Saturday, January 16, 2016

September-October in Chuuk

In September we made a short trip to Guam for some dental work.  While there we got to visit the Navy Hospital Ship Mercy.  It was quite amazing.  They make humanitarian trips to many poor countried and provide medical services.
Our Guide was the ship chaplain.  It was interesting to hear how he worked as a chaplain for all religions on board ,even though he is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He explained that they have been on a tour in this part of the Pacific and the LDS Charities sent about 20 doctors and other health professionals as part of the mission.  They stopped in Hawaii, Fiji, Philippines, Vietnam, and now Guam (I may have missed a few).  It is a huge ship which has been furnished as a very state-of-the-art hospital.  They have operating rooms and even an MRI on the ship.
Several other senior missionaries went with us.

This is a manikin on the ship Mercy that can be programmed to act like a human in various types of medical situations.  He is used for training.  He can respond in typical or non-typical ways to the treatments he gets or the illnesses he has.  He is very expensive!

Visiting the Chamorran village in Guam where we got a glimpse of Chamorran culture.
We also sampled Chamorran barbecue.  Yummy!

While in Guam we had the opportunity to meet with the zone leaders from all over the Micronesia/Guam Mission which includes Guam, Saipan, Palau, Pohnpei, Kosrae, Yap, and  Chuuk.  They come to Guam once a month for training from the mission president.  Then they return to their islands where they train the other missionaries.  They are an inspiring group!

Asan Beach
We went to the Agat beach and the Asan Beach.  During WWII the Americans landed on Guam at Agat Beach first, driving the Japanese back and taking the ridges above the beach.  Then they landed on the Asan Beach.  Here the water was so low the soldiers had to walk in to the shore and many were killed.  It was a brutal landing.  After they reached the shore, the Japanese attacked them again.  But eventually the Americans drove the Japanese back and took the beach.  These two beaches were on each side of the Orote Peninsula where the Japanese had an air strip.  So it was valuable to take this area and gradually get control of the air strip.  

We saw guns and anti-aircraft guns on the beaches, along with bunkers and other remnants of the war.
  War is a terrible thing.  It is sobering to be where so many lives were lost.  If I remember correctly about 15,000 Japanese lost their lives at Asan Beach, along with some Americans and Chamorrans.  The Japanese had been very cruel to the Chamorrans and were about to execute many of them when they were rescued by the American forces.  

Sunsets are beautiful in Guam.


This is the Mechitiw Branch (where we attend) Relief Society.

We try to keep the missionaries healthy.  My new tactic is to serve celery (since they don't get many fresh vegetables) when they come to visit.  One of them said his mother wouldn't believe he was eating celery, but they were both enjoying it!
Baptisms are always fun.  These two girls are from our branch.

These children learned their songs and their talks and were really enthusiastic

The theme of the program was "I Feel My Savior's love.

We took pictures of all the children and made this poster.  They loved to see their pictures.  We taught them about how Jesus loves each one of them.  Everyone enjoyed the program.

We are blessed to have ready access to fresh fish here--all kinds for $1.75 a pound.  This lobster was enough for two meals!

We visited a family with twins.  One of them was sick.  His big sister helps care for him.

The mother has 8 children who are part of our Primary children and Youth.  We love them!

They have a humble home,

but the view is fantastic!

These boys are doing hand-stand fights.  The missionaries told me that this is the season for this game for boys.  

Right now the game for girls is jumping over a rope made of rubber bands joined together.  They gradually raise the rope higher and higher.  It doesn't matter if they touch the rope as long as they get over.  It was fun to watch.  (The girl jumping has really long hair.)

This is part of the "road" to church.  We always park below this big pipe because if we try to cross it we often get stuck.  

Here are some of our missionaries at their training meeting.  What a fantastic group of young men!  

This is my music class.  The students are different each week, but they are gradually learning to conduct music and play the keyboard.  It is really fun to see them learn.

Chuukese people bury their dead in their own yards.  Land is an important part of Chuukese culture and different areas are owned by different families.  Each person is from a certain island and connected to that land forever, even after they leave Chuuk.  
Here we are attending the funeral of a woman in our branch.   We went by to give our respects to the family. We were greeted by members of the branch who were there.   We were shown into the room where the casket was.  The room (in a two or three room concrete house) had been completely lined by white curtains and even the ceiling covered with white cloth.  Then there were festoons of dark purple and flowers, flower hearts, baskets of flowers.  There was even a fresh pink linoleum rolled out on the floor.  It was almost like a wedding reception in our culture.  In the middle was the coffin (half open)..  In their culture you pass by the coffin and put a dollar in a basket.  The family also feeds everyone.  We saw the men digging the grave next to about 3 other graves in the yard.  They gave us bottles of cold water and as we were leaving they brought us two meal boxes.  
Later we went back for a funeral service.  There were songs and speeches.  The young people sang a song with the Ukelele.  They continued to strum on the Ukelele during the last talk.  It was actually kind of a nice background music.  After all the talks and the closing song and prayer, the wailing began.  First one woman started wailing.  Gradually more and more women came up and leaned into the coffin and shrieked and cried. It was their way of showing respect and love for the dead person.

The coffin has bene placed in the grave and they are preparing to lay cement on the bop.  You can see other graves in the foreground.  

 Chuuk zone at our last Zone Conference here in Chuuk.


These two missionaries are giving their "farewell" testimonies since they finish their missions soon.

These little boys came running to help us carry our bags up the hill to the church.  Other children love to help also.

People in Chuuk are very friendly.  They wave and smile as we pass by.  Children love to greet us and shake hands.  They are particularly loveable.  We are enjoying learning more about their culture.  We have great admiration for the way they conduct their lives in a harsh environment.  Those who have received the gospel have a special light in their eyes.  It gives them hope and peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment