Sunday, August 26, 2012

Teaching the One

     Teaching the One took on a whole new meaning today.
     We have started back to school this week, so we are now teaching Institute 5 days a week now.  Besides teaching at the Sapwalap and Palikir Branches, we are also teaching on the Campus of the College of Micronesia. We taught on the National Campus last spring, so we have a lot of students there, but we are starting a new class on the Pohnpei Campus, and word hasn't gotten around as much there yet.
   Today we had 1 student come to class on the Pohnpei Campus. Wilson Rodriguez came.  Wilson does not even attend school at Pohnpei Campus, but had heard about the Institute Class and it was the closest to his home, so he walked the 3 miles to come to class.
    So Wilson and Elder LeFevre and I sat in a circle and had class. We are teaching the course "The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles" and our lessons today were on the birth of the Savior, John the Baptist and Christ Baptism, and the 3 temptations of Christ.
    We thought it would be awkward, just the 3 of us, but as we all talked and read from the Scriptures, the Spirit filled that little classroom, and we all learned. Wilson loved it, we loved it. All were edified.
     What we thought would be a failure turned out amazing, for all of us. I remembered the story in the scriptures about Christ leaving the 99 and going out to find the one. That was what it was like. Wilson, is just starting to get back into church, and had we canceled the class, because no one else showed up, we and he would have missed out.
     Christ did not care if there was 1000 or 1 person, He loved them all and took the time with each one.
    If Wilson is the only student that shows up the entire semester to class, we will be there every week.
He is worth the effort, we all are.


      Last night we were invited to a welcome home party for one of our branch presidents son's and his wife and baby.
       Pres. Ongesal is the Branch President in the Palikir Branch and his son moved away 5 years ago to go to school. He and Sister Ongesal have not seen him since.  In that 5 years their son got married and now has a 20 (approx) month old little boy.
       Pres. Ongesal has been telling us for a couple of weeks now that his son and family were coming. His son has an internship for 2 months on the Island, so his whole family came. His wife and little boy will be going back home in a week, because of work and school schedules, but he will stay until November.
      Pres. told us how he truly thought he would never see his son again and never meet his little grandson.
  Well, they arrived on Friday and the welcome party was last night.
     Words can't really describe the joy in Papakolup and Nonokolups (grandpa and grandma) eyes as they watch their little grandson run and play. As the night went on, little Carter started getting tired. So Papakolup picked him up and walked him until he fell asleep.  His daughter in law asked if he wanted her to take Carter and Papakolup said "No, I will walk him all night, just to hold him"
      Elder LeFevre and I looked at each other, remembering the many days and nights we have walked our grandchildren, and I must admit, we were a little homesick for them. We completely understand how Pres. Ongesal felt and tears filled both our eyes as we watched Papakolup and Nonokolup walk and hold their precious little Carter.
Pres, Ongesal and Carter

Pres. Ongesal and Sister Ongesal and Carter

Sister Ongesal and a sleeping Carter.
       So when all of my children read this, your Dad and I want you to do us a favor. Give our precious Sophia, Calan, Enzo, Maggie, Lydia, and Adalina a hug for us. Walk the floor for just a few moments for us and hold them just a little longer for us. We can't be there to do it, so please do it for us and tell them it is from Grandma and Grandpa.  I know it's silly and sappy, but do it for us anyway.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Challenges

     It is official, we are the youngest Island in the whole mission.  We have more new Missionaries than any other Island.  While this is wonderful, because we have all these missionaries now, it also presents some challenges.
     Probably the hardest challenge is the Language.  You see we only have 2 missionaries on the Island that are completely fluent in the language and one of them  goes home in November. So we have missionaries that are still learning the language themselves, teaching the new missionaries. It is great, because both are learning together, but it is frustrating for all the missionaries.
     They want to get out there and teach the Gospel, and they are having a hard time doing that because of the language barrier. The members are great to help all of us and the Spirit of the Lord is so strong. I have truly witnessed the Gift of Tongues, as we all struggle to speak to the people we love in their language.
     I have also witnessed that the language of the spirit, knows no barriers. When the spirit whispers to our investigators, there is no language barrier. It is really amazing.
We all teach each other, Elder Vance, teaching us.

Elder Gasu, first time conducting as one of the new District Leaders

Our Awsome Zone Leaders, Elder Peirson & Elder Davis

Sis. Varea and Sis Varea

Elder Gasu & Elder Hanson( been here one week)

Elder Butler, one of our A.P.'s

Elder Vance & Elder Eyre

Elder Cook & Elder Bourne

Our Sweet Sisters Varea

Elder Davis & Elder Pierson, our 2 most experienced missionaries on the Island
     So we will all press forward with faith, and keep trying our hardest, and I know the Lord will continue to pour out His spirit upon us, because He loves these people also.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Welcome, Welcome to our new Missionaries

 Today we got 4 missionaries on the Island. 3 New and 1 returning after being on Guam for a few months. They look a little tired, a little "deer in the headlights", but they will be great missionaries, and we will love them.  They come ready to put their whole heart and soul into the work. It may be hard to send them home, when it is time, but the Lord always sends us new ones to help with the work. I truly think we have the BEST missionaries in the whole world on our little Island.
The welcoming committee, a little scary looking, especially the guy in the
front of the line, Elder Pierson, our Zone leader

And here they come, Sister Beautler

Elder Hanson

Elder Madill, with his "greeny" Elder Lyman

Elder Hanson

Welcome, Welcome

Wait, could it be, yes it is, Elder Davis, in the back of the line, returning from Guam

Sister Varea

Our Sisters

Yum, goodies from Sis. Kjar

Aren't they the best looking Sister Missionaries you've ever seen!!!!

Ready to work

Yes, it's true Mom and Dad Davis, he is really back on Pohnpei, and we
are so happy to have him back, Welcome Back, Elder Davis, our newest
Zone Leader

Long plane rides and food, a sleepy combination

A bite to eat and then they are off to work.
     Welcome, Welcome, Welcome, lets go save some souls.

Saying Goodbye.............again.

Sister Salaiau & Elder Haas

A lot of the Sapwalap Branch came out to say Goodbye

Elder Stewart, off to Guam to be a Zone Leader, sure hope we get him back.

Awalt, Sis, Kennach, Lavon, she is not hugging back, a true
missionary to the end.

Elder Carlson, going home to Alaska

Sis. Kennach, home to Washington

Elder Haas, home to Logan, Utah

Goodbyes are hard

Sis. Kennach, with her Branch, Sapwalap

Mama Serina

One last group picture, before it all changes

Elder Haas, Sister Kennach, Elder Carlson

Lisa Ladore saying goodbye to Elder Haas

Always smiling

Sister Redes

Elder Cook, Elder Bourne, Elder Stewart

Goodbyes are hard, one last hug for a fellow missionary

One last look at the people you have come to love so much.

One last glimpse

A Final wave

More tears

The last glance

And their gone, leaving behind future missionaries
       They went Forward with Faith, They Served with Valor, and now they Return with Honor.  3 more of our missionaries are returning home to their families.  It is always hard to see them go. These 3 were no different, it was hard to see them leave the Island, especially knowing they will probably never come back. I think people from every Branch showed up to send them off. There were not very many dry eyes as we all said our goodbyes, especially the members who have lived with and worked so closely with these amazing missionaries. Elder Carlson, Elder Haas, & Sister Kennach, Farewell for now, and God be with you til we meet again.
      A farewell for now to Elder Stewart, he is off to Guam to be a Zone leader, we hope to get him back before he goes home in January.