"It has been a momentous, exhilarating and exhausting week here in Kosrae. Monday President Zarbock arrived from Guam along with Elder and Sister Hardy from Chuuk. They have been here all week (and will leave with us on Tuesday) to help with the Book of Mormon celebration. Monday evening was relatively relaxing as we did not have a rehearsal. Tuesday we were back on and the practice was as frustrating as ever with its late start (by about three hours) and failure of cast members to show. Wednesday we practiced only those scenes that had most fallen short on Tuesday. The rehearsal was promising but we realized that once more we were practicing with different persons standing in for the various cast members who did not come. Thursday we had a “dress rehearsal” which actually went fairly well with only a couple of glitches. Friday we had no practice as everyone was busy scrambling in the process of making food and decorating the Church grounds for the event.
"We went to buy a pig with a pre-agreed price of $300. Once we (Binton Lowary, Elders Hardy and Batty and I) were there the owner saw the three white shirts and the price suddenly jumped to $500. After a bit of haggling and the seller not budging, we walked away. We later found a pig (much larger) owned by a member and purchased it for $500 and Kaston Albert, a local member, found another about the same size for just $300. Our “pig budget” was set at $800 so we were spot on.
The members worked hard all day Friday to prepare every detail for the Celebration. Sister Nena wove this beautiful food basket from a coconut leaf.
Sister Hadley wove this lovely book cover from pandanus.
The Sisters Lowary made marmars for the guests.
"Friday the local Ace grocery store delivered the 19 cases of chicken, 15 cases of pork rib and 45 cases of bottled water, along with a case of hot dogs and processed ham. The members were up most of the night cooking on the local “uhm” and otherwise preparing. There were also buckets full of local seafood, including lobster and crab, reef fish and huge yellow-fin tuna. This was supplemented by rice, breadfruit and taro prepared in various traditional ways. Of course, most of this was for the end-of-the-day dinner on Saturday. Friday President Michael T. Ringwood of the Asia North Area arrived along with Bishop Bill Davis (Manager of the Church Service Center in Guam) with his wife, Wanda, Agustine Jimenez and Tevita Tu’ituu from the FM (Facilities Mgt) Group in Guam, and the assistants to President Zarbock, Elders Fabiano and Striplin. Also with them was Koji Kodama (humanitarian)."
Preparing the ribs for the barbecue on Friday night.
Elders Amato, Johnson and Gibb helped grate coconut for the feast.
Sister Nena making leis for the guests.
We took a moment to enjoy a beautiful sunrise on Saturday morning. It was a good omen and a promise of good weather for the Celebration.
The members had been on the food all night. Brother Binton Lowary prepared the uhm for the pork.
Butchering the pigs.
Sister Alokoa and an assistant prepared the pork for the um.
Sisters Daniel and Lowary were busy cooking reef fish.
Crabs and lobsters were boiled.
Barbecuing the chicken.
Preparing the cooked taro for serving.
Sister Mitchigo Toleona prepared some delicious pineapple, served on a "local plate" made from a coconut leaf.
"At 10:30 AM we began our Member Devotional. This ended around 11:00 and the showing of Meet the Mormons began as did the missionary open house in the classroom side of the building. The movie lasted until around 12:15 when a light lunch of local “soup” was served. This is a delicious mixture of rice, coconut milk and large chunks of tuna.
Brother Nena's wonderful Kosraean soup served in "local bowls" i.e. half a coconut shell.
"The afternoon entertainment, scheduled to begin at 1:00 actually got underway closer to 1:30."
The Young Men from the Lelu Branch performed a traditional stick dance.
The Primary children from both branches sang "Book of Mormon Stories"
A combined choir of members from both branches sang "Now Let Us Rejoice" and "Count Your Blessings."
"At the end of the entertainment, we hurried the entire cast to the dressing rooms and were able to start the “skit” (pageant) portion of the event around 3:30. The run of the skit was the best it has been."
Rigina Hadley and Sepe Lowary wait backstage.
The opening "Family Home Evening" scene introduced a series of Book of Mormon stories.
Lehi and family wait backstage.
Nephi (Carson) with the plates.
Abinadi (Yulsin Phillip) rebukes King Noah's (Likaska Tony Sigrah) guards (Steven and Stevenzun Phillip).
Darkness and destruction before the appearance of Jesus Christ to the Nephites.
The appearance of Jesus Christ (Lance Mongkeya).
Mormon laments the fate of his people.
The First Vision. Joseph Smith was played by Rocky Alokoa.
The pageant was followed by a wonderful feast.