Monday, April 9, 2012

April 2012

Can you see anything wrong with this picture?

How about now?

       This is how I started the month of April.  It wasn't even April 1st, it was actually April 2nd.  We were doing a scripture mastery activity at Uh, a branch about 30 minutes from Kolonia.  I had stepped out of my shoes on the step before entering the small chapel like I always do.  I had forgotten something and had to go back  out to the car.  I went to step into my shoes again and I couldn't find a match.  The class and other couple missionaries thought  my little problem was pretty funny.  I hadn't even had a stressful day, it had been nice and calm.  Maybe Dad will have to inspect my foot wear from now on before I leave the apartment.

     Uh Scripture Mastery Activity- Laiden, Margarita, the teacher and returned missionary, and         Marleen,    she  has  her mission papers in.

Ivaloni Alden and Family
     April 4th we attended our first outdoor wedding ceremony in Pohnpei.  Ivaloni is one of our students at Pics High School Early Morning Seminary and is also a very good friend.  Her parents have been together for probably over 17 years and they got married April 4th.  They have five children, the older daughter is the mother's first child and is a half sister to the rest.  She isn't in the pictutre.  Ivaloni was so happy about their marriage.  Her mother has shown some interest in the church and hopefully the marriage will help her progression. Ivaloni and her older half sister are the only members of the church in her family.  Her older sister is inactive.  Ivaloni has been a member a little over two years.  She helps with our Pohnpeian and always helps us after class to clean up.      The wedding was held in what they call a market.  It is an open building probably used as a restaurant or sakau bar.  Ivanloni had decorated it with ballons and green fronds.  It looked nice.  Many friends and family were there.  Ivaloni's family had prepared food and other people brought food.  We had to leave after the ceremony but they made sure we each had a plate of food.  They had chicken, hot dog, spicy cucumber, taro, yam, a big scope of white rice,  and banana with grated coconut and other unknown ingredients rolled in a ball for dessert.  It was all very tasty.Ivaloni said they were going to have entertainment and then eating.  The wedding was much like one of our civil marriages.  The preacher talked to them and then married them.  A song was sung at the first of the ceremony and at the end.

     The Sister missionaries in Sapwalap have a new little house they moved into.  It was furnished with new appliances.  We inherited their refrigerator.  I am so happy!  It will be so helpful when we cooked for zone conference.  LeFevre's inherited a microwave, water cooler, white board, and shelves.  The Vincent's inherited a washing machine because they do not have a laundra mat in their building but do have a hook up on their porch.  We are all very happy. 

     The mother of a member of the Kolonia Branch, Bro. Simran,  died.  His wife asked the senior sister's to come to the mortuary when she and her sister-in-law  dressed her. The sister that had died had been to the temple.  Sister Simran,  daughter-in-law, and one of Bro. Simran's sisters are the only ones  in the family that have been to the temple and could dress her in her temple clothing.  They do not get to the temple often if they live on this island,  maybe once when they get married. Sister Simran and her sister-in-law were afraid they would not remember how to put the temple clothing on the deceased mother. It was an eye-opener to go into the morgue at the State Hospital here in Pohnpei.  It is clean and orderly, but it is very backward as far as any kind of technology.  The room had fans but was still warm.  It is old and needs painting and general repairs.  However, there was a good feeling there, the spirit was present as they gently and lovingly got the mother dressed in her temple clothing.  She had raised 12 of the fourteen children she had born.  The son we know is a counselor at the school.  His wife, Sister Simran, teaches home arts, which is Pohnpei's version of Family and Consumer Science (Home Ec.) They are very nice people.  They invited us to the funeral and out to the mother's place for the burial.  The mother lived far out in the jungle.  They bury people in their yards here, very close to the house.

Home of Bro. Simran's mother

     This new home was recently built for her.  Her casket was inside and people would go through the house and leave gifts and pay their respects.  It was a huge group of people that came to their home, at least 300 - 500.  Simran's and friends had prepared a take-out and gave to everyone-rice, chicken, banana, and their island cabbage salad with kim-chi.  The relatives, each family, were all given a piece of raw pig which is tradition.  They carry it home and cook it. 

The burial

     The casket was lowered in but the cement vault was too short.  They had to break out the end.  Then they mixed cement with a shovel and cemented the casket in the vault.  We stood and sang the whole time they worked. The men worked very hard.  It was hot and  took about one hour.  The next week they were going to build a small house around it.  One family I visit teach has a room in their home with a son's vault that was killed in the military.  All his things are in there and it is kept very clean and nice, it is just his room.  They built the home he is buried in with the money they received from the military when he was killed.  Funerals on the island usually last about 4 to 5 days. They are so much work for the family and a big expense.  Simran's had a snack for everyone at the funeral in Kolonia, 4 different breads in a takeout container (local donut, roll, cinnamon roll, I can't remember the other), plus giving everyone a dinner that went out to the house.  It also takes a lot of pig in a family that size., to give to each family they are related to.

Seminary at Kitti

     Sister Conrad is the teacher but she was sick so we taught for her.  Elder went outside and took pictures of the pineapple.

     Maverik, between the two Elders, has been attending seminary in Palikir. He wanted to be baptized and waited several months  for permission to get baptized from his parents.  Today at inservice meeting, his teacher Marla talked about the changes he made in his language, appearance, and  the way he treated others as he learned about the gospel.( left to right Desirae, Elder Tadd, Logan, Maverik, and Elder Haas)

Kilino Picky

     Kilino returned from his mission in December. He served in the Marsh Islands.  He came over to check his email--his account wasn't in service anymore.  I don't think he has checked it since his mission.  We really like him.  He lives in the Pohnrokiet, a village in Kolonia the people from the island Kapingi.  They live in close quarters and poverty.  The members there are truly great people.  We attend family home evening there at Bro.and Sister  Duiai's house (Kilino's adoptive parents) most Monday nights.  Kilino needs to get into school.   We thought things were worked out to get him into college here.  He went off island to his home island for a funeral and the boat that was picking him up didn't stop so he ended up being gone 2 months.  There must be more to the story..........., but that's all we know.

Mareen Epina, Uh, reading her mission call

     Marleen is 27 and will be going to Melborne, Australia in July.  She will be coming to the MTC in Provo so she can have help learning English also well as Preach My Gospel training and other.  We saw her at the Post Office that morning so all three missionary couples went to Uh that evening and listened to her read her call. Three member friends were there as well.   Her family, except for an inactive brother, and not members.  They were nice but not excited for her,  they just wonder why Marleen wants to leave them for 18 months.      
Ivaloni Alden, Laiden Lorenzo, Marleen, and Margarita Sahm

Elder & Sister Vincent, Elder & Sister Lefevre, Marleen, & Elder & Sister Kjar

Mand baptismal font

     This is the the only outdoor baptismal font on the island.  The branch is small and has had missionaries as branch presidents because of a lack of worthy priesthood holders.  Recently Brother Redes,  of a branch about 20 minutes away, Sapwalap, was made branch president. The Sapwalap branch is including the small Mand branch in their branch activities.  President Redes has an island truck and helps them get to the activities.  This will be wonderful for this small branch. I don't think any active members of the Mand branch have a car.  

Elder Stuart, Silino (Bro. Duiai's son-in-law), Sister Albert, & Elder Dalmer

      The Elders had requested to use the river by the church for the baptism but pigs pollute it and the last Elder's that baptized in the river got ill.  A Pohnpeian rain caused the river that day to be high, dirty, and wild--another good reason not to use the river that day.  Brother Duiai brought as many people as the bed of his island truck would hoad from his village in Kolonia to see his son-in-law baptized.  The people in the back of the truck were soaked in the heavy rain but came prepare with a dry set of clothes.  It rained buckets--a true Pohnpei rain.

                                    Bro. Duiai's daughter and her husband that was baptized.

          Bro. Albert was a past branch president of Mand. His wife, a second marriage, was baptized.

Lehny Lorenzo, Laiden's brother, working on his mission papers.

Humanitarian donation from the church to Ohwa High School of 13 sewing machines and some fishing gear.

      Pres. Ringwood, 1st Quorum of the Seventies was here to present the donation.  A few years ago the church donated the school a boat and fish gear to help the students have food at school and also to teach them life skills.  The school was grateful for the donation.  They are going to use the sewing machines to help teach the students entrepreneur skills.  Sewing island skirts is a good business here.

They had an extended family party and invited the missionary couples to stop by.

 There are a few parks on the island with huts for sleeping and water for swimming that the people enjoy. They like to have branch parties at the parks and sometimes family parties.  They cost money so they save to be able to rent the huts.  It's a special treat because they aren't many places with a beach (this is man-made) for swimming. There are big fish in the pond by the hut that jump for food and it is fun to feed them.
Sister LeFevre, Sister Kjar, & Sister Vincent

     Often times a few  people fish all night and then the next morning  they fry fish, barbeque chicken, cook rice, fry banana or cook banana another way,and cook maybe breadfruit or yam.  We like their food.  They are good cooks.  They do like dog however,and they cook the whole thing.  Brother Peles is holding up some cooked canine for the picture--no, I haven't tasted it but my companion has.

     Pamanda, middle, is Pres. and Sister Hemon's daughter.  It as her birthday and her little brother's this month, so that was one of the big reasons for the family party.  I think the other girls are her cousins.  Pamanda is one of our students at PICS High School early morning seminary.

     This man was swimming with his family.  He pointed to his wheelchair on the bank and said "Thank you" to Elder Kjar.  He received one of the wheelchairs from the Humanitarian Donation the church made in March to the State Hospital.  He has one leg amputated below the knee, probably from diabetes.  There are many amputees on the island--men and women. 

 The wheelchairs truly give them a new life.  They can get out and be mobile. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March 2012

                                           New Elder

This is Elder MaDill, new elder from Aurora, Utah. His mom moved into Aurora I Ward and he hasn't actually lived in Aurora yet, although he did leave from the Aurora I Ward.  His mom works for Gurney Trucking.  He told us the son of the people she works for has been called to the Micronesia Guam Mission.  We think it must be Jodi and Scott Gurney's son Jaden.  Can you believe it--- Two elders and one mission couple from the same small town serving in the same mission, especially this mission.  Jared Hallows served here and Scott Robins, but it amazes me that three calls to the same mission came so close from our area.
Elder MaDill seems to be adjusting well and doing great.

                                  International Women's Day

On March 1st, Pohnpei celebrated International Woman's Day.  Women in each municipality (like our counties) and different woman's organizations and clubs had a huge celebration for women. We wondered where all these women came from.  Each group dressed alike and were announced as they walked onto the gym floor at the Palikir Community College Campus.  The groups just kept coming and coming.

 There were probably a thousand women on the floor when they finished introducing the groups.  It was an amazing sight.  The colors of their clothing were bright and the women looked so happy and beautiful.  They all sat on the floor for several speakers which lasted through the morning.  We had district missionary meeting at 11:30 a.m. so we left during the speeches.We also had seminary that afternoon so we missed theiir dances in the afternoon.  The crowd was huge and the parking for vehicles  was indescribable.  Even if we would have had time I don't think we would have returned in the afternoon.  When we left in the morning, the aisles were clogged with people and the stairs.  It made me a lttle clastrophobic and glad they do not have fires in Pohnpei.  Next year we will take a day off to see the whole event hopefully.

                                 Sunday Dinner at Sam's

This is the famous Sam Bailey in the dark shirt at the head of the table.  He rents his house and the land it is on (separately interestingly).  But the house was in dilapidated condition when he moved in because it had been empty for a few years.  The house is on cement posts and kids had disconnected the water pipes, roof had a hole and leaks, etc.  He has made improvements for rent and the house is really cute.  It is small and has "tin" siding.  It has a loft and the ground floor.  He extended the deck about 6 feet.  The deck goes along the back and one side of the house.  The back of the house faces a bay where the Nett River goes into the ocean.  It is a beautiful view.  He built a porch swing that is very nice that sits in one corner of the deck--just past where I am sitting.  This is Sunday dinner March 11th.  He is quite a good cook.  He served rice, sauage, potato, and carrot curry, fruit, and homemade chocolate chip cookies.  We always play a game after dinner and this Sunday we played "truth or lie."  You learn a lot  about people by playing this game.  We played it at Dad's and Uncle Teddy came just in time to join in.  If there had been a prize, his first story would have taken it.  Actually, we do have a prize for our Sunday game.  Sam was given a big carved shark.  It is missing a tooth now and part of a fin.  It is a very "special" shark.  The person who wins the game (the host chooses the game of the night), takes the shark home for a week and signs it.

This is the view from the house toward the bay.  You can almost see the porch swing just behind Sister LeFevre.  Janice Smith, the young lawyer from Utah working with the state court, is sitting across from Sam.

                                 Janice's Apartment and Work

Janice lives in an apartment in the top of this building.  The bottom is a store and a laundry mat.
                       This is the state court building where Janice works.  It is a fairly nice building.

This is Janice's lunchroom/worker lounge.
              This is the restroom for her building.  If it rains really hard they do not have water and they lock the restrooms.  When it rains really hard the toilets in our apartment bubble, like boiling water.  It the lid isn't down, the water splashes outside the toilet. We are pretty careful to keep our toilets flushed. We've had a few little problems and one big one.  I am choosing not to go into detail on that one.  I'll just say Elder Kjar cleaned it up because he was the responsible party.

                                 Relief Society Birthday Party

Sister LeFevre, Sister Kjar, Sister Simron (the Home Arts Teacher at the Pics H.S (Home Ec.)
 The Pohnpei District celebrated the Relief Society Birthday Party together.  All the branches came to Pohnpei for a big celebration.  It started at about 10 a.m. with talks until noon.  They had take out for lunch: fish, rice, beef with peppers, and banana cooked in coconut milk.  It was tasty.  In the afternoon each branch performed a skit or a dance.  Afterward, they displayed their talents outside under the covered porch.  Sister Smith, the lady that made your hula skirts, showed how she ties the fibers to the waistband.  Others brought fish they had caught, vegetables or fruit they grow, handwork they do, baskets, etc.  They have many talents.  The Relief Society sister's in our branch made skirts.  The colorful pieces are like quilt blocks.  They use every little inch of fabric.  They surprised the sister missionaries in Kolonia and Sister LeFevre and I by making us skirts.  I felt very guilty accepting it because they take a long time and a lot of work.  I really love my skirt and will cherish it.   None of our sister's came up with a local dance to do.  Sister LeFevre and I taught them Cotto-Eyed Joe and several sister's from other branches joined us when they heard our music when we were practicing. The sister's love to laugh and have fun.

Sapwalap Branch

Nett Brancn
Palikier Branch

Mand Branch

Kolonia Branch

Kitti Branch

Sekere Branch

Uh Branch

        Church Donation of Wheelchairs, Crutches, and Walkers

On Tuesday, March 20th, the church donated 280 wheelchairs, 50-60 each crutches and walkers to the State Hospital.  All missionaries on the island were asked to come to the presentation if they did not have appointments.  The young Elders and Sisters with vehicles will be delivering wheelchairs etc. to people who need that service.  President Davis, counselor in the mission presidency, made the presentation and accepted the certificate of appreciation from the hospital.  He explained that the missionaries would not proselyte when they delivered.  There are no strings attached to the gift of the equipment.  It is all brandnew and very needed here.
Almost the whole audience for the program was missionaries.
 These are three recipients of the new wheelchairs that were presented at the program.  All had amputations because of diabetes. It seems that is a very common treatment for diabetes here.

                                  Zone District Activity

Zone Missionary Activity Monday, March 19th at Sapwalap Chapel
We were playing a game called Mafia.


New Missionary Couple

 Our third missionary couple for Pohnpei arrived Wednesday, March 21.  They are Elder and Sister Vincent from Parowan.  Their mission is for 18 months.  Elder Vincent knows Pres. Hanks, Elder Kjar's mission president from his mission in Samoa.  That made Elder Kjar very happy.  Pres. Hanks lived in Parowan and was Elder and Sister Vincent's stake president years ago. Elder Vincent was released as Stake President about 2 years ago.  At their departure meeting, they had the last five stake presidents attending.  They said they took a picture--that was quite an event.  Ellder Vincent and Elder LeFevre are both retired Post Masters.  They play this game of starting a zipcode and the other finishes it--it's very funny. They also both have artificial knees, Elder LeFevre one and Elder Vincent those two have quite a bit in common.


Monday, the 26th, to make or break the new couple, we went to meet a family that live in the jungle about a 40 minute walk from the Uh chapel.  The father, Benjamin Dorus, was the first branch president of Uh, but has been inactive for some time.  Our Uh seminary/institute teacher, Margarita, was our guide with one of Benjamin's sons.  Benjamin is Margarita's uncle.  Brother Vincent and his wife are 68 and brother Vincent has two artificial knees as I mentioned before.  He fell 5 or 6 times on the rocky trail but was a trooper and always bounced right up again.

Elder LeFevre, Elder Vincent, Sister Vincent, Sister LeFevre, and Sister Kjar

      I told Dad not to get my tennis shoes in the picture , so he zoomed right in.  I knew you girls would notice them. Honest,  I do not wear my tennis shoes with skirts, this is the first time.  But I'm really glad I wore them on  this hike. 

                                                                             Benjamin's daughter and son

    Benjamin's family

     Benjamin is in the red shirt and his wife is in front of him.  He has seven children.  They were shy and didn't come out of the house that you can barely see in back of them.  The children do not go to school.

                                                                      They gave us coconuts--very refreshing!

     We had a good visit with the family.  They took a little while to warm up to us.  We asked Benjamin why he had stopped coming to church.  He said it was because people in the branch believed in just the Book of Mormon and not the Bible now.  I do know most of the people in Uh are new to the gospel and need  a return missionary for a gospel doctrine teacher.  Benjamin did come to church on Sunday.  None of his famiy came with him.  We were at Uh Sunday so I talked to him.  He said he was coming next Sunday with his family.  I wish we were going to be there.  We visit a different branch each Sunday and then start our rotation again. I hope he comes again and brings his family.

     For me it was a memorable day on Fast Sunday because I bore my testimony for the first time in Pohnpeian.  It was a memorized testimony.  I have been working on it for three months.  It is good to have said it.  Our teacher, Pres. Hemen was there on District business.  That made it a little scarier because I wanted him to feel like he was having some success with us--we are pretty slow at learning the language.  Dad also bore part of his testimony that he has been working on.

                                                           Our hike on the way back to the cars.  This is sugar cane.

   Elder and Sister Vincent, Elder and Sister LeFevre, Margarita, Elder and Sister Kjar

                                                              Halfway back to the trailhead.  We think we'll make it.

                      Do you recognize the two Tarzan's? They are considering swinging through the jungle on the vines.


      Nett is a very special area to us.  It was recently made a branch.  They met in a large Nahs which has open sides and ends.  It has a tin roof and a cement floor three sides with open area of dirt floor in the middle.  The branch president, Victorino Mallarme has about 10 brothers.  They all are settled in the same area.  Most do not speak English well.  Pres. Mallarme speaks very little.  We teach Seminary/Institute there on Friday afternoon.  Knowing Pohnpeian would be very helpful to us there--we are still working on it.

Missyleen, wife of  Romeo Mallarme, was baptized Saturday, March 24th. 

Nett Seminary & Institute

Welsie and her new baby boy, Abinadi

       Welsie is the daughter of Pres. Mallarme and his wife Regina.  Baby Abinadi got a terrible case of chicken pox when he was two months old.  We visited him in the hospital and we have never seen chicken pox so thick.  His little body was literally covered from head to toe with blisters and he had an IV in his little hand.  About the 5th night in the hospital, they thought he was doing better and would leave the next day.  He died during the night, March 27th. We went to his funeral the next day.  They made a little wooden box the size of an orange crate and covered it in white cloth.  The lid had some artificial  flowers on top.  It was very sad, but this family has a testimony of the gospel and knows families can be together forever.  Pres. Mallarme and Regina went on the last temple trip and have been sealed in the temple.  Welsie is 18, I think, and has a little boy about 18 months.  Her husband was abusive and her  family finally had him leave.  At the funeral I asked where Amanda was, Pres. Mallarme's 14 year old daughter.  Her mother, Regina, told me she was sick with the chicken pox. We were very worried but we saw her after seminary/institute on Friday and she was up out of bed and scabbed over.  It looked like she had been covered as well but was recovering.

                              Sister Salaio and the Airport

     During the same week Welsie's baby was in the hospital, Sister Salaio was also in the hospital.  She is a young sister missionary from Papua New Guinea.   She ended up having to go to Guam to have her gall bladder and appendix laparoscopically removed.  At the airport we had another experience similar to when we came to Utah for Grandpa Stronks' funeral.  They were not going to let Sister Salaio board the plane because the hospital had not sent a paper 24 hours before the flight about her health condition.  They were faxing and phoning their Guam office.  Sister Salaio was sick and possibly would have her surgery that afternoon when she would arrive in Guam.  She needed to be on that airplane.  Sister Kennach said, "We are missionaries, everything will be OK."  Those were almost the exact words that young returned missionary had said to Elder Kjar and I in the LA airport when we were having trouble with a delayed flight.  We had a prayer and waited and waited and waited.  They checked Sister Salaio in and took her through security just in case she was cleared.  A few minutes before take off they told us she had been cleared.  Heavenly Father hears and answer our prayers.

         Sister Kjar, Sister Fritz (ward member) Sister Salaio, Sister Varea, Sister Kennach
                                                                                      Waiting at the airport

And waiting......

And waiting..

         Last but not least  of our airport photos, Elder LeFevre and Elder Kjar comparing the wear on the soles of their Crocs.  Elder Kjar's seemed a bit superior but Elder LeFevre wears his daily on the 3 mile airport walk.  Soooooo, the vote is still out on that one.