Wednesday, May 20, 2009

May update

Well, time for another update. It is early evening, Wednesday, May 20, 2009. Chuck has another migraine, so he is laying down.
Last Friday we went out with Merien Sisra to do some missionary ‘finding’. We stopped at the first place. No one was home. We drove to the next place. We were stopping to see Emmy, but Merien saw into the home next to Emmy’s and said “I know that man!” So we knocked on their door. Les Idol and his family were there. They had just flown in that morning (it was about 11:20 am at the time). They had been gone since last October.
This is a family that Elder and Sister Warner had been teaching before the Idols left. So, we visited for a short time and set up a time to return to teach them. They seemed very pleasant and eager to have us return. We all sat on the floor, as is customary here.
We left there and went next door to visit Emmy. Her husband is standing in the way of her being taught and being baptized. She seems to be afraid of him. He drinks a lot and uses drugs. She said we should come back on Sunday (her husband’s day off) so we could speak with him. We said we would and left. Drove to LeiSide store where Merien went in alone to see if the girl still worked there. She had just flown out to Guam that morning.
We drove to the next place. Couldn’t find a place to park the truck, so we pulled in behind another vehicle, and Elder Duncan stayed with the truck so he could move it when the driver of the other vehicle returned and wanted to get out. Merien and I walked up a hill to a house.
The woman invited us in to her home. This time there was a bit of furniture. The woman sat on a bed and I was given a chair. Merien sat on the floor. We visited a bit. The woman’s 3 sons were baptized some time ago, but all are inactive now. She agreed to ask her husband if we could come and talk to the family. We gave her our phone number and she said she would call.
Then we walked back down to the truck and drove on. At Merien’s suggestion, we pulled into a driveway behind a parked car. We parked the truck and got out to climb up the hill. Elder Duncan noticed something moving in the back of the parked car. He went and looked in. It was a HUGE live sea turtle, upside down. Two of its flippers were tied together. The turtle entirely filled the back of that station wagon.
We went up to the house on top of the hill but had no success there. Then we drove back to Mechitiw and dropped Merien off. It was a good and productive outing.
That night we taught Institute in Mechitiw. We did some scripture chasing and the kids enjoyed it.
Saturday I woke up feeling okay, but had diarrhea. As the diarrhea continued, I started feeling pretty lousy. Didn’t do much. Didn’t eat much. Saturday night I didn’t sleep well, as I was up using the bathroom a couple of times.
Sunday I did not feel well. We went to church and Elder Duncan and I sang with the two fulltime missionaries. We sang “Abide with me” and it went pretty well.
Emmy called to say her husband was in another village with family and he was drunk, so no need for us to come today. After that we went home and then drove to Mwan where we taught the last Marriage and Family Relations class and had a nice social afterwards. Drove home. I was so glad to be home. I had asked Heavenly Father to please stop the diarrhea until 5 pm, since we had to attend church and we had to teach that class. He did. The diarrhea returned at 5:17 pm. He sure is taking good care of me!
Monday Elder and Sister Zaugg flew in from Guam to teach the local priesthood leaders about Family History work. So we drove to Mwan to help them and attend their training. Island power was out, so the generator had to be started. It was noisy and made it hard to hear. They wanted to show a video, but the room was so light, you couldn’t see it. And so noisy you couldn’t hear it. That is just the way things are here. But they solved most of the problems and had the mtg. 4 Branch presidents and the Dist. President attended. And us. I was still feeling very weak and didn’t dare eat, as I didn’t want things inside me to get busy again.
When the mtg ended, we offered to take the Zauggs and their supervisor, Keiji, around to see the island. They accepted and we took off. Drove clear to Sapuk. Stopped at our apt to show them where we lived and let them use the bathroom. Then we drove back to Mwan to get their rental car. Then we all drove down to Blue Lagoon and had dinner there together. I ate a full meal and hoped it would settle in my tummy okay. We got home pretty late and tired. Then we got a phone call from one of the missionaries. The District Mtg was scheduled to be at our place Tuesday morning, and then we would be feeding the 8 elders lunch. The missionary told me that the off-island elders were in now and would like to join us tomorrow. I said we could do that.
So, Tuesday morning we started early. Our kitchen is small, and we were cooking for 14 big, strapping, starving elders. They arrived. We had a good District Meeting and then had a very good lunch. They ate and ate and ate. Those guys can really make food disappear in a hurry. But we had cooked up LOTS of food, so they got all they wanted. They left and we cleaned up. Whew!
Then we drove to Mechitiw to pick up Merien to go teach the Idols. Had a good mtg with them, and taught them the first lesson. They seemed interested and receptive, him more than her. We set an appt to return on Friday and teach them again. We also promised to drop by tomorrow with a Chuukese Book of Mormon. Then we stopped to see Angelise and Taifani and we met Steven and his family. It was evening now and the skeeters got a good meal from my ankles! But we got three more teaching appts set up.
Merien had one more contact she wanted to make, so she and I hiked up to a house looking for the woman she knew. (Elder Duncan was suffering with a migraine, so we left him in the truck.) Never found her, so we returned to the truck, dropped Merien off and came home.
So, we will be teaching the Idols lesson two and Taifani, Angelis and Steven the first later this week. Merien is very excited to take us out finding, but we really can’t spend as much time at it as she would like, as we have a lot of S&I work to do. S&I is our first and most important assignment. IF we have some free time after the S&I work is taken care of, we are to do missionary work. It is hard to know how to balance it.
Today we took the Book of Mormon to the Idols, went to the Post Office and received a package from Jon and Anna! Yippeee! Drove home. Worked on language and emails. Elder Duncan got another migraine and laid down for a while. Now it is dark, and it is suppertime. So I will close and go make supper.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hiking the jungle mountains to visit a Seminary teacher in Wichap on Weno Island. The two Missionaries were leading us to his place because there are no addresses to homes.

It was a lovely day for a hike, although we got caught in a short rain storm, but the family invited us in their home to help us stay dry.
From Chuuk in the Pacific Islands, Rananim! (means “Good day” or “Hello”) We are still having new adventures nearly everyday. From eating new foods to going to the outer islands, each day brings something new.
The work of the Lord is going well. We have been very busy trying to get ready for Seminary and Institute Graduation on June 13. Pouring over class rolls, trying to determine who will qualify for certificates of completion and who will get diplomas. Since we just arrived mid-March, this is a huge undertaking and we have put scores of hours into it so far.
We are teaching an Institute class every Friday evening. We enjoy the opportunity to work with the young people. All the students in our class are seminary age, but their seminary class went defunct for a couple of months while their teacher went to Guam for some surgery. So attending our weekly class helps them catch up a bit. Only one student can understand and speak English well. So he, (M-Four is his name) translates for the rest of the class. We wouldn’t be able to teach without his help.
The language learning is on hold for a while since we are working fulltime on the rolls and records. But we are anxious to get back to it. We still try to pray in Chuukese (we know God can understand us in any language…even very poor attempts at Chuukese).
We still plan to continue learning it so we can speak it and teach classes in Chuukese eventually.
We still teach the Marriage and Family Relations class…on Wed evenings in Mechitiw (the Branch we belong to) and Sunday afternoons in Mwan. We always have translators there to help us. We only have 3 more lessons to teach of the 16 in the course.
We think we might be asked to teach Temple Preparation after that, but no one has asked us yet.
Our District Conference is May 9-10, and Elder Duncan has been asked to teach the counselors in the Branch Presidencies and Sister Duncan has been asked to teach the Branch YW Presidencies. Our District has grown so much that we will be renting a gymnasium for the Sunday Meeting of Conference. The Chuuk District is leading the mission in baptisms so far this year.
Our trips over the water to the outer islands have been learning experiences for us. There is no electricity on the outer islands. There used to be, but isn’t now. No vehicles either. No actual ‘stores’. The people live off the land. Very quiet, charming, lovely.
We have been surprised by how rough the ride is on the ocean. So far, we have not traveled on a calm day. The seas have been mildly rough to quite rough. The first trip, the swells were 8-10 feet on the return trip; quite a ride in a 26 foot open outboard motorboat. We were pretty well worn out by the time we got back. We were wind-whipped and covered with salt-spray and really needed a shower. But in calmer seas it is exhilarating to speed across the turquoise green water, with lovely green islands in all directions.
We are learning a lot here. It is more than just helping the Seminary and Institute program. We are truly building and helping the Church to grow here. They all want to learn how to do things like the Lord has set it up and so they are eager to be taught. The Church has only been on the Chuuk islands for 30 years; so almost everyone is a convert. There are very few second generation leaders. The Youth are learning how it should be done and in 10 years many of them will be leaders in the Church. The Lord is preparing them so they will be ready. Seminary and Institute began in the fall of 2003 so we are ending the 6th year that they have had Seminary and Institute here. It is very hard to supervise here because only 3 of the 8 seminary teachers have a phone. Four of them live off island so we have to schedule a boat ride to go and talk to them. It costs $54.00 in the little boat and almost $96.00 in the big boat to go to Paata Island; so you don’t just run over and talk to them for a few minutes.

Elder and Sister Duncan at Blue Lagoon on the south tip of the island. We had a zone conference there.