Sunday, February 22, 2015

Kepirohi Water Fall

The end of our Saturday P-Day we hiked up to the most popular water fall on Pohnpei, Kepirohi Falls. It is spectacular at 66 feet tall and 98 feet wide. While we were there, two young men came up and jumped in the small pool there.
 We asked them for a picture. They just kept swimming until they reached the rocks under the Falls. They quickly started climbing the rocks and then turned for the photo op. They were loving having us take their picture. If you look closely, you can see one under the water.
 Oh yes, we were approached as were getting close to the trail to pay some woman $3 each. It is almost comical how they come up to us. All of them act really grouchy (I think they want us to be afraid of them) and when we pay they act friendly.

Pehlang Group Sacrament Meeting

We attended the Pehlang Group Sacrament meeting today (22 Feb. 2015)  A new group president was called, Elder Charley.  In the picture below is Sister Kolini on the left with the pink scarf.  She is a missionary from Papua New Guinea.  There were about thirty people at church.
 This is the Pehlang Group church.  The small building in blue is where the primary children meet.  The building on the right is the chapel where the Sacrament service and Sunday school is located.
 This is another view of the Pehlang Group church.  The building shown is the primary room.  The nahs is just out of sight at the back of the small building.  It is a beautiful and serene setting.  My favorite bird on the island is the cardinal honeyeater.  It is a brilliant red and black with a curved bill for reaching into nectar rich flowers.  They fly around the trees in the jungle beside the nahs.  It makes for a little distraction especially when all the talks are in Pohnpeian.

Nan Madol Ruins

We have declared Saturdays to be our P-Day, but they are far and few between, This Saturday, we explored a famous ruins called Nan Madol, which is actually a U.S. National Historic Landmark. It is difficult to look at these stones and get a correct idea of the size of them, but some are 30 tons each or more. There are many theories or legends as to how they were brought to the island, but some of the explanations include Black Magic, flying dragons or twin sorcerers who were seeking a place to build an altar. All this occurred during the 12th or 13th century.
The funny thing is all the locals expect to be paid. One woman just happens to live at the corner when you drive by to go to this ruin. She has her hand out stretched and is yelling, "One dolla" each, After paying her, we drive further and park. When we start walking, another person approaches us asking for $3 each. We ask, "Is this all it will cost?". "Yes", he says. Then we go on with our hike til we reach the beginning of the ruins. Another man is there asking for another $3 each.
There was a group of tourists from Poland. It is interesting to meet people who come to such a remote island for a vacation.
We had to wade across the sandy water which was a warm as bath water and try to climb up and down the rocks and hope to not get hurt. Jeanette, the other senior couple sister was climbing on coral and slipped and fell and was pretty cut up. Guess even senior couples think they are still 12 years old.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Spiders and Pigs Oh My

When we left a members home we saw this cute little piggy and got him to stop long enough for a picture.  On the way out of the path to the house we saw a entire family of pigs heading home from a day of foraging in the jungle.  There does not seem to be any feral pigs on the island like found in Hawaii.  The pigs seem to stay close to home.

 Guarding the outhouse door was this huge spider.  He was at least three inches long.  We didn't know if he was harmless or not but it doesn't pay to take chances so we passed by the chance for relief.  Not in the picture in a very relaxed dog sleeping on the outhouse floor.  He wasn't in the least bothered by the spider.

Mission Call-West Indies Tobago Mission

Elder Lenny Lorenzo opened his mission call and was very surprised to discover that he is going to the West Indies Tobago Mission.  He had no idea where the West Indies is located so we had to get out a map and find it.  His new mission will probably be about as far from home as possible.  It is amazing to see these young people being sent by the Lord to serve Him all over the world.

Mission Call-Australia Sydney South

 Elder Howard Elies is excited to open his mission call to the Australia Sydney South Mission.  Elder Kim is seated next to him.  He will be leaving in June for the MTC in Provo, Utah.  Below in a picture of him with his family.  His mother on the far left was smiling and proud and crying all at the same time.
 One of his younger family members opens a coconut for the juice to be presented to the guests.  Young children learn quickly to use the machete and not lose a finger.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Hams at a Baptism

We arrived at a scheduled 5 pm baptism but it didn't start until 7 pm.  Pohnpei time is a little different from home.  While waiting these little girls gladly posed for a picture.  The little children seem to flock to us here.  The love hugging, shaking hands and fist pumping.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Awak Group Sunday Sacrament Meeting

We have been attending different wards, branches and groups each Sunday.  This week we attended the Awak Group.  They meet in a small nahs that is situated with a beautiful view of the bay.  Church units such as this one are located in areas where people do not have transportation and walk to church.  Even though attendance and membership is small the missionaries preach the gospel and many are joining.  It is exciting to feel of their strong testimonies and realize that the church will grow in strength and numbers on Pohnpei.  In the photo are Elders Becraft and Leeworthy from Utah and Australia.  They are the zone leaders on the east side of the island.

Mission Call to Temple Square

We received a mission call for Sister Marliza Johnny of the Sapwalap Ward.  Her parents have been investigating the church but have not been baptized.  The family was waiting when we arrived.  These calls come from the First Presidency of the church.  She was very excited to open up her call.  She carefully opened the envelope and read that she was going to the Salt Lake City Temple Square English speaking mission on May 5, 2015.  As far as we know she is the first Pohnpeian to serve on Temple Square.  I took a picture of the cooking area with some of her family.  We told her that we will be seeing her with our grandchildren Marian Alaniz and Grant Hedgpeth when we take them on the annual trip to Temple Square in June, 2016.  How fun to see her there!

Young Single Adult Activity

We attended and assisted (mostly with the cupcakes and ice cream) the young single adult activity on Valentine's Day.  There were nearly 200 in attendance at the Sapwalap Ward building.  The theme was a talent show.  Most of the eleven wards, branches or groups were there and participated.  There was singing, dancing and a skit.  There are two volleyball courts in the parking lot and the youth here love to play and they are very good at it.  We were standing in the shade sweating while they played in the sun and didn't seem affected by the heat.  I guess we aren't quite acclimated yet.

 All of the above youth are returned missionaries.  Ivaloni Aldan is on the right in the picture below and we are assisting her in getting her missionary papers ready to submit.  We have nearly a dozen youth who are getting ready to serve missions.  It is very exciting to watch them prepare.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Our Ship Came In

Everything on the island comes in by cargo ships.  Occasionally, mostly due to stormy seas the ship is late and the shelves in the stores become very empty.  When I went for my morning walk yesterday I noticed that the ship had come in.  In a day or two the shelves will be resupplied, very expensive but available.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Zone Conference-February 2015

Mission President Zarback and his wife came from Guam for zone conference.  All the missionaries on Pohnpei attended at the Panasang chapel.  The senior missionaries prepare the lunch.  We had a great time and were spiritually fed.  These missionaries are so excited to teach the gospel of Christ.

They live in the most humble of circumstances, fighting rats, dogs, pigs and insects and living with no running water but they NEVER complain.  In fact it would be nice if they did complain a little more often so we can correct the issues when possible.

Jungle Umbrellas

Last week we went on a missionary apartment and vehicle inspection around the island.  Coming out of one of the elder's homes we ran across these children walking up the road.  It was raining and the local people just walk into the jungle and cut large banana leaves or other types of leaves and use for umbrellas.  They always gladly pose for pictures.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Peter the Fisherman

This is Peter from the Wone Branch.  He feeds his family from the jungle and the sea.  He uses this bamboo pole to catch fish.  He must wade out through the mud flats and past the mangrove swamps to the ocean where he catches fish using small crabs for bait.
The stick and hook below is what he uses to catch mangrove crabs.  The large crabs live in holes in the muddy bottom around the mangrove trees that line the island.  He puts the hook in the hole and pulls out the crab.  The pole is very sharp on the bottom end and if the crab gets away he spears it with the pole.  Peter is very good at growing fruits but he didn't have any vegetable seeds.  We ordered him a large packet of a variety of seeds and he will soon begin planting.  He cleared out a small area in the jungle for his garden.  He told me that I would be the first to eat out of his garden.  It was very rewarding to see how happy these seeds made him.  He could not have afforded the seeds on his own. Peter has only been a member for a little over a year and has already gone to the temple in Manila. The church has a program that takes people who cannot afford the trip to the Philippines to attend the temple.

Not Your Typical Family Home Evening

 We went to the Wone Branch for Family Home Evening.  These people are so humble and wonderful.  They say that we have been adopted into their family and we feel that way.  We meet in what is called a nahs.  This is a thatched roof open area.  As you can see the family dog had pups and they roam freely under foot.
Two of the girls posed with their pet rooster.  They keep it tied with a string around it's leg.  He seems pretty satisfied being cradled in their arms.  Such cute kids.
Lenda learned how to weave banana leaf dinner plates.  After she finished we used them for the meal.  No leaking on the bottom.  She did a good job but isn't sure she can do it again without help.  We sang songs and several gave their testimonies.  We all shared in a great meal.  Lenda made chocolate cake and naturally that was a hit.  Sis. Furstenau made a big bowl of popcorn and the kids sang "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree" before they dove into the bowl.  We had a great time as usual.  It takes a hour to drive out to Wone which is on the opposite end of island from where we live.