Sunday, July 27, 2014

Liberation Day in Guam; Sunset over the Philippine Sea; and Family History

July 21st is Liberation Day in Guam.  This is the celebration of the day the U.S. forces landed in 1944 to re-take the island from Japan which had occupied it since December 1941 when it made an almost simultaneous surprise attack here with its bombing of Pearl Harbor.  It is likely the most celebrated day of the year in Guam.  Families set up canopies along "Marine Corps Drive" where they bbq, visit and generally celebrate as they watch the parade and festivities which last somewhere between four and six hours.  It was impressive and moving to see the gratitude still shown for their liberators.

Dignitaries arrived:

Governor and Mrs. Calvo, she we had met at a presentation and luncheon several months ago and he at the ribbon cutting for the Family History/Self-Reliance Center at the Stake Center last Saturday.  They stopped and shook hands - of course probably would have anyway, being politicians and all!

And U. S. Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo 

  Family Gatherings

Marine Marching Band from Okinawa, carabao and Chamorro owner 

Village Floats

Jeanette getting a free banana tree planting

Chamorro children taking tribute to the dignitaries on the reviewing stand

Philippino cultural dances

Honor and gratitude to the still-living vets that were actually on the beaches in 1944;
this one was also a Navajo Code Talker

Carabao are all the rage . . .  

More families hanging out

The Parade was followed by the youth participating in the worldwide indexing challenge at the newly remodeled Barrigada Guam Stake Family History/Self-Reliance Center:


 Old Spanish Fort overlooking Village of Umatec

 Village of Umatec at sunset

And the week ended working with Patriarch Gittens on his Guyana family history.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Spirit of Elijah broods over Micronesia

Perhaps its the upcoming Barrigada Ward Temple trip, but it seems like we have been extra busy these last two weeks meeting requests for help with family history.  On Tuesday, July 8 Grant began a Genealogy merit badge class for the Barrigada Scouts.  They were great!!

Thursday night the newly renovated Barrigada Stake Family History Center was busy with folks from the Philippines, Chuuk and Kosrae.

Last Saturday Grant met and worked with Bedrikdrik Henry, our faithful High Priest Group leader, to start his Marshallese family history.

That evening we drove to a nearby beach and enjoyed the July Supermoon.

Monday Grace Christman came by for some help with her Chamorro family history.  She gave a fabulous Relief Society lesson today on the Sealing Power and Temple Blessings.

Our two wonderful Youth Family History Consultants

The Barrigada Youth enjoyed a pizza party on Tuesday night to celebrate their victory in the Stake Indexing Competition.

Sister Susan Sam and Dorothy Siren, originally from Chuuk,  are two of our great Barrigada Ward family history consultants.

Sepe Charley from Kosrae has been finding family records on Family Search.

We enjoyed the semi-annual senior couples' conference this week.  We were inspired by the tremendous sacrifices these people make and great work they do throughout Micronesia.

Photo: We love these outstanding senior missionaries and leaders serving on the islands of Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap, Palau, and Guam.

Freddie Nicerio, CES Director, President and Sister Zarbock, Grant and Jeanette, Elder Martin and Sister Martin (Office), Elder and Sister Crisp (Chuuk CES),  Elder Jung, Area 70 and Area CES Director behind Sister McClellen (Mission Nurse), Elder and Sister Carter (Palau CES), Elder and Sister McCabe (Military Relations), Elder and Sister Chandler (Pohnpei CES), Elder and Sister Curtis (Kosrae CES), Elder and Sister Strother (Yap CES)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Yap and Palau

We have had a busy two weeks visiting first Yap and then Palau to help members with their family history.  We flew out just before midnight on July 21 and arrived in Colonia, Yap early on the 29th. We spent most of the week meeting with members.  Below is a new member from the island of Satawal who has spent many years recording his family history.  He had been waiting since March for us to arrive and show him how to use the FamilySearch website.  He is wearing a long cloth wrapped around his waist and between his legs in the traditional way.   The Yapese are very proud of their traditions.

We met with the members at the Colonia Chapel by appointment. It has a computer dedicated to family history set up in the tiny library and a good internet connection.  We also worked in the chapel room on our laptops with wifi.  Some walked quite a distance to come and visit with us and everyone had an interesting story to tell.  Here is Grant with two little girls who came several days with their dad who was looking for information about his father.  We were able to help him.  

We visited one member family in their home.  They are long time members of the Church but have not yet done any family history.  We were able to interview them and put their information into FamilySearch.  They had some great stories.

When we were not meeting with members, we enjoyed looking around Colonia.  Here are two little boys playing on a boat in the lagoon near the chapel.

The homes and villages in Yap are connected by ancient and beautiful stone paths.

Yap is known for it stone money which is proudly displayed in public--kind of like yard art.  This unusually large collection is called a "stone money bank."

Monday night we presented a family history family home evening to the branch.  The Strothers, a CES couple from Hamilton, New Zealand (an our gracious hosts), led us in some singing.

On Wednesday evening, June 25, we met with the young men and women of the Colonia Branch and gave them each a My Family booklet.  They enjoyed filling out the page about themselves.

One morning we drove to the north of the island to a nice beach (most of Yap is edged in mangroves).  

We saw several traditional boats at the beach too.  This one is in the process of being built.

This is the view from one of the missionary apartments.

On Friday we visited the members of the Thol Branch.  One of them is a very fine weaver of lavalavas and was kind enough to show us how she weaves them on her loom.

We flew to Palau late Saturday night. Our hosts there were Elder and Sister Carter from St. George.

We presented a fifth Sunday lesson on family history on Sunday at the Koror Branch.  Again we worked with members to help them record their genealogies. Here is an impressive group of Young Adults who are attending Palau Community College, the only school of higher learning in the nation.  These men are from Pohnpei, Palau, and the Marshall Islands.

This member has a matrilineal genealogy chart used to secure claims to land which passes through the women of Palau.  We were able to add some names to his already impressive tree on FamilySearch,

One evening we went with the Sisters to meet with a newly baptized family and had a great lesson on family history and temples.  We shared the My Family booklet with them.

On Wednesday evening we met with the Young Women of the Koror Branch and introduced the My Family booklet to them.  They are beautiful and faithful.  Here they are with their president.

On Thursday morning we visited the Palau National Museum and saw this amazing bai house, a traditional men's meeting house. 

Today the Republic of Palau is governed from this huge capitol complex on the island of Babeldaob.

We arrived back in Guam on Friday morning.  Our July 4th festivities were dampened by Typhoon Neoguri.  It passed northwest of us but we had plenty of rain and wind.