May 6 Zone Mtg, District Conference, Mechitiw mission call
May 3rd and 4th was our Chuuk District Conference. First, the adults gathered to begin leadership meetings. Bishop Nicerio from Seminaries and Institutes (our boss in Guam) was in town to visit with us about our programs. He was able to talk to the Branch leaders as well (lower left shot of him at the pulpit), and encourage them to help their youth, by finding teachers for the program. If they can find teachers who will TEACH, we will train them in methods and with materials. Right now, there is a lack of interest in keeping those positions filled. If someone stops doing their calling, that is the end of it for that school year. We have tried to do a Seminary at Chuuk High School, and everyone stopped coming to it! We didn't provide a lunch for them at 12:30, and they are not used to Church classes on a daily basis. A Sunday School lesson is about all they get in a small setting. Elder Crisp also talked to the Priesthood Leadership about everyman learning his duty from the Doctrine and Covenants. He also mentioned the commitment we are to make once we are baptized as recorded in Mosiah 18:13. Many people do not or will not hold a calling. There is a fear of failure and no one wants to be embarrassed. However, if the church is to grow and Chuuk eventually become a stake, then there has to be some change here in the islands.
The Relief Society, Primary and Young Women leaders broke off into their respective groups for training. Sister Crisp attended with the Relief Society. Their main lesson was about Visiting Teaching. We have not observed it in action YET. Hopefully good things are coming to each Branch. Sister Rotuk, shown here left, is the District RS President. She is from Sapuk. Between transportation and communication issues throughout the Chuuk islands, individual Branch training with the District leaders (for these women holding positions) hasn't happened yet. 25 women participated in this training, from 10 Branches/Groups. When the v.t. instruction from the Handbook of Instruction was finished, I talked to them about "taking turns" giving the Sunday lessons. If a RS President isn't there on a Sunday, they all go home early. They can take turns with all members of the presidency, and have an additional teacher called as well. Always come prepared with your RS manual. I also talked about baptismal muu-muus! We are a large, spread-out group. With only 12 muu-muus to start (after Sister Walter and I made a bunch) and in all sizes, there are not enough to go around and stay around. If each Branch will see to getting some made for their area, it will greatly help. Our Elders have a goal, with real possibility, for 51 baptisms in May alone!! I didn't ask them what they would do for dresses.... we filled up the men's and women's closets with white clothing, and hope that the Elders will carry on, and take care of things!
This first picture is of MOST of our Chuuk missionaries serving or about to serve. Unfortunately, the collage cut out a few of them! In the bottom row, we have 6 getting ready to leave in the next few months. Our latest call was opened by Tarson Amatus (known as Ichok Fiti). He will be going to Fiji in August! He has to work on his English with us and these local Elders: Vehikite and Canakiavata--who just happens to be from Fiji! Think that is a coincidence? They are neighbors currently, and I just bet Tarson can get started on his Fijian right here. Tarson's father has lived in Guam and knows English! He just hasn't bothered to share much with his son, YET.
As we went to Sapuk to see 3 mission calls being opened, we realized their songbooks were severely lacking in the particular pages we were trying to sing. So, once again, we hauled the bits and pieces home and came up with 39 complete books for the Branch. They love to sing, and have a lot of talent in music in Sapuk. JT Ande and his "group" from Sapuk recently won the talent show at Chuuk Hi. That was a nice $100 to share between them! (JT will be heading to South Africa--Johannesburg in August)
Chuuk State of FSM recently had it's annual high school debate. The subject was "Eminent Domain" by the FSM. First picture shows Chuuk Hi debaters on left, up against Xavier High School. The girls are: Kiana Kandito and Kimberly Soiter. There were 3 major high schools competing and each had to debate the other schools and present both sides of the argument. Each debate was tallied and when the scores came in, our Chuuk High School was the overall winner, winning both of their debates. These two young ladies will now got to Yap in June to compete against the other states in the FSM. Just to mention, a cool $1000 EACH!! They worked hard during the year to prepare, with the help of Principal Paul Hadik. The girls lived outside FSM before, so speak and understand English very well! Girl on left is from Paata, on right from Neauo.
All right!! Our Zone Leaders are up for another round of ZONE MEETING! They do a good job of leadership and training for Chuuk Zone. Our elders came in Saturday for District Conference, and were going home Tuesday morning, so we thought a lite lunch was in order (at 9:30 at night!). We made pb&j sandwiches and cinnamon rolls for all...except for our surprise visitors: the AP's from Guam. Someone could have told us... We brought 23 sacks because Elder Vanisi is in Guam. We had to run to the little overpriced store across the road for a little extra food!
Elder Ashcraft and Elder Johnson (formerly from CHUUK!) are the Assistants to President Mecham. Elder Johnson will soon be finishing up his mission (dying...). That "Ace" sack lunch is for our Elder Obray...can you believe a young man who doesn't like peanut butter?!! Of course, we gave them a GRAPE J-MAX as well, to wash the carbs down. Can't say we eat very healthily in Chuuk... luckily J-Max is 25% real fruit juice (hopefully).
Elder Jonas leads our songs as usual. Hope you can find and recognize your own elders!
As was pointed out by Elder Ashcraft, Chuuk Zone has the most comradery of the zones in MGM. The guys bond well and see each other a lot, as they gather in for occasions. They are pretty good friends, and we are hopeful that this tight knit group will come together, and get their 51 promised baptisms for May!! Could be our record month ever. We will see. Pray for our Elders, for our "Maniacal Month of Miracles in May" as came from our Mission leaders!!