Friday, June 20, 2014

Elder Michael T. Ringwood and President Steven C Wheelwright w/Pres Mecham visit

 I have to start in order of my pictures, instead of with the Church Leaders that came for a visit!  On Father's Day, I was up doing familysearch at 4:30 a.m. I FORGOT it was F. D., so Elder Crisp made ME breakfast!  He does a good job with spam, potatoes, eggs, etc.  I made him his favorite coconut cake, with blended up fresh coconut water and flesh in the cake.  I let him eat almost all of it by himself.... (not all on Sunday!)
 We visited Akoyikoyi School, where Elder Crisp is helping the leaders of the school to prepare for next school year.  He will spend some time inservicing the teachers just before school starts, as well.  They are getting their confidence up, and won't have him do much of that inservice.  He has worked a lot while here, to help them get their student files up and running, and other important necessities for running an effective school.  They were one of only 6 schools out of 76 possibles that are being successful. They started with K only, adding a grade level each year. This year will be K-3 at the school. An addition is being built.  Our church has donated school supplies, backpacks, etc. to this school, and it has been much appreciated.
 Clark Graham has used his own resources a lot, and has been able to get some grants from various other places to help him continue.  The best part of their curriculum is using English all day long.  The children get only Chuukese at home.  They have started a lunch program with the families, so that they go longer than noon.  It is a good model for other elementaries in Chuuk to follow.
Clark is on left, next is this year principal/teacher Chris, then last year's P/T Will, then E. Crisp.  Will will be heading home to Wisconsin soon.

We were told that this family specifically invited us to their wedding in Mechitiw.  Maybe we have waved on our way down the road for a walk or to Church??  They live a few blocks from our apartment.  They are a very nice, friendly family that is hearing the Gospel from Elders Vehikite and Fabiano.  We hope they will be ready to be baptized in a few weeks.
I baked a few loaves of banana coconut bread to share when our visiting dignitaries came for meetings.  I used the end of my precious pecans from Natalie in a topping, to make them more special!  After drinking coconut water, we like to save the flesh and use in baking.  We blend it well, and it adds flavor to several things we make.  I think it is good for us, although higher in calories than the coconut water...
 Friday we met in the Governor's office to talk about expanding opportunities of education for Chuukese students.  BYU President since 2007, Steven C Wheelwright, talked about a program with an articulation agreement for high school students that are pretty good in English, to take some online classes through BYU Hawaii at a low cost to Chuuk High School.  They would get h.s. and college credit hours.  If they prove they are competent students, they could go to that college later on for the rest of their bachelor's degree on a school loan program.  If they return to their home country to work in that field, their loan would be forgiven!  Chuuk desperately needs qualified teachers and principals.
 Those attending this meeting, besides the Sr Couple, were (left) Akoyikoyi: Clark G. and his this year's principal, Chris;  Pres. Wheelwright; District President (LDS Church) Tarsi Wainis; Noah Ruben--who is the Deputy Director of Education (D.O.E. Director Gardenia had another meeting more pressing); two Chuukese men from the Governor's staff (Governor Elimo had to go to the inauguration of a Mayor on one of the Chuuk islands);
 Elder Ringwood (left), President of Asia North Area; and President and Sister Mecham--with only a week left of service in MGM Mission!  The meeting was very informative, and well received.
 High School Principal, Paul Hadik, is experiencing back problems as a result of a recent boating trip (we can relate), and didn't make the first meeting.  He caught up with us when we went to tour the high school.  This is where things really get done, in regards to education in Chuuk!  He isn't afraid to try a new program and will get ours going as soon as some upgrades (in progress) are completed in regards to the internet service to the school.  He has done a lot for ramping up education standards in Chuuk.  He is married to a Koserian, and they have several children excelling in their educational pursuits.  Paul has been able to get "World Teach" teachers working in Chuuk, and they are greatly improving the skills in English, of the students.  He has gotten some vocational programs going re: sewing, boat manufacture and engine repair, nursing, music production/recording.  The students are moving forward now, more than ever.  Our church has helped with donations to help with most of these areas.  Paul is always appreciative of the help he receives.  He works hard for Chuuk.

At Mwan building, Sister Teresa Walter gave some "head leis" to some of us. (I don't know the real name for those fresh flowers used on the head!)
 L to R: President Mecham, President Wheelwright, Elder Ringwood, Elder Crisp, Sister Crisp, Sister Walter, Elder Obray, Sister Obray, Brother Obray, Sister Mecham.

Included in our group is "former" Elder Obray and his parents visiting from Utah before they take him home with them, and the matriarch of the Walter clan, Sister Walter, center.  She is a very sweet woman, having raised 9-10 children, and many grandchildren.  Elder Obray has around 55 baptisms under his belt here, and has been a good Zone Leader. We will miss him.  We will also miss the Mechams, leaving in a week to return to their family in Utah, after having served well for 3 years.  This mission is the largest in area, of all missions.  It requires a lot of travel, at all times of day and night (the airline doesn't make their schedule easy for us), and almost constantly visiting the different Zones to teach, edify, and lift.  Well done!

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