Friday, February 17, 2012

February 2012 Zone Conference

We had the opportunity this week, to meet with and learn from our Mission President and Sister Meacham. He told us that we need to re-read our Patriarchal Blessings to look for the talents we were given and need to develop, and also the gifts we were given and blessings we will receive by living up to our covenants. D&C 82:10 reads: I, the Lord, am abound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.
Elder Blaser showing off his Valentine he just received from home. As you can tell, he is excited. It is so fun to hear from home and receive mail when you are so far away. These young men only get to email occasionally, so when they get mail it makes for an exciting day.
Elder Lapeyrouse, Elder Blaser and Elder Jones > Excited to start the meeting. :)
These two Elders will be leaving us in April. Elder Blaser and Elder Malit. They both bore a wonderful testimony of their missions. They are the first to leave us since we got here. We were all touched by the spirit and these young men will be greatly missed, but we know the Lord has important work for them to do beyond the shores of Chuuk.

Elder Tiffany with Chuuk's oldest citizen

Elder Tiffany with Jacob, he is 89 years old and one of the oldest people in the Micronesia Islands. He remembers the massive airstrike "Operation Hailstorm" Jacob was a special guest today marking the Anniversary. "the airstrike on Truk Island" was a massive naval air and surface attack launched on February 17–18, 1944, during World War II by the United States Navy against the Japanese naval and air base at Truk in the Caroline Islands, a pre-war Japanese territory.
In total the attack sank three Japanese light cruisers (Agano, Katori, and Naka), four destroyers (Oite, Fumizuki, Maikaze, and Tachikaze), three auxiliary cruisers (Akagi Maru, Aikoku Maru, Kiyosumi Maru), two submarine tenders (Heian Maru, Rio de Janeiro Maru), three other smaller warships (including submarine chasers Ch-24 and Shonan Maru 15), aircraft transport Fujikawa Maru, and 32 merchant ships. Some of the ships were destroyed in the anchorage and some in the area surrounding Truk lagoon. Over 250 Japanese aircraft were destroyed, mostly on the ground. Jacob or Obou as they call him here was baptized in to the Church in 1984 along with his whole family and extended family. He was twice the Branch President on one of the outer islands called Romanum. His family is very prominent in the Church here and he has quite a Legacy. A few days after this picture was taken he went to Hawaii where he hopes to go through the temple. He'll be staying with his son while on Hawaii.

The story of the love sticks

The carving of this turtle has the "Love Stick Story" on it's back. The locals carve on wood to tell the history of the Chuukese people and islands. The sea shells were given to us by a local Sapuk member, while they were on a YM camp out at one of the outer islands. It's tough camping on your own personal beach!!!
The Story of the Love Sticks goes like this: Back in the old days, if a young man was interested in a girl, he would carve a pointed stick with a unique pattern, which he would then show to the girl, letting her feel it so she would remember the distinct pattern and texture. Then at night, when the girl is sleeping, the guy would sneak to the girl’s house and poke the stick through the woven wall or ceiling of her hut and entangle the stick in her long hair to wake her up without disturbing anyone else in the family. In the dark, the girl would feel the stick and if she recognized the patter carved by her lover, she would sneak out for a secret rendezvous in the jungle. If she didn’t want to go with the guy, she could just shove the stick back out. Convenient, No? Better than having to come up with an awkward excuse over the phone to avoid an unwanted date. While dating is still done mostly in secret here it isn’t culturally appropriate for you men and women to go around together in public.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

All Times, All Things, All Places

“We are here to assist our Heavenly Father in His work and His glory, ‘to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ (Moses 1:39)

"Changes in Latitude, changes in attitude"

So we looked forward to and planned for a full day of walking the jungles searching for members and their homes and it becomes one test after another. First thing after prayer and scriptures, we headed to our local post office > which is a funny story in itself. At the beginning of the year the post office got kicked out of their building because they did not pay the lease. One day they just closed the door and took the sign down and moved. We were all like --- where did the post office go? This is the building the post office used to be in.
They are now located in another building on a different road by the CPUC "CASH power" (story for another time). This is the road we have to go down to get to the post office....
The PII construction company that is rebuilding the roads is working on putting in new pipelines and doing everything else you need to do to put a road in, (very busy & messy). So when we left the post office we got stuck behind a cement trunk and couldn't move. Here on the island the people are in no hurry, so everyone just sits there. We're like, Hello, backup, we need to move, and they give you a look like what's your hurry.
Finally Elder Tiffany got us out of that mess and we headed to off to meet up with the Zone leaders to go to District meeting. It is always great to meet with the Elders and see what has been going on throughout the week. Plus we learn a lot from each other. We are now going to the other side of the island called "Wichap" for our District meetings. Because of the GPS work we've done in that area, we now have more people coming out to church. And we now have missionaries there again. After the meeting we headed down towards the area we are currently working in for the day. Thinking we were getting an early start we were excited, then we realize we don't have the GPS Unit with us. Where could it be? We searched and searched and then decide we better run back to our apartment and see if we left it there.
Well, our island is tiny but its a good 30-45 minute round trip to go 4 miles.(Remember bad roads) As we are driving we got a phone call from a gentleman we were expecting to hear from on Friday. He says "Hello Tiffany's, we are going to fire up the Water Desalination Unit right now, if you would like to come to the dock" Yes,yes we will be right there. Turn around Elders, let's go check it out. All of us were excited about this phone call so we head towards the dock.
It is island time remember, but we thought they might be ready...well...they were not. So we waited. The Elders started checking things out around the dock and climbed aboard the boat next to us. Sister Tiffany broke out the camera;
Elder Tiffany showing us how he too can have a good time on "Captain Mailo's" boat.
Elder Tiffany, Elder Butler and Elder Johnson keeping an eye out on the water treatment as the bosses are moving it around from the top deck. Turned out the Desalination Unit never got fired up so we're off again. We now begin the day we had planned but it is after 2pm. We are ready to go. Attitudes still positive, check...let's go visit some members. We are seeing quite a bit of success with doing our GPS locating. Most of the members just want to be invited to come back to church. Missionary work, Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching are so vitally important especially with the less active members. Many times they just need to be reminded how much the branch or ward loves them and needs them. The following pictures are of a few families we had the privilege of meeting this day. The location we are working in now is called "The Mwan Branch" it is the largest branch on the island and they have the new church that was dedicated in 2010 by Elder Christofferson.
He said: "Today, for the first time, an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ has come to Chuuk, formerly known as Truk." He encouraged the people to continue to be faithful so that acceptance of the gospel may continue to grow in Chuuk.
Mosiah 2:17: "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God," and then he said, "That is how it is. When we serve one another, we serve our Heavenly Father."
“In the work of the Lord, we all learn one great lesson: Each of us stands tall on the shoulders of giants who preceded us,” Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostle
The courage and sacrifice of early missionaries, have set the standard for us today.
“This is part of President Monson’s vision, that we all are to participate in the rescue. Helping Heavenly Father’s children return to Him will be a vital part of our individual missionary labors.
“In the work of the Lord, we all learn one great lesson", Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles bore his testimony at the devotional. He said we have a sacred responsibility to continue missionary work. “You may not be as talented as you’d like to be; … you may or may not have all the baptisms that you would like; there are a lot of things that you won’t be able to control,” Elder Holland said. “But there is one thing that you can control and that is that you honor the office to which you’ve been called. You honor the sacred role of missionaries in this church. We pray that we remember who we represent at all times, all things and all places.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chuuk Desalination Donation from LDS Church (2010) HD

This is such a great donation, we just located it today and they are getting ready to fire it up this week. We have been looking for it since November > no one knew where it was nor why they were not using it. What a blessing this is to the Chuukese people. We are super excited :) The unit fills a critical need for fresh water on an island that, up to now, has relied solely on rain water for the needs of the people. The donated unit has the capacity to convert 26,500 gallons of sea water per day into fresh water, for use by the citizens of Chuuk

Missionary life living on Chuuk

A typical week on our tiny island of Weno begins on Sunday by attending church early in the morning. After church we grab a small snack, then begin our class teaching English.
The Elders attend so they can help with translation, just in case we need it. Sister Tiffany bribes them with DINNER. She says it works every time. The Elders are always hungry and we love having them over. Also, it's a win/win because we get a Chuukese language class from them while they are at our home. As the week starts each day we get up early to exercise (or at least Elder Tiffany does), read and study scriptures, eat and we are off. Monday is p-day so we get the shopping, banking and catch up stuff done, then occasionally have lunch at the local eating establishment and watch sports.(Elder Tiffany likes to keep up) This is the "Truk Stop" the local establishment
The rest of the week is filled with teaching classes such as English, Temple Prep Class and Family History Classes. It's amazing how one class ties into another. Also, what a terrific tool to fellowship.
We have the internet hooked up now in the Mwan branch on the island,and we have 2 computers and a printer, we are hoping for newly updated equipment soon. (Everything here is on island time) that means sssssssslllllloooooowwwwwww. This past week we needed to find some books,and papers for our classes to see if we needed to order something. We went into the storage closet/library where they store everything. The room had a lot of manuals and boxes of stuff all over the place. We couldn't find anything, so Sister Tiffany suggested we clean it up and organize it. We threw out all the old stuff, put everything in it's place and labeled the boxes so everyone would know what was in them. We then prepared a box of stuff for each branch in our zone and gave them to the young Elders to take to their Branch Presidents. It was a quite the job, but it looks great now. The Branch President in this area has been off island visiting family in Utah. (we hope he comes back soon) Once or twice a week we do GPS locations of members, we find the home, visit them, check to see how they are doing, see if we can do anything for them and invite them to come to Church. We spend the day doing this with our Zone Leaders and the Branch President, who lives in the area we are working on. A lot of the families we visit are part member families so it gives the missionaries an opportunity to make appointments to come back and teach. This has been working very well. We have District meetings once a week. Thats when we get to meet with the young Elders to see how everyone is doing and catch up. We now have 2 districts on our island. The great thing about that is, when we arrived here we started working in an area called "Wichap". There hadn't been missionaries assigned there for a couple years for various reasons, but after going out and locating members, visiting them, inviting them back to church, the branch has grown. They are getting anywhere from 15 to 20 more people each week. They have great Priesthood leaders in this area with great people in the branch. We are excited because we have missionaries assigned back in the Wichap area again... yippee!!! We are very happy about that. We would get a few funny looks at first, but they still said Hello and waved to us. This area is beautiful, it's all jungle but the road getting up there is really bad. Our little car that we named "Berta" has a hard time getting there. Another reason we go with the Elders, they drive a truck. The people of Wichap were the first island people we spent time with. This area is our baby! So now we have now two districts. One on each side of the island.
Yup that pretty much sums up a great week in the tropics...

A typical rain storm...

This past Sunday it was raining when we left for church. When it rains here it pours buckets > it is great. We need the rain for showering and drinking water. A few years back The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints donated large water barrels to the people on the island of Weno to catch the rain water. (We of course filter our drinking water) This is a picture of the road we drive on to church. It is quite an adventure.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Year beginnings

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January was a great month for us. We went to Guam for several days for a Senior Couples Conference on the 14th. The Conference was very enlightening, informative, and a lot of fun. These old geezers really know how to raise the spirits. < > Our mission here is now becoming quite clear to us and we are engaged in a very important work. We have started teaching an English class and will also be teaching a Temple Preparation class. We are very excited to get these programs going. Even though English is the official language here it is not used very much among the people, so they are always trying to find ways to brush up on it. The Temple Prep class we are very excited about. One of our Branch Presidents, President Makay and his family will be taking that class and getting ready to go to the Temple. He is a very good man who lost his job some time ago and has struggled to feed his family. A couple months ago he had to send them to one of the outer islands here while he stayed behind to take care of the affairs of his branch. He just got another job and so the family has returned and they will be taking the class together. You may have heard about the General Temple Patron Assistance Fund. It is a program that assists patrons to go to the temple for the first time. Pres. Monson spoke about it last Oct. in conference. The closest temple here is in the Philippines. < > We very much appreciate all your prayers. We miss you all and wish you a Happy New Year

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sealing families together FOREVER...

Throughout history, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples. Temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are holy places of worship where individuals make sacred promises with God.

One ordinance we receive in the temple is the endowment. The word endowment means “gift” or “bestowal.” As part of this ordinance, we are taught about the purpose of life, the mission and Atonement of Jesus Christ, and Heavenly Father’s plan for His children. We gain a glimpse of what it will be like to live in His presence as we feel the peaceful atmosphere of the temple. Another temple ordinance is the sealing ordinance, in which husbands and wives are sealed to each other and children are sealed to their parents in eternal families. This means that if we are faithful to our covenants, our family relationships will continue for eternity. People sometimes also refer to this ordinance as “temple marriage” or “eternal marriage.” In addition to receiving these ordinances for ourselves, we can receive them for our deceased ancestors. In this way, people who died without receiving essential ordinances such as baptism and confirmation, the endowment, and sealing have the opportunity to accept these ordinances. "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." —Matthew 16:19

We are happy we get the opportunity to teach temple prep classes for the members here in Chuuk, Micronesia. They are wonderful people here with beautiful spirits both inside and out.