Friday, May 1, 2009

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.

1 comment:

Mike and Kathy Schern said...

Our experiences are so much like yours in this entry. S&I have been here since 2004, all are converts, and you can see the future leaders in the youth we teach. Mike does as much in leadership training as seminary and institute. We have inservice on islands that are still truly primitive and the people are delightful and always happy to see you. Their are 8 missionaries here so they do the searching....