here in 1944.  This was essentially their "Pearl Harbor".)  They had done a collection for very needful items at their Ward.  They brought balls, pumps, mesh carry bags, candy, medical supplies, socks for Elders, colored and reg. pencils, toothbrushes, etc.
We made baggies (almost like Christmas!) for each Elder, and put them, along with the balls, etc. in the larger mesh bags: one for each Branch.  The Elders were delighted, and said they would do a nice Thank-You note.  Hope they follow through on that score.  We also rec'd nice pants, shirts, ties and some Cash!! to help our outgoing missionaries.  We have been having used items from U.S. sent to us to also help with these needs, including some for the local members who don't have appropriate clothing for church.  Their help was a welcome addition.
 The Jeppesen's admired the cute little girls hanging around them at Church, and got a picture with them, and us!
 Elder Crisp is loading goodie bags with candy and toothpaste, brushes, etc. for each set of elders.
 The bags are labeled for each Branch, and ones to go to outer islands are also put inside plastic bags. The sea has been very rough lately.  Some of the pants, shirts & ties are shown here as well.
Elders Mfour Mathias and Rodley Rain leave this Saturday for their missions: Australia and Hawaii, respectively.  We have been helping with departure fees, travel $, etc. for our local missionaries as they leave Chuuk.  They are seldom prepared to help themselves, so lately, we have been encouraging these prospective missionaries to do more.  We have offered to pay the going rate for bananas and coconuts, brought to us.  We keep track of their money earned, and give it to them as they leave.  These 2 young men came through for most of their money needed.  Then we had to figure out how to use all this fruit!
We decided we definitely could make loaves of coconut banana bread for our elders for Zone Mtg.  Preparing young coconuts is easy.  Drain (and keep) the water inside, scoop out the soft "meat", blend it together, and there you have coconut milk, which I used in the breads.
 Old coconuts are a different story.  Very hard using the "meat".  But we persisted, for most of a day, and now have extra supplies in the freezer as well, for future loaves of bread.  Sister Crisp found out the hard way that coconut "stuff" stains.  Had to throw away one of my mission skirts!
 The Elders appreciated getting their own loaf of bread.
 The Zone Meeting started around 7 p.m.  Elder Jonas was our song leader.
 Our Zone Leaders:  Elders Selander and Obray.  They do a good job encouraging and motivating our Elders to do their work with diligence!  There is nothing more important that they can do than to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with any and all who will listen.  We have a pretty good record lately, for baptisms around our islands.  Elder Crisp and I try and help the people we meet at the Branches to understand what comes after baptism:  Enduring to the End!  That means finding ways of serving in their Branch, community and families!  And, avoiding falling into old bad habits in the way of word of wisdom issues...  Betel Nut is very prevalent around here, along with alcohol, etc.
 Here is half the zone:  Elders Crisp, Simpson, Fermanis, Payne, Peck, Telona, Schroath, Vanisi, Monson and Hunter.  They love to "pose".
The other half:  Elders Rainey, Allen, Ladore, Canaklavata, Toa, McEwan, Jonas, Mackie, Fabiano, Plocher, Kleven, Roque and Vehikite.  They ARE NOT asleep, only posing...

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