Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stuffing stocking for the Elders. We got to play Santa AGAIN!

Half of the Stockings hung for them to see when they came in.

Second half of the stockings

Elders sorting through stockings

Happy Elder Tuaitanu and Elder Mitton

Elder Kuss with his stocking
How wonderful it has been to spend the Holiday Season in Chuuk, involved in the Lord’s work. Hearing the old, familiar Christmas songs in Chuukese was great.
With no children living with us and no grandchildren close by, it seemed we would not have the opportunity to play “Santa” this year. But our ten children in the States sent Christmas stockings and lots and lots of goodies and gifts to stuff them with so each Elder in Chuuk could receive a “Surprise Stocking”. We had so much fun going through all the gifts and treats our children sent and then dividing them up into the stockings.
Christmas morning at 8:25 am, the Missionaries arrived. They thought they were coming over just for a nice Christmas breakfast. But we had 10 filled stockings hanging, with their names on them. We were ready to get their reactions recorded with cameras. It was so much fun to watch their faces as they looked at the stockings, and then realized that THEIR names were on them! In about 30 seconds flat they went from 10 missionaries, to 10 happy kids. They dug through their stockings, big grins on their faces. Lots of laughs and comparing and “Wow! Look at this!” all around. Also we heard, “Yes! I NEEDED socks!” and “Hey! I got a new tie!” We heard one Elder ask another, “What did you get?” And the answer: “Just about everything I wanted.”
So, we did get to play Santa, and we really appreciate our children helping us do that. The Elders enjoyed their Christmas breakfast and then dutifully wrote thank-yous to their benefactors.
These Elders work so very hard and deal daily with disappointments and discouragement and exhaustion, it was so nice to see them, just for a few minutes, be happy and carefree and giddy with joy. It made our Holiday just wonderful.
So, now it is New Year’s Eve. We have been warned that things get pretty crazy here on New Year’s Eve, so we will stay in our apt and stay away from the wild and crazy celebrations. It is fun to see these people enjoy the Holidays. The Chuukese are a very happy people. They laugh a lot. They are friendly. We are enjoying being in Chuuk.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

This picture is of a 2 branch gathering for convert baptism in each branch. This happened on Saturday which was our Hump Day or the day that is the half way mark in our mission. What a wonderful way to celebrate our Hump Day.

Today, Sunday, was the first day of the second half of our mission here in the Micronesia Guam mission, serving in Chuuk. So we hit the ground running this morning. We left early to drive the 5 miles to the Wichap Branch, it is about 5 miles from here and takes almost an hour to drive it. But this morning there wasn't as much traffic so we drove it in about 50 minutes. We did some Seminary work before Church started and got 3 more students registered for Seminary. We were able to pick up Mark Kunuseni's Attendance Roll as he was not able to attend our inservice meeting so we didn't have it when we had to send the reports in. Now we will send his report to Guam.

Sacrament Meeting started pretty much on time. There were only 4 adults, 1 teenage boy and one about 10 and a couple of little kids plus the two full time Elders, Ulmer and Cherrington, and Sister Duncan and I. So you can see the missionaries really filled the ranks. Mark Kunuseni was the only speaker in Sacrament Meeting and spoke for 45 minutes all in Chuukese.

We showed part of the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference as the Sunday School lesson. They can not watch the DVDs because they have no electricity in the Chapel. So we used the Laptop and the internal battery to play it. They do have General Conference with a Chuukese translation dubbed over the speakers, and it thrilled me that the good people in Wichap voted right along with the others to sustain the Prophet and other leaders.

We left after Sunday School because we had to show a Seminary DVD in the Mechitiw Branch. We had to drive the hour back to our apartment and then 10 minutes on past our apartment to Mechitiw. We stopped at the apartment to pick up the DVD and charge the battery some in my computer. They were just finishing up with the Priesthood and Relief Society meetings when we arrived. We began setting up for a Seminary Class. They are using Home Study Seminary classes and only meet once a week because of the long distances the kids have to walk late at night and the Teacher is attending college every day during the week. They have no electircity in the Church either so they can't see by the time Merien Sisra, the teacher, gets home from School, so they just meet once a week.

That was a real success and we enjoyed visiting after the class. We learned more Chuukese words and corrected some of the things we were saying wrong. We helped fold up all the chairs and lock up the building after Seminary.

Then we came home and ate lunch about 2 PM. We read the site and now I will post about our day. We really feel like we put in a good day so far for the first day of the last half of our mission.