Sunday, August 31, 2014

"All things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and know them." Moses 1:35

We have spent an amazing 10 days deep in the heart of Micronesia.  Even in this far away place we feel the love of Heavenly Father for his children and know that he is ever mindful of us all.  
We arrived in Kosrae on Friday, August 22 where we met the capable and charming new family history consultant for the Lelu Branch, Permides Mongkeya.  The internet on the island is s l o w but we managed to get some work done.

Friday night volleyball at the chapel.  

Saturday we checked out the internet at the Telacom.  Its a bit better that the connection at the chapel but only two computers work.

That afternoon we visited the part-member Daniel family and shared the My Family booklet with them.

A pretty curb-side garden in Lelu.

Next we visited Sister Teolenoa who plans to attend the Temple this fall and be sealed to her granddaughter. 

After the visit we enjoyed a frozen coconut meat treat.

Walking to an appointment with the Elders on Kosrae.

Jungle car/planter.

In the late afternoon we met with the Utwe Branch presidency and new family history consultant, Sina George.  She is the cute one in front.  

A spectacular Sunday morning sunrise over the Pacific, right in front of our hotel.

The Lelu Youth begin their booklets in Sunday School class.

Permides is the District Young Women's President, Seminary and Youth Sunday School teacher as well as the family history consultant!  Here she is with her class on Sunday. 

Sepe Mike gathering genealogical information from her family gravesites in Utwe.

Monday morning we had a great zone meeting with the missionaries.

That evening the Branch and District Presidencies surprised us with a feast of local food.  Here is a basket of drinking coconuts.

And here are the cooks!  Permides and Sister Hadley and Caston's wife.

President Aloka and his beautiful garden.

 We arrived in Pohnpei Wednesday afternoon.  Thursday we visited members in Eirike . . .

Awak . . . 

and Uh where we met with President Nakamura and his counselor President Aldan.

Nixon and Karlina Aldan. 

We finished the day with a visit to the Sapwalap Ward.  
Friday, we met with President Albert at Mand.  He is a successful farmer whose family is from Pingelap, as are most of the people in this part of the island. 

His home was neat and tidy.

From Mand we drove to Wone and met with a small but enthusiastic group there.

Next it was on to Kitti where President Conrad (back right) is planning a branch temple trip later this year.  His wife (standing next to him) is a family history consultant and teaches Seminary.

Saturday morning Elder and Sister Chandler took us on an amazing hike to Sokehs Rock where we found WWII Japanese anti-aircraft and coastal guns . . . 

a stand of giant bamboo . . .

And amazing views of the island.  That is the short runway of the Pohnpei International Airport in the middle of the photo.

In the afternoon we visited with the Sekere Wars taught an enthusiastic group how to use the My Family booklet.  All of these people are related through the Agrippa family.

Saturday evening we drove south again and took a small boat to the Nan Madol ruins with our friends from Barrigada, the Roberts.  

The sunset that evening was spectacular, as usual.

Today the Chandlers prepared a delicious dinner for us.  They work hard on Pohnpei as CES Missionaries.  They love it here and you can see why!  Beautiful island, beautiful people.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Dog Days of Summer

Although we are in the "dog days of summer," its not much hotter now than ever in Guam.  According to tradition July 24 to August 24 when Siris is in the sky  "the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies." (Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813.)   Grant and I have both contracted and overcome a virus of some sort.  Other than that, its been a pretty great two weeks.  August 4 we hosted Family Home Evening at our apartment and invited Rose and Jim Cruz (center) to join us (Elder and Sister Martin, Sister and Elder McCabe).  Jim is an authentic Chamorro, born and raise on Guam.  Rose, is lovely wife, is from California.  They have been stalwarts of the Church on Guam since the early 1970s.  We enjoyed hearing them reminisce about Guam and its people, including memories of the U.S.invasion in 1944 when Brother Cruz was six. 

Our next Family Home Evening, a tour of the submarine Oklahoma City which is in port at the Naval Base, was sponsored by the McCabes the following Saturday.  It was fascinating and we were glad that Grant mastered his claustrophobia and was able to join us.

Mondays are always a busy time at the Stake Center/Mission Office/Area Support Office where the missionaries gather to wash their cars, e-mail home and enjoy playing volleyball and basketball.

Last Saturday Grant and I spent the day at the far north tip of Guam at Ritidian Beach.  This little fellow came out to greet us on the beach.

We hiked six miles along the beautiful coast.  The cliffs are limestone, the beach a mixture of sand, coral and shells, the water was 17 shades of blue, turquoise and indigo. We were alone most of the way.

Many of the shells we found were inhabited.

In some places we walked on a limestone shelf of petrified coral.

We ended our "P" day by driving up to the top of Nimitz Hill and watching the sun set over the Philippine Sea.

Today we visited the Barrigada Ward.  We met with Happiness Ichin and his son Happy to start their family history.  Happiness was the second member of the Church in Chuuk and the first missionary sent from that island.  He is also the second counselor in the bishopric.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Another week in paradise

Its been a fun and exciting week for us.  Tuesday evening we met with the Barrigada Boy Scout Troop 007 to work on the Genealogy Merit Badge.  Attendance was sparse due to the impending tropical storm which hit, as predicted on Wednesday morning.  This is what Typhoon Halong looked like from our front door. 

We spent all of Wednesday inside with our storm shutters pulled across the windows and the bathtub filled with water.  We felt lucky that we lost power for only about 10 minutes.

Thursday we met with the Stake Institute Introduction to Family History Class.  The group was small that evening too but full of the spirit.  These YSA hale from the Marshall Islands, Guam, Utah, and the Philippines. The young woman is currently awaiting a mission call.

Friday morning Elder and Sister McCabe, Military Relations, invited us onto Anderson Air Force Base on the northern tip of Guam where we enjoyed beautiful Tarague Beach. We had a three day pass so we returned on Saturday morning and hiked a mile and a half along the coast and back.  We had the entire place to ourselves.

Friday evening we attended the Talisay Ward "Temple Night" and presented an introduction to the FamilySearch website.  Some of the oldsters were a little frustrated by the computer while the younger folks were amazed at how user-friendly and fun the site is.

Today we were invited by President Zarbock to teach the Mission Leadership Council (20 Zone Leaders and Sister Trainers from across the mission plus the Assistants to the President) how to use Family History as a finding and retention tool in their work.  The Spirit was strong as we listened to the Elders and Sisters testify of the beautiful doctrines of the temple and eternal families.  This work is definitely for the young!