Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Breaking records. . .

~Update on the Micronesia Guam Mission from our Mission President Mecham ~
Thank you for your continued interest in and prayers for the Micronesia Guam Mission. We believe you have helped bless the people, the missionaries, and the Church here. In November, 58 people were baptized. Thus far in 2012, 347 people have been baptized. We are striving for a very strong December in celebration of the Savior's birth and wish you every blessing at this beautiful time of year as His work continues to move forward.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

"Called to serve" Honolulu Hawaii Mission

Let us accept and love the responsibilities we are asked to fulfill. Today Pweiky was given the Melchizedek Priesthood by Herman Walters, a dear friend, Uncle and wonderful example of a Godly man.  Pweiky's father passed away about 3 years ago.
These Elders are bearers of the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God. Each of them have hands laid upon their head and receive the priesthood of God. They have been given the authority and responsibility to act in His name as His servants on earth. Whether in a large ward or a small branch, they are called upon to serve, to bless, and to act in all things for the good of everyone and everything entrusted to our care.
"The priesthood, or any responsibility within it, cannot be purchased or commanded. The use of priesthood power cannot be influenced, swayed, or compelled by position, by wealth, or by influence. It is a spiritual power that operates on heavenly law. It originates in the great Heavenly Father of us all. Its power can be controlled and directed only through principles of righteousness, not self-righteousness".  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
It has been quite the day, Elder Ewar was suppose to fly out to Guam at 3:00 pm and we were all at the airport saying our Goodbye's when the speaker went off saying the plane was not coming. The gentleman said we will send another plane from Guam and reschedule a flight for 7:30 pm. Come back then if you are going to Guam.  So after a lot of picture taking, we all loaded up and set out for the day. Here in Chuuk we have to know how to roll with the punches. . . No big deal
Zone Leaders ~ Elder Allred and Elder Jones ~
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7)  Missionary work is a manifestation of our spiritual identity and heritage.

Proclaiming the gospel is not an activity in which we periodically and temporarily engage. And our labors as missionaries certainly are not confined to the short period of time devoted to full-time missionary service in our youth or in our mature years. Rather, the obligation to proclaim the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is inherent in the oath and covenant of the priesthood into which we enter.

The process of becoming a missionary is directly related to understanding who we are as the seed of Abraham.  Abraham was a great prophet who desired righteousness and was obedient to all of the commandments he received from God, including the command to offer as a sacrifice his precious son, Isaac. Because of his steadfastness and obedience, Abraham is often referred to as the father of the faithful, and Heavenly Father established a covenant with and promised great blessings to Abraham and his posterity:
“Because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
“And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou has obeyed my voice”

Farewell Elder Ewar ~ May God bless you and your family . . .

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day!

Thanksgiving Day here began with Elder Tiffany getting up early and heading to the Zone Leaders house to cook the turkey because we don't have an oven in our apartment. Sister Tiffany stayed home to do the other preparations for the meal.  All the elders from each branch were in for the holiday. The Elders began the morning by doing service projects for various members.
Our resurrected Lord declared, “Ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do, that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do"
Each companionship was given an assignment for the dinner and the zone leaders chose to make the potatoes.  The day before, our island was out of potatoes and we were praying that the container ship would come in and have some produce on it. We were well blessed.  In the early afternoon after the service project the Elders went to the store and sure enough they had potatoes out.  Oh the boys were soooo happy.  Elder Jones knew just how to make them tasty.  We almost had to resort to eating rice --- they were not excited because they always eat rice.
We are just about ready for dinner here, we have everything cooked, prepared and on the table.  Elder Allred the zone leader is sharing what he is thankful for this year. We went around the table so everyone could take a turn sharing.  We then blessed the food and it was dinner time. . .
“And ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with.

After dinner we had homemade pie, Chocolate cream and Pumpkin with a mighty dollop of Cool Whip!

After all of us were full and told of what they were thankful for the Elders decided it was time to go around the room and tell about the most embarassing moment. Boy, did we ever hear some great stories.  They laughed and laughed and laughed.  Then we played the cookie game, the ping pong games and did a lot more laughing and enjoying spending time together.  We love our Elders and thank each parent and person who had a hand in raising such fine young men.  Also for sharing them with the Micronesia people and us.  Thank you!  We know the Lord sends his very best to the Micronesia Guam Mission because we have spent time with them and we testify they are His best.

We bear our testimony to you that the Lord wants us to be grateful and thankful unto him. Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His words. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

We are very blessed. . .

Here is Elder Tiffany showing off the Thanksgiving dinner mailed to us from our kids Brady and Kimberly.  This is our second Thanksgiving in Micronesia away from our family and we have so much for which to give thanks.   We would like to thank them for the love and support they have given us. We love and miss all our kids, grand kids and families but have many wonderful blessings given to us each day while we are away from them.  First and foremost we are very thankful for our Savior Jesus Christ.    
Elder Tiffany and I are grateful for our opportunity to live and serve in Chuuk State, Micronesia, where we have met hundreds of wonderful people. Chuukese people are some of the most loving, accepting people in the world. They are a family oriented culture and have embraced us and let us become part of their family.  We feel very blessed and loved serving here with them.

Blessings . . .

We have been thinking about our kids and families this month, not that, that is different because we always think about them.  We have decided that since it was the month to be thankful.  We would write a message on our blog expressing how we feel today and how much we cherish spending meaningful times together, talking, playing games and cultivating reassured memories.

We both are thankful to be parents of such wonderful kids.  We are thankful our Heavenly Father trusted us with such an awesome responsibility.
We remember the first time we decided to return go back to church. Sister Tiffany and our youngest son would pray for Elder Tiffany to be touched by the spirit and open his heart so he might feel his Father in Heaven was with our family.  She said they would pray together on early mornings before they went their separate ways for the day.  It took us a long time to realize that all our prayers were being answered.
When we stopped drinking alcohol we were at lunch and enjoying a pitcher of beer.  Elder Tiffany said to our youngest son this is the last time we will be drinking alcohol, your mother and I need to move forward.
We finally were at the point when we could not be like the boy who dipped his toe in the water and then claimed he went swimming. Our good intentions are not good enough.  We must do.
This reminds me of another time.  When our youngest was around one year old, he loved playing hide and seek.  Only problem was, I did not know he was playing and he went and hid from me.  I came in to find him and he was gone.  Can you imagine the horror I felt at that moment.  I looked and looked, called out his name but he did not answer.  I remember being so scared.  I was yelling and crying but still he never came out.   Thank goodness a man saw him, picked him up and brought him to me.  He asked, "Is this the little boy you’re looking for".  I was so happy, I just grab him, hugged him and through my tears of joy told him how much I loved him.  The gentlemen got after him and said that it is not nice to hide from your mother.  He just looked at me with his adorable face, and said,"What’s wrong mommy? Why are you crying?  I was only playing and I won because you could not find me".
You see, he did not know he was lost.  I think that our Heavenly Father feels this way when we make choices that might get us lost.  But he gave us the gift of our agency and to choose.  "The Lord commanded Adam and Eve to multiply and replenish the earth and commanded them not to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, He said: “Nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”.
Sometimes we think we are smart, sometimes too smart for our own good.   We get lost and do not know we are lost.  The Lord loves us so much that he sent us here to test our obedience. He knew our agency was  important to us so we could choose our own path. Many of us fall into unanticipated traps and unhappiness because we either lack or ignore gospel light and principles. We might be unaware of our options or become confused about the outcomes of our choices. Ignorance will effectively limit our agency.

~Freedom of choice is the freedom to obey or disobey~

This mission is one of the greatest things we have done. We feel like we have been stretched over and over again.  We pray when we return home we can be more Christlike than when we left.  Leaving our children, grandchildren, and family for 18 months has been the hardest things we have ever done.  As our understanding of gospel doctrine and principles have grown, our agency has expanded.

We like to think of a ladder and each new law or commandment we learn is like one more rung on the ladder that enables us to climb higher. Using words from Abraham Lincoln "just do better one day at time".
The gift of agency is intended to give us experience. We “taste the bitter, that we may know to prize the good.”  We are thankful for the gospel, for a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson. We are thankful for the opportunity we have to serve the Chuukese people.
We love our children, grandchildren and families and are thankful for each one. We know as we continue to progress. . . we will have the opportunity to live again with our Father in Heaven and not be lost.

We love you and miss you all.  Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Elder!

Happy Birthday Elder Allred! 
There are two important days - the day you were born and the day you know why!
Birth is our beginning. It is a window to the chance of a lifetime, the chance to fulfill your unique mission. A birthday is a momentous occasion.  A birthday is a refresher, a chance for regeneration--not just materially, but spiritually.  We celebrated Elder Allred's birthday by enjoying a pizza together. The elders have had a lot of pizza this past weekend but still, can you have to much pizza?  I guess not.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Xavier High School

Today we had the opportunity to visit and explore Xavier High School.  It was established in 1952. It was the first school in the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The school is located on top of Mabuchi hill, one of the highest mountains on the island of Weno.  It occupies the WWII Japanese communication center.  The walls are 3 feet thick and solid concrete.  The air raids hardly dented the structures. Even from direct hits.  We hadn't been able to get up here before because the road is truly horrendous so we borrowed the ZL's truck and blazed our way.  Very much worth the trip.
Father Rich is the man in charge now and he does a wonderful job teaching the young people and giving them direction.
It is a Catholic school in the Jesuit tradition. With an international staff of Jesuits, volunteers, alumni, and local people.  Currently they have a 190 students which is more than in the past years.  50 are on a trial basis this year and next year they will keep the top 40. They come from all over Micronesia. We have met many of the people that have attended this school and they are among some of the smartest and brightest.
This is Clark Graham. He was a teacher for many years at Xavier.   He has now started his own school to help the younger children in his village and surrounding villages.  He has become a great friend and confidant.  Today he is our tour guide. We are on the roof of the main building and the views are spectacular.  However it's kind of a stormy day so there wasn't much to see this day.
Check out this beautiful garden.  They truly teach the students many great things.  The area is very clean and orderly.
This is the boys dormitory.  They live onsite throughout the school year, but the girls are sponsored and live  in the community with family.
This is the sign on the way out.  We feel it says a lot about how they teach and inspire the students.

Small World

This is Elder Gerber He is from Centerville, Utah.  Rolling Hills ward, Canyon View Stake. Our home stake and he lives in the neighboring ward.

He is called to serve in the Micronesia Guam Mission, same as us, however he will be serving on the island of Kosrae with the Senior couple Elder and Sister Eldredge.  The official language of Kosrae is Kosraean.  However the English language may also be used in government discourse.   The people on the islands prefer speaking in their native tongue.  Lessons will be taught in Kosraean.   Missionary work essentially is a priesthood responsibility, but all of us are the Lord’s authorized servants on the earth and are missionaries at all times and in all places and all things.

We may or may not ever serve on the same island but it is pretty great he was called in the same mission as us.  We haven't met him and we don't know his family and we were told by others he was coming but it's still great that we have someone we can call our own.  Small World!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Faith in Christ is Born of the Spirit

Baptism days are such a wonderful blessing. Today we had 3 and the zone is only 10 baptisms away from reaching their yearly goal.  We are all pulling together to help meet this years goal and surpass it by many more.  Elders Obray and Rainey from the Mechitiw Branch and Elders Allen and Pita from the Tonoas Branch have been working hard sharing the gospel.   
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. Our mortal existence is necessary to fulfill the plan of salvation. We must therefore live in this world, but we must also resist the worldly influences that are ever before us.
Micah (member) Elders Allen and Selander serving in Tonoas
The gift of the Holy Ghost, given to us when we are confirmed, gives us the ability to discern the difference between the giving ways of the Kingdom of God and the taking practices of the world. 
We need the Holy Ghost as our constant companion to help us make better choices in the decisions that confront us daily.
Elders Obray with his new cool sunglasses and Elder Rainey learning the Chuukese signing.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Good Job! Elder Huppe

We had our first district meeting with Elder Huppe as our district leader.  He did a good job!  We discussed how we can share the gospel with part family members and give the members the needed strength to teach and continue loving and setting a good example.  As taught by Elder Russell M. Nelson we encourage others to keep all that is good and true and then see if we can add more. We as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints follow the Lord Jesus Christ and teach of Him.    
 Picture time, see we know how to have a good time and keep everything in perspective. Discipleship is the pursuit of holiness and happiness. It is the path to our best and happiest self.
 This is our newest Elder Vehikite he has only been with us for one week.  He is such a sweet heart.  He is the nephew of our good friend Mele Massey from Tonga who now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.  What a small world, we are thrilled to be serving in the same mission with him.  The little "minnie me" wanted to come to our meeting so that he could share his testimony.  He already loves Elder Vehikite.
This beautiful water fall is not normally running daily in this area, but today it rained so hard all day we had water falls everywhere while we were in the Wichap Village.  It was a beautiful, wet day!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sharing the Gospel on Uman

We had such a wonderful day working out on the island of Uman this week with Elders Bowers, Peck, and Branch President Semper Billy.  It was a sunny day, the water was still fairly smooth for the boat ride over.  Thank goodness because it can be a rough ride at times.
We met up with the elders and took a few pictures, made a plan and then we went a walking. We visited, then walked, then visited and walked some more.  Oh and let's not forget the sweating.  Yes indeed it is always a day of sweating.  It is all just part of our mission here in the beautiful islands of Chuuk, Micronesia.
 This is a picture of Elder Peck and Elder Bowers.  We wanted to show the parents the front yard of their house with the view of the ocean.  The house is located just above the church house with a beautiful view.
Elder Tiffany says; Hello Sister Peck, your son is a wonderful missionary.  See, even the children want to hang out with the missionaries.  God is preparing people to receive our testimony of the restored truth.  He requires our faith and our action to share what has become so precious to us and those we love.
 We are off with this little guy in the red.  "Rickie" really likes being with the elders.  Elder Bowers said a prayer in Chuukese and when he was finished, "Rickie", in English said, "Elder Bowers you did a good job". That surprised Elder Bowers and they both just fell in love with this kid.  Rickie is the branch President youngest grandson.  He stayed with us until the end. He walked up the hill and then back down and all over the one side of the island, about 3 hours of time.  Never complained, cried or wined and walked the entire time without shoes. Tough little guy!  All of us united as one can qualify for the guiding influence of our Heavenly Father as we choose carefully and correctly. We are engaged in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We, like those of olden times, have answered His call. We are on His errand. We shall succeed in the solemn charge.
We are hanging out taking a rest on some "old war relics"

This is the hill we climbed, we were all just happy it wasn't raining, because it is very slippery when wet.  It's a good thing we are all strong.   See Sister Peck Elder Oaks is right!  (He told us the story)  AWESOME...  
We made it to the top of the first hill, these two are just being funny and pretending they are afraid. When Sister Tiffany is around they know she has the camera out and will be taking lots of pictures.  Plus they are always working the camera to get on the repictureator. Even though these two have made it on many times already.  
This beautiful family was one we visited and the elders will be back to teach the husband lessons. It was such a pleasure to visit with them and we were warmly accepted.  Sometimes while we teach about the gospel through a less formal discussion, we are able to share testimonies by the way we live our life.  D&C 38:30 "If ye are prepared ye shall not fear".  Our life is our preparation, we go and be ourselves.  
The elders taught a lesson on tithing to this man and made an appointment to return to teach another lesson.  
Coconut time. These things were huge today and we appreciate a fresh coconut when we are given one. They are very refreshing and tasty.  
 Our day has come to an end.  It was a wonderful day and we are happy to get to know Elders Bower and Peck a little more.  They both are hard workers and wonderful young men.  We know that if we do our part we will have the sweet experiences of meeting people and sharing our testimonies, heart to heart, ours and theirs.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Our new elders have arrived

Welcome to Chuuk Elders Pita and Vehikite
 These two elders weren't to sure about Chuuk when they first arrived. . . I think it's gonna take some time to get used to this heat.  Good thing the preparation we need is in our mind and our heart. "If you are prepared ye shall not fear" and will survive the heat. D&C 38:30

Elder Jones (ZL) Mwan Branch, Elder Vehikite & Elder Huppe - serving in Wichap Branch, Elder Pita & Elder Johnson - serving in Sapuk Branch and Elder Allred (ZL) Mwan Branch.
Load'em up Elder Jones . . . We are looking forward to getting to know ALL our new elders.  We know that the Lord only sends his very best to Chuuk.  There are many opportunities where we can come to know one another and build unity within our zone.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, There is Liberty

We choose to believe that there is a God and he loves us like a father. A good father who wants us to grow and be happy. He knows that there are hardships and even bitter events that would convince us that he cares not. But his perspective is a much longer view than ours and he knows that this earthly experience is but a blink of an eye. That perspective is what he would like us to consider. We must understand that he, like a good father, is much more concerned with our growth than he is with our comfort.

Our decision making is where our attitude comes into play. Our attitudes and beliefs lead to our feelings and moods and those lead to our choices and decisions which results in our actions and words which then become our consequences, both positive and negative. How we then react to those consequences, reveals our character and integrity.

Which road will you take?

About 20000 choices a day is what we make. Most are automatic based on the choices we have made previously. Many are habit based, preference based, principle based or option based.

There are choices that we must make according to the relationships we have or the occupations we follow. Then there are choices we make according to the dictates of our tastes and desires. Finally there are the choices we are faced with that purely come down to life and death.

Happy or sad,
All of the choices we have made so far have made us who, what, where and why we are. If you are not happy with those circumstances there really is no one to blame but yourself. You might say that there are people who have been made slaves through no fault of their own and such. Much of what you say may be true. But I would direct you to read “Mans Search for Meaning”. A book written by Victor Frankl. He was a prisoner in a German Concentration Camp and he survived simply by choosing not to be overcome by the death and destruction around him. He worked hard at keeping his attitude positive even through starvation and extremely hard labor. Anyway the point is, our choices are what make us or break us.

To fully understand the gift of agency and its worth, it is imperative that we understand that God's chief way of acting is by persuasion and patience and long-suffering, not by coercion and stark confrontation.  He acts by gentle solicitation and by sweet enticement.  He always acts with unfailing respect for the freedom and independence that we possess. He wants to help us and pleads for the chance to assist us, but he will not do so in violation of our agency.  He loves us too much to do that, and doing so would run counter to his divine character.

Regardless of a person's susceptibility or tendency, we have an obligation to exercise our agency to  to overcome our personal weaknesses.

I believe that we are the sum total of all of the circumstances, results and end products of the forces upon us and how we decided to react to them.  Our road essentially is the road we chose and our rewards or punishments are the circumstances we perpetrated on ourselves.  Our Father stands to assist us at any time we choose to engage him and at times he will engage with out our prompting.
I know that he has blessed me many times and in many ways when I was not engaging him or giving him my attention.  He blessed me anyway and I'm sure he was brokenhearted at some of my decisions. As I look back across the expanse of my life I know that he was there and at the time chose to remain anonymous.  Now I can appreciate his love and care and I can be more fruitful to him by being more attentive to the need I see around me.  I am grateful now to have the chance to serve him who has served me throughout time.  For this opportunity I thank him and I say this in the name of His beloved son, Jesus Christ.