On Friday Dec. 5th 2014 we attended the Sapwalop Ward party (potluck) in honor of the Chandlers who are leaving next week and we are their replacements. It was fairly typical of ward gatherings. Typical "Pohnpei time" which is at least a half hour late. There were over 50 small children and a dog that kept sneaking in. It was so noisy that you could hardly have a conversation. The food was great: fish, chicken, breadfruit, bananas presented several ways, rice dishes, noodles and cake. We sang Christmas carols and several bore their testimonies. I was asked to say a few words. Pohnpeians always want to know how old you are and we were the oldest in the cultural hall. There needs to be some benefit for being older as in the respect and honor they give you. They treat us like royalty. We were seated in front, given leis and ate first. They also had brought us fresh coconuts with a straw to drink the sweet juice inside. They like you to eat a lot and unless you fill your own plate it comes heaping high. They give us spoons but the locals eat with their fingers. I soon found myself eating with my fingers with some of the dishes like rice that is easy to ball up and eat. The only problem I found with eating with the fingers is how to clean your hands. No napkins were provided so you just have to lick your fingers clean.
The top photo is of the stake president (on the right), Pres. Lenspur Kalio. The Panasang Pohnpei Stake was just created last year. Pres. Kalio is a very humble man and has proven to be a great leader among is people and stake. His is a bit famous in that there is a great you tube video of him and can be easily found by googling "I'm a Mormon, a Pohnpeian and a spear fisherman". Look it up for great views of our island and stake president and his family.