Tuesday, October 30, 2012


This is Raiton we met him last year when we first started our mission and doing GPS locating.  Raiton was not very active at the time.  It didn't matter to us because we knew he was a great guy.  We believe everyone has their season.  We chose to see him as he could be, our mission is to love people unconditionally without having an ulterior motive.  Yes I know sometimes that is easier said than done, but it was that kind of love that brought us back to the gospel and gave us the opportunity to go on a full time mission.

We became friends right away with Raiton and his lovely wife Malinta.  We knew they were people we could really enjoy being around.  They are both absolute sweethearts.  They both speak English pretty well and he loves to teach ET Chuukese.   When these two guys are together, we all get a lot of laughs in.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I Am a Child of God

The primary in our branch has been working really hard learning the words to "I Am a Child of God" in English and also in the Chuukese language. They sound really good right now. I have been teaching them what the words mean and each week I ask them, "who are you"? They answer, "I am a child of God". Then I ask what does that mean?
These are the words
I am a Child of God, and he has sent me here Has given me an earthly home With parents kind and dear.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me. Help me find the way. Teach me all that I must do To live with him someday.
I am a child of God, And so my needs are great. Help me to understand his words, before it grows too late "Chorus"
I am a child of God, rich blessings are in store; If I but learn to do his will, I'll live with him once more. "Chorus"
I am very proud of all of them. We will be having a party at the end of November for them and they will sing it in December at our District Conference. It will be very special for the parents to see what lovely children they have.
Last week when practicing, a lot of kids were busy bodies and it was difficult to keep them focused. Now kids will be kids. After teaching the lesson and settling the children down to color a picture. The children really love to color and it keeps them busy for quit sometime.
I then went into a private room and said a prayer. In D&C 19:38 it says, "pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing". I know that the Lord hears our prayers and is waiting for us to call upon him for direction. At this moment I really needed some direction because I was frustrated, angry, disappointed, then just completely lost. I have come to love the Chuukese people very much and want the very best for them. I never want to hurt or offend anyone. We are all Children of God.
I was suppose to teach in Relief Society about teaching children reverence and really needed some help to teach on that subject after leaving primary. When I first arrived in the Relief Society, I felt a little lost so I just waited, silently praying about what am I suppose to say to help these lovely ladies. I began telling them about what we are teaching in primary and how much I loved their children. Then I told them about the song, "I am a child of God", and that each week I ask the children the question, Who are you? Then I said to them, I would like to ask you, the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, friends, Who are you?
I went on to explain that I knew we come from different cultures and that I come from another country. But I also know that we are a lot more alike than we are different. I know that we are all children of God. I asked them why do we come to church? Is it to learn about our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ? I asked them that we (Primary leaders) needed them to support and help us teach the children to be reverent. I then asked the question, if Jesus Christ walked in the door right now would he be happy with us? I read from the teachings of the apostles and I explained that the Lord has commanded parents to “bring up [their] children in light and truth”. Good parenting, while very challenging at times, offers great potential for happiness. Mothers can experience great joy by building a strong, loving home environment and teaching gospel principles, which can help their children lead righteous, happy, and productive lives.
We have the responsibility to see individuals not as they are but rather as they can become.
This is another version of the song, "I am a child of God", that I really feel is fitting
I am a child of God that's only half the view, If I don't shed the natural man I'm sunk and so are you. Lead me, guide me, reconcile me, chasten me on earth, Help me over come the fall, grant me second birth.
I am a child of God that doesn't clear the slate, I'm carnal, sensual devilish, in a lost and fallen state. Save me, change me, rearrange me, gracious God above, Cleave unto a broken heart bestow redeeming love.
I am a child of God, yet I become his child, thru faith in his beloveth Son, redeemeth Son undefiled. Lead me, Guide me, Justify me, cleanse me make pure, Help me love as thou has loved or I cannot endure."
We all have something we are going through and working on. We need to learn how to live so that a weakness that is mortal will not prevent us from achieving the goal that is eternal.
I pray that we will have the courage to extend the hand of fellowship, the tenacity to try and try again, and the humility needed to seek guidance from our Father. I know the responsibility is upon me, as a missionary and a sister of Jesus Christ. I love the Chuukese people and am thankful for the opportunity to serve them and learn from each other.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Every now and then you just have to have some FuN!

The past week we have had the new couples in the mission visiting our islands. We have been planning for their visit for several weeks. This day we took the family History Couple Elder and Sister Olsen to a village called Sapuk. It is very beautiful up that way and we have a church in this area and also a missionary companionship.
Cars are left on the island pretty much everywhere and anywhere. If it dies the jungle gets to have it. We decided we needed to stop and take a picture of us on one of these landmarks. "Come on E.T., get on the car"
The big green leaf plant is called Taro. They eat it when it gets big. They dig it up and eat the root. It is washed, peeled, cut and boiled, then pounded. Then they add in coconut milk and some sugar. It actually tastes okay. They use the big leaves to wrap the food in for cooking and storage.
When the leaves get very large you can occasionally find someone using one as an umberella.
~ ET showing off his Taro ears ~
We wanted to show the Humanitarian missionaries the Mwan Branch church. The view there is amazing and the water was very pretty this day but it was sunny and hot. This is Ronald Honey, what a fun guy he is to have around. We never stopped laughing.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

"Turn the hearts of the Children"

As we have blogged before, we have been teaching temple preparation classes which have lead us to the spirit of Elijah to do Family History work. The prophet Elijah committed the keys for vicarious work to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple to fulfill the Lord’s promise that “he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers
This is Elder and Sister Olsen from Richfield, Utah. They have been called to be the Family History Specialists and will be based in Guam. They have only been out for about three months and have been traveling around to many of the islands to see what can be done to begin family history.
We started on the computer with the two Family History consultants for the Chuuk District, but since we only have 22/7 power, it was difficult to do so. We then decided it was best to do it old school and since all of us learned that way it was easier to teach it anyways. We know that we have to eventually get online but for now we have begun.
President Howard Hunter taught: “We must accomplish the priesthood temple ordinance work necessary for our own exaltation; then we must do the necessary work for those who did not have the opportunity to accept the gospel in this life. Doing work for others is accomplished in two steps: first, by family history research to ascertain our progenitors; and second, by performing the temple ordinances to give them the same opportunities afforded to the living.
This work is a spiritual work, a monumental effort of cooperation on both sides of the veil, where help is given in both directions. Anywhere we are in the world, with prayer, faith, determination, diligence, and some sacrifice, we all can make a powerful contribution.

The beautiful children . . .

We remember our Savior’s teaching as He placed a little child before His followers and declared: “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
"Learning to fully understand the doctrines of the gospel is a process of a lifetime and comes ‘line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little’ (2 Nephi 28:30).
As children learn and act upon what they learn, their understanding is expanded, which leads to more learning, more action, and even greater and more enduring understanding." We love the Chuukese Children, they always have such beautiful smiles.
"We testify of the great blessing of children and of the happiness they will bring us in this life and in the eternities."
“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3–4).

Monday, October 22, 2012

'Partying on the other side"

We were invited to come to the Mechitiw Branch party last week and because this is the branch we started in when we first arrived on the island last year, we were happy to attend. Our island may be small but this branch is still on the other side of it. The road is very bad over there and little Berta, our car, sometimes has a difficult time getting over the large chuuk holes. We really love the Mechitiw people and miss seeing them each week.
This is the Anton family. Brother Anton is the 1st counselor in the Branch Presidency. He has really bad hearing and can only hear in one ear. He said that sometimes he gets really bored because when he is at church he doesn't know what anyone is saying. Sister Anton taught us Chuukese for several weeks when we first arrived. She thinks she is pretty tough and a rebel which is probably why we became friends so quickly. She is a sweetheart, and a very funny lady. The Anton family have over come many challenges. We are taught that when necessary the Lord will even carry us over obstacles as we seek His peace with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Often He speaks to us in ways that we can hear only with our heart. This lovely family wants to go to the temple and be sealed together. We are working with them to make it happen when the Chuukese group gets approved to go.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf teaches us that as we accept Gods ways and overcome our pride by softening our hearts, we can bring reconciliation and forgiveness into our families and our personal lives. God will help us to be more forgiving, to be more willing to walk the second mile, to be first to apologize even if something wasn’t our fault, to lay aside old grudges and nurture them no more. Thanks be to God, who gave His Only Begotten Son, and to the Son, who gave His life for us.
These beautiful ladies are the movers and shakers of the party. They cooked all afternoon, cleaned the church and planned a program.
They prepared large plates of macaroni salad, rice, chicken, hot dogs, ham slices and fruit salad. One thing Chuukese people do is know how to eat. It was all very tasty...
It is ice cream time ~ "ice cream, ice cream we all scream for ice cream".
These are the elders that serve in the Mechitiw Branch. Elder Obray and Elder Rainey. Both of these elders are very new to the mission, but they are doing incredible work and are teaching the lessons in Chuukese. They are “sanctified by the Spirit" and carry with them a mantle. The fact that our Heavenly Father would entrust this power and responsibility to man is evidence of His great love for us and a foreshadowing of our potential as sons of God in the hereafter.
This picture has the humanitarian missionaries that came this week to Chuuk to deliver wheel chairs and teach the doctors how to fit people for the correct chair. Elder Andy and Sister Roylene Schnebly and Ronald K. Honey. We had such a wonderful time showing them the island.
A sure testimony of Jesus Christ and of His restored gospel takes more than knowledge—it requires personal revelation, confirmed through honest and dedicated application of gospel principles.
“Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.”

Hope, Mobility and Freedom Delivered to Chuuk

Humanitarian Missionaries Ronald K. Honey and Andy and Roylene Schnebly from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We welcomed them to Chuuk on a rainy and humid day so they had a wonderful introduction to what the next three days were going to be like.
The beautiful lei's they are wearing are not only beautiful, but smell wonderful too. The Chuukese women make them with the local flowers and fruit. It is a Chuukese culture ritual to put one on your guest.
A container with wheelchairs, walkers and crutches arrived the prior week for the Chuukese people. The economic situation of most of the local people is such that only a select few can afford the cost of a new wheelchair. It is a great blessing that our church donates them here.
Doctor Anamarie needed help getting the wheelchairs from the container to use for training. So we had to round up our Michetiw Elders Obray and Rainey and also the Zone Leaders, Elder Allred and Jones to help get the equipment out of the container. They both drive pickup trucks and they all have strong young muscles.
The Humanitarian missionaries spent 3 days training and teaching the doctors, nurses and health dept about wheel chairs. How to evaluate the patients, how to use the wheelchairs correctly and also they taught them how to take care of the wheel chairs so they will last longer in the environment here. It was all very informative and worked out well.
Here they are learning how to evaluate and move patients to a wheelchair.
This is Herman Walters. He is a pioneer in Chuuk. He served as a missionary, taught and trained many missionaries the Chuukese language and culture. He was a Branch President and a District President for 18 years. Herman lives across the street from the Mwan Branch on the island of Weno. Currently he has 34 people living with him. He is diabetic now and half of one of his feet was amputated. He does walk but it is painful and makes his legs hurt. He is one of the greatest fisherman around. He went to Salt Lake in the 90's to do translation for the Temple endownment so when our Chuukese people go to the Temple it is his voice they hear on their head phones. We really wanted to make sure Herman was taken care of. He is a very special man and means a lot to the people here in Chuuk. We had him checking out the wheelchairs, but he is pretty strong so for now he is going to use a walker.
For many years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been actively involved in humanitarian relief and development activities throughout the world.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ran annim!

Our time here has reached a point of the downhill variety. At the end of this month we will have been out for a year. The time goes very quickly most of the time. Our work here has been a wonderful experience and decidedly life changing.
Here on our tiny little dot of terra firma in the middle of the vast open blue ocean, we send you greetings, known here as kapong - - -
Our adventures this past month have been pretty busy with our appointed duties, which mostly consists of checking on people, helping and feeding the Elders and preparing and teaching lessons. We are now finishing up teaching Temple Preparation classes in three branches. Our goal is to try to get at least all of the Branch Presidents to the Temple. Also we are continuing to work with the translation team and get them to the Temple. With the translation team our work is more technical because we have to teach them how to use the computer and that means we have to learn the programs. Sister Tiffany has led the way here, her being the techno geek of the family. Other than that we try to get out to visit the members and occasionally we work with some of the humanitarian organizations that are here. And there is always trying to learn the language. Luckily most of the people understand English (called merikan), they just won’t speak it.
We have an entire new zone now, except for 2 elders that were here when we came. For sure, the hardest part of this mission is saying goodbye to our boys. We get very close with these young men because we have spent a lot of time together and they become like our own family.
Like we have probably said in our past post, things are very different here. A few examples . . . Just last month we were over at the District Presidents home when all at once I see something whiz by my foot. I looked down just in time to see a big 2 inch cockroach. Yup, I just about screamed, I gently moved my foot out of the way so as not to offend anyone. I knew one lived there because I had seen him once before when I was doing my visiting teaching there so I guess I was kind of prepared. Big and little bugs are just one of the many things we all learn to deal with here.
One of the new elders said he didn’t think he could sleep where bugs lived. Well, in the tropics bugs are a given. We have bug bombs and every month we let one off in our apartment for the day and pray that it will work for us to keep them out. We also use a bug killer called Permethrin. It seems to help with keeping the ants away also. Chuuk has even more ants than Utah if you can believe that. Anyway, I digress, back to the Bugs. We have to get used to them because these people live with them every day. It is impossible to get rid of them all. They just shoe them away like we would a fly and there is plenty of them here too. We just want to kill it! Give me a shoe and I’ll kill it!
One funny time we were with one of our elders parents. They had come to pick him up from his mission and we were visiting a family when his mom, and I were silently freaking out about a big bug on the floor when another one came running out. The small kids were watching us, but we weren’t saying anything, we were just keeping our feet up. The sister leans over to her husband and says, “so I hope you’re not afraid of cockroaches running behind your back because a couple are on the wall behind you”. He pulled a funny face but stayed quiet. Boy, are we a bunch of American pansies or what?
Another thing we have here are a lot of Gecko’s and they come in all sizes. ET has named our little one Reginald the third. Reggie always has cousins over to the apartment for get-togethers. The small ones are pretty cute but the bigger they get the uglier they are. We can keep the bigger ones outside but there is no defense for the little ones. At least they eat the other bugs and that’s a plus.
On the missionary side of things we have been working on helping to set up a translation team. Only a small part of the Book of Mormon has been translated into Chuukese. Neither the D&C nor the Pearl of Great Price has been translated so there is a concerted effort to do so and we have been getting people interviewed and trained to join the work. There are people who have been working on it but they are mostly returned missionaries and the team leaders would like some people from Chuuk to be a part of that team. Sometimes it feels like we are trying to nail jello to the wall though. It can be trying because we are only a small part of the world, a speck of land in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles away from anyone else in the world.
Our power goes out often and things can move very slow sometimes. The people we work with in Guam have a larger measure of civilization than we do here. Guam is probably like a Hawaiian island to give you an example. We suspect they don’t like to come to Chuuk cause when they do they spend the least amount of time here as they can but they want everything to run the same way. They are, however, better to work with than Salt Lake. Sometimes it seems like everything is a battle but we know that the Lord knows our obstacles and challenges. We all wear the same jerseys but we run at different speeds.
We’re happy to report that we are doing a lot of things that we really didn’t see before we got here. We have made friends with many people that are involved with the educational programs here and also some community organizations and we have the opportunity to be involved in working on some events around the island. There are many needs here and many charitable organizations are present.
We love you all and hope we can keep you entertained and share more of our experiences with you before we come back home. We’re feeling pretty good cause we know this mission is not for sissy's and at times it has been tough. But most times it has been completely wonderful.
We testify that the Lord does know us. He gives us what we "THINK" we need on most occasions and he has given us what we DO need at all times. We are thankful to have this wonderful opportunity to serve the Chuukese people which we have come to love very much and will miss when we leave.
We think of all of you many times and we hope that all is well with you. Kot epwe nom roem ach chu sefan. God be with you till we meet again.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The "Repictureator"

This thing all started because sometimes while doing missionary work, you just have those moments that really need to be shared. We figure the fun way to do it is to share it with the Elders. It has been a lot of fun to see them check it out occasionally and see if they have made it on the fridge. We love all our Elders but sadly we get to spend time with some more than others. But over all the Chuuk zone truly is a family. When we arrived in Chuuk we were embraced by the zone and we hope to give that same kind of love to all our new Elders and couples that come to join us here in Chuuk. This repictureator has become more than we imagined it would, so we want to share it with you also.
The goal for Elders now is to get a picture on the repictureator. The Elders that have gone home have left a legacy for the new elders to continue building. We have told them that this picture collage will come to reunions for their future wives to see what great missionaries they are. We'll attempt to bring it without the appliance behind it however.
Elder Bowers and Elder Peck are serving on the island Uman. They really know how to work the camera. This one turned out a little fuzzy and when they saw us the next day we were asked, "Did we make it on the fridge"? We said sorry no, it was not a good picture so we need to do it again. We then got this next shot. It was so funny because Elder Bower was not expecting Elder Peck to jump up which made the shot even better.
What do you think REPICTUREATOR material? The look on Elder Bower face is classic!

"Raising the Bar"

The obligation to proclaim the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is inherent in the oath and covenant of the priesthood into which we enter. Missionary work essentially is a priesthood responsibility, and all who hold the priesthood are the Lord’s authorized servants on the earth and are missionaries at all times and in all places and we always will be.
~Elder Walter, Elder Obray,and Elder Bower~ This group of three Elders joined the Chuuk zone in July and are already trainers. These young men are amazing at how fast they have learned the language. They are all teaching lessons and sure they stumble a little but truly they are just 12 weeks out and speaking Chuukese.
Proclaiming the gospel is not an activity in which we periodically and temporarily engage “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Missionary work is a manifestation of our spiritual identity and heritage".
~Elder Selander, Elder Rainey and Elder Peck~ This group came in September to join the Chuuk zone. They are still learning the language but we also have to say how amazing this group is. Almost our entire meeting this time was in Chuukese. They were training in Chuukese and all of them did a great job. Elder Dallin H. Oaks has taught us most effectively about the challenge of becoming something instead of just doing expected things or performing certain actions.
As you can see by both of these pictures, neither group are giving Chuukese signs. They are so new here they didn't even think about it. When President Mecham is getting ready to take our group picture, Sister Mecham usually would have to say "NO hand signs". Now we are such a new zone she didn't have to say anything about it.
In this picture they decided to show you, yes they know the hand signs. All of these young Elders are doing wonderful and we love them and look forward to working together.
"It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become”

“Missionaries are never boring!

We had the opportunity this past week to have our Zone Conference with our mission President and his wife. Which means all the elders come in from there area's including outer islands. They were all very busy planning the meeting, getting interviews, doing laundry, getting shopping for the next couple of weeks. It is also a time to build comradery with one another. How we treat those closest to us is of fundamental importance. But. . . when young elders get together and they can relax for a minute that is when we get the camera's out. We feel they are the best pictures and really show the personalities of each one.
The Chuuk Zone
They are obedient and faithful missionaries, and the work here progresses. We are confident that an even greater harvest will be achieved as our righteous, committed missionaries fulfill the Savior’s commandment to preach His gospel. Our greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Does the Mormon Faith build better leaders?

This is Elder Doug Johnson, he served here in Chuuk with us and has now returned home. We are so proud of him because he has continued his mission back in the states. Elder Johnson learned to speak the Chuukese language really well, as do all of our Elders that serve here. Many of them have returned home now and they are working on the translation team whether it be as Interpreter or Translator.
Every moment of every day missionary companionships rise at the same time in a shared room. They proselytize for 10 hours a day, six days a week for 24 months. Over the course of their mission each individual rotates through two or three companions. One person is always assigned a senior role, usually on the strength of the time served. Guidelines are laid out in a pocket-sized handbook that they carry with them.
This is a picture of the newest Elders that just arrived here in Chuuk State. The senior companion will teach his new Elder the language. Only 2 Elders in this group have been out over a year. These Elders learn total emphasis on self sufficiency and hard work.
Most of the young people who serve a mission have been learning since they were 18 months old. Beginning in nursery, where they learn to sit quiet, say opening and closing prayers in front of the class, sing songs, share toys with other class mates and learn scripture stories. Once a week, every year, they keep learning... line up on line. Then the day comes when they are ready to share what they have been blessed with others. As with many of the Chuuk Elders that served here over the years, they continue to bless the lives of the people they have grown to love and had to leave. Good bless the missionaries!
The answer to the caption; Does the Mormon Faith build better leaders? The answer is Yes, according to Bloomberg Business Week June 09, 2011 who did a great write up regarding missionaries. Check it out... the title is God's MBA's.

U.S. Ambassador Visits Chuuk

Dorothea-Maria Rosen is the United States Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia.
After the meeting it was time for a couple of pictures.
We had a great discussion here at the beginning of Ambassador Rosens visit to Chuuk. We discussed many issues of the area. There were many educators, business owners, and interested parties present and each had the occasion to comment on their respective areas. The night was cordial and informative. We have a great deal of hope that some initiatives can get under way here to begin to alleviate some of the severe conditions that exist.
Following World War II, the Federated States of Micronesia, along with several other island nations, were part of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, under U.S. administration. Micronesia achieved independence in 1986

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

God Bless the Child

I love all the kids!
This is some of my primary class. I love these little girls. We don't have a nursery so we also get the babies. Good thing I come from a large family so I can handle it. I have a great friend that comes in with me and translates for about 30 minutes to make sure they understand the lesson. Music is music in all languages but they love learning English music. Then we sit down and color pictures. These children love to color and are very satisfied for a long time to sit and color.
Even the boys want to be in the pictures. It truly is amazing how well behaved all these kids are. They crave to learn and be spoken too. We have been practicing singing "I am a Child of God" for our District Conference at the end of the year. They are singing it in English, I love the way is sounds in Chuukese but the kids want to sing it in English so English it is. You notice the finger gestures, all the Chuukese people do that. I am not completely sure why but they love to give a hand sign.
This is my favorite picture. I think it truly shows the sweetness these young kids have in them. I can't express enough how much I love them. We have so much fun together even though it is so hot because we don't have air conditioning and I sweat like I have been working out in my yard. We sing and dance around a lot too. They love it when I get animated and do the actions for the song. They laugh and laugh!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Chuukese car pileup

This is what we call a Chuukese Car Pile up! Everything grows very fast around here, except for our tomatoes. The jungle is claiming these cars now that they are all piled up. I have to say they do look better in green. . .
There are many broken down cars around in yards and on the side of the road. They are common here cause the deal is, If it dies, leave it! Which sometimes happens in the middle of the road.
Yup this is what happens when you hit one to many of the chuuk holes. . . off comes the wheel!

Simply beautiful "Chuukese Talent"

These are just a few of the different crafts the Chuukese people make. Everything they are using here comes from one of the islands. They hand carve all the wood carvings and it is amazing how much talent they have here. Every island State throughout Micronesia has a special talent that only they do. We are very fortunate to serve here in this mission and we love learning and teaching one another.

Excited to hear this news!

On Saturday, 6 October 2012, during the first session of the 182nd Semiannual General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson announced a lower age requirement for missionary service.
"Brothers and sisters, I now turn to another matter—namely, missionary service.
For some time the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have allowed young men from certain countries to serve at age of 18 when they are worthy, able, have graduated from high school and have expressed a sincere desire to serve. This has been a country-specific policy and has allowed thousands of young men to serve honorable missions and also fulfill required military obligations and educational opportunities.
Our experience with these 18-year-old missionaries has been positive. Their mission presidents report that they are obedient, faithful, mature, and serve just as competently as do the older missionaries who serve in the same missions. Their faithfulness, obedience and maturity have caused us to desire the same option of earlier missionary call for all young men, regardless of the country from which they come. I am pleased to announce that effective immediately, all worthy and able young men who have graduated from high school or its equivalent, regardless of where they live, will have the option of being recommended for missionary service beginning at the age of 18, instead of age 19. I am not suggesting that all young men will—or should—serve at this earlier age.Rather, based on individual circumstances, as well as upon a determination by priesthood leaders, this option is now available.
As we have prayerfully pondered the age at which young men may begin their missionary service, we have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.
We affirm that missionary work is a priesthood duty—and we encourage all young men who are worthy and who are physically able and mentally capable, to respond to the call to serve. Many young women also serve, but they are not under the same mandate to serve as are the young men. We assure the young sisters of the Church, however, that they make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome their service."
The missionary effort is based on the New Testament pattern of missionaries serving in pairs, teaching the gospel and baptizing believers in the name of Jesus Christ.
Missionaries receive their assignment from Church headquarters and are sent only to countries where governments allow the Church to operate. Missionaries do not request their area of assignment and do not know beforehand whether they will be required to learn a language. Missionary work is voluntary. Missionaries fund their own missions — except for their transportation to and from their assigned mission — and are not paid for their services.
Currently 58,000 missionaries are serving, and that number has been increasing in recent years and will likely rise significantly with this change. Elder Holland said it is likely that additional missions will be needed around the world and many missions will have more missionaries serving in them.
We currently have 14 Elders in 7 branches serving here with us. We are so happy to hear this news and pray that the Lord will send the Chuukese people more missionaries soon to serve them.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Holding on. . .

Our lagoon is normally very calm and smooth like glass. It usually has a beautiful blue/green color but this past week we have had some incredible wind and rain and waves. At first we only had a few small waves but then, just like in life, if we are not learning and listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost we can get wind, rain and waves in abundance.
The scriptures teach us that “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom"
As the week continued on the wind became more powerful and the waves reached upwards of 8-10 feet and the water got very merky and brownish in color. We must learn to seek the power and direction that is available to us and then follow that course no matter what. First on our “to do” list is the word prayer. Some of the time our prayers might be silent. We can think a prayer cause we know prayers are always heard. We are never alone and that brings comfort.
Discovering how the Holy Ghost operates is the quest of a lifetime. Once we have made that discovery and connection for ourselves, we can live in enemy territory and not be deceived or destroyed. Each one of us as members of this Church, that lives by these principles, will never make a serious mistake without first being warned by the promptings of the Holy Ghost. It is up to us to heed the warnings.
One evening I decided to take a walk on our dock to feel the cool weather and look at the waves. It is always nice when we have a breeze to cool the heat that is ever present. I was prompted to move off the dock and back onto the cement. On my way back I slipped and fell on the wet wooden plank. Just then another wave hit the dock where I had been. I knew it was the Holy Ghost helping me be safe. No matter how short I think I fall in comparsion to others, no matter how little value others see in me, Jesus felt I was worth the price He had to pay. Listening and being worthy to receive is a true blessing and so I returned back to the apartment being very thankful.
The key word is discipline—self-discipline. The word discipline comes from the word disciple or follower. Be a disciple-follower of the Savior, and you can be safe. Now I don't mean to sound like nothing will ever happen, things will happen to us, that is part of mortality, but if something does happen we want to make sure we know we are on the right side.
"President Monson" says, when the time for the decision arrives, the time for preparation is past. This quote is always on my mind - be prepared!
Guilt is spiritual pain. Do not suffer from chronic pain. Get rid of it. Be done with it. Repent, and if necessary, repent again and again and again and again until you—not the enemy—are in charge of you. I have learned that guilt doesn't make me guilty, it makes me honest.
Do not fear the future. Go forward with hope and faith. Remember that supernal gift of the Holy Ghost. Learn to be taught by it. Learn to seek it. Learn to live by it. Learn to pray always in the name of Jesus Christ (3 Nephi 18:19–20). The Spirit of the Lord will attend you, and you will be blessed. And the waters can be smooth once again in our life.