Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Going Home ...

We left our beautiful island on April 18, 2013 and headed for Guam, leaving our missionary sons and our many Chuukese friends.  We took several pictures, many hugs and boarded the plane with tears in our eyes.

 On our arrival in Guam we checked into the Marriott, did a little shopping and went to our mission presidents home for our final interview.

I guess we passed because we then went out to dinner together with the rest of the senior couples who serve in Guam.
We arrived Cedar City, Utah on April 19, 2012 greeted by our youngest son Brady and his wife Kimberly.
It was a long flight and we had been awake for 30 plus hours and still had many more to go.  We gathered up the luggage and headed to the restaurant for some real food.  We settled for Chili's.

These two were so good to us. They prepared a cooler full of things we couldn't get in Chuuk for the past 18 months.  It was loaded up. It had a veggie tray with all the fix'ins, 3 different cheeses to choose from, lunch meat, Milk, yogurt, Sister Tiffany's favorite candies, bread, crackers and of course ice.  They also brought us extra socks to keep Sister Tiffany's feet warm and an extra blanket and heating pad.  It was a little chilly arriving in Utah, but we will adjust. Utah is very beautiful in the spring.  

Things we are not going to miss about Chuuk - - - the heat, it never cools down and it is the same temperature all the time, morning and night.  Driving 2-5 miles per hour on bad muddy roads, the mold that grows because of all the moisture and the stores keeping our pennies.
Pennies are not important in Chuuk and the Chuukese people think it's funny that us
foreigners want our pennies. It was our suggestion that they donate all the pennies they steal from the customers and give it to the kids for a recreation center for the island.
Pennies like this you don't see anywhere in Chuuk. We payed higher prices for rent, food and gas. We needed to be penny wise for our own good. But the things we miss about Chuuk surpasses all that we won't. We will miss our Chuukese family and friends from Mwan, Mechitiw, Wichap, Sapuk and the outer islands of Romanum, Uman and Tonoas.
 The Chuukese people are some of the greatest people on the earth whom we have come to love dearly.  A more friendly and loving people never existed.
We will also miss our Trukstop and CWC family and friends. They helped us feel at home and part of the family.  They are amazing, wonderful people.
. Our hearts are also with the Akoyikoyi School in Penia.  
The swaying breezes at sunset and the beautiful azure sky and also the lap of the ripples of the lagoon. Oh and we will miss fresh coconuts and the hospitality of receiving them.  Nothing better than a fresh picked coconut while trampling through the jungles of Chuuk State.
We will also miss the sweet banana's, pineapples and many other fruits and the SuPeR (Elders favorite word) Cucumbers - they are always really fresh and sweet. One thing for sure Sister Tiffany will miss is Bernie's Cinnamon Rolls, she loves them especially when freshly baked.  They are not on the shelves for very long they are so tasty.
We must stop there cause we could be here all day now extolling the virtues of our home away from home.
We want to say to everyone that reads this blog. Chuuk is a beautiful place and the people are absolutely wonderful. We will be forever grateful for the love and special times we had while living in Chuuk State. The Wreck diving is amazing. The water is always nice and warm and beautiful. Sunsets are some of the most incredible scenes in the world.  The Chuukese people are great Christian people full of the Lords spirit. We love the Chuukese people with all our hearts and we vow to be back someday!  

Friday, April 19, 2013

Goodbye's are so hard

Today we had to say goodbye to many of our Chuukese family.
We have grown to love the people very much and we will carry our memories of them in our hearts forever.  Elder Tiffany worked on learning the Chuukese language from our Elders, Johnson, Meldrum, Butler, Allred and the many, many others who we love. They taught us both the rudiments of the Chuukese language. We learned together to put our feet on the proper path toward missionary service and we turned our heart toward God and his children. Our reward is wonderful relationships with many great people.
~ Us and our friend Clark ~
He's a mountain of a man in a small package
It is very hard to leave good and true friends.

 ~ Us with our ZL Elder Jones ~
He'll be returning back to the states in May and
we will be looking forward to seeing him.
Some of our favorite ladies whom we have come to love very much
Emylynn Walter, Oriko Ewar, Tasisana Walter - daughter Retoni, Us, Marsine Joseph
Us with great friends Riaton and Malinta Newyear and grand-daughter Tawnya
~ Our AWESOME Elders made us a goodbye card - which we cherish ~
We will miss and await their return to the states.
~ The group sang "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" as we went through the gate ~

As we press on and exercise our faith, we receive some of the most extraordinary spiritual sensations: a flow of confidence, courage and power to overcome, and a knowledge that God is with us and who can fail with God on your side - regardless of the nature of the problem or even the results.
This was by far the hardest day we have had. We thought one of our elders returning to the states was hard. The interpersonal relationships between missionaries are among the choicest blessings we receive as the result of missionary service. The friendships and the positive influence of one missionary upon the other are eternal. We love the Chuukese people very much and are grateful the Lord gave us the opportunity to serve them.
~ Us with Elder Sofele ~
he will return to the states at the end of this year. 

 ~ Chuuk Zone ~ Goodbye for now Elders!  Aua Tong Ngenikemi
As the wheels lift off of the pavement, the realization that your life is forever changed by these people and the time you spent with them and the special bonds you were able to forge. We're happy that maybe a small difference was made in their lives because of the momentous significance they made in our lives exceeds the hearts we carry them in.
We know God lives. We know that Jesus is the Christ, God’s Son, the leader of all humanity, and the measure of mankind. He is the King, our Counselor, and our Friend. He is worthy of our most pure and profound adoration and deserving of our very best efforts. As missionaries, we have served with all our heart, might, mind, and strength.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Home Sweet Home

This has been home to us in Chuuk, Micronesia, "The Truk Stop Hotel".  We have made many, many friends here at our little home by the sea and we have enjoyed a lot of great meals and conversations with our 
Truk Stop family.  
Bill and Christine (Kiki) Stinnett are the owners of the hotel along with their 2 daughters, keeping the place running smooooth as silk.This is the backside of the hotel with the new outside sitting area called the Mangroove Bar. We enjoyed many incredible sunsets from here.
Our favorite table for breakfast, lunch or dinner ~ doesn't matter, this was the best place in the house for us.
We're lobbying for a plaque to be put here, marking our spot.

This Augustine he is the cook - the one we really liked and trusted.  
Elder Tiffany meet him just about every morning out walking to work.  What a great guy!
 ~ Sister Tiffany with Kiki, what a great lady and a good friend she is ~
Cindy the dive master at the Truk, is an amazing woman, she was always very cheerful and had a lot of patience when Sister Tiffany went diving with her.
   A few of our Truk stop family ~ Selema, Shorty, Sister Tiffany, Elder Tiffany, Melba and Corky ~
 A few of the special ladies ~ Melba, Shorty and Corky ~
Shorty is a fun little lady who is always sweet, kind and helpful - yes, we are letting her sit at our table for the picture because we love her.  
~ Harry was always great to have around cause he helped us all the time, here with Cindy the Brit.~                
We had been at our branch party and when we arrived home, this group was out on the deck waiting to say goodbye.  Rob said if we showed this picture you would think they needed a lot more help here and send them more missionaries.  But they only want us to send friendly, fun missionaries...Sister Tiffany made cookies once a week for the group and they looked forward to them.  We know how to get into their hearts!

We will miss our Truk Stop family and we love them all dearly.  They were wonderful to us and we thanked each one for the love they showed towards us.  May God be with you always!

Goodbye Micronesia friends for now

We have worked with many elders and Chuukese people while Serving in Micronesia and it is hard to say goodbye to our Chuukese family and friends now, but know we will one day meet again.

Follow are emails about the blog --- that we wanted to share with you.  We learned early on that this blog wasn't about Elder and Sister Tiffany as much as it was about being serving a mission for the Lord in Chuuk Micronesia, serving with the young elders, serving the Chuukese people and learning of their culture.
Elder and Sister Tiffany
My name is Trish, I am Andy Foss's wife. I have been managing the MG Mission site for him for some time now. I enjoy reading your blog so much. I did not serve a mission before I got married, (was in Mission Prep classes when I met my sweetheart) but through reading your blog, have strengthened my testimony of missionary work. Through your eyes, I have been able to catch a glimpse of what I have to look forward to later on.
Keep up the excellent missionary work (and the blog). When you meet with other couples from the mission, could you give them a nudge to start a blog as well. :) It is a great way for new missionaries to catch a glimpse of what is to come and for old ones to reminisce and renew their testimonies.
Trish Foss
MGM Admin

Wow! Hope everything is fine in Tchuk or is it thuk. The time is moving on and it is definitely beginning the downward slop. We are both out about eleven months now. We have been transferred to CapeTown to do Public Affairs there, as we have a new paid Public Affairs Director in Johannesburg now. He was a mission president and now works for the church here. There is not enough room for all of us, so they asked us to go to Capetown and we are looking forward to going. Capetown is supposed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We will still be traveling to some of the countries as part of our assignment, but we'll work with three stakes and three different areas of Western South Africa. They are East London, Port Elizabeth, and Capetown. This is a different mission, and a different take on Politics. The ruling party there is a white ruling class, and that will be far different than what we have been working with here in Johannesburg. We are busy putting in directional signs for churches in the Johannesburg area. The are 66 wards and branches, and we are trying to get approved about 40 of the churches with six signs per church. Many of the churches don't have addresses and most people here don't drive, and take mini-bus taxis to church each Sunday. When we ask a black person for directions to go somewhere it is useless, as none of them drive, so they know a three block radius and that is about it for directions. Hopefully we can get that project done before we go home. Hope things are going well. The Mission President in Capetown is from Fairbanks, and is named Wood. DO you know him? Enjoy the Pacific and the great people there.
Lon and Susan Roberts
Elder and Sister Tiffany
We have been terrible friends, but I hope you know you have been in our prayers daily. We are enjoying our new ward, but trying to continue to go to FHE empty nesters. I teach R.S. and Kent and I serve together as "welfare specialists." We work with the Bishop and follow up his work with single sisters right now that need extra help. Kind of like inner city missionaries or extra home teachers. Some of the needs are developing a plan to get off church assistance, finding ways to juggle school and family, stop smoking, start paying tithing as part of a budget plan. Things like that. Most have no husbands, but the ones that do have inactive,  antagonistic ones. Some have problems with teenagers. Right now we have 5 to work with. We have 70 single sisters in the ward, mostly older but also lots of single moms. We just had single man baptized in our ward and a sister go through the temple for the first time. It is a very different experience than the old ward. We don't feel as old as the average age in the high priest group is 82. We can't believe you are getting close to the end of your mission and yet you have been gone a long time. We look forward to seeing you and hearing all about it. May the Lord continue to bless you as you bless others' lives. You have been such a great example to all of your family and friends. Love you, Wendy Bangerter
Dear Elder and Sister Tiffany,
My name is Rebecca Sanchez Devenport; I served in the Mwan branch from May,1994 to March, 1995. Your blog was such a delightful discovery! What a blessing to read of the way the Lord continues to work miracles in Chuuk.
Thank you so much for posting about Raiton and Malinta. When I arrived in Chuuk, Raiton was officially our Branch President, but he had stopped coming to church, so a few weeks after I got there, a new Branch President was sustained. We tried to meet with Raiton and encourage him and the Elders probably did, too. It was not until one of our senior couples, the Walquists, made a concerted effort with Raiton and Malinta that they actually seemed to make progress. Raiton and Malinta seemed to be doing better when I was transferred back to Guam.
How wonderful to hear of their family, their work on the translation team and, now, of their temple recommends!
What a huge difference couple missionaries make. Thank you for serving and for setting a vital example to all of us who are preparing to serve, again.
Malinta and Raiton probably don't remember me, but please tell them that Sister Sanchez is very happy for them and is praying for them to have a safe and joyous trip to Manila.

Best of blessings,
Hello Elder and Sister Tiffany!
I hadn't checked your blog for a while….and it sounds like you are coming close to the end of your mission!  You know, my first thought was: "Oh my goodness, how the people of Chuuk are going to miss them!  And my second thought was:  "Oh my goodness, the missionary moms are going to be DEVASTATED to not see frequent updates/photos of their missionaries!"  You have done an AMAZING job as missionaries and have truly jumped in with both feet and with your whole hearts---although I am proud of you for continuing to use utensils :)  I mean, you've got to stay healthy, right?!
So, let us know when you will be coming home (makes my heart ache because I know how sad I was to leave having only spent two weeks in Chuuk!) and when you will be speaking in church.  I am sure your kids are more than anxious to get you home and back into the role of Grandma and Grandpa (and you must be the most fun because you both seem much too young to be senior missionaries let alone grandparents!)
Life is good on the home front!  Our oldest son returned from his mission in February (best day ever!) and we are leaving as a family at the end of the week to spend our spring break in Oregon meeting the wonderful people our son was able to know and love on his mission.  Kids and callings are keeping us busy and out of trouble.  Lucky for you, winter will be mostly be behind us when you return (although last weekend brought us another snowstorm--luckily short-lived!)  I am afraid you would have frozen to death had you come home midwinter.  It was a COLD one this year!
My thoughts continually return to our sweet experience we were able to share with you both!  How blessed we are to have the gospel make the world a little smaller and our circle of friends/family a lot bigger! How blessed we are to be able to share the gospel in whatever capacity in every corner (and lagoon) of the earth.
Well done, Elder and Sister Tiffany!

Love you both!

Elder Tiffany loves his Missionary Sons!

The fields are white all ready to harvest: John 4:35
~ Crazy faces ~
Elders Pita, Sofele, Tiffany and Bowers
Elder Allen, I'll give you about an hour to cut that out.  Maybe two hours!!
Don't give up! Don't you quit!
~ Elders Kleven, Tiffany and Rainey ~
The look on these elders face of SURPRISE is priceless. 
~ Elder Allred and Tiffany ~
Our hearts are knit together in our efforts and our deeds.
“Nevertheless, ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you.
Always good to have Elder Peck close especially when slippin and slidin on Uman.
The servants of God shall go forth D&C 133:38;
Come on Elder Sofele, spit it out, you know were waiting to hear what you have to say.
We can't insist on our timetable when the Lord has his own.
 Such a serious face, Elder Johnson
 Boy Elder Jones is good at making birds out of tree leaf for Sister Tiffany
 Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men. 
 Come Elder Butler you can SMILE - show us you have teeth man!!!
Another day of hot and sweaty work finished with Elder Meldrum.
We've covered the island of Romanum Elders Sofele and Meldrum good job!
If you labor all your days and bring one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy. D&C 18:15
Aye, aye Captain where shall we go?
Elders Butler, Johnson and Tiffany
Faithful elders, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors D&C 138:57

This is only a few of our Elder sons we served with. “Coming to understand others and doing something to help them has changed our life.” Each and every one of these young men are strong and wonderful missionaries.  We have been blessed to serve with them and love them all dearly! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Our last Zone Conference

 President and Sister Mecham made sure we were able to attend one last Zone conference with our boys.  As usual we all headed to the Blue Lagoon for our meeting to start early Tuesday afternoon. This time was different because we knew if would be our last one.  
Sister Mecham taught about how we make a two way promise to receive the Holy Ghost and that the spirit will NOT force himself on us.  When we are given the Gift of the Holy Ghost we are told to RECEIVE the Holy Ghost.  We discussed as we learn, allow, listen and receive, the Holy Ghost will testify, guide us, guard us, heal hearts, and teach us truth. "Obedience brings blessings and strict obedience brings Miracles". Discipline brings desired results.
She loves to teach us with props and the Elders enjoy learning from her.  She used the example of opening your mouth which is something President Mecham always teaches about.  Open your mouth and share the Gospel. Her point was that as we share the gospel we obey and will see the miracles.
She told us a story about the wind and sun having a disagreement about who was stronger. They decided to place a wager, about then a young man with a jacket was walking down the street so the wind said who ever can get him to take off his jacket will be the strongest.  He started to blow, he blew and blew but the more he blew the young man held tighter and tighter to his jacket.  The sun finally said let me show you how this is done and he began to shine down on the boy.  The young man began to relax, undo his zipper and finally he took the jacket off. -  She likened the story to our testimony.  Your testimony is strongest when you share it rather than when you hang on to it tightly.  
~ Elder and Sister Yamashita ~ First Quorum of the Seventy our Area Presidency ~ 
We know that each of these young Elders do a great job opening their mouths and sharing the gospel and their testimonies.  D&C 33:8-10, open your mouths.
 Remember your companion is your investigator.
President Yamashita taught us that we also need to teach people if they were not doing what they were supposed to be doing that they needed to repent and get on with it.  He was also talking to us, the missionaries.  He said the Lord is getting urgent about sharing the gospel with world.  In D&C 88:73 Hasten the pace of his work.  In PG it teaches us the principle of Faith - understanding doctrine will change behavior faster than behavior will change behavior.  The Lords work is wonderful and we missionaries are his army.  "Endure to the end"

We three shared our last testimony with the group because it is our last Zone Conference together.  We will see Elder Jones in Utah in May. 
We have been blessed to know many wonderful young Elders and serve with them on this mission.  We know that President and Sister Mecham are called of called to teach and lead this mission.  We love them all dearly and feel blessed by such a wonderful miracle to be able to serve in the Micronesia Guam Mission.