Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween in Pohnpei

Sister Hedgpeth found a fun new guy at the Palm Terrace grocery store.  He was swaying back and forth and singing.  I guess I need to pick up my "appeal" factor or I might be in trouble.  We had wondered if Pohnpeians celebrate Halloween.  They do!  Pohnpeians love to have a party so the wards have activities for the youth.  I don't know if they go door to door to trick or treat like in the States.  But people here know how to laugh and have fun.

Finally! Fresh Produce

We finally got in a shipment of good fruits and vegetables.  Of course the prices are a bit high.  But after a few months on the island you just don't consider price anymore.  You are just happy to have anything fresh and not rotting.  This climate makes it very difficult for the stores to keep good fresh fruits and vegetables.  One of the many challenges of island life.  But as our missionaries like to say "it's all good".  We spent $52 on two bags of produce yesterday and were happy to get it.
 The grape fruit on the left just got here and it is already showing signs of rot.  Typical.
 Apples and pears seem to make the ocean voyage to the island in good shape and they keep well.
Bell peppers (red, green and yellow) stay fresh fairly well.  We freeze peppers and they keep for quite a while.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Moonlight over Pohnpei

We were coming home from a meeting at the Panasang Ward and noticed a huge full moon rising over the Nett Hills.  My little camera didn't really capture the beauty but one can get the idea.  The moon is often hidden behind a cloud cover so this was a rare treat.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

October P Day

The missionaries sometimes drop by our apartment on their P Days (Preparation Day) to change clothes to enjoy some basketball, soccer or football.  In the photo below are Sister Park from Arkansas, Sister Aviata from Australia, Sister Latu from Australia, Sister George from Pohnpei, Sister Hauata from New Caledonia and Sister Misa'alefua from California. They all seemed to color coordinate in black and white.

 These Elders are preparing to play Rugby. They even went to the local used clothing store to find these clothes.

Elder Paewai, from New Zealand has become the missionary barber.
There is always a bit of "goofing around" allowed and appreciated.
Elder Bourne from England found a cub scout shirt in the store that fit him.
I think we need to feed him more.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pohnpei Floral Arrangements

Pohnpei isn't called the Garden Island for nothing.  The Furstenau's and us went on a "tour" of the island yesterday to inspect apartments and vehicles.   The plants and flowers seemed to be especially vibrant and beautiful.  Some are cultivated while others seem to grow wild.  This pink orchid was just gorgeous.  My favorites are the hibiscus shown in the lower picture.  They grow in huge bushes and the willowy stems hang over the road with red, pink and orange blossoms.  House plants at home thrive outside here in the tropical climate.  And of course they bloom year round.  It's summer here every day of the year.  We feel like we live in a greenhouse.  Thank goodness for AC! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

George the Gecko

A scream in the night.  George has struck yet again.  We rarely see our pet gecko, George.  He is as elusive as a green flash during a Maui sunset.  Where he lurks weeks on end is a mystery.  But on those rare occasions where he reveals himself it creates havoc and terror.  At least for one member of this household.  Lenda was getting a bag of nuts out of the kitchen cabinet and out pops our house guest.  George is terrified and begins bounding across the counter.  Lenda screams and George is now making every attempt possible to escape.  He finally takes a short rest on our water bottle.  I get as close as I think I can to take his photo.  George has made our apartment his home for at least three years that we are aware of.  For me he is a welcome guest as he eats unwanted insects and in some cultures he is good luck.  However his luck may run out if he appears while Lenda is armed with a weapon. 

Elder Bunn in Idaho

Elder Luke Bunn was one of the zone leaders here on Pohnpei until he went home a couple of weeks ago.  He often referred to riding his horses when he got home to Wendell, Idaho.  He sent us these pictures taken on an elk hunting trip.  He said he didn't shoot one but had a wonderful time with his dad and others on the trip.
We are planning a trip to Salt Lake City with two of our grandkids in June of next year when we get home from our mission.  We plan to stop by the Bunn ranch and let the kids ride his horses.  They are already very excited about the prospect and so am I.  I probably shouldn't be looking a pictures like this.  It makes me a little "trunky" and I don't have time for that yet.
 It looks like his first contact other than his family was his favorite horse.  Note that he is still wearing his missionary name tag so he hasn't been released yet.

Typical PICS High School Seminary

We are having so much fun at the High School we teach at. The students are getting more involved all the time. They take turns conducting, leading the music and giving a spiritual thought.
 Our 4 tables are usually filled. They even stay after class to help with setting up the room for the next day. These kids are so respectful. Love it!

Church at Sekere Ward

This is the view out the louvered windows at Sekere Ward.  During sacrament meeting the rooster barely visible in this picture decided to serenade us with very loud songs.  No one seems to pay attention to him except Sister Hedgpeth and me.
 This is the primary children participating the their children's activities.
 This is the young women in their class and they sang three special songs for Sister Hedgpeth one of which made her cry.
 Priesthood meeting is held outside under the awning.  Sunday school is also held here.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Missionary farewell party at Eirike

 These darling children just love to have their pictures taken.
 These are a few of our Seminary students having a "feast" Ponpeian style.
Ann Ardos is our next missionary to leave on Monday. Here she is with her proud Grandpa who is the 2nd Counselor in the Eirike Ward Bishopric.

The Rusty Anchor

We thought that we knew all the local restaurants in Pohnpei but we had missed the Rusty Anchor because of the outside appearance of the building.  The restaurant is located in the basement of this run down building on the outskirts of town.  We had driven by it dozens of times and had no idea of the gem hidden below.

 They specialize in steaks imported from the U.S. and pizzas.  The pizza is one of the best I have had anywhere.  It's a thin crust with lots of meat and the tomato sauce has three levels of spice.  We ordered the hot and it was very spicy but not so much that it overpowered the topping.  It just goes to show that even in a very small town one can find a hidden place overlooked for 11 months.  And it testifies to the old adage not to judge a book by it's cover.
The tables are on an open air veranda with a beautiful view of the bay in the background.

Dead Man Walking

So I'm always getting this "you need to trim your nose hairs" comments.  I hate hearing it but she's right.  My nose hairs get out of control.  So this morning she (Lenda) talked me into a nose wax job.  I was absolutely terrified.  I'm not into pain of any kind.  But she assured me that it only pulls a little and doesn't hurt in the slightest.
 So I "cowboyed up" and went for it.  It was terrible and yes, it was painful but I did what most women do on a routine basis to look "purdy".  I lived through it and I think I can actually breathe better now.
Oh the things we experience on a mission!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

October 2015 Pohnpei Stake Conference

In October 2015 we held our stake conference at the Sapwalap Chapel.  On Saturday we had the priesthood session and then had an hour break before the adult session.  Due to transportation issues the members cannot go home to rest and eat.  The parking lot fills with what we would refer to as a "tailgate" party.  Food is served out of the back of vans and pick ups.  It is a great time of fun and socialization.
 This is a picture of the chapel and the Return Missionary Choir preparing for the Sunday  session.  Over 800 members from all over the island attended the Sunday session.  This was the first stake conference that was fully organized by the local stake leadership with a general authority not in attendance.  It was also the first time that the stake patriarch sat on the stand with the stake presidency.  The stake was organized in April 2014.  What a unique privilege it is to watch the growth and maturity of the Pohnpei Stake.
 Because families attend the conference together it was decided to have a special meeting with the women during the priesthood session.  As you can see the cultural hall was filled to capacity.  They had testimonies, short talks and watched a Joseph Smith movie.
 Members all around the island come to Stake Conference in school busses and rented trucks.  Transportation is always an issue to be resolved as many of the members do not own cars or trucks.
This particular group of students (except for the little girls) attend our High School Seminary class.
The messages are mostly delivered in Pohnpeian so there are interpreters and headsets for those of us who do not speak the language.  The English speakers also have a translator to Pohnpeian.  Many of the members speak and understand English but are more comfortable with their native language.  The spirit of the Micronesian people is strong.  They sing, pray and testify of the Savior with great power and beauty.  It seems they are naturally gifted singers and the choirs and congregational hymns are beautiful.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

More missionaries go home

These missionary good-byes are always bittersweet. We have grown to love them and we have to say good-bye to them for now. They also have conflicting feelings. They have loved being a missionary and have a very difficult time leaving these people they have come to love so much.
 The picture above is Elder Peterson from Port Orchard, WA. He has promised to come see us on his
way to California.
Sister Pahulu is going home to Tonga. She is leaving behind many converts and members who will
miss her beautiful smile.

 Elder Bunn has been a great missionary, also. This is his companion, Elder Bunn from England. I promised to make them a meal before they left. Elder Bourne wanted Elder Bunn to know what real English food was like, so he asked me if I knew how to make Yorkshire Pudding and English scones.
I was "up for the challenge" and he told me, after tasting them, that  it made him miss home. It is always fun to make some kind of food they wish they could taste for just a moment or two.

Family Home Evening with Hadley Joshua

Hadley Joshua, one of our seminary students was recently baptized and invited us to a Family Home Evening ( FHE) at his home.  Also invited were the zone leaders for the east side of the island.  Elder Peterson was having his last night here as he is going home the following day.
Hadley's mother furnished us with nice refreshments but did not join in with us.  She is taking the discussions however.  The rest of his family was outside making sakau.  We consider Hadley one of the "noble and great" ones.  His testimony and dedication to the gospel is amazing considering his environment.  Notice that there is no furniture in the house.  This is common on the island.  Hadley did manage to find two folding chairs for Sister Hedgpeth and me.