Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why we can't learn Pohnpeian

I finally received my missionary name tag written in Pohnpeian.  Take a good look at the name of our church.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Sounds easy enough.  Now see if you can say it in Pohnpeian.  We just don't seem to be able to put those letters together and get it from the brain out the tongue.  The young elders and sisters figure it out rather quickly but we don't catch on nearly as fast.

Pohnpei Surf Snorkel Trip

We finally took a day off to go out on a snorkel trip on Wednesday April 29, 2015.  The Furstenau's and us took a boat from the Pohnpei Surf Club.  We traveled out past several small islands to the east bay area.
 Here is Lenda (Sister Hedgpeth) drinking a fresh and cooled coconut.  She enjoyed the trip and getting away from Island life for a few hours.
 My underwater camera worked great.  There were thousands of small yellow, blue and orange fish.  Pictures just doesn't do the beauty and life of the sea justice.  This coral reef is protected from fishing and allows only those with permits to go there.
 This part of the island has an abundance of stingrays.  We got to see one but it was swimming in deep water.  We also saw a small shark, maybe three feet long.  Sharks are not my favorite marine life.  I'm not excited about anything that can eat me.  This one would have taken only very small bites however.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ongesel Baptism

This is Bishop Ongesel with his 8 year of daughter who is about to be baptized.  She was so excited. She is the 38th baptism we have witnessed in five months.  There have been many baptisms that we did not attend.  The growth of the church in Pohnpei is absolutely amazing.  We often wonder what the church will look like here in 15 or 20 years.  We think there will be many new chapels built and a new stake created.
Young members like little Sister Ongesel will mature in the gospel, serve missions and establish strong families.  She is already a third generation member.  Watching the church and it's people grow is very exciting.

Mission call to Mississippi

Pedrus Albert of the Sapwalap Ward received his mission call.  Pictured below is the letter he received from President Monson calling him to serve in the Mississippi, Jackson English speaking mission.  We are so excited for him.
 The senior missionaries (Hedgpeths and Furstenaus) stand with Pedrus's family.  His mother was previously baptized and is another blog.  His father is planning his baptism in the near future.  Pedrus will leave Pohnpei on his mission August 25, 2015.  It is sad for us to realize that it is likely that we will not see these young missionaries again as we will go home before they return.  They are the future leaders of the church and we are happy for them and their families.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Donations from Utah

Aaron Hanks from Riverton, Utah needed an Eagle Project.  So he was directed to the island of Pohnpei.  He gathered clothing (20 large boxes) and mailed them to us.  Pictured below are the Ongesels from the Palikir Ward and the Routs from the Kitti Branch.  They helped divide the clothing between eleven church units.  Big black bags were then delivered to the various units for distribution.
 Lisa McMurtrey from Riverton, Utah also got into the act.  Her Young Women's Organization did a service project and collected a large box of various hair products for distribution.  It really warms one's heart to see this kind of selfless service to others.  The clothing and the hair products will be greatly appreciated.

Friday, April 17, 2015

YSA Hike to Sokehs Rock

On Saturday April 18, 2015 the Young Single Adults planned a hike to Sokehs Rock the main landmark on Pohnpei.  This rock is the first thing one sees as you land at the airport.
 It was very hot and humid but was otherwise a beautiful day.  Sokehs Rock below looks rather small but in reality it is huge.  You can barely see the ocean waves in the distance.  A ring of coral reefs surround the island and prevent the sandy beaches seen on most islands.
There was about 50 or 60 youth that participated in the hike to Sokehs Rock.
 On the top of the mountain there are still reminders that this island was a strategic place during WWII.  Below is a large gun left by the Japanese after the war.  There is a memorial to the unknown soldier at the radio towers.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Edward Family Baptism

On April 10, 2015 we attended the baptism of the Edward family.  Mother, father and the two smaller boys.  It was very special in that when we first arrived on the island, we attended a family baptism. That was four months ago.  The speaker for this baptism was given by the brother who was baptized at that time.  He is also the Elder's Quorum President for the Panasang Ward.  It is our prayer that the Edward family will be strong and faithful as the other family.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Snorkeling in Pohnpei

We have been on the island for nearly five months and haven't so much as gotten a toe wet (except for the giant mud puddles) so we decided that the next best thing to a snorkel trip is a visit to a local fish market.  On our last snorkel trip with the Budges and Widmers in Hawaii we saw lots of beautiful yellow, orange, silver and blue tropical fish.  And here they are on full display on a Costco type table at a local fish market.  You will notice that some of them have small holes in their sides.  This is due to a spear.
 At the fish market these colorful fish are sold rather quickly.  They lose a little of their color out of water but are still strikingly beautiful.  The local fishermen go out to spear fish at night.  The fish are sleeping and are easier to approach.
 This is the local market along the side of the road.  They are stocked with food items that are found in the larger stores in town.  The skirt in a typical one worn by most of the Pohnpeian women.  The green plants hanging along the entryway are the betel nuts that so many of the people chew.  That's another story for a different blog.  The yuck factor on those who chew this stuff is off the charts.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Elder Bun on the left and in the lower picture received a box from his mother with St. Patrick's Day ties, hats and leis.  They enjoyed a few minutes of fun trying them on.  With Elder Bun is his companion Elder Kim and Elder Peterson.
 Elder Bun also found this suit jacket about ten sizes too big to wear for the occasion.  They are zone leaders and soon were out and back to work.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Palikir Ward Easter Egg Hunt

On Saturday before Easter we went out to the Palikir Ward to help with and watch the Easter egg hunt with the primary children.  Before the event the kids met in the primary room for a short program.  They had a prayer, song and two short talks.  A few even bore their testimonies that was very sweet.   We had hidden the eggs in either the primary room or outside.
 This little girls was holding a purple ball and nothing could get her to part with it.
 Brother Yago is pictured here helping his little daughter find eggs.  It was pretty difficult hiding eggs in a room that had only a small table and three chairs but the kids had a great time picking them up.
 It didn't take the kids long to find the eggs and put them in plastic bags.  The event was a great treat for everyone involved even though the day was very hot and humid.

April 2015 In-Service Training

Bro. Nicerio, regional seminary and institute director, visited with us during our regular April in-service training.  His office is in Guam.  We meet from 10 AM to noon.  It was a very successful morning of training.  Lenda prepares a meal for the participants.  There are twelve seminary and institute teachers from around the island who come for training and to share ideas to help us become better teachers.