Monday, March 30, 2015

Peter's Garden and Family Home Evening

On Monday, March 30, 2015 we drove out to the Wone area to have Family Home Evening and to see Peter's garden.  A few weeks ago I had ordered a variety of heirloom seeds.  There were about 30 varieties of vegetable seeds.  Peter was excited to start his new garden.  He must have spent days clearing a patch of jungle.  The garden was amazing.  He has corn, peas, two varieties of cucumbers, peppers, watermelon and squash.  He still has many more variety of seeds to plant.
Below is a summer squash that is almost ready for harvest.  They have never seen this variety of squash and we told them how to best prepare and harvest it. He mounds the soil and uses coconut husks to hold the dirt in place.  All of the trellis work is harvested from the nearby jungle.
 The garden is thriving in the tropical climate.  Some vegetables are difficult to grow due to the heat and humidity but if anyone can succeed it will be Peter.  He has a love for gardening and growing food for his family and friends.  He has promised us the first pickings from his crop.
 After touring Peter's garden his family gathered in the house to sing songs, have a spiritual lesson and visit.  It was a very enjoyable evening with wonderful people who consider us a part of their family.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Biscuits and Gravy

 Sister Hedgpeth promised the two Idaho missionaries one last biscuits and gravy breakfast before Elder Johnson goes home.  He and Elder Leeworthy are leaving us for home on April 9th.  Wow, can these guys put it away.  A huge pot a gravy and a pile of biscuits disappeared faster than one could have imagined.
Seated from the left are Elders Peterson (Washington), Bunn (Idaho), Bisschop (Canada), Johnson (Idaho), Leeworthy (Australia), Nelson (Utah), Bourne (England) and Kim (Utah).

Baptism in Awak

We got to experience yet another baptism in the ocean (bay) in front of the Awak Group.  Pictured below on the left is President Hachibelmul (everyone just calls him Mario), Elders Peterson and Becraft and the family of the new convert.  Her husband is holding their little boy.  He is not quite ready for baptism but the family is praying for him and believe he will be baptized soon.

Sister Fenau goes home

Sister Fenau from Samoa is going home.  She is pictured in the red dress.  Standing beside her is her often companion Sister Pahulu also from Samoa.  We get very attached to these missionaries.  They are dedicated servants of the Lord.  It's hard to see them go but that is life in the mission field.  She has been serving as one of the Sister Leader Missionaries up to her departure.

Stake Conference March 2015

Stake President Kalio and Elder Whiting talk to a young girl after stake conference.  Elder Whiting is a general authority in the Asia North Area.  It was such a privilege to have him here on the island.  He was here exactly one year ago and formed the Pohnpei Stake.  As senior missionaries we had the honor to be with him an several occasions, ask questions and be taught.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Stake Relief Society Event

On Saturday March 21, 2015 the Pohnpei Stake held a Relief Society Conference and culture event.  Pictured below are Sisters Hedgpeth and Furstenau seated with one their favorite members, Carly from the Wone Branch.
 Each of the wards and branches presented songs and island dancing.  It was a hot and humid day approaching 90 degrees but the sisters didn't let that slow them down.
 All eleven wards, branches and groups performed after many practices. Some wore handmade costumes. At any event, even though in this case it was Relief Society, all the families come to watch. I'm sure there were over a hundred children there and some of the priesthood are there to help with chairs, sound system and whatever else is needed.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Lionas Sisters Mission Calls

We had the opportunity to deliver the mission call letters to the Lionas sisters.  Jaysleen in the picture below received her call the serve in the Philippines.  Pictured on the left is their mother who was very emotional about losing two children to missions at the same time.  Her son Jayson is currently finishing his papers and will soon be serving.  She will have three missionaries serving at the same time.
 Carleen received her call to serve on the island of Vanuatu.  Vanuatu was devastated by the terrible cyclone only last week.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ocean Bay Baptism

We had the opportunity to take Elder Jung, our Area Seventy, to a baptism at the Awak Group before he was to fly back to Guam.  Elder Jung is standing on the left.  Bro. Mario the group leader is on his left.  The two missionaries are Elders Leeworthy and Becraft.  Elder Becraft performed the baptism.
 It was slippery work getting out into the water deep enough to preform the baptism but it was successfully completed and a new member of the church has joined the Awak Group.  Most baptisms are performed in ward buildings but this sister wanted to be baptized near her home in the bay next to the nahs where church services are held.
  It was a beautiful and warm day for a baptism.  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Area Seventy Training

We were at the airport to welcome the Asia North Area Seventy, Taegul Jung from Korea and his executive secretary, Yukihiko Hattori from Japan. We also witnessed a sister missionary returning home from the Philippines after serving for 18 months. As you can see, she was in tears as she was greeted by family and friends. She came right up to us to tell us she served with the Shamrell's (a senior couple from Gresham) and that they said to tell us Hi. What a small world.  Not in the picture is a new missionary to the island, Elder Lee from Utah.

 As we were preparing for the training of all the leaders in our island, I sat down with Brother Hattori on the left in the picture below. I asked him about his conversion to the church. What a story! He was an engineering student in  the 70's and was a part of the protest movement then against the USA and the "establishment".   Because he was a science student, they asked him to prepare the perfect bottle bombs, which he did.  He experimented with many different types of bottles and flammable liquids. Interestingly, a coke bottle was the worse because it wouldn't break.
He was interested in many different philosophies and religions. He came across the Joseph Smith story and dismissed it because it had such a similar story as other religious leaders, in that spiritual manifestations often came to a young boy. He was also not convinced that God would show himself to anyone. One night he had a dream in which God told him that He could in fact appear to a man. The next day he came across missionaries from our church. After just a few lessons he was ready to join the church and was baptized within a week at the age of 19.
 We had breakfast the next morning with these leaders. They were very interested in knowing how the Seminary and Institute programs were going here and also how the church was progressing. Elder Yung, standing next to Lenda,  is a member of the 8th Quorum of the Seventy and travels all around the Asia North Area. He was so kind and easy to talk to.  Elder Jung is also the area director for seminary and institute.
Elder Jung was here to train the stake and ward leaders in Pohnpei.  It was a great spiritual and learning experience for us.

A Visit to the Rodriquez Family

On Saturday March 14, 2015 we went to visit the Rodriguez family from the Eirike Ward.  Bro. Rodriguez  prepared a coconut to drink the juice from.  They were also starting a fire to prepare taro. This nahs is the typical cooking area for families.  Three families were preparing coconut oil, cooked bananas and taro.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Son Baptizes Mother

I have to tell you about this young man who we have been helping with his missionary papers. He is all done and they should be on their way by now.
He joined the church one year ago. He has been a "Bad boy" I tell him and he agrees. For years he found delight in causing problems for any Mormons he could find. When I first met him I asked if he knew the Mormon boys when he was in High School (whom he now is friends with). He said, "I knew them and I beat them up". Of course I asked if he literally beat them up and he said,"Yes".
He would hear about a baptism in a river and just as everyone was in the water and ready, he would jump in the river  (Unclothed) and declare the river to belong to him.
He spend a long time reading the Book of Mormon and Bible, trying to prove the church was wrong. He read all the anti-Mormon information on the internet, etc. There is much more that he did, but to make a long story short, he finally prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true and he began to weep. The Spirit told him the truth. He went home to tell his parents and they threatened all kinds of things (His father said he would cut off his head, both parents threatened to disown him, etc.).
He said, I am going to be baptized and he did. A few days later he went back home and they welcomed him back.
After this year, they have seen the change in him and acknowledge it is a good thing. This first picture is of him and his Mom last Saturday night right after he baptized her.
The next picture is of him teaching our Seminary class. The kids were on the edge of their seats as he told his story. Several of our faithful students are non-members and want to be baptized, but their parents forbid it.
He thinks his father will be baptized soon, too. What a great young man.

Dew Rags

These  are three of our seminary students at PICS high school.  From left to right are Angelo, Wallace and Joshua.  Notice the blue dew rag on Angelo and the shirt draped around his shoulder.  There seems to be a trend among the students to hang towels, shirts or any loose garment over their heads.  We always have to laugh at them as they look old grannies walking around school.  But it's the fad so they have to follow.  Angelo and Wallace are church members but Joshua isn't.  He has a firm testimony and never misses seminary.  He wants very badly to be baptized but his grandmother will not allow him to.  This is not uncommon on the island.  Family bonds are very strong and there is a lot of respect for their parents and grandparents.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Bird in the Hand

While on our way to the Eirike Ward for seminary and institute classes we passed three boys each carrying long poles.  One of the boys had captured this parrot with his slingshot.  The bird was very much alive but probably not for long.  It was a beautiful bird and he was very proud of it.  I asked several questions but got only nods and smiles back.  Not uncommon here.  Maybe it will be kept as a pet.