Tuesday, November 29, 2011

KU KU KA Chuuk

Hello from Chuuk,
Today is Tuesday the 29th and it's going to be a hot day we can tell. We took our regular morning walk and it was a little sticky but we had a little breeze. (unusual) While studying our scriptures this morning it started to pour rain. It is normal to rain
here and when it does it pours down really fast. Usually it only lasts about 10 minutes and it rains every day or night, but yesterday (Monday) it started in the early morning and continued for quite sometime. It keeps everything pretty and green (not to mention VERY muddy), you see they are putting in a new sewer line and new cement roads so EVERYTHING is torn up and a mess.
Now keep in mind we are in a third world country. So things are old school and on island time (which is slow) We think that the Lord sent us here to learn "PATIENCE". Something Sister Tiffany is really adjusting to. She normally likes to move at a fast pace and likes things done YESTERDAY, that doesn't happen here on our island.
We will try to describe our island a little to give you some idea of what our mission entails. The people here are amazing, they are beautiful island people both inside and out. Smiles that warm your soul. We have already started to love the people and are
looking forward to learning the "Chuukese" language so we can communicate with them. (very few people speak English, so much for a English speaking mission.)
The Chuukese women are the land owners and only Chuukese people can own land. They do not sell to outsiders. A few white guys have married Chuukese women and are here living the island life. One man that we know is "Bill", he and his wife Kiki run a hotel/restraunt called the "Truk Stop. " We like going to the Truk because its pretty nice. They have internet we can use and great views of the water and sunsets, the foods not bad either. The people there know us now and are very friendly. A few of them are members of the church. They also have a bakery that supplies a lot of the bread and cakes on the island. And it smells really good, Elder Tiffany really likes that smell. We have been trying to stay away from the baked goods and lose some weight. (Good Luck) We sweat most of what we eat off. Did I say it's very hot and humid here. The Senior couple that we replaced and just went home to Hyrum, Utah used to rent a room there while they lived here.
Actually the temperatures have only been in the 80's but the humidity is 100%. But hey our skin loves it. (no more dry skin so we only use lotion sparingly). Okay back to the people, they live everywhere all over the island and most of them are poor but don't know it. They are given land from their ancestors so it is free to them, they don't have to pay taxes, they have food that grows on the land, such as banana's, tapioca, mangos, papaya, pineapple, bread fruit, taro, guava and the water comes from the rain. The LDS church donated hundreds of large water barrels years ago so the people could store water to use. They have no electricity for the homes in the jungle, almost all the people do their cooking outside over a wood burning fire. It's like camping your entire life, every day. They don't use silverware to eat with, you eat with your hands, occasionally they have a big plastic bowl to which they wash hands, dishes or clothes in. The stores here sell several things but the jungle people really have no use for them. Most people live on a cement block without siding and those who do use left over tin from the past wars. The roof is sometimes tin with palm tree grass to keep the rain out. It is very humble to us spoiled American's. They don't even know it can be better, to them it's perfect, it's home. The only animals here are dogs, cats, occasional pig, roosters (for cock fighting) chickens, we've seen one goat and rats but we have only seen one of them, also Gecko's which are pretty cool because they eat the bugs - flies, cockroaches and mosquito's. We were at lunch the other day when one walked down the wall and caught a fly it was pretty cool to watch. 
Our mission is to go out and meet the church members and put there location down on a map with a GPS unit. They don't have addresses unless you call third path on the left under the Guava tree an address. We try to locate both active and non active members. We also try to locate the ones that have passed away so we can get their records updated. It can be a difficult process because they don't keep good records here. We have to take our Elders "Meldrum and Johnson" with us and the Branch President Mackey, he is Chuukese. It is actually the best part of the mission walking around with these guys in the jungle or where ever we need to go. We get the opportunity to mingle with the people, the children are adorable and Sister Tiffany likes to take candy for them. They learn to speak really early and are potty trained before or around 1years old. There is this one little baby boy named "little Richie" I swear he is only about 15 months old. He talks and the missionaries say he speaks all the English swear words. He is adorable. He is everywhere and when he see's the missionary truck he gets really excited and waves or runs over to them. The Elders are so great with everyone and the people love them here. They really are great young men and very humble. For them this is like a long camping trip. When they are on the outer islands they are without electricity and cooking facilities and there are no vehicles there either. It's quite primitive and they tend to get a little lonely. They are full of energy and have a great time together when they are here on the main island.
The other day while out in the jungle we had our first opportunity to eat Tapioca fresh from the tree, and also a cooked banana. We will just say it was bland and not to exciting to the taste. When they meet you, it is their way of inviting you in and welcoming you. You don't have to eat or drink what they offer but it is polite to try it. We got to meet the elders quorum President/Seminary teacher. He has quite the place where he lives in the jungle, has a great view of the ocean, has a garden he tends and he climbed the tree to get us fresh coconuts to drink. It was great and we hear really good for you. It's very different from what we get in the states.
We have decided that this is our adventure of a life time and we will take one day at a time. We are strong and know that the Lord will be watching over us. The other missionary couples here are Elder and Sister Archibald they are here on a humanitarian mission. He is a general surgeon and works up at the hospital teaching them how to deal with problems and how to keep records. His wife does everything from visiting teaching with a native to organizing programs that could help the Chuukese people. The other couple is Elder and Sister Eakins (pronounces A-kins) They are the institute teachers. He was a basketball player from BYU and then played NBA pro in the 70's. He is tall 7' and she is just a little itty bity thing maybe 5 foot. Both couples are from Utah. The Elders are from all over, like the Philippines, Denver, North Carolina, Idaho, Utah, Oregon, California. We are so grateful to each missionary here and they have helped us get situated and when Sister Tiffany gets sad we try to see the boys (Elders) because they make her laugh and she can mother them.
We love you all and appreciate your support and prayers,
Elder and Sister Tiffany
 P.O. Box 861
Moen, Chuuk
FSM, 96942

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