Sunday, September 30, 2012

Herman & Sarafina "Christlike servants"

This is Herman Walters. He is one of the pioneers in the church here. The picture he is holding is one we just delivered. In June, one of his old mission companions from the states, Chad Ellis and his beautiful wife Lynette, were here visiting and doing some humanitarian work. Lynette took the picture and when they got back to the states they had it blown up and matted. It is quite beautiful!
Herman was very surprised and his kids loved it. Hermans lovely wife, Sarafina, was still working so she did not get to see it here. (darn it) Herman has 6 beautiful children, the baby Selena is missing in the picture. They take care of a lot more than that. At the current time they have 34 people living with them. Don't ask where they all sleep. It's a mystery....
Because Herman has a house where many people stay he always has them take the missionary lessons. It is required, they must hear the gospel so they can choose for themselves. You cannot drive people to do things which are right, but you can love them into doing them, if your example is of such a character that they can see you mean what you say.
A saying that we really love to help remind us of our actions goes like this; "your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear your words"
The Lord says this: "See that ye love one another; cease to be covetous, learn to impart one to another as the gospel requires..."And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bonds of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace. D&C 88:123,125. Herman and Sarafina are examples of this kind of love.
Our Heavenly Father has said in very plain terms that he who says he loves God and does not love his brother is not truthful. 1 John 4:20
This is Herman's mother and his fathers sister. Herman's Mom had 9 children and many of them hold positions in the Church here. These little Chuukese women are such shining beams of love.  You just want to hug them and tell them how wonderful they are.
We feel very honored and blessed to know this family. Our ministry is one of love. Our service is one which enriches our lives. If we are living as God intends that we should live, if we are ministering as he desires that we should minister, every day of our lives is enriched by the influence of his Spirit. We know that this is our Fathers work. It is the most important thing that we will be identified with in this life. "Love one another"

Boat Trippin. . .

Last Wednesday we went out to the outer island, Romanum, to teach the Temple prep class. With us is the S/I supervisor Freddie, who was visiting the Chuuk zone to see how things were going with everyone. The day was basically uneventful with perfectly smooth water, no rain, and a lot of jelly fish just hanging around waiting. . . . . . we of course stayed away from them. When we arrived at the island, a small boat came out and picked us up to take us to the shore.
We took the big boat out this day and we are happy because it is much more comfortable. Here we have Elder Tiffany, Brother Charles and Brother Nicerio, "Freddie". We haven't fired up the boat yet and that is why the life jackets are just hanging there. It's too hot to hang out in a life jacket until our air conditioning kicks in, or in other words the boat starts moving.
Elder Tiffany putting on his dry socks because when you arrive you do get into the shallow water . . . watch out for the jelly fish!!!
Looks like our boat has been taken over by the nudist colony of young boys while we were teaching. The little boys around here always go naked. We are not sure yet at what age they decide to start wearing clothes, we are, however, thankful that they do.
This is the small boat taking all of us big people to the boat. It can be tricky. I think we are going to need more help pushing.
This is Elder Eakins. Sister Eakins would not let me take her picture. She may be little but don't mess with her, she is pretty tough. Anyway I will capture her another day when she doesn't know, because I am quick.
You can see them getting into the big boat from the small boat. It really is not that easy to do keeping it steady and all. Notice all the naked boys also loading on the small boat. "Chuuk is such a fun interesting place". On the way back to the main island, Sister Eakins passes out either a roll or a cookie and some water to drink. But first she passes around the hand sanitizer for everyone to clean up. Gotta be healthy!!! We agree.

We Have a New Zone...

A Latter-day Saint’s life is his or her best sermon. Our conversations ought to be open, genuine, and engaged in with a spirit of kindness. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are most believable when our actions are in harmony with our beliefs.
Our new elders have now become trainers.
Elder Bowers, Elder Obray and Elder Allen.
In the short time they have been here, these young men have done a lot of great missionary work in each of the areas they have been working in.
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." ">
Elder Bowers and Elder Peck will serve on the island of Uman. "The Lord has said He will reveal truth to our mind and our heart by the Holy Ghost.
Elder Obray and Elder Rainey will serve in the Mechitiw Branch. "The Lord said that every priesthood holder should "learn his duty" and" all diligence"
Elder Allen and Elder Selander will serve on the island of Tonoas.“Lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;
“For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say” (D&C 100:5–6).
“The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).
These are the new Elders, their trainers, bracketed by the Zone Leaders. President Eyring taught us: “Prepare to share [the gospel] by filling your mind every day with the truths of the gospel.” What can you do to fill your mind with the truths of the gospel?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Temple Class on the Beautiful Island of Romanum

Elder Tiffany getting ready to teach a class.
2 Nephi 32:5, For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.
This lovely couple is Seramino and Teresa Walters. They have 10 beautiful children. Seramino is a counselor in the District Presidency.
Yea the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have been endowed in this house. >And the fame of this house shall spread to foreign lands; and this is the beginning of the blessing which shall be poured out upon the heads of my people. D&C 110:9,10
We are here with Teresa. She is amazing, she makes our beautiful flower lei's and greets us each week to adorn our heads with a wonderful crown. She always has the classroom clean and ready to go when we arrive. She is absolutely a gem.
We testify that this great work of God is on the earth today. We bear witness that the Lord watches over His Church and directs it through His prophet, Thomas S. Monson. We are grateful to have the opportunity to serve the Chuukese people.
The island is beautiful - you can see the LDS Church and the missionaries house.  

Our Faith will increase

The Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.
This is Elder Lavides and he is from the Philippines. He arrived here on his mission 2 weeks after us. He is such a wonderful young man and we are happy that we have been able to spend time in the jungles walking and teaching members and investigators with him. Elder Lavides has such a special spirit about him. He is a little guy but he's a giant package of life and energy. Everyone loves him and his antics. He has been called to serve over in Guam as a Zone Leader. We are praying he will come back sometime in the future so we can finish our mission with him.
Elder Lina, who is also from the Philippines, was trained by Elder Lavides. As you can see he is full of fun also. Elder Lina is leaving also to serve on the island of Saipan. They are going to bless the lives of those in their respective places just as they have here. Both of these Elders might be small but they have huge testimonies and amazing spirits. We are all going to miss them very much. We know Elder Lina will enjoy serving over in Saipan and we pray he will be back also.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Faith Builder...

We have come to realize that one part of our mission we do not like is TRANSFERS. We have sent all but 2 of the missionaries we started with either home or to another island. One might think that senior couples don't spend that much time with the young elders, but we do! We work together in many different ways. In Proverbs 3:11-12 it says; When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more.
We were called as MLS missionaries which basically means proselyting missionaries, they call it MLS, so as to not freak the old folks out. We spend time walking and visiting people with the Elders, we enjoy meals together, we have visits with one another and to be honest they become our surrogate sons. We love all our missionaries and these goodbye's are just a drag. Although we might not enjoy these changes we know that the Lord has a bigger plan.
We had to say goodbye to Elder Shakespear. He is a tall drink of water from Tropic, Utah and he is going to Guam to become the A.P. We know he will be a good leader there. We are grateful that the Lord chose to leave Elder Allred here in Chuuk with us, at least for now anyway. All of our missionaries are such fine young men and have amazing leadership qualities. We truly don't like to lose anyone but we know it is all part of the mission.
Elder Shakespear with his tiny luggage telling us all farewell for now... Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much.

What a night!

It is translation night and oh, "what a night". Let me tell you about translating in Chuuk.
First, we don't have computers with the right programs needed to do the work correctly. Next, we only have one that actually lets us download on it so the team can do some work. Then we have technology that does not give the gift of dependability on this tiny island in the middle of the Pacific. Not to mention the fact that we don't know anything about the programs they want us to use and we need to learn them to teach the team. However, we absolutely love this group of people and know how important this work is. Our heart goes out to the man and woman in charge, Alberto and Susan, they deal with all the islands and we all have the same or similar problems.
Yes, I know the team is smiling and it looks like they are having a great time but that's because they just finished off a bag of Caramel Popcorn and well, the Chuukese people always smile. Not to mention they've been watching Sister Tiffany stress out and tell them she was going to go home to say bad words. They just laugh and laugh. They don't know that she really can come up with some goods words...
Anyway, this team works very hard. One of the most amazing things about them is how they serve one another. They are so happy to be part of the translation team and to partake of the spirit that they draw on. They all work together even though only one will get paid. They will share what little money they will make. This group is planning a temple trip as part of the translation team excursion. We have had the privilege of teaching them English, Temple Prep and now translation. A couple of them are not in the picture because one is still at school and the other is in the next room teaching Seminary. As the evening got later they were all together in the room with the others. The room is about the size of a walkin closet.
This is Marsine. This picture looks like she is stressed out but really she is not. She is focused on learning what Sister Tiffany has been teaching her. We have promised them that as long as we are here and as long as they are willing, we will do everything to help and teach them. Like we said before, we truly love this group of people and pray we can serve them well. In spite of the test and trials we are given. But we're not murmuring, honest.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Farewell for now Elders!

This is a post off of Elder Laperouse blog when these two Elders were companions: I found it fitting for this farewell post!
There are days that Elder V and I wake up on our sleeping pad/cot/ mattress thingy (we sleep on the floor) and both make the comment that we feel like we are camping. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be in this mission. For this experience, and for this trust. I've met too many people, missionaries, and locals alike, and seen and done many things that have changed my life forever! I can't believe there's only a year left. Time is so short. I love you all...Oh! I forgot to mention how strong the Brotherhood is between all the Chuuk Elders. It reminds me of the Squirrels. In Chuukeese custom there are "Promise Brothers", which is the Chuukeese equivalent of blood brothers. The Elders in the Chuuk Zone treat everybody as such. Our own Chuuk Island family. There are no individuals in this Zone, and our relationships emulate island custom. Elder Braydon Lapeyrouse
Elder Lapeyrouse post truly says it all about the Chuuk Zone. It truly is an island family and we pray they will always be close to one another. We have been blessed to serve in the Chuuk Zone with such fine youngmen.
Both Elder Valinotti and Elder Laperouse left our Zone back in April to teach on different islands. Both of these Elders are great youngmen, and we enjoyed getting to know them. We have missed them in Chuuk but know they have done amazing work on the other islands. They will be returning back to the states this week. ”
You both have served with honor! We love you guys and look forward to seeing you again next year.

Let's make it forever!

This is our 2nd Temple class on this island and this group is part of the Mwan Branch.
We love these people very much. We have spent a lot of time teaching English with them throughout the year. It is hard to describe how important this group of people are to us but we are going to try. Sundays are very long, we attend church from 9-12, Sister Tiffany teaches in the Primary and Elder Tiffany helps teaching in Sunday School. After church we set up for English and teach for 1 hour, then we take a short break (Chuukese time) and set up the classroom for the Temple class. We put pictures of the temple up to pull in the sweet spirit of the sacredness we have for the temple. We get home around 4, eat dinner with the Zone Leaders, visit and call it a day! This was the final class for this group and it was very well attended by all of us and the Spirit.
"Esmeit and Kinomy Otup" This couple are parents of the most adorable little girls. The girls speak English pretty well because they attend private school. I have them help me teach Primary so the other kids know what I am doing. "Lost in translation sometimes" Kinomy speaks English pretty well, although she doesn't think so. Esmeit is one of our boat drivers. He also drives a taxi here on Weno. He speaks enough English to get things done, but that's all. We have really grown to love this family and we are excited that they will be sealed together for time and all eternity.
"Useless and Merina Francis" Merina has lived in Saipan to attend school, so she speaks English pretty well. She and Useless just got married this year and combined families. Useless does not speak very much English but he attends the class each week to learn more. He works for the shipping yard delivering and picking up containers. Merina's sisters have a lot of kids and Merina and Useless are amazing examples to them. Just this month they have had 7 members of their extended family baptized. The Zone Leaders teach the families in Mwan Branch. Merina is also the President of the womens group "CWC" in the Mwan area.
"Tasiana Walter"
What can we tell you about this awesome lady. We love Tasiana very much. She is the mother of ten children. Her husband is not active. He is a police officer here. We invite him each week to come to class and pray that he will soon. Tasiana has served a mission, but back when she did they did not have to get endowed to serve so this will be her first temple trip. She really wants her husband to go with her and we are all praying for this to happen. Tasiana speaks really good english and she always has something funny to say. She has a wonderful laugh.
"K.C. Techuo and Emylynn Walter"
These beautiful girls we truly love. K.C. is one of Raiton and Malinta's daughters, not legally, but here in Chuuk you can take someones kid and raise them if you don't think their actual parent is doing a good job. It's perfectly legal! Anyway, K.C. is a doll. She speaks English well and comes to all the classes to support Emylynn. Emylynn is another one that is adorable. She is a Walter and lives across the street from the Church. She is now attending the local college and waiting for a letter of acceptance to BYU Hawaii. She speaks English really well and is a smart girl. She is now part of the translation team and that is why she is planning on going to the temple at this time.
"Riaton and Malinta Alik"
Now this couple we truly love, we met this couple while doing the GPS work with the ZL's and we just made a connection with them. Raiton does not have a job but at home he works very hard. Same with Malinta. They have 1 son and 8 daughters. They are now raising a grand-daughter. Each of the girls speak English well and they are all sweethearts just like mom and dad. Both Riaton and Malinta speak English pretty well, although if someone else is speaking, Malinta will not even let you know she knows what your saying. But she does. Malinta is always laughing and has such a great laugh. She is also part of the CWC group. Raiton lived in Saipan for awhile and learned a lot of English there and is also on the translation team.
"Oriko Ewar and daughter Jubilee"
We so love this lady. She is a widowed mother of 7 kids. Three are living in the states now. Oriko works at the Truk Stop Hotel, where we live, as a maid. She is devoted to the students she teaches in Seminary. This lady is a great example of hard work and devotion. Jubilee her youngest daughter always comes to class, she knows us very well and likes to spend time with us. We love this little girl very much. Oriko has been to the temple once before to have her husband sealed to her, but will be going back again with the translation team. She has such an amazing testimony and at our last class she shared what a blessing it is to be sealed together with your spouse.
Last day :(
"I...invite the members of the Church to establish the temple of the Lord as the great symbol of their membership and the supernal setting for their most sacred covenants. It would be the deepest desire of my heart to have every member of the Church be temple worthy. I would hope that every adult member would be worthy of and carry a current temple recommend, even if proximity to a temple does not allow immediate or frequent use of it" President Howard W. Hunter

"Taro" the staple food for Micronesia

English: Taro, Egyptian lily, elephant’s ear, taro is resistant to most pests and diseases. Taro is sometimes used as a source of a very white, easily digested starch or flour. The underground corms and cormels are used for food after thorough cooking, particularly in times of scarcity. The leaves may be eaten (e.g., fried with onions, garlic, chili, etc.)This Taro is of the root, it has been peeled, sliced, smashed added in fresh coconut, and sugar.
This is how Taro is wrapped in a leaf to cook. It is cooked over a fire outside in a very large pan.
This is what it looks like after it is cooked. It is wet and sticky.
It can be an ornamental foliage plant it is big and beautiful!
This was our Pink food stand where we used to buy cucumbers and banana's. Now it is "The Little Orange Stand"...
Notice the food in the wrapped green leaf, that is probably Taro...

I know who I am, I know God's plan

When speaking with a beautiful member, Thersina Walter, the other day, I was asking about one of my primary girls that now lives on her island. She was telling us that she teaches the girls music and one of her favorite songs is "I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". She learned the song from the previous Mission Presidents wife, Kayla Dowdle.
Faith in Jesus Christ is the conviction and assurance of His status as the Only Begotten Son of God, His infinite Atonement, and His literal Resurrection—and all that these fundamental realities entail for us.
The story goes like this, after learning the song, which if you haven't heard, you can go to, search music and download. It is beautiful. Anyway, this little girl was in school and she was singing the song and the teacher heard her and asked, "What song are you singing"? She answered, "I belong to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". The teacher then asked her to sing it to her. "Where did you learn that song", she said. She answered, "My church". "Who taught you"? She wanted to know. "My aunt". "Do you think she will teach me"?
Members of the church are always willing to teach those who are willing to learn. They prayerfully determine what invitation or invitations to extend in each contact made. They will build lessons around the invitation, identifying the doctrines that they might need to understand. They prayerfully determine how to teach those doctrines to achieve the greatest clarity and conviction for that individual. In this case words through a song. Thersina has been RS President, Primary President and recently released as Seminary teacher.
Well, the school teacher is of the Protestant faith and she came to Thersina and asked her, "If I teach you a song will you teach me your song"? Thersina, being the beautiful sweet lady she is, said, "Sure". and began to teach her. Our faith in Christ is born of the Spirit as we hear the word of God. The teacher then said, and don't miss this ... I am going to teach this to my church so we can sing it too. Well, the wonderful thing about music is it touches us all, and the Protestant religion is a Christian Religion so she feels the song is good to sing. Which we too believe it is.
These are the words: I belong to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I know who I am, I know God's plan, I'll follow Him in faith. I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. I'll honor His name, I'll do what is right; I'll follow his light. His truth I will proclaim.
Our faith in Christ is born of the Spirit as we hear the word of God taught by those who are His commissioned servants, both living and dead. As we build upon that foundation, our faith is strengthened by prayers of faith that have become a part of our daily life—and sometimes a part of our hourly life.
This is our Elder Sofele and his companion in training Jasper...they just got back from teaching lessons.
Your own faith in Christ will grow wonderfully as you seek day by day to know and to do the will of God. We are so very grateful for good saints willing to share the gospel in whatever possible way they are able. We know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and he knows and loves each one of us.
May we all be willing to share the gospel and love for others continually throughout our life.
This is a couple of our Future Missionaries...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Elder Butlers Last Stand

The "Last Supper" (with Elder Butler) The Zone Leaders will be back again next week for another one of Sister Tiffany's fabulous feasts. Elder Strum was a welcome addition.
Here the Elders are conversing on all things spiritual and maybe a few other subjects that happened to come up. Always solving problems, that's what ZL's and AP's do, right?
Just prior to Elder Butler disappearing into the Airport we were able to catch him for a few parting shots. It was a sad parting but we hope that we will soon see him again.
You might notice that Elder Butler is sporting the Super Cool Shades. Yep, He's a natural!
We have still not mastered the ability of letting go of our Elders. It is a sad occasion every time one of our beloved men go home. We slump around for a few days until we almost get used to the idea, then we have a good cry and blog it. God Speed Elder Butler and give our homeland a kiss for us.