Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Miracle Conference and more

July was the time of the semi-annual senior couples conference in Guam.  We had about 3 days of intense conference in Guam.  It was a miracle we got here and had the conference.  The mission President showed us how this was a miracle.  
First of all you have to know that Micronesia is a series of islands that are as far apart as from one end of the USA to the other end.  There are many, many islands.  We have missionaries on about 6 of them, each with small airports and short runways.  There are infrequent flights to and from these islands.  We were scheduled to leave Chuuk on a Thursday. 

Three couples and their luggage going to the airport.

 There was a storm on Thursday so the plane that would have picked us up could not land.  We watched the luggage being hauled out to the runway, heard the airplane go by, then watched the luggage being brought back into the airport.  After 3 attempts, the plane flew on to Guam without landing.  That made us unable to get on the plane to Guam.  The wind was fierce and the rain was blowing into the airport.  With such a short runway, we were glad they didn't take a chance, but sad not to get to go. 

Rain in the airport

We were unable to get new reservations to Guam until the following Tuesday so we would miss about half of the conference.  However on Saturday morning we received word that a plane which was coming from the Marshall Islands and Kosrae had room for us.  That day the storm was expected to be bad in Guam.  So a lot of people in the Marshall Islands cancelled their reservations and we had room for 12 missionaries from Chuuk and Kosrae to fly to Guam.  

We were worried that we might not be able to land in Guam, however.  But then the storm turned, almost backwards, which is unheard of, and missed Guam.  This allowed all the missionaries from many other islands also to get to Guam for the conference.  The storm kept others from flying so we could have space on the plane, but changed direction so we could safely land in Guam.  They had thought they would have to cancel the conference, but everyone made it on time and safely.  We felt this was a miracle.  

We had the opportunity of meeting and getting to know this new couple and our visiting authority. We had 3 days of training, sharing experiences on our islands, and being spiritually fed.  

Senior couples of the Micronesia Guam Mission

We had 3 days of inspiring classes, sharing the activities we are involved in on our various islands, and learning more about the Seminary and Institute programs.  Seminary and Institute are classes for young people where they learn about God, His scriptures, and how to develop a relationship with Him.  Many of the seminary classes are held at 6:00 a.m. for high school students.  

We all look forward to a little shopping in Guam since there is not much on our individual islands.  And here is one of the main stores to shop in.  This store is open 24 hours a day and the parking lot is nearly always full.


The missionaries in our branch asked us to go with them to visit some of the families they are teaching.  We loved being in the home of this family.  They have a blind and handicapped son and wanted to know more about Heavenly Father's Plan for him.  We were able to to share our testimonies of Heavenly Father's love for him.  He will have a perfect body in the next life and they can be with him and know him without his handicaps.  The Chuukese people really love their children.

One Sunday our branch President shortened church and we all climbed this mountain to visit a family whose mother has ill health and can't get down the mountain to church all the time.  So we took Church to her.

The family has an amazing view of the ocean from their home.

This faithful couple have two children serving missions for the church in Australia and Hawaii.

Some of us sat inside their home and some outside since there was not enough room.  

They sang hymns in beautiful harmony and gave talks and testimonies.  It was a spiritual feast.  It was amazing to see how much they love each other.

Here are some of the family members.  The little girl in front is adopted.  When parents can't take care of their children for various reasons, someone just takes them in.  It is an example of loving as Christ loved.

One day we went to the Island of Udot in the Chuuk Lagoon.  On the way our boat broke down.  Fortunately it was a calm day and we enjoyed looking at the beautiful cloud formations while we waited for someone to rescue us.  It was hot and sunny.

After about an hour and a few cell phone calls, another boat arrived to rescue us.  

This is the Mayor's house on Udot.  It is huge, but at present is not occupied since the Mayor is in Hawaii.  Some of his family were on the island enjoying the beach while we were there that day.

When we arrived on Udot we were greeted by a young man with a machete.  We were hoping he was friendly--and he was.  These children greeted us with some "apples."  They were different from our apples, but good.  Everywhere we went this day children followed us.  They loved to have their picture taken.
This is the area where the missionaries hold church.  There are about 60 people who attend each week and there are not enough benches so some sit on the floor or stand.

This is the missionaries' house.  It was destroyed in the typhoon and was recently re-built.  It is a basic one-room house with no electricty or running water.  

                                      (The outhouse is up the hill a little ways)

These missionaries are very clean and well organized.  They sleep on mats under mosquito netting.

This is their kitchen area.  They cook on a butane stove or outside on a fire.

The branch president and his wife brought us some coconuts to drink.

The missionaries' lunch was a can of corn mixed with a can of tuna fish and some soy sauce.

We went to teach some families with the missionaries.  While they were talking with the man these children wanted their picture taken.  

This is another family we visited that day.  This room is their kitchen and is quite open.  

This is the "jail" on Udot.  If they are having trouble with someone they just hand-cuff him to the bars of this little building until he calms down.

The boat dock made a great swimming hole.  We enjoyed watching these children jumping in the water--some naked and some with all their clothes on.

While waiting for our boat to arrive we walked on this pretty beach and talked with people along the way.
The children were very friendly.

They showed us their pig with 8 piglets and another very pregnant one crossing the road in the background.

When we were leaving the children lined up on the boat dock wall and all jumped in the water.  It was quite a sight.  

Our boat driver slowed down as we passed these old Japanese caves from the days of the war.

The clouds reflecting on the water remind us of the many beauties of the earth that God has created for us.  We are often reminded that evidence of God and His love for us are all around us.  We love being here with the special Chuukese people and feel God's love for them.  We want to share His message with them and know it will bless their lives.  

Thursday, July 9, 2015

June 2015 in Chuuk

In early June we held a "Family Discovery Day."  We had a workshop where the participants could fill out a "My Family" booklet about their family history.  We had good participation and a lot of enthusiasm.  It is a good way to record what you know about your ancestors and help you learn about them.

Some young women from our home ward send a box full of blankets that they made for the babies in Chuuk. We donated them to the newborn department of the hospital.  This couple was happy to receive one for their little daughter.  Many just wrap them in a towel as shown below.

We can get fresh fish here quite inexpensively.  This day we found fresh lobsters so we bought two!

One Saturday it was raining really hard.  We had activities at the church  but when we got there the youth were having a great time playing in the drainage ditch that runs past the church.  Who needs water parks?!

The first scheduled activity that day was a baptism.  The primary children are pictured below sitting quietly and waiting for the baptism to begin.  They were so quiet and reverent I had to take their picture!

This is one of the young men who was  baptized that day.

The other person was a young woman.
They were baptized in the ocean.
Can you see how happy they both were?!

Later that day there was a Primary activity.  The children were practicing to sing for their fathers on Father's Day.  They made "mar-mars" or head wreaths for their fathers out of candy. They also got ice cream and other treats.  We scooped about 100 ice cream cones that day.   They did a great job of singing on Father's Day.

Clair teaching Sunday School on Father's Day with his "Mar-mar"
This is the road that goes by the church.  It looked like a river that day.  It is always rocky and very bumpy.
We took a trip to Uman to see some homebound sick.  When you arrive on the Island there is a long rocky 
dock to walk down.  

These two Elders like on Uman and met us and guided us to the homes we visited.  They are both from England.

We checked up on this young man who needs extensive physical therapy.  We encouraged him to try to be able to walk again and showed him some things to do to help his condition.

Uman is a beautiful island.  We are used to lots of rain.  You get wet and you dry out again and you are never cold.

This is the boat we rode to Uman in.  it is one of the nicer boats we can sometimes use.

The missionaries in our branch have been taking us to visit some of the people they teach.  This family's home was surrounded by water due to a recent rain.  We loved meeting the people and sharing gospel truths with them!

Every couple of months the mission president comes to Chuuk and we have a zone conference.  It is always fun to see all the missionaries from all the Chuuk islands where we have them.  

We had a missionary who got a bad infection in his hand.  We were afraid it would have to have surgery by a surgeon who specialized in hand surgery--not available in Chuuk.  But modern technology enabled us to make contact with a hand surgeon who is a missionary in Brazil and working with his advice we were able to get the infection to resolve without surgery.  You can see how swollen his left hand is below.  Now he is fine.

One day our activities were all cancelled, so we took the opportunity of a free day to go hiking with a member who had volunteered to take us up the mountain.  It was an amazing day.  Below were our two leaders.

Here we are at the beginning--all clean and energetic!

As we went along others joined us.  About four young women came with a ukulele and sang to us most of the way.  

The young men who joined us also helped us make the climb.  We couldn't have done it without them.  

A couple of times we stopped and they climbed coconut trees to get us a coconut to drink.

After hiking a ways we came to some caves built while the Japanese were in control of the Island.  Here is a small one.

Later we came to a large cave with huge guns at both ends of a long tunnel or cave.

From the guns to the top was very steep and went through thick jungle with trees downed from the typhoon.  They had to cut our way through with their machetes and then push and pull us up the mountain.  

Here are some scenes from the top:

The short airport runway from the top of the mountain:

Coming down was steep but easier than going up.

I wondered why these young men brought the large traffic cone.  They had a small radio which they put inside and used the cone for an amplifier!

We were soaking wet with sweat and very tired when we reached the top, but it was a great day!  We love the people of Chuuk and they showed a lot of love to us.  It was a magical experience.

Below is a picture showing the natural beauty of this island.

Chuuk has its challenges, but it has a wonderful people who are very loving and warm.  We are so thankful to be able to be here!