Sunday, May 25, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

Last Saturday I joined in the Stake Young Women's Camp hike to Pagat Cave.  
These are some of the girls from the Dededo Ward.

                                                                                           Entrance to the cave

Our .8 mile hike was rewarded by a refreshing swim in the underground pool. 

Sunday we attended the Marizo Group that meets in a newly renovated building right on the ocean.  Sacrament meeting is held out here on the porch.

 Saturday morning I took Grant to see Pagat.  He passed on the cave but we hiked to the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean and enjoyed a glorious view.

Saturday afternoon we drove down to Asan Beach, the primary landing site for the U.S. Marines during the Guam liberation from the Japanese in July of 1944.  Every Memorial weekend 3,050 flags are set out, one for each American and Chamorro who lost his/her life during the Japanese invasion and occupation and the America liberation of the island.

 We passed this little roadside business on the way home.  Guam has "boonie dogs" (stray dogs), "boonie stompers" (hikers) and "boonie bees" (aggressive, wild bees) and now, a "boonie store."

Today we celebrated Memorial Day by coming into the office and hosting the missionaries on their P-day as they e-mailed home.  Here is Sister David (Marshall Islands), Sister Warner (Nephi, UT), Sister Ta'ehia-with ukulele (Tonga) and Sister Alaalatoa (Samoa via California).

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Saipan--a pleasant surprise

Saturday morning we flew to Saipan to meet with Liubov Wiswell, the family history consultant and members of the Saipan Ward.

A member of the Church since joining in Kiev in 1997, here is Liubov with her husband Norm.  
Here are a few of the highlights of our visit.

Saipan is a tiny island,only 47 square miles in area, but its packed with history.   

This is Banzi Cliff where hundreds of Japanese civilians jumped to their deaths as the Americans were taking the island between 15 June and 9 July of 1944.  Although US soldiers dropped leaflets and shouted through loudspeakers that those who surrendered would not be harmed, the mass suicides were deemed preferable to the shame of capture and, it was presumed, torture.  Today the area is covered with memorials to those who died here.

Nearby is the last Japanese Command Post, a bunker built into the rock cliff and cleverly concealed.  

Tanks and guns have been placed around on the lawn below and can be seen elsewhere around the island. 

Saturday evening we turned out with lots of other folks for the Taste of the Marianas where we ran into half a dozen members of the Saipan Ward. (This is not one of them.)

Sunday was Mother's Day.  We celebrated by teaching a family history lesson to the combined Young Men and Young Women, training the Ward Council on family history responsibilities and presening a fireside that evening.  We spent some time in the afternoon with the missionaries.  This is Elder Paulis from Pohnpei.  While he was waiting to skype home, we helped him with his family history.

Monday morning we hiked to Forbidden Island with Brother Val Welch and then drove to Mt. Tagpochau from which we could see the entire island.

After lunch we gave a presentation to about 10 school teachers about  FamilySearch.

One last interesting stop was the old Japanese Jail where, according to one theory, Amelia Earhart was held and eventually executed by the Japanese after touching down on Saipan.  

The most amazing thing about Saipan was the ward.  Its small but incredibly diverse.  We met people from the Philippines, India, Cambodia, Thailand, mainland China, Ukraine, and Phonpei as well as Chamorros and Carolinians.  We hope to return again soon. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Slow week - but interesting coconut festival at Inarajan Village

You know you are getting older when you go to a museum or re-enactment that shows how things were used or done in the "old days."  Most, if not all, of the demonstrations we have seen in Guam were the un-noteworthy things of everyday life when I lived in Samoa.  Now, at least here, they are anachronisms and people are beginning to struggle to preserve some of the old skills.  I am getting old and yearning for the way they were while knowing they will never be again.

 Coconut Festival - Inarajan Village.  Local guide showing some of the uses of the coconut tree - here were baskets and headgear.

Sister McClellan at hibiscus bark rope-making demonstration.

Guide showing different weaving from pandanus leaves - this is a lunch back apparently used through the 1950s.

Making trinkets from the coconut tree leaves.

Fish - trinket!

We loved the prints from local batik artist, Judy Flores, who grew up in this village.

Local baker using old Spanish-style brick oven.  He cooked us some pizza for lunch.  This shows him making cinnamon rolls.

Pizza right out of the oven!

Sister Melsihner Hadley from Pohnpei in the Family History Support Office.  She is a bank examiner for the Federated States of Micronesia and was here for training - as a part of her government job.  We were able to spend a few hours with her reviewing her family files on FamilySearch.  Her husband, Frank, is in the stake presidency in Pohnpei.