Saturday, October 20, 2012
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.