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).  

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