Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A day on Tonoas

This is our boat ride to the outer island > We sit on the wooden planks inside the boat.  Sometimes it can be a rough ride.  Our boat driver is Roger and his helpers. He always tries to take it easy with us and we really appreciate it.  
Doing GPS is without a doubt, a calling from God.  We are so fortunate to have the health and strength to do this calling.  It is a very important missionary tool.  Today we went out to an outer island called Tonoas (pronounced Toa-doe-was). It is a small but beautiful island.  Right now the church has a little over 100 members there and growing.  A month ago we had 2 baptisms from there that got a lot of things going among a larger group. These men were from the opposite side of the island from the church, so the Elders have been working strong in that area to grow the priesthood and now all that hard work is paying off.  They are building a unit group over there and each Tuesday they work on building a place for members and investigators to meet.
Elders Jones with Branch President Rambo Naka and Elder Allen "The spiritual influence begins with the Light of Christ, which "is given to every man, that he may know good from evil" 
Moroni 7:16

 This sweet little lady was sitting out on the rocks with the baby at the family we visited.  She is not yet a member.  
She is a lovely lady.  
This is Olivia and her beautiful little girls.  She is a strong member and lives very close to the church.  Her husband is not a member but the Elders got the opportunity to make an appointment to teach him.  He works a lot and it has been hard to catch up with him.  She was very happy we came to visit her.  
Another Beautiful member and her sweet boy.
This little darling would not smile, we tried everything but she would only stare at us. Usually Chuukese are always smiling.  I guess she hasn't learned that yet.  But I know she will... She was a darling.
Here she is with her mother Sister Naka and Elder Jones
The gift of the Holy Ghost comes after one repents and becomes worthy...The Holy Ghost bears witness of the truth and impresses upon the soul the reality of God the Father and the Son Jesus Christ so deeply that no earthly power or authority can separate him from that knowledge." President James E. Faust
These two handsome boys came with us to locate people.  The small children really love missionaries.  They are always really well behaved and just smile and laugh as we walk.  They always want to shake our hand called "kapong". The one couldn't get his shirt on... Sister Tiffany showed him how to put it on and button it up.  He was very impressed and kept it on. 
I hope they call me on a mission, when I have grown a foot or two.  I hope by then I will be ready... to teach and preach and work as missionaries do.
I hope that I can share the gospel, with those who want to know the truth.  I want to be a missionary... And serve and help the Lord while I am in my youth.
handsome little guy
 Visiting a member family...It is always a great thing when we find that they are doing well and the Branch President gets the opportunity to check on them as well.  
 The Priesthood and Authority at work
Breadfruit cooking... Outer island people make really good food.  
 This little chick was the runt of the family. I don't think she will make it.  I wanted to bring her home but could not.  She was really a cutie...
A rest for Elders Tiffany and Allen after a day of GPS.  The weather was wonderful, a little over cast and
a  few sprinkles to keep things cooled off.  

President Ezra Taft Benson said "I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he/she will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will be happy.  There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry.  Work, work, work---there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

B...i...n...g...o... Bingo is the game

The language here is Chuukese, but the official language of the government is English, the fullness of the Gospel is written in English.  The Book of Mormon is only partly translated into Chuukese, so it is very important to know how to read, speak and write English here.  
We wanted to see how well our English class was learning, but we didn't feel a test would be a good way to do that.  So we decided to make it fun and in a way they wouldn't know we were testing.  We decided on playing BINGO....who doesn't like playing BINGO. The rules were, you had to use the word in a sentence.  We only used words they have learned this year.  Well, it turns out they missed about 5 or so words but over all everyone has been learning and having having a good time.
 Our English class is a lot of fun.  We try to teach them English using the scriptures, American phrases, poems, etc.,  Every now and then they like to throw in an American Song or rhyme.  
Can you spell "free word"
One of our free words was "whey", like in Curds and Whey.
Try to explain that to people who don't know or have dairy. 
This poor little guy was so tired and bored he sat down in the corner and fell asleep.
"Little Jack Corner sat in the corner" 
 Our little Brady Joseph also wore out from all the excitement.  His Mom is doing a balancing act. She got BINGO twice... yeah!
Time for the treats, Sister Tiffany.  Lets do this again next week!!
We always have fun teaching English class.  A lot of laughing goes on with this group.  They are such a fun loving, spiritual group of people. Big smiles transcend the language gaps.
Everyone is awake when the chocolate comes out...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Chuukese Elder Quorum party...

This is what we call a Chuukese Elders work party... It's a good thing that roof is made of cement. Actually pretty much everything here is built out of cement. It kinda looks like our neighbors roof back home in Utah when his roof was getting replaced by the Elders.  You can never love the Lord until you serve him by serving other people.  We miss home and the servant leaders that have shown & taught many times how to love the Lord. The plan of the gospel of Jesus Christ lifts us above our selfish desires and teaches us that this life is all about what we can become. 
This fat old guy was walking across the street, around here we have roosters, chickens and pigs go where they want and you have to pay attention not to hit them with the car.
They actually have some of the prettiest Roosters we have ever seen. They are very loud and we all sleep on the roosters schedule. "Oh the life of living in the tropics"
Our Savior teaches us to follow Him by making the sacrifice necessary to lose ourselves in unselfish service to others.  If we do, He promises us eternal life, "the greatest of all the gifts of God"  the glory and joy of living in the presence of God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ.  We testify of Them and of Their great plan for salvation of Their children.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Oceans Apart but United in the Gospel

Each one of these fine Elders will leave a gap here but because of the great example they have shown, the new Elders in the Chuuk Zone will continue to grow strong.  
Elder Robertson  Love and Accept the Chuukese people" Apply the atonement to your life daily.
Elder Meldrum  Fuel the zone, make the work fun, go through the changes, let the Lord change you to be bigger and better.  Shed your old skin and get new.  
Elder Henrie  Earn the hearts of your investigators, measure who you listen to, do his will and don't beat yourself up, remember to create good habits early. 
Elder Robertson is not a big guy but he has a huge heart and he's leaving a big hole here.
Elder Meldrum is a great missionary who always gave his best and he always kept us smiling.
Elder Henry is a genuine nice guy that's always eager to help and serve.
We're going to miss all of these guys, more than they know. 
We had to say goodbye to three of our finest Elder's today.
We've truly enjoyed serving with them.
Elder Drake Henrie, Elder Matt Robertson and 
Elder Austin Meldrum
Our Elder Lavides, the jumper has been sick and has been 
in Guam getting better for a week or so, he is so happy to be back he just couldn't hold it in any longer.  Yippee!  
The Whole Group (except for Elder Sofele and his new companion who will arrive tomorrow)
These Elders are so funny always giving a 
pose one way or another...
Elders Henrie and Shakespear (Such great guys!)These two guys were on a threesome companionship with Elder Robertson in the Mechitiw Branch when we arrived in Chuuk.  

Elders Jones and Meldrum (Love these guys!) Let's see... these two Elders were not companions but they are good friends.  
We all sure had some fun times together.
The Chuuk zone has been a brotherhood of unity.  It has gone through many changes this year, but with the example these three and the other Elders that have gone home, we believe it will continue to be bigger and better.  Elder Meldrum told the new Elders the gospel comes down to one word "LOVE". 

Again I say, hearken ye elders of my church, who I have appointed:  Ye are not sent forth to be taught, but to teach the children of men the things which I have put into your hands by the power of my Spirit; And ye are to be taught from on high.  Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power, that ye may give even as I have spoken. Doctrine and Covenants 43:15,16  

We have enjoyed serving with these young Elders, they are strong young men who we have come to love and are very proud of.  They have taught and served with honor.  We look forward to seeing them when we get back and watching them continue to grow into the men the Lord has set for them.  God Speed!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When it "Rains it Pours"

Oh my what a week > When it "Rains it Pours" (in Chuuk that is literal).  After we finished up with all the Mother's day skype calls where the Elders get to call home.  Every mother loves to hear from her children, and Mother's day is another special day to tell her thank you and how much she is loved. Sister Tiffany loves to hear from hers.  We started making calls on Saturday with a few ladies from our Branch that have children living in the States.  It is normal for someone in each family to move away, either to Guam or the States to attend school.  A lot of times they don't get the opportunity to come back home to Micronesia, so it is very special when they can communicate for FREE.  Isn't modern  technology great.  It's so wonderful to see how happy they are when they get the opportunity to speak with one another.  We're trying to share pictures online for their families to see as often as possible.
After church on Sunday the Elder's began to call home.  We have 14 Elder's in our Zone so it takes time to get them all taken care of.  We have another Senior couple in our zone and they also have two computers set up for the Elders to use.  We set up one computer downstairs on the wifi and one upstairs in our apartment.  Downstairs they got to show off the view from the deck.
Next morning Monday at 6am the first phone call home to Utah. It's 2pm there.  It was a very long day.  Elder Tiffany made pancakes for breakfast and Sister Tiffany made Gazpacho soup for lunch.  Later that same day, Sister Eakin made sandwiches for the Elders.  All the boys were well fed and happy. It was a busy 3 day weekend for all.
We then followed it up with a couple of trips to the 
outer island called "Romalum".
There is no doubt for us that this is the Lords errand we are on. The GPS locating of the members has been very beneficial. They are truly very happy that we are making the effort to find them and check on their needs.  Fortunately, our Savior has given us a direction finder and guide that will help us even when we cannot see beyond discouraging obstacles.  We refer to the gift of the Holy Ghost.  But we must be willing to use and rely on this divine gift, and we must keep it in good repair.
Off we head to the jungle,  
Sometimes it is difficult because it is so hot and humid. We walk through the jungle, over rocks, up hills, in water, on trails that sometimes you cannot find.  Please don't get me wrong though, this is also our favorite thing to do in our mission.  We get to meet members both active and non. We find people that thought they were lost to the church and we get to talk to people that belong to other religions.  The miracles we get to be part of are tender mercies to us.
over the rocks and all...
Enjoying a refreshing Coconut @ George of the Jungles house.
This young man spent the day helping us...
Elder Meldrum showing us he can lift the 
Homemade Chuukese weight,
Elder Sofele watching over him making sure he is safe doing it :) 
Elder Tiffany enjoying the largest coconut we have ever drank,
it was like a gallon of milk, but coconut.  So yummy!
Us with some of the adorable kids from Romolum
The Elders after a long, sweaty, hot day :) 
finishing up Gps on Romolum

"This gospel culture comes from the plan of salvation, the commandment of God, and the teachings of the living prophets.  To help its members all over the world, the Church teaches us to give up any personal or family traditions or practices that are contrary to this gospel culture". (Dallin H. Oaks)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mission Hymn in Chuukese

Fonuen Sat, ren Christ Oune Feito                                                     
Tune: Hark all ye nations hymn #264

1 vs. Sa pechekum, noun Kot chon attau (We are the strong children of God people of fishing)
Non Micronesia, sat mi arau (In Micronesia, ocean is blue)
Monei ach chew ren anwe aurur, (Throw out our nets for he directs)
Noun souneng sa kokor (His Saints we call)
2 vs. Chon nangin Kot ra suk ewe an (Angels of God they open the way)
Churi soufos non saigonon ran; (Meet prophets in the last days)
A nom pukfel, pwe, ka sinei met (They exist in the scriptures, that you know what)
Ach kapas mi ennet. (Our words our true)
3 vs. Aniwin pristut, unus a feito (Returned Priesthood, fullness has come)
Ei ach kapas non fos sokkono (This our words in languages different)
Suki netip, sening esap pung (Open hearts, listening if not correct)
Esap noninen tong.(It's not hesitant love)
4 vs. Peias no konik, sisap usun noom, (Buried in water, we're not like old)
Tota usun we akkar akkom. (Go up like the sun, first)
Sa ningoch non An we namanam, (We are glorious in His power)
Ach fansoun a saram. (Our time is bright)
5 vs Nge mwan mi tipis, ra mwicheto (But men is sin, they come together)
Popunan Kot chok, easap kouno, (Purpose of God only it can't stop)
Pour mi nimengaw esap amang (Their hands is dirty it won't stay)
Ikenei, ach angang (Today, our work)
Fonuen sat, ren Christ oune feito (Lands of ocean, for Christ you will)
Ennet epwe ngasakemino (Truth come it will make you free)
Kapacheneong ewwe nguni pin (Combined with the Holy Ghost)
An kapas a niwin (His words have returned)

Friday, May 18, 2012

He knows us. . .

We are doing well, hanging in there.  Sometimes we look at each other and laugh because of where the Lord has sent us.  I will try to explain that a little, bear with me.  When we decided to go on a mission we talked about where we would want to go.  Elder Tiffany said somewhere tropical, I said somewhere we could learn and experience a new culture.  So we put in our papers and requested New Zealand, but the next sentence read:  Or wherever the Lord needs us.  Well we all know now he chose to send us to Chuuk, Micronesia islands. It is tropical here and it is a learning experience with an entire new culture to learn.  “I think maybe he nailed it”.  I know without a doubt he knows us, he is with us and knows what we need.  Even if we don’t understand sometimes, Chuuk is not somewhere we would have picked for ourselves. Like I said before it is very third world.  We live from container to container here.  Always hoping good food will arrive.   
We live in a hotel now called, “Truk stop” where we meet a lot of different people.  From all walks of life, they vary from Government people, US and from around the world people, to the humanitarian efforts, to conservation efforts, to the tourist here diving the wrecks in the lagoon.   First let me tell you about our move to Truk stop, we used to live on the other side of the island call “Iras”.  Our apartment was across the street from a mining area.  They are putting in new roads here on the island and they use the rock from that mine.  Needless to say it’s very noisy and dusty (when we don’t get rain) muddy (when it rains).  We lived next door to the Public defender’s office, so we had a lot of criminals trying to walk into our apartment daily.  To simplify about the place, it was not good.  Although we did like the people in that area and made some friends.  Well in April we got the opportunity to move to the other side. Yea! It is in the main downtown area (if we had something like that).  Trukstop has 24 hour security, it is cleaner, the view is amazing and they do my laundry. Yippee! Yes I am super excited about that.  I do not like laundry at home; here I have had to use a laundry mat. Yuck! So that is priceless to me.  I know what you’re thinking SPOILED… Well yes I am and thank you very much.      
Chuuk is known to be the islands of tough/mean guys.  The history books tell stories about tough/mean people of the past and the reputation has not changed after many years.  We were told if anyone messes with us just tell them you live in Chuuk.  Just about every person that comes here can’t believe they would send senior couples here.  In Chuuk’s defense we feel safe and loved here. In D&C 12:8 it reads “And no one can assist in the work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care”.  The people here treat us good because we are missionaries. They respect us because we pay our own way and leave our family to come help them.  They also respect older people and to top it off we are white.  Not to mention that we are just dang fun people to have around… 
What is great is how small the world is when you have the gospel in your life.  We have taken our visitors to church with us, had them over for dinner.  Sometimes it feels like we are bridge builders to the outside world to give Chuuk a better reputation. Each day is a new adventure; we take it in stride because we know we are on the Lords errand.  We feel him watching over us all the time, as well as our young Elders.  We all have the Promise in DC 130:21 that reads “And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”   Well our daily life is all about drawing down the powers of heaven so we can teach with the spirit.  We don’t have to know everything nor do we need to, because the spirit already knows.  We don’t have to speak the language perfect because the spirit teaches spirit to spirit.  Elder Tiffany and I rely much on the promises made in to us in the scriptures because we are tested here daily.   We are very thankful that we have the opportunity to serve here in Chuuk. 
What do we do? Well, we are in charge of a few different things first off, we teach English once a week.  A lot of the people understand English here but don’t really know how to speak the language.  Next we do member locating with a Gps unit to map out where they live.  (they don’t have addresses) When doing Gps we take the Elders and the Branch President with us.  That gives them both an opportunity to magnify their calling.  A lot of families here are part family members, so when we make the contact they can set up appointments to teach, the Branch President can invite them to church and also see how they are doing.  It has been very successful.  For sure this work is inspired from the Lord.  Senior Missionaries are doing Gps work all over the world now.  One branch we finished working in, at the first of the year hasn’t had missionaries in the area for many years.   They now have missionaries there. They are baptizing upwards to 9 people a month.  The branch has double in people attending church and continues to grow.  It is exciting J .  Today we just finished Gps on a Branch on the outer islands.  We found a member that had been lost; he was pretty excited about us finding him. (This has happened many times) Another family we met is going to start lessons with the missionaries.  They thought it was wonderful that we would come to find our members and see how they are doing. 
The truth and many of our Father’s children are beginning to observe the effect of divine authority in this church.  As President George Albert Smith said; If we were like other denominations, we might seek the Lord and receive his blessings, because every man that does good in this world receives a blessing; we might have all the cardinal virtues and make them our own, but without the power of God and the authority of the Holy Priesthood it is not possible for men to attain to the celestial kingdom.  The only plan that will prepare men for the Celestial kingdom is the plan that has been given by Jesus Christ, our Lord; and the only authority that will qualify men to teach and to officiate in the ordinances of the Gospel properly is the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord. 
We have been teaching temple prep classes once a week, and have been getting the computers, printers and internet working at the District Branch so we can begin Family History Classes.  We are on island so that means everything takes a long time to get started.  The people in Guam that are in charge of the things we need and have to come to our island (600 miles away) and install what we need.  They keep them busy they have to take care of all the islands and they have a large mission area to cover. 
Sometimes when you are waiting or want things to be ready, it can become frustrating, we have learned to roll with it.  Everything always works out when it is time.   Our Mission President is an attorney out of SLC it drives him crazy, it’s funny how the Lord test us.  He is very entertaining when he visits us.  He is such an organized, perfectionist would like things to start on time etc., and well it’s just not that way in Micronesia.  (Elder T. feels like President but he lives in Chuuk so he has learned faster)
Serving sometimes means we don’t get out much and have to spend some quality time hanging out. (that is another test) We cope as well as we can by reading and watching a few DVD’s. We also try to feed the Elders now and then so they will get a feel for what it’s like to be at home.  And we love them. 
The deal about the food here is this.  Breadfruit, yeah not so much, nor cooked bananas or taro or tapioca.  The Elders eat a lot of spam and rice and tuna, also not our deal.  Elder T says all the seafood here is sketchy.  So we are scanning the isles of the stores for food that hasn’t expired.  I think they ship all the out dated products from the states to Micronesia.  
(I kid you not)
But we get the opportunity to serve and love the Chuukese people; we have seen many miracles and have felt the presence of our Heavenly Father with us each day.  He truly loves each of us equally and fully.  I testify that it is true.  He has given us Prophets and Apostles to teach the principles and patterns that will bring us back to him.  As I strive to awaken the patterns, he desire me to live I am taught line upon line, and drawn closer to Him.  This mission is a humbling mission and I am very blessed to know that.  Please know that we love you all and miss you all very much. 
Stay healthy and pechechun (strong).  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Jesus Christ was and is the head of His Church

The Church was established by Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry, “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 2:20). In this, “the dispensation of the fulness of times” (D&C 128:18), the Lord restored what once was, specifically telling the Prophet Joseph Smith, “I will establish a church by your hand” (D&C 31:7). Jesus Christ was and is the head of His Church, represented on earth by prophets holding apostolic authority

Monday, May 7, 2012

Wonderful missionary experience...

This is an email from Elder Lapeyrouse to his parents. We would like to share it with you. This Elder used to serve here in Chuuk with us, he is now serving in Siapan. ~~~Elder Lapeyrouse~~~
Last week I got to go on an exchange with Elder Mafi so that I could do a baptisimal interview. While I was there we had an appointment with a man from Thailand. An older guy probably in his 50's that didn't speak very much English. As I was turning in my papers to go on my mission I was nervous that I would be called to a place where I would have to teach the gospel to people who didn't have a christian background. Not that I was afraid of teaching people who God and Jesus Christ were, but that I wasn't sure how to explain these two important figures in our lives and their role in our lives to people who had never heard of sure doctrine. Before the lesson the other night I said, "Elder Mafi, I've never taught someone like this before." He was like "We'll get it, or try to" We were supposed to teach about baptism, but as we sat down, Elder Mafi leaned over and whispered that we would teach about Who Jesus Christ was. I've come to love my Gospel Art Book on my mission and I use it in teaching all the time because people learn better when they can see it. I pulled out the Gospel art book hoping it would help and opened to the first page, A picture of the Savior. Elder Mafi looked at the man then pointed to the picture and said "This, this Jesus Christ. This man name Jesus Christ" The man nodded. "Jesus Christ, big power this guy. Big power." Elder Mafi then pointed to the picture of the Earth and the Universe that was right next to it. "He make this. He make Earth. He make stars. The dogs. You and me." "big power this guy." Flip a couple pages and there's the Saviors birth, a couple more and there he is teaching, calling his apostles, giving them Priesthood Authority, performing miracles, healing and helping the sick, suffering in the Garden of Gethsemene, hanging on the cross, and rising from the dead. In sentences no bigger than about 5 words, using words no bigger than 5 or so letters, we sat there and page by page highlighted and illustrated the important aspects and characteristics of our Savior. Near the end I felt prompted to turn to one of my favorite pictures in the book. A picture or The Savior holding the lost lamb. I opened it and layed it on the table, withdrew my hands and we waited. He picked it up and brought it close because his eyes aren't so good. He pointed at the lamb and said "This one, sick. This one hurt. Need help." Elder Mafi touched the lamb and said "This one, you. You, sick, you hurt. You need help." The Spirit filled the room and we just sat there I in complete awe at the feeling. The outside world disappeared and in probably the most touching moment on my mission this man who had never heard of Jesus Christ before raised his hand and lightly touched the savior as he quietly said. "he help us." I fought back tears as I found myself, An American boy from North Carolina, on this itty bitty island of Saipan, teaching with a guy from Hawaii, the essential and simple truths of our Savior and Redeemer to a man from Thailand who didn't really speak English, And in his little room/appt. This man, through the Spirit discovered the simplest, coolest, and essential aspect of the Gospel. He died for us. He suffered for us. He perfectly knows each and everyone one of us. Our trials, our concerns, our afflictions. Our burdens, our pains, our guilt and our sorrow. Perfectly. Jesus Christ The Son of God IS our Savior and Redeemer. He helps us. He guides us. He knows the way out and he lovingly does all he can and did for us. All of us.
"You or I in a moment of weakness may cry out. 'No one understands. No one knows.' No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God Perfectly knows and understands, for he felt and bore our burdens before we ever did. And because he paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, he has perfect empathy and can extend to us his arm of mercy in so many phases or our life. He can reach out, touch, succor -literally run to us- and strengthen us" -Elder David A. Bednar
I haven't been able to watch conference yet this year but I do remember a talk by Jeffery R. Holland in an April conference some years ago in which he spoke about the Savior and His selfless acts in a talk entitled None Were With Him. I want to quote Elder Holland as he says "May we stand by Jesus Christ at all times, in all things, and in all places that we may be in, even until death...For surely that is how he stood by us. When it was unto death, and when he had to stand completely and utterly alone. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Another Great Zone Conference

On Thursday, May 3, 2012, we had another great Zone Conference.  All of our Elders came in from the outer islands and we met at the Blue Lagoon Hotel for an afternoon of inspiring training's, talks,  and testimonies.  We're sad to say good bye to three of our Elders this month and this was their chance to give their testimony and their parting thoughts and feelings.  In a few short weeks we will have to bid Elders Robertson, Elder Henrie and Elder Meldrum a fond farewell.  Their mission time is soon to come to an end as they depart towards their homes.
Our dear President and Sister Mecham came to teach and support us here in Chuuk. So we gathered to learn the gospel and buoy each other up.  It is gratifying to know that we have this band of brothers to watch our backs.  Each brings a great talent to the table and each supports the other in our growth.  The adversity that we face is the source of our strength and endurance, with the Lord, Jesus Christ to guide us, we can handle whatever is placed before us.  He is the beacon light to show us the way.
Our very able bodied Zone Leaders,
Elder Butler and Elder Shakespear.