Friday, January 27, 2012

The life and times with OB1 Ka-nobe

Excited for the boat ride to the outer islands with innocent smiles and all ready for the fun to begin :) Us with Sister Obenauer aka OB1 (Zone nurse she lives in Guam)This is OB1 first trip to Chuuk she has heard so much about it, she wanted to come see for herself.
Arrival at our first island Uman it was a rough trip over, Sister OB1 and Elder Tiffany got soaked. Check out the hair.... We did a lot of laughing along the way. It is very beautiful here. The boat driver dropped us off at the dock and sent us off to find the missionary house.
Elder Tiffany sporting his sexy boatride hairdo --- He is such a good sport > love that smile. :)

Lunch time on Uman with the Elder Lapeyrouse and Elder Blaser

Small Chuukese boys up in the tree getting us a fresh coconut to drink. They climb up the tree fast like little monkeys. One rule here is; DON'T FALL OUT OF A TREE. It's kinda scary to watch them but they are smart and fast it's amazing.
Elder Blaser preparing our fresh coconuts to drink with our lunch
The group enjoying a lunch break, visiting and getting ready for the next island.
Sister OB1 is not impressed with her fresh coconut. However, the Elders peeled the entire coconut for us all to eat it after we drank them. Yummy!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Our first Elder was transferred :( we are praying him back

Our Zone leader Elder Meldrum leaving us for Siapan. The Joneses are lucky to get him. We will greatly miss his presence here.
US with one of our favorite Zone Leaders. Elder Butler will be here on Sunday.
We just love these Elders. This is Elder Johnson and Elder Meldrum. They have helped us learn the language and kept us at work and also entertained.
All our Elders, what a great bunch of good looking young men
The Elders with a crazy face always making things fun for Sister Tiffany

The Look Down Store

This little store is right over the edge of the road, it is called the Look Down Store. They are very fun people here on Weno <3 We just love them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Senior Missionary Conference in Guam

Every 6 months all the Senior Couples in the mission meet together in Guam for training and learning from one another and also our Mission President and Sister Mecham.  
The Group hard at work. Sometimes leaving your family and going on a mission feels like a huge sacrifice, one couple said “Good people have replaced our parenting functions well since we have been out". No senior missionary finds it convenient to leave home.  The sacrifices associated with serving the Lord full time abundantly bless the couples, their families, and the people they serve.”
~ Half of the Group hard at Play ~ 
Spending a little down time with one another is another great blessing.  Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is also something we all really enjoy because we don't get much of that on our islands.  
~ The other half, still at play ~
The whole group pretending we are in our elementary school picture.
Back row - spouse in front: E/S Wright (Kosrae), E/S Hertzberg (Guam), E/S Johnsen (Palau), (in pink) mission nurse Sister Obenauer (Guam), 
E/S Jex (Guam), E/S Lefevre (Pohnpei), E/S Tiffany (Chuuk), 
Front Row - wife in front: E/S Jones (Saipan), E/S Kjar (Pohnpei), E/S Crittenton (Yap), E/S Dr. Archibald (Chuuk), E/S Anderson (office couple-Guam) President and Sister Mecham (Guam), E/S Eakins (Chuuk)  
Us in our beach attire on a Guam Beach
As missionaries among the “special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world,” We declare that He is the Son of the living God, our atoning Savior and Redeemer. This is His Church, restored in these latter days to fulfill its divine destiny. His prophet today is President Thomas S. Monson
Sister Meacham, Our Mission Mom.
President Meacham, Our Father who art always on the move.
Elder and Sister Anderson, The movers and the shakers!! Want somethin done? They'll get it done, no problem.
Boot scootin Boogiers

How many Mormons does it take????

How many Mormons does it take to change a light bulb? It depends! If it is the Home Teachers, it only takes two. But you have to wait until the end of the month. If it is the Aaronic Priesthood, it only takes one. He holds the light bulb in the socket And the whole world revolves around him. If it is the Relief Society it takes four. One to fix refreshments. One to bring the tablecloth. One to design the Center Piece, And one to screw in the light bulb. If it is the Bishopric, forget it, they don’t do light bulbs. They call a Priesthood Executive Council And delegate it to the Elders. If it is the Elders it takes four. Three that don’t show up, and One to change the bulb. If it is the High Priests it takes four. Two to push the wheel chairs. One to handle the oxygen tank, And one to screw in the light bulb. We hope you enjoyed this as much as we did. It was shared with us in a talk given from a High Priest leader Sunday while we were at a District Conference. We thought it was funny and wanted to share it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Children around Chuuk

Children are highly valued in Chuuk. They are considered to be a family's source of wealth and insurance for parents in old age. For this reason, parents create a nurturing environment and indulge infant needs. Although mothers are the primary caregivers, fathers and older siblings also tend to infants. They also receive a great deal of attention from extended kin and neighbors. Because of the importance of interaction in small island communities, infants are carried facing outwards, away from the holder. Infants typically nurse on demand and may be breast-fed for a number of years. Cosleeping with parents is the norm. Explains why these children are so smart here at such an early age.

Beautiful family from the Maun Branch that live high on the hill in the jungle.

This handsome baby boy is niner he was born on Dec 12 and weight 9lbs. So they named him niner a common name for Chuuk
Elder Johnson with Joseph kids from the Maun Branch.
District Presidents children and other family members.  

How this thing happened and why we love it!!!

So we just ate Mac n'Cheese for dinner with hot dogs. Yummy! That is just one of the many small things we have taken for granted in our lives. You know you go about your life living it pretty much like everyone else, shopping, entertainment, etc., Then one day you wake up and say "Hey let's do something different" You think you’re ready for an adventure in your life, so why not. Let's do it!!! Problem is you don't know for sure what it is you want to do and where. Well that pretty much describes where we were 13 months ago this month. We decided that the Lord wanted us to serve a mission while we were young enough to do some work and enjoy it. So January 2011 we started finishing up the paper work. We officially filed our papers in April and received our call in July to report October 31st. That's right, Halloween day we entered the MTC as Missionaries. Now that was not much of an adventure but the food was really good, the teachers and lessons were wonderful. We met some really great people who have become our friends and are serving the Lord throughout various areas in the world. But then on November 11, 2011 our true adventure began. Now make sure you get this...we arrive on the main island at Eleven in the morning in the Lagoon of Chuuk in the Micronesia islands. Did you catch that. 11/11/11 at 11. It is pouring buckets of rain. BUCKETS of HEAVY rain. We are greeted by the other missionaries on the island with beautiful flower leis which they placed around our necks. Everyone smiling, laughing and happy to see us. Stop! Give us your pose, we need a picture. Soggy and all. The young Elders gather our things and we are off to see what adventure we are going to have for the next few years. Well, the roads here on Chuuk are more like dirt roads with really big pot holes in them. We call them "Chuuk holes". Before taking us to see where we will be living, they take us sightseeing. They take us shopping first thing at Ace Hardware. Well, now remember it was raining, dirt roads and we have lots and lots of mud. Ace is a big mud hole. First thing Elder Tiffany does is slip a little and now his foot is a mess. “WELCOME TO CHUUK” Oh I wish I could describe that better but I don't think I can. (Check out our pictures) This island is very pretty but it has a few interesting things about it. One, its third world > its official we have entered in our adventure, something out of National Geographic. Now back to what I was saying in the beginning, small things we take for granted. But not just small things, EVERYTHING. The young Elders here in our zone are amazing. They do such a wonderful job leaving everything behind and they stay strong. Makes me want to be a better person. Not just a spoiled American. That's right I'm just going to say it. I am both SPOILED and AMERICAN. And I don't think that's a bad thing. Matter of fact, if I weren't both of them things I would not be able to embark on this incredible adventure with my eternal companion, Elder Tiffany. So I am not going to pretend that it was easy in the beginning here because that would be a lie. But I will tell you that I have learned that life is an adventure. And every day is preparing you for something new if you will but only be open to it. We have entered into a life style you only read about or watch on television. It is just what we ordered. It’s funny because you think you know what you WANT and need but that’s not exactly what the Lord thinks. I found this quote last night on Facebook by (Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, [1997]) Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey…. delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas, and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride. Well, that quote pretty much says it all, doesn’t it. I am very thankful to the Lord for this opportunity to serve in these humbling circumstances with my companion and look forward to serving and loving the Micronesia people. I do miss the comforts of home, family and friends along with many other things like a glass of fresh cold milk being top on my list, BUT I will go and do… God Bless each of you and God Bless AMERICA!!! Sister Tiffany

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Quote by Pres. Thomas S. Monson

“I challenge [all] to undertake a personal, diligent, significant quest for what I call the abundant life.” President Thomas S. Monson

Elders excited

The Elders on the island of Weno are Elder Robertson, Elder Henrie, Elder Shakespear, Elder Lavides, Zone Leaders: Elder Johnson, Elder Meldrum.  They just received a Christmas package from E/S Peterson's the couple we replaced.

Dreams are the seedlings of realities

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. ---Albert Camus

Everywhere you look something beautiful to look at.

It's not what you do once in a while, it's what you do day in and day out that makes the difference.
-- Jenny Craig

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.-- Stephen Grellet
Blue Lagoon a favorite spot for Sunsets and making plans.  We have our Zone Conference's here.
The famous "Banana Spider"
Christ walked the path every mortal is called to walk so that he would know how to succor and strengthen s in our most difficult times.  He knows the deepest and most personal burdens we carry.  He knows the most public and poignant pains we bear.  He descended below all such grief in order that he might lift us about it.  There is no anguish or sorrow or sadness in life that he has not suffered in our behalf and borne away upon his own valiant and compassionate shoulders.  “Jeffery Holland"

Monday, January 2, 2012

What about Micronesia

The Federated States of Micronesia consists of 607 islands with a total land area of 270 square miles (700 square kilometers) scattered across more than one million square miles (2.6 million kilometers) of the western Pacific Ocean. The islands are grouped into four geopolitical states: from west to east, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae.
English, the official language, is taught in schools and is widely known throughout the region. It is, however, a second language for most Micronesians. Virtually every inhabited island in the FSM is associated with a distinct language or dialect from the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) language family. With the exception of a few Polynesian outliers, the languages spoken among the islanders of Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae, and the coral atolls of Yap State are classified as Nuclear Micronesian. Yapese mainlanders speak a Western Micronesian language. The linguistic diversity among citizens of the FSM is a testament to the importance of local communities.
At the end of World War II, the United States assumed control over Micronesia. Prior to this time the islands were governed successively by Spain, Germany, and Japan. In 1947 the entire region became known as the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI), a geopolitical entity administered entirely by the United States. The establishment of the Congress of Micronesia in 1964 was the first sign of the Micronesian movement towards autonomy. Dissatisfaction with the TTPI administration's inadequate development strategies and their own lack of control over economic planning compelled members of the congress to press for self-government. Micronesia's strategic location at the threshold of the Asian mainland gave the islanders leverage in their negotiations with the United States, which began in 1969.
A draft constitution for the FSM was crafted by delegates from each of the TTPI districts during the constitutional convention of 1975. The hope was to forge a national identity and unite all districts under a single, constitutional federation. The relatively greater U.S. military interests in the Marshall Islands, Northern Marianas, and Palau, however, provided leaders of these districts with the incentive to pursue separate negotiations. In a referendum held in 1978, the voters from the remaining four central districts (Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae) approved the constitution and became the FSM. The new government formally commenced operations in 1979, yet remained under the authority of the United States until 1986 when the Compact of Free Association took effect. The United Nations welcomed the FSM as a sovereign nation in 1991.
The creation of a national identity has not been easy considering the differences between island cultural practices, languages, and resources. The continuing importance of the FSM's economic and political relationship with the United States and other foreign powers, however, has contributed to the emergence of a national identity. The identification of FSM's citizenry as a nation is largely a response to the economic and political dependency fostered by the United States. This supralocal identity is of recent origin and rarely supersedes the importance of local communities in day-to-day activities. Citizens of the FSM value their identity as members of distinct ethnic groups with diverse cultural traditions and values. This sense of "unity in diversity" is embedded in the preamble to the FSM constitution: "To make one nation of many islands, we respect the diversity of our cultures. Our differences enrich us. The seas bring us together, they do not separate us. Our islands sustain us, our island nation enlarges us and makes us stronger."
Numerous ethnic groups are gathered within the FSM. Although these groups have, at times, assumed a pan-Micronesian identity when dealing with external powers, individuals maintain strong ethnic affiliations and a diversity of interests. The high degree of circular migration brings diverse cultures together and often contributes to the reification of ethnic identities. Ethnic differences are often at the heart of political contention between the states and also contribute to local disputes. Even so, other distinctions, including village, class, kinship, and religious affiliation, often take precedence over ethnicity in defining islander identity.
The social and symbolic significance of food is one of the most salient aspects of life in Micronesia. Sharing food is an expression of solidarity that validates kinship ties and defines a host of rights, duties, and obligations between people. Meals usually consist of a starchy carbohydrate, and fish or chicken, and may include a variety of fruits. Taro, breadfruit, yams, sweet potatoes, and cassava are the primary starches. Meat, usually fish, is also considered to be an essential part of Micronesian meals. Hundreds of edible fish species are available to fishers in addition to an abundance of marine turtles, shellfish, and crustaceans. Locally-raised livestock, including chicken and pigs, is usually reserved for feasting. Fruits accompany mealtime, and are casually eaten throughout the day, or are incorporated into recipes; fruits include coconut, banana, papaya, pandanus, mango, and a variety of citrus.
Production and consumption of locally harvested produce has diminished throughout the FSM as a result of an increasing reliance on the cash economy and imported foods. Today, boiled rice, fried or baked bread, pancakes, and ramen noodles often constitute the starch component of meals. Canned meats have made similar inroads, but atoll residents and rural high-islanders still rely heavily on subsistence fishing
Social hierarchies in the Caroline Islands are a complex amalgam of indigenous ranking systems and income-centered socioeconomic stratification. Traditional ranking systems across the islands are diverse, but the greatest differences in status are typically found on the high islands where status is primarily determined by descent group affiliation, seniority, and the relationship between people and the land. Age, gender, achievement, and specialized knowledge, in addition to kinship affiliation and land claims, are typically important for determining status on the more egalitarian coral atolls. Achievement in the market economy, however, constitutes another dimension of stratification in the FSM that has, in some instances, eroded indigenous status distinctions.
Symbols of Social Stratification. Traditional hierarchies and income-based class distinctions are evident in behavior, language, and consumption practices. High ranking, in genealogy, age, or title, is acknowledged by acts of deference and displays of respect by those of lower rank. Respected elders or title holders may receive the first share of food at a feast, or may be seated in an honored position. Traditional stratification may be marked by the use of a special honorific language reserved for people of high title, the observance of taboos and ritual proscriptions, or displays of generosity that accompany feasts. The accumulation of goods and conspicuous consumption, hallmarks of income-based class distinctions, is growing in importance among participants in the market economy. Automobiles, appliances, food imports, and Western-style houses and dress have become symbols of economic success throughout the FSM.
The structure of the FSM's national government is modeled on U.S. political institutions. The president, head of the executive branch, is elected to a four-year term by the National Congress from among its members. The unicameral National Congress constitutes the legislative branch of the government and is composed of fourteen senators. The Supreme Court, consisting of trial and appellate divisions, is headed by a chief justice and no more than five associate justices appointed for life by the president with the advice and consent of the National Congress. Each of the four state governments includes executive, legislative, and judicial branches, while municipalities within each state govern at the village level.
The FSM has a generous system of social welfare. Health services are provided and medications dispensed for a nominal fee to all citizens. The government absorbs most costs, including the high cost of overseas referrals. Grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cover the cost of many immunization and disease prevention programs. Education is compulsory through eighth grade and is freely provided through twelfth grade. Free public education is made possible through direct U.S. financial assistance, grants from the U.S. Department of Education, and compact funds that also provide scholarships for college study in the United States. The nation also operates a social security system that provides monthly income to retirees.
Activity of NGOs in the FSM is curtailed by the strong financial presence of the United States and its supporting agencies. Millions of dollars in grants are funneled into the FSM by a host of U.S. bureaucracies including the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Interior, Health and Human Services, and Labor. Relief from typhoons, droughts, landslides, and other natural disasters is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
With the exception of Yap and a few coral atoll societies in Pohnpei, Micronesian societies emphasize matrilineal descent. Women, therefore, are the channels through which identity, titles, land rights, and property are acquired. This provides women with a level of status that is not found in more patriarchal societies, allowing women to exercise considerable influence over the conduct of domestic affairs, and even the allocation of use rights to land. Men typically control the political and economic affairs in the public sphere and have ultimate authority over domestic decisions, but the complementarity of tasks provides males and females with valued roles in society. The shift towards a market-oriented economy, however, has unsettled traditional gender relations. In many societies, the patrilineal emphasis of Western cultures is eroding matrilineal inheritance practices, while greater female participation in the cash economy is challenging male roles and diminishing the complementarity of tasks performed by males and females.
Research conducted in the FSM is typically research on the FSM, funded by U.S. and foreign granting agencies. Three major scientific investigations involving more than 30 researchers were funded during the U.S. Naval Administration's tenure. Since that time hordes of foreign researchers, primarily from the United States, have descended on the islands. Regional physical and social science programs within the FSM are limited by inadequate financial support. The College of Micronesia, the only university in the nation, does not support extensive research programs. College-educated Micronesians often take their talents elsewhere, contributing to what has been called the region's "brain drain."