Well as we have said before, part of our calling is to locate members and map addresses with the GPS. To make the most out of this opportunity of sweating, enduring the heat, occasionally falling down here or there, we invite the Missionaries that are working in the area and the Branch President to join us. Chuuk is not a place where you can walk on someone's property without permission, even going to the door. You holler out "Ran Allim" which means good day and then they will either say Ewer (yes) or Apw (no), then we go from there. We have never had anyone tell us Apw. The people here are very polite and courteous to one another and us. So the reason I fill you in on that tidbit, is so you can understand more about how, what I am writing about, is such a blessing.
We got up early Wednesday morning and took the boat ride over to an outer island called "Uman". It takes about 20 minutes or so when the weather is good. We had to stop in Tonoas to pickup the Missionaries there because they were going to do an exchange. (which means they trade companions for 24 hours) This picture is the Tonoas Elders Jones and Allen. It was a rainy, windy over cast morning so the water was a little choppy but okay. By the time we arrived the sun was out and it was getting hot. Uman is a beautiful island with about 140 members. We met with the Branch President "Billy" at his house to meet his family. After some small talk about what we needed to do we made a plan.
~Elder Allred and President Billy~
Teaching the gospel is a sacred duty, prophets and apostles say, and though it is not always an easy task, when guided by the spirit both the teacher and the student can achieve spiritual growth and understanding. Well, we were all beginning to understand and realize everything is in his hands, we are only the instruments he is using. So off to the next home. As we were approaching the President said these people are not active and attending another church so we probably will not be accepted. To his surprise upon approaching the door they welcomed us in. We sat down on a wooden plank that kind of looked like a stage because the rest of the home was open and down about 2 feet. As we began to explain the reason for our visit the same thing happened. This gentle lady was so sweet and warm, she visited with us and explained that the reason she was not coming to church was because the other church had given her husband a calling and so she has been going with him for support. I then told Elder Allred to look around at all the young people in the house, they did not belong to this lovely lady but did live with her. Missionary opportunity! Turns out this lovely lady and her husband are the Presidents relatives, which he never told us about until we were in the house. She then asked Elder Allred if they could teach her husband the gospel, because she would love to come back to church. She said she knew the Gospel of Jesus Christ was true and she knew where she needed to be. President Billy was very happy and couldn't stop smiling. He was so overcome with joy and it was wonderful being part of this. As we left he was asking me again why we go out and visit with the people and why we needed to know about the families. I explained to him that the records need to updated because family history is part of the eternal plan, not only for us, but for future generations. This is home teaching at it's finest, as well as missionary work. The Lord is helping us; it is marvelous how the way is opened and how other people frequently are prompted. Another tender mercy reveals itself.
Every where we went, we were well received with friendly faces and "kapong" (greetings and hand shakes).
We then headed to the next members homes. The beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not for a few individuals, it is for every soul that is born into the world to know... The people are not dependent upon us to know, but they are dependent upon us to teach them how they may know.
All together we visited around 15 families, before calling it a day we stopped over to the previous branch Presidents home and found a sweet older lady sitting on the floor. She greeted us and sent someone off to get us a coconut. This past month or so we have been emailing a missionary that served here in Chuuk about 17 years ago. Elder Westover has sent us pictures, which we printed and took with us to Uman. It has been wonderful to share his emails and pictures with the Chuukese people. Most all the people we've talked to remember their missionaries over the years and loved them. They were also thrilled to see the pictures of them. We had to call it a day because it was getting late but we are looking forward to returning next week or so.
We would like to thank ALL the missionaries that have served here in the Chuuk mission over the years and opened up so many areas. You've planted some amazing seeds and made a positive impact on the Chuukese people which has made all of our callings much more meaningful.
Chuuk is not a easy mission, but it is a very special mission. It takes some special young men to serve here. We know that the young men that serve or have served here, have big hearts. And they know how to love unconditionally.
You have all done a great job and left this place with positive, lasting feelings. We thank you!
~ "Under the influence of the Spirit every soul was humbled, every heart was melted, and we rejoiced in the blessings of our Heavenly Father."
Elder Tiffany and Elder Allred drinking giant Uman coconuts. They are so tasty and refreshing. In the Chuukese culture they always treat you to a fresh coconut or something to eat. We (Elder T and I) use a straw, the young Elders chug it...It stains your clothes if it gets on you, and it did this day even with the straws. It ruined both of our shirts but it was well worth it on this adventure.