Sunday, November 29, 2015

Relief Society Conference

This Relief Society Conference reminded me of "Young Women in Excellence" because several of the women displayed some of the things they have been working on or just wanted to share what they have with all of us.
The vegetables below were grown by our friends in the far away "Wone" branch. They were beautifully displayed on hand woven plates and labeled with the name of the produce.
 These beautiful flowers were displayed from our "Uh" branch. They rival any arrangement I have seen in Hawaii.
 Here are some more hand woven baskets displaying coconuts, limes and a "candy corn" vegetable. When it ripens more it actually resembles candy corn- orange and yellow.
 The women here are so colorful in their beautiful and very comfortable "muu-muu's". I could only dream of a day when we could all wear these to church and everywhere else. I have grown to respect and love these women. I am sure they all have stories to tell about their lives that would make a great book.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2015

Happy Thanksgiving from all of the missionaries on the island of Pohnpei.  We had a traditional American turkey dinner with all of the missionaries.  In addition to a wonderful feast we watched the "Cokeville Miracle" movie together.  Everything was perfect except for the air conditioners.   Both were out of order so the room was about 120 degrees.  Other than that minor glitch we had a great time eating and socializing.

 The feast with all of the Thanksgiving trimmings American style.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Leo Etscheit Memorial Fun Run/Walk

On Saturday morning November 21, 2015 we met in front of the theater (closed down) for the annual Leo Etscheit 5K Fun Run/Walk.  This was Lenda's first ever event like this one.  We walked nearly to the Pohnpei airport before turning back.  There was probably around 400 participants.  The event is free and T-shirts were given.  The Etscheit family came to the island from Germany sometime before WWII.  They were very successfully business people and several of the stores currently in operation are owned by family members.  Before Leo died he donated money to the community to sponsor events for the youth and the community. 
 Here is a photo of the runners and walkers getting ready for the event.  It was great fun and we have been here long enough to recognize and know many people.  The building the background is the closed down theater.  No one has been able to tell us if or when it will reopen.  It closed in January of this year for a two month renovation but it has never reopened.

Pohnpei Funeral (Dum)

On the day of Keanu Dum's (pronounced doom) father's funeral we went to their home.  The casket is made by members of the village out of plywood and lined inside and out with cloth.  The casket was sitting in the middle of the floor in their main living area.  Most homes in Pohnpei do not have chairs.  They are quite comfortable sitting on the floor.  The floor was covered with nice mats.  I noticed that there was several bottles of perfume on the casket top.  Later in the day several of the girls got the perfume and went around the room and gave each person a spray.  There were several bottles and we were sprayed at least twice so I smelled real "nice".
 Mr. Dum was only 52 years old and left a wonderful family.  Elder Keanu Dum is currently at the MTC in Provo.  Has was able to call and talk to his mother before the funeral. 

 Lenda was sitting near the casket talking to one of Mr. Dum's relatives and a member of the Panasang Ward.  In the background about a dozen village kids were singing hymns and traditional Pohnpeian songs accompanied by Mylanny Dum, one of the sons and also one of our seminary students at PICS.  They have a natural gift for music.  The burial took place later  in the afternoon in a family plot in the middle of the village.  Many people are buried in the yard of their homes.

Missionary Vehicle

Vehicles on Pohnpei take a serious beating on the side roads.  They send us these Toyota Yaris and they are terrible cars for their usage here.  All of the plastic parts begin to fall off and all of the vehicles here are dented and banged up.  We should be driving high clearance SUVs.  But these are much cheaper.  Thankfully body work is fairly cheap due to the low wages on the island.
 Here is a front fender being held in place with duct tape.  How is that for a fix it yourself job?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Memorial at the Morgue

The father of Keanu Dum passed away this week just six days after Elder Dum left for his mission.  A memorial service was performed at the State Hospital in the hallway outside the morgue.  Brother Duiai in the bishopric of the Panasang Ward spoke about life's three big questions:  "where did we come from, why are we here and where are we going". 
We were so impressed that after the service, everyone stayed and sang songs for the longest time. It felt so loving and comforting. We heard later that sometimes, people stay all night with the family singing and comforting them.
Keanu's mother has been sleeping on mats on the floor at the hospital morgue for several days.  The official traditional Pohnpeian funeral will held tomorrow at the Dum home.  Funerals last for several days with lots of food and drink.  Family and friends will come and go and songs will be sung.  Keanu's parents are not members of the church but his father wanted to be baptized but his health did not allow it.  I'm sure the missionaries and ward members will be fellowshipping his mother in the future as they are now.
This is a photo of Elder Dum standing by his father and family at the airport when he left for his mission.  He had the opportunity to hug his father and tell him of his love before he left.  His father is pictured sitting in the red shirt.  He passed away only six days later.  It is such a tragedy for Keanu and his family.  His father expressed to us how very proud he was of his son serving the Lord on a mission.  We are comforted in our knowledge that families can be united for eternity through the ordinances of the temple.  We have no doubt that this will happen in the future.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Youth Fireside

On Sunday, November 8, 2015 the Pohnpei Stake had a Youth Fireside.  All of the speakers were return missionaries from the island.  There were about 230 youth in attendance.  Pohnpei Stake sends more missionaries into the world and any other stake in the Asia North Area and that includes stakes in Korea and Japan.  This is surely a missionary minded stake.  We have about 40 new missionaries entering the mission field this year so far.  It is simply amazing.

Institute/ Seminary Teachers In-Service

 These are all of our Seminary and Institute teachers (minus one). We get together every month to share ideas and instruction. Thy are great teachers and some have been doing it for several years and others are brand new this year.
 I always provide a lunch for them. They travel to the church, some taking an hour to arrive. It is hot and they always appreciate being treated to some new recipes. This day I made "Chinese Sundaes". No one had ever heard of them but they all loved it.

PICS Seminary Class

These are my Seminary kids in the first hour. They give up their lunch break to come to Seminary.
 These kids love their pictures taken. When we get home the camera is coming out no matter what anyone says!
This is my second class. I feel like a proud parent who wants to show too many pictures of their kids. Guess I am, in a way.

Happy birthday Lenda

On Friday, November 6th we went (along with the Furstenaus) to Cupid's restaurant to celebrate Lenda's 68th birthday.  She ended the evening with a beautiful piece of coconut cake with a candle.  Cupids has a wonderful view of the bay at sunset.