Thursday, March 19, 2009

Update on Chuuk

Our kids have asked some questions and so we thought we would post for everyone. We have been swamped here as we try to take over for Elder and Sister Warner. He was the District Clerk doing all the finances for all the Chuuk Islands. So for now I will be doing that also. There is so much to learn and none of the names are easy to remember. Oh, that is not correct, One Branch President is named Sam Roby. We love the people already. They are very warm and accepting of the new couple coming in. They gave Elder and Sister Warner a great send off. They really loved them for all they have done for them over the past 14 months. It was good for us to see that.
We get less rain on this island and therefore because it is their dry season things are quite dry now and water is not as available. Some of the families are carrying water in gallon jugs to sustain life. The roads are in pretty bad shape. Most of our driving is under 5 miles an hour. During the day there are a lot of cars on the road. The Warners said that there has been a tremendous increase in cars in just the 14 months they have lived here. The government has approved a large contract to improve roads over the next two years. So that will help a lot.
We taught the 3rd lesson last night to a woman that has a baptismal date set for April 4th. She has been attending church already. She was very touched and spoke of the feelings she had from the Spirit. It was emotionally good for us also.
We have been overwhelmed with all we need to do and will never recall all the things, but I guess others will help us along the way. The Lord always takes care of those who are really trying.
There is no road around the island like Pohnpei only a trail for about a 3rd of the way around the island. I will put a picture on when we get some time.
The shopping is more limited and the people live much closer together as it is a smaller island; about 4 by 6 miles we understand. So there isn't the dense jungle that we saw in Pohnpei. Maybe when we get out and about more we will see some like it.
There are 4 branches on 4 outer islands and it requires boat trips to visit them of at least a half hour on the boat and some of them and hour and a half.
On the plus side, from where we set typing this, I can see across the ocean and see 4 of the outer islands on the horizon. The temperature seems to be very comparable to Pohnpei, but the humidity is not as high because of no rain. There is a nice breeze blowing in the window beside me and it feels good. It is 86.7 degrees right now at 7:30 in the morning.
We still have much to learn and we will post more as we go.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

We are on Chuuk!

The flight was fine. We arrived at 3:11 pm Tues. Spent the afternoon trying to learn everything that Elder and Sister Warner wanted to teach us. Didn't sleep well (no big surprise there). Today we started early (before 6 am) and we have been on the run all day. Spent hours and hours with the Warners, went out into the jungle to meet people, and now Chuck is working on the District Clerk work. We are very happy with our apt. It is very much like a nice apt in the states. Very clean and modern. No lizards or bugs so far. And no dogs barking, pigs getting loose, or roosters crowing right outside our window. But it is very close to many other people, so we don't have the privacy we had on Pohnpei. Our responsibilities will be very different here. WE have SO MUCH to learn. Plus a new language!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday the 15th update

We taught our last 2 Institute classes on Tuesday, our last Seminary class at 4 PM on Saturday and 4 Temple Preparation Lessons today (which is Sunday the 15th). So we are done teaching on Pohnpei unless someone changes their mind about us leaving. We have Monday to pack and clean and finalize things in Kolonia. Then Tuesday we fly to Chuuk to start again.
We have talked to Elder Kuss, who is from Chuuk, and he has given us some pointers about the language and we have learned some words already. We will have to see how that goes. There are many islands there and there is a different language on each island. So it will be much harder to know what to learn.
We told the Lord that we would go anywhere He wanted and do whatever He wanted us to do there, so we are looking forward to this new adventure. We know a little bit about what our schedule will be on Chuuk and we will be VERY busy the first 2 weeks or so. We will post an update just as soon as we can, but it might not be until late March.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Well, we got all the lizards out of our house for over a week. But last Thurs morning when I opened the door to the back porch, a large lizard came dashing in and disappeared under the stove. So we knew we were hosting another lizard guest. The next evening, as I was standing in the dining room, I heard a "splat" at my feet, and there was the lizard....he had just fallen from the ceiling! He quickly scurried away.Then yesterday morning as we were getting ready for church, I was at the kitchen sink and I could hear a funny noise. Like a scuffling on wood. Suddenly the large lizard, with a smaller lizard in his mouth, dropped from the top of the kitchen cupboards and landed on the counter right beside me. Obviously, the two had been fighting and lost their footing. They separated and each scurried off in a different direction. Later that day Chuck caught the large lizard and escorted him out of the house. I wonder if we will have lizards in our apt in Chuuk?? Well, I'd rather have lizards than large ugly spiders!! Except, lizards leave their droppings all mice. Yuck!

Friday, March 6, 2009

We received an e-mail this morning confirming that we will be transferred to the Island of Chuuk (pronounced Chook) on the 15th of March. We have known about this for over a week, but President Dowdle asked us not to speak of it till he had a chance to visit the Island of Chuuk and talk to Elder and Sister Warner, the couplee there, about their move to Yap. We do not know what our new address will be yet, we will post it as soon as we know it.

We have suppected all along that there would be a change on Pohnpei. We had 2 couples here on Pohnpei. Elder Miller on Yap, had a heart problem and they had to go home to have a stint put in. So they have not had a couple Yap for a month. So to our surprise, the couple on Chucck, Warners, is being transferred to Yap and we will be going to Chuuk. We had guessed that it would be Elder and Sister Riding here on Pohnpei that might be going to Yap as they have been here for 8 months. But the Lord saw it differently.

So it looks like we will be learning another new language. Sue had about 150 words and phrases and I had maybe 120 that we could use. But that will all go by the wayside now and we will learn to speak Chuukese instead.

We have loved our time here on Pohnpei and have taken some great pictures to bring back memories in the future. But our 7 weeks Pohnpei will be a very short time of our 23 month mission.

We look forward to teaching the people in Chuuk and we know there are more native teachers there so we will also be doing inservice there for those teachers also.

We fly out on the 15th and will get to spend some time with Elder and Sister Warner before they fly out on the 17th. That will surely help us get our feet on the ground in Chuuk. So it is pack up for another airplane flight, but a new wonderful great adventure is awaiting us there.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another week in Pohnpei

March 4, 2009 Wed.
I am taking a break from the studying and lesson preparation to type an update. We finally have the house pretty well fixed up and tight enough to keep most bugs, rats, and lizards out. We have screens and also have grating on two windows to keep the rats from chewing through the screens.
Actually we haven’t had a lizard or a cockroach, or a centipede in the house in over a week! We do have the little geckos from time to time, but they don’t bother us much. I just hate cleaning up their droppings on the table or counter or on the wall. Yuck! But they are sort of cute little creatures.
One of the landlord’s dogs had a litter of pups. All but one died. But we are having fun watching the little guy grow up. He is really cute. But all the dogs here have lots of fleas, so we keep our distance.
Last Sunday one of the landlord’s hogs got loose. The dogs chased it up the hill. We called the landlord to tell him and he brought a guy out to help him and they got the hog penned again. But the next morning he got out again. He is a large hog, about 2 yrs old. He came walking onto our veranda and tried to eat Chuck’s shoe that he had left out there. Dumb pig!
We have been busy with Seminary and Institute classes. We have had fun helping them learn how to dig into the scriptures and find principles and teachings. Chuck has used local visual aids, taken directly from the jungle around our house, to teach the concept of the Gentiles being GRAFTED into the House of Israel. We have been told that grafting is done here with the lemon trees, so it wasn’t a new concept for some of them. We are also teaching Temple Preparation classes at Kitti, Sapwalap, Uh, and Nett. In Nett, very few understand English, so teaching always requires a translator. That makes it hard to teach, and makes the lessons very long. Plus, we have no way of knowing if our teaching are understood.
We are on the District Speaking schedule now, so we speak in a different Branch on the 4th Sunday of each month.
So far, I am REALLY enjoying all the studying and lesson preparation. Plus the language study. It is so nice to be able to spend hours and hours everyday studying, the gospel, the scriptures, the language.
The temperatures do not vary much here. When we get up it is usually about 81 degrees. During the day it might get up to 88-89 degrees. When we go to bed, it is usually around 82-83 degrees. The rain is wonderful. We both love it. Sometimes it rains 8-12 times in one day. Other times we can go 3 days with no rain. Sometimes it just rains, and sometimes it is a storm, wind and all. Some rains are light and soft, but often the rain comes down with great velocity! Like we are under a waterfall! It is just amazing to us that so much rain can fall in such a short time. It drains away very quickly. Two days ago I (Sue) was driving home from Kolonia and the rain was coming down so hard that my windshield wipers just could not keep up with it, even on their fastest speed. I simply could not see anything. So I drove VERY slowly. Of course, here on the island, everyone drives very slowly. The road is narrow and windy, and there are people (LOTS of people) and dogs and chickens and sometimes pigs on the road all the time. In some places the road is only wide enough for one vehicle to get through.
We leave the windows open at home all the time. So we can hear the jungle noises. I love hearing the birds. There are no snakes here. And no predators. So we feel very safe, even when we went out exploring in the jungle.
The people here are wonderful. Very loving and kind and patient. And they are a happy people. The children are well-loved and well cared for. They all seem healthy and happy. Of course, just as in the states, there is poverty. But the jungle provides so many good things to eat that even the poorer folks can eat well.