Thursday, December 24, 2009

SOS! Stranded!

The 23rd was a good day at the South house. We received an e-mail and a snail mail! I cut and pasted the two letters together.

Dear Mom and Dad,
It has been a long time since I have been able to email you...sorry. Last time we came in we didn't have time to do it. That was the first of the transfer but I did get to call you and talk to you for a few minutes. That was really good and I am looking forward to being able to talk to you in a couple days.
You sent quite a few emails so I hope I can remember all the questions you asked and answer them all.

First off, Elder Ako is fine and he doesn't have any problems. His foot problems were because of a blister that became really badly infected. He went to Guam for a week and everything was fine. It was more of a vacation he said than anything. He had hot showers, e-mail, air conditioning and fast food! All of that seems unreal to me. While Elder Ako was in Guam, Elder Ulmer came out to Romonnum and joined me for a while. That was fun but it was not the same as having Elder Ako with me. Three transfers with the same companion on Romonnum is a long time so getting a new one was weird. While Elder Ulmer was here we went to Paata and met a lot of cool folks. Elder Ako came back from Guam and was there for about a week then he got transferred back to Guam. Now Elder Cherrington is with me and that is fun, but I really miss Elder Ako.

The island of Tonoas was closed down because the septic tank is still broken. There are only 10 missionaries in Chuuk now. That is a big difference from when I got here. There used to be 15. Not too much happened this last transfer. Most people stayed the same. This next transfer will probably be big.

Elder Cherrington has been in Chuuk for three transfers so I now have the language role. That will be good for me.

While talking about news on Elders in the zone... We got some bad news last night. Elder Kuss was going to give blood to Siramino's wife who is in the hospital because of complications from her pregnancy. The hospital tested Elder Kuss' blood and it isn't 100% sure but he may have some health issues. The news was a shock and some more tests are going to be run. The sad part about it all is that he didn't have it before his mission and if it is true it will end his mission most likely. Please keep him in your prayers. It has been troubling him a lot and he is really worried.

I am excited to hear about all the exciting BYU news. That makes me even happier that they beat UNR in basketball. It sounds like it was a good game. I can only imagine the agony Grandma Jenny and Grandpa Duane had. Who did BYU play in the bowl game this year? How did TCU end their season?

I sent you a camera chip the day after I talked to you on the phone so I hope that comes soon. There are some of the pictures and videos you wanted on that like the Paata house and other stuff.

You asked a little about the stuff that happens on Romonum too. The people clean their clothes in wells around the island. They are dug by the people and are just little pools. They shower there as well. The average Chuukese person showers about 4 or 5 times a day so that is why they look so clean. There are no showers or bathrooms in any of the houses. Back to laundry though... they don't scrub their clothes or soak them but they get some dead coconut leaf things and beat their clothes. They use laundry soap and just beat the dirt out of everything. It is the only island I know of that beats clothes instead of scrubs them with a brush. It works really well though.

About Christmas now. There is no Santa Claus and gifts are exchanged within the branch but that is all I have heard of. It is a secret Santa type thing. We won't be with the Romonnum branch this year though so I won't know what it is like. I will be there for New Years though and I will have some cool stories about that. New Years is a lot bigger than Christmas here. They say it lasts for something like two weeks. I hope you are having a happy holiday season. It is strange being away for Christmas. Write and tell me about your holiday plans.

The ugly ankle you saw in one of my pictures was Elder Brown's. He came for our AP exchange with a bummed ankle. I just thought it was picture worthy.

My toiletries are alright. I could use some face scrub and an occasional shower gel would be nice. They are hard to get here and are really expensive when we do find them.

I can't believe Kristen is engaged!!!! I found out when I listened to the tape you sent out. It was hard to hear Ryan talking but after a couple times of listening to it for clarification I picked out he said he was her fiance. WOW! Tell her I said congratulations and wish I could be there for the ceremony. Tell me more about Ryan. Is he a stud or a U of U bum? haha I already know he goes there but tell me about him.

I think that is all of the questions you asked. Everything else is going great here.
While Elder Ako was gone for a week I worked with Elder Ulmar. He was a lot of fun to work with. We got along really well. We worked hard as we are pushing to get two more baptisms before the end of the year. One would be on Romonnum and one on Paata. The one on Romonnum is a lady named Margery. She is from a part member family and could never get baptized because her mother wouldn't let her. She is married and has 3 children and is over 30 years old, but it is part of the culture here to get parent approval. We talked to her mother and her mother has let up. She was actually really nice about it. Margery is pretty excited about it all. The other is a 9 year old on Paata named Peterson. He is a really cool kid and is the branch president's son. He only needs to hear all the lessons and then he will be ready for baptism. He has asked me to be the one that baptizes him and we will go to a smaller outer island to do it. One of Peterson's good friends would like to get bapized too. He comes to church every week. But his parents are both on Guam right now and he is not sure when they will be back. It will be a spur of the moment thing when they come back.

I have decided that Paata is my favorite place in terms of cool people to talk to and have fun with. But, my trips to Paata have not been all smooth. On one of the trips Elder Ulmer and I left on Wed. and were going to return on Thursday. We worked Thursday morning and went and packed up our stuff. We had brought food with us but only enough for our planned amount of time. At lunch we finished all our food and then we waited for the boat to come and get us. And we waited.. and waited... and it never came. We were abandoned on the island! We had not brought our phone so we had no way to call for help or anything. Luckily Sam, the branch president, helped us out with food. We had dinner with him that night and it was really good. That night we slept, but we had no idea about what we were going to do or what would happen. We started the next day with our normal schedule and the boat showed up! The next trip I made to Paata was the week that Elder Ako came back from Guam. We went to Paata Sunday night and worked with Peterson and then planned to leave on Monday. The boat was going to come at 11 to meet us. But we waited.. and waited...and waited, but the boat never came. It was frustrating. Once again, no clothes or food. But we did have the phone this time. We decided to call the Zone leaders to see if they could help us. It was pitch black and we had to venture up a pretty tall mountain on a skinny path with rough terrain to get our phone to work. We had flashlights but the batteries were dying and so they were pretty dim. That is the only place on the whole island where a phone will work. We were looked after though and all went well. Once again I went to bed with no idea of what would happen because the Zone leaders were not sure where the boat driver was. But the next day the boat showed up at 7AM. I have learned to laugh things off. We all had a good laugh together.

We are pushing to hit our baptismal goal in Chuuk. Originally it was 72 but got pushed up to 82. We are at 76 now and have 5 more potentials. We can make the goal though! It's possible!

We got to have the AP's come to Romonnum recently. Them coming to Romonnum is difficult. It is such a small island and there is not enough work for 4 missionaries. We made due though. The AP's are Elder Brown and Elder Sandvik. Both are golfers and go to BYU! We had a lot to talk about. We had a lot of fun and they loved being on Romonnum. They stayed only one night. I am not a failure as a missionary because they did not find anything we are doing wrong! :)

Mom, I have to confess that Elder Ako and I opened up the stocking boxes you sent us just before he left. Sorry... but he was leaving and.. thank you so much! We both love everything so much! We had a ton of fun with all the stuff. We LOVE the ties too. I took pictures of both of us. Thank you again!

So I am loving life and I am looking forward to our phone call!
I hope you are both doing great and having a great Christmas. I love you both so much. Take care.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Missionary Snail Mail Updates

Dec. 2, 2009
Dear Mom and Dad,
How are you both doing? I hope you are both doing well. I just had a chance to e-mail you a couple of days ago about my crazy stay with Elder Ako in the hospital here. I stayed again the night I e-mailed you and the next morning he got discharged. He got to go back to the zone leader's house and shower. It was the first time he got to shower or shave in 4 days so he was pretty nasty. As soon as we were both done showering we went to the zone conference which had already started. We got there towards the end of the zone leaders' training. We were sad we missed it. We did get to see all of President Dowdle's training which was great. He did a big thing on the Book of Mormon and about the prophets who saw Christ. We only covered a few of the early ones but what he showed us that the prophets wrote was amazing. President has such a deep knowledge of the scriptures and I love hearing him explain things.
We got another Book of Mormon challenge to complete in the next few months.This time we will read through and highlight 1) the life, mission, and power of Jesus Christ 2)Doctrine of the Atonement 3)Doctrine of the Plan of Salvation 4)doctrine of the gathering of Israel. I am looking forward to doing this challenge and finding out more about these doctrines. I know this challenge is going to get me pumped up to get out and work and give me a stronger testimony.
So in other news, I am back out on Romonnum again. Elder Ako will leave tomorrow for Guam for medical issues and will be there about a week. Elder Ulmer is coming to stay with me. He is a good guy and we get along well. He is assigned to Tonoas but there are problems there and so the missionaries will not be able to live in the Tonoas house for awhile. I may or may not have told you, but right as I left Tonoas the septic tank started leaking and when it rains the "contents" come up to the surface. It has now gotten really bad and a new tank needs to be put in. It is going to be a while before it is fixed. But it has worked out well as Elder Ulmer can come and stay with me and I can be back on Romonnum. Elder Ako should be back in a week or two at the most and things can return to normal.
I got two packages from grandpa Bob and Grandma Helen before we headed back out to our islands. One was a food package which I always love and the other was full of Christmas TREATS! I can't believe it is almost Christmas already. It feels like summer here. I miss the snow and all the fun leading up to it.
I still haven't gotten the package that Tori sent out a few weeks back. It must have gotten caught up in customs or something. Hopefully it comes soon. I miss hearing from them. It has been 4 months now. I know they are trying though.
I received a couple of letters from you this week and I'll respond to those a little. First I'll address dad's. My study has been doing great and it is probably my favorite part of the day. I have read the book of Mormon twice through and I am up to section 93 in the Doctrine and Covenants. I have not spent too much time just reading because I always find a topic to study and then I do that for a while. I have been fascinated right now about our lives before we came here to earth.
I am excited about all the sports news. I heard about an OVERTIME WIN OVER THE UTES! WOOHOO! I don't know all the details but that is so exciting. It must have been intense. Tell me all about it and also tell me about the interview with Max Hall.
I got some letters from mom too. I will just have to let my driver's license go because there is not a eye doctor anywhere around here to test my eyes for the extension form. I got the camera chip you sent me and the pictures were nice that you left on there for me to look at. I can't believe Jaxson and Kolby now! They are so big! You should talk to me on the chip and say Hi. I would love that. Oh, and the picture you had on there of the Christmas ornament you bought me! I love it! I don't care if my wife will hate it someday. It will always be on my tree right in the front where everyone can see it. I love that it is wooden too. It fits the culture here really well. (note from mom.. . we bought Kevin his traditional annual ornament but did not send it to him. We just took a picture of it. It is a wooden sea turtle. We thought it was fitting to represent this past year)
So nothing new is going on here. I am excited to get to work again tomorrow. It has been a full week since I have done missionary work and I miss it a lot. I am excited to work with Elder Ulmer as well. He has been here a few transfers longer than me so I'll be able to learn some good stuff from him.
I hope you are both doing great and having a good holiday season. I will talk to you on the phone soon! I am grateful for everything you do for me. You are both amazing! Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pounding Breadfruit Video

Happy Missionary with an Official Chuukese Name Tag and a Huge Box of Cereal


Dear Mom and Dad,
We got relief this last week after Thor and Arinda got baptized. I can't remember if I told you that because of Chuukese pronunciation I used to spell their names wrong. This week was crazy getting ready for baptism. The kids had a lot to be taught and it was hard to track them down to meet consistently. We got desperate a few times and had to run around the island looking for one or the other. It was stressful, but everything got taken care of and it ended up great. The baptism went well and I couldn't believe how many people showed up. There were about 50 people there which is about 5 times more than any other baptismal service that I have been to in Chuuk. Most showed up to see Elder Kuss but they attended the service at least. It was Elder Kuss' first time back to Romonnum, his home, in over a year. He was happy to see a lot of the people but also regretted coming because everyone was clinging to him the entire time he was there. I think he may have felt slightly homesick as well. The baptisms happened in the ocean right outside the church and it wasn't the greatest weather. It rained off and on. We were going to go have the baptisms on a nearby small island but Thor and Arinda's mother has a three month old baby and it couldn't go on a boat. We also had a member's child get baptized. She is one of my favorite kids here on the island. Her name is Bensi. Elder Wells baptized her. (that was why Elder Kuss was at the service as well) Now we are really working to help Thor and Arinda's parents. We will be holding a wedding for them on December 12. Hopefully they will get baptized the following week. They want to get baptized but have a lot to do first. Today was a big step for them because we got them to move out until they are married. That will be a big help to get them prepared. They have been to church once already so need at least two more times coming as well. Our other investigators are doing well but none quite prepared for baptism. We just need to keep pushing and they will be ready soon.
We got some really cool stuff this week. Elder Wells brought us back a huge box of cereal from Guam! We were stoked to get that! He also brought my language mastery certificate. It is laminated and everything. That wasn't all though! He brought back official Chuukese name badges! It finally got approved for Chuukese and we got them now! They will also be getting copies of Preach My Gospel in Chuukese. It is already translated and they only need to format it and then it will be ready to be printed! I am curious to see that. Preach My Gospel would have been hard to translate as it is not first grade English! It must have been hard to translate. I want to see how it turned out. Soon the first Presidency might approve a full translation of the Book of Mormon. The only thing that makes me sad about that is that, if approved, it won't be printed until after me mission. I'll still buy one though!
I got a letter from dad this week and was excited to hear that BYU basketball should do well this year. I'm hoping it won't be another one and done team. I hope football finishes strong this year too. From here the only things I really want to see is beating Utah and winning a decent bowl game. By the time you get this the Utah game will probably be done. Know that my heart still bleeds blue and my soul abhors red!
To answer some of your questions, no our water pump hasn't been fixed. It probably won't be for a long time. I will probably be off Romonnum by that time. We don't shower outside any more. There is a lower water spout in the shower and we use that to fill up a large bucket. We use a cup and then pure water over ourselves.
You asked what the people do here with such a calm lifestyle. Some fish and some do gardening, but not a ton of other stuff.
This week we will go to Weno for Thanksgiving. I am excited. we will eat with the Duncans. They found a full turkey here which is hard to believe!
Elder Ako and I realized the other day that in a months time we will get to call home! I am looking forward to talking to you again. I'll even be able to speak Chuukese to you. I can't believe how long it has been since I have seen you or talked to you. The Lord has really helped me to not get too homesick. I think of you both frequently and keep you in my prayers. Thank you for all that you do for me. Take care and stay safe.

PS Dad, what's up with Cummard going to Germany? No NBA team wanted him?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Romonnum Church Building Dedication

This is a video taken during the celebration and dedication for the Romonnum church building.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving, Eopwet,and a Hospital Stay

Hi! I have a lot of exciting stuff to report on this week! Things got absolutely crazy. Thanksgiving was good. It isn't celebrated very much by the people here but they do recognize the name of it. We had a big dinner at the Duncan's house and got to hang out for a little bit. I enjoyed it but it wasn't the same as a family one. Two more years until I get another one of those! The next day was Friday and we headed out to our islands again. We got back around the afternoon sometime and we ended up taking it easy for the rest of the day because Elder Ako was having a hard time walking. He had some blisters on his foot that were not looking very good at all. They had been there for about a week and he took really good care of them but they just kept getting worse. We figured they got infected and we planned to get medicine later. That night though he couldn't sleep at all because his foot was hurting him too badly. He woke up and took off the bandage and it was disgusting. Some huge growth looking infected blister appeared that was about the size of a golf ball. We had no idea where it came from. The next morning first thing we called the zone leaders and the boat came and got us again. We wanted to go to a place called the Sefin Clinic because they can give him antibiotics and then send us back out but the doctor wasn't in so we had to go to the real hospital. It was my first time to the place, but I had heard rumors. They were all understatements. It is a joke. It is as dirty as a gas station bathroom and tons of people are crammed into tiny rooms. They are all sick and have had limbs amputated and are just suffering really badly. It gets worse though. They dressed Elder Ako's foot then ADMITTED him! He has been there ever since then in the place. I stayed with him for the first day and night and it was scary. I slept on the ground and the zone leaders brought us food. Right now someone is taking my place helping Ako so I can shower and do other stuff. The bathroom at the hosptial is unusable and so are the showers. I didn't stay with him last night because this morning I had to run out to Romonnum and pick up stuff for him. We didn't bring any extra clothes or toiletries with us so we were both in need of stuff. I feel bad for Ako because he hasn't been able to shower in a few days and just has to lay on a bed there. I am going to go back with him tonight and take care of him again. We are going there as soon as we are done emailing. I didn't bring my camera but Elder Ako has his so I will make sure to kept copies of his pictures so you can see the place as well. President Dowdle came in today for our zone conference tomorrow and he stopped by to see him. He will be going to Guam on Thursday to go to the hospital there. He will be gone for at least a week. I don't know what I'll do for that week but I might have another Elder come out to Romonnum with me. I'll let you know how everything works out there. Tomorrow morning Elder Ako will get discharged though and we will take care of him at the house in Mwan. Don't worry too much about anything though. All is well and the Lord is watching after Elder Ako.
So in other news. Work was pretty non existent this week. I miss it too. I really just want to be in Romonnum talking with the people there and doing missionary work. It stinks being on Weno for so long. It is always so stressful and I just like the peace of being on an outer island. Hopefully soon I will get there again.
I did get the two boxes that weren't flat rate from you this last week. Thank you so much for everything. I am so excited for Christmas so I can open up those presents. I feel so spoiled though. There are so many. You really don't have to do that for me. Elder Ako says thank you for the present you sent him as well. He is excited to open his as well. I also got the card from Aunt Lisa. I wrote a letter that they will hopefully get soon. If not let me know and I will write them again.
You asked about the DVDs for General Conference... we do have a tv on Romonnum. It is the churches tv but it stays in the missionary house for safety purposes. We watch the DVDs on that.
What????????????? Kristen is getting a WEDDING DRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is crazy. Why hasn't anyone told me about this development before? I only heard the guys name the one time. Tell me more about that stuff.
I got the article you sent about the missionaries in Samoa who got hit with the tsunami. That is crazy. Don't worry about that stuff here. The lagoon blocks out all those sorts of threats and there are mountains on all the islands for us to climb. We heard people running around worrying about it but nothing ever came.
That is crazy that the Stake Presidency changed. I like all the new guys though. I had a feeling that there would be a change sometime on my mission with the presidency. Is Dad still going to be on the High Council?
I have some new food news. I tried a local Chuukese dish. It looks like diarrhea, smells like diarrhea and well... tastes like it. It is called eopwet. It is breadfruit that has been buried in the ground for over a month. It just sits underground and rots. After a month they pull it out and cook it in banana leaves and then let it cool and enjoy! I never want to have eopwet again. Only about half the people here actually eat it. That is really good because now I know that not everyone here is crazy.
Well, that covers most of the news here. Maybe you haven't gotten the letter yet so I won't go into a ton of details but I will tell you. We had three baptisms on Romonnum two weeks ago. It was a lot of fun and sooooo many people came. You will get all the details in the letter.
Well, I hope you are both doing great and all is well. Thank you once again for the Christmas presents and all that good stuff. Thanks for everything else you do too. I miss you both tons.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

More Adventures From Paradise

Dear Mom and Dad,
A lot of stuff happened this week. I'll start with our trip into Weno. We went in on Thursday and stayed for 4 days. It was a blast like always. Thursday we hung out, e-mailed, and had our interviews with President Dowdle.I had a good interview and we talked about a lot of good stuff. I asked him how long I had left on paradise and he told me a little bit longer. We got transfers last night and I will get into that in a little. Friday we had zone conference. As always we had a lot of good training. We had some good role play activities and the spirit was really strong. Saturday we had our district conference for the members. We hung out at the church for the first session but had to skip the second because we took Elder Matuato to the airport. He goes home in one transfer and he had problems with his visa so he had to go to Guam. He was sad to leave Chuuk. He really love sit here and wanted to end his mission here. After we took him to the airport we went to another session of district conference. Some of the talks were really good. That night we had a family home evening with all the missionaries, the senior couple, and President and Sister Dowdle. It was so much fun. President Dowdle gave a short lesson on Joseph Smith and then we had a way fun activity. It created pandemonium for awhile in the church. Everyone was going crazy. Sunday morning rolled around and we went to the District Conference's morning session. It was good again and the translators did a good job. After that we got to hang out with the members and eat with them. The district buys a bunch of food to feed people since in between sessions most people can't go home to eat. We (the outer islanders) missed the afternoon session to go back out to our islands. It was a fun trip overall, but I was starting to want to go back to Romonnum. I love the peace and quiet out here.
Last night was a big night because we got transfers. It was epically huge. Nothing happens on Romonnum for now. I get to stay here with Elder Ako. I seem to hang onto companions a lot longer than some. I wonder why that is? Anyway though, Elder Sorenson will be going to Guam as well as Elder Wood. We lost three elders to Guam this transfer. We got Elder Lange back who had been serving as an AP. He won't be a zone leader though. He will serve in Mechitiw. There will be a new greenie from New Zealand joining him. We got a new zone leader as well. Elder Kuss. He is actually a native Chuukese from Romonnum. Everyone is way excited for him to come. He doesn't know English very well and speaks to us in Chuukese. As for other moves, Elder Tatiano took Elder Matuato's place in Sapuk as branch president. He was not very excited about that but he is going to do great. I have a feeling that this next transfer will be big too. In 6 weeks we'll know.
So, I'm 20 now! Weird! I feel old. My birthday was quiet. I did not want a big production for it. I got to use all my new clothes for zone and district conference and I was STYLING! Thank you once again for everything. I really like it a ton. It was perfect missionary birthday gifts.
P-day was a lot of fun today. The zone leaders came out here and we played basketball for awhile. Elder Sorenson served in Romonnum for 4 transfers and loves this place to death. He said it feels like home to him. He came to say good-bye to some of the people here. He is sad he is going. We are all sad to see him go as well. He has spent 12 transfers in Chuuk and loves it here.
I got another package from you which was awesome. Thank you so much for that. I like all the food as always and it helps me to be healthier.
I also got two letters from dad on Cougar news! Thank you for all of that. The talk from Elder Holland was awesome as well. I'll respond to some of the stuff that dad said. Our lights are good in the house now, but the water pump is still broken. We deal with it though. I don't mind climbing up on the tanks to pour water over Elder Ako at all. I think I mentioned this in a prior letter that yes, I did complete the language mastery requirements. I am keeping my fingers crossed that BYU will accept it. Keep your fingers crossed.
The earthquakes and tsunamis caused a big scare here amongst the people, but nothing happened. People were freaking out. It was funny to see how they reacted to it. The typhoon did not make it here either. We did get a TON of rain when it went by that was all. We are waiting for the rain to hit again soon. We could use some more. The rainy season here means that it rains a lot to answer your question. I am not sure if we are still in it or not. It will rain up to three days straight just pouring. We just walk around and get wet when it is like that. We get used to it. A lot of the time it just rains for an hour or two and then it lets up. The rainy season is good here because it is a lot cooler. The dry season does have the benefit of the wind but that is only occasional and only from certain directions so it doesn't get the whole island.
The picture you saw on google earth is the chapel and that is a basketball court next to it as well. Romonnum has a full size one which rocks!
I can't believe that Winter is going to have a baby! That is crazy! Congratulate her for me!
Well that covers everything here for this week. I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.
PS I got grandpa Daune and Grandma Jenny's package. Please thank them. I am so happy that grandpa wrote a little bit! I still pray for him and have faith that he will recover.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rommonum Chapel Dedication

The Chuukese children sang in Chuukese at the Rommonum chapel dedication in July.

Rommonum Chapel Dedication

This video was taken during the Rommonum chapel dedication in July. The Chuukese children worked very hard to learn to sing a song in english.

Happy Missionary.. no Transfer.. Staying on Romonnum

Dear Mom and Dad,
I am really lucky and we had transfers this week so I got to come in to Weno. Don't worry. No transfers going on with me. I am on Romonnum for a third one with Elder Ako. I seem to get companions for a lot longer than other people. It is cool though. I like Elder Ako and I love Romonnum. We have a lot of really fun stuff going on there. There is an Elder serving in the mission named Elder Kuss (I actually talked about him in my farewell talk) who is from Romonnum. We teach some of his family but they aren't really ready for anything. But, the exciting news is... Elder Kuss got transferred here and is our new zone leader with Elder Wells. Elder Kuss doesn't know english really so we talk to him in Chuukese. It is fun and it will help us a lot. I really want the chance to work with him so I can learn to speak just like the people here. He told me I do a good job with it already. We talked for a while about Romonnum and the members there. He is a good guy.
I told you all about the news from this week in a letter I just wrote two days ago. Nothing big is going on here right now. Tomorrow we will just go back out to Romonnum and continue working there. It will be a few weeks before we come to Weno again.
It sounds like everything is going good back home. I did get the other food box you sent recently. Thank you for that. I also got a letter from Mom today. It had Jay's wedding announcement. That was exciting to get. I was thinking about it all then I looked at the date on it and I couldn't believe it.... he already is married! That was fast. I never did get the letter you sent with the article on the tsunami by Samoa. Send me the article again because I am curious to here about it. Elder Tuaitanu had family there when it hit and luckily nobody got hurt. I heard it was pretty bad though.
Well, that is all I have to update on this week. I'll write you again next week and let you know how everything is going. Hopefully you get the letter I wrote you soon. I'll mail that off tomorrow.
Thank you both so much for everything. I love you both so much. Take care and stay safe.

Letter From a 19 Year Old

Dear Mom and Dad,
Another quiet but good week has gone by on Romonnum. This will be the last letter you will get from me while I am in my teens..... that's weird. I'm going to be 20 soon? hahaha, it won't feel like I'm out of my teenage years for awhile probably. I think I am going to open the presents today. I know it's early, but I have a reason. We go into Weno on Thursday the 5th and we have a district conference on the 7th and so I will be with all the missionaries and it is going to be hectic like all the Weno trips always are. It will be easier to open them here rather than carry them with me as well. I will get some pictures for you. I will make a video too. (as Kevin makes no reference to the special homemade cookies that we slaved over for hours, we can only assume he did not save those and they were long gone by time the birthday arrived)
The two kids that we were going to baptize this week didn't get baptized. Some things happened that prevented us from finishing the needed lessons on time, Because of district conference, we will have to wait two weeks until November 14. Hopefully stuff works out for that. On the 21st we have two more baptismal dates. One is for the stepfather of the two kids and the other is for a young boy named Peterson on Paata. That is the other island we go to occassionally.
We have now gotten to go to Paata twice this week which was way good. The first day was Thursday. The big missionary boat drove us out. The village with the church is called Pokochov and it is a good 15 minute walk from the dock that the big boat can go. There is a path through the mangrove trees to the church village, but the big boat can't go through it. On the walk there we went through another village and saw parts of the island. Paata is nice. The villages are big there and the people are a lot more kept to themselves. It was kind of creepy at times. Pokochou is very nice though. There is a little cement sidewalk that goes through the whole village. I was shocked. I couldn't believe it when I saw it. Missionaries used to live on Paata and so there is a missionary house there. The house was way empty and run down. It has been almost a full year since missionaries have lived there on a full time basis. I can't complain about the house though. We were only there one night. While we were there we saw Peterson and a few of the members. It was fun. We left early the next morning and jumped on a guy's boat who was heading to Weno. Romonnum is on the way so he just dropped us off. We went back again on Sunday morning for church. We left at about 8AM and rode on a small boat. We joined the Sacrament meeting which was good. There were 12 people total. It is a very small branch. After Sacrament meeting we joined the Romunnum meeting block. The Romonnum branch is so different. There are usually close to 70 people who attend and is it crazy! Kids are always way out of control. There is no word for reverent or any super closely related word except for quiet in Chuukese so it may give you an idea of their view of the importance of being reverent.
Other than that we are still working with Tison. He is the stepfather of the two kids we are working with.
This next week will be a fun one as we are going to Weno for a zone and district conference. Hope you are doing great still. Thanks for all you do for me. Stay safe and take care.
Your still 19 year old son, Elder Kevin South

Kantus is Baptized

I've got some exciting stuff to talk about this week! We got the General Conference DVD's finally! Elder Ako and I were so pumped to get them. We haven't had a chance to finish all the sessions but the couple we have watched are awesome. Looking back to past years of conference I regret all the amazing information that I took for granted. I've come to value the words of the living prophets and apostles much more than ever. Elder Ako and I are hoping to watch more today.
Kantus was baptized this week. His baptism proved to be a big challenge for us, but it is done now and we are really happy for him. The baptismal service was held at the church here. About 10 people came and a few of them spoke. After the talks were done we went to the beach area by the church and Kantus and I went into the ocean. It was about 4:30 in the evening so the sun was just starting to make everything look amazing with different colors. It was an amazing experience and Kantus is really happy. On Sunday his confirmation went really well. Elder Ako performed that. Since his baptism and confirmation we have had time to meet with him and talk about receiving the priesthood. Hopefully he will get that in about two weeks. He is going to be a really strong member and I am happy to have been able to be a part of his conversion.
Other than that, there is not too much to say. I have not heard from you for awhile so I don't have anything to respond to. We haven't gotten any mail on Romonnum for awhile because no boats have been out recently. Hopefully soon though.
I an sending my camera card in this letter. There are a lot of scenery pictures in there. I know, Dad! I know you are saying that you want some pictures with me in them!
Love you both! Take care!
Elder Kevin South

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Carson Sears Leaves for Guam

This picture is one that Elder Brady Wells sent to his family. The Chuuk missionaries are at the Weno airport to say good-bye to Elder Carson Sears who was transferred to Guam.

Birthday Missionary on Weno


Dear Mom and Dad,
Well, it has been a while since I have had the chance to email. Last time we came in there was only one computer working andthe local teenagers were using it on myspace. We waited for hours and they never got off. We had to get back out to our islands so we just had to leave. Sorry.
So I am glad to hear that you finally got some of the letters I sent. Sister Duncan told me that you commented on her blog it had been a while. I promise I have written every week. I don't have control of the mail service though or when I get to go into Weno to send stuff out so it is diffucult to get it to you consistently. I am sending you a camera card and a letter tomorrow though. The camera card has a lot of fun stuff on it.
OK, so news for Chuuk now... We are in Weno for zone conference and district conference. We will be here for like 5 days! It's crazy. It will be a blast though. Romonnum has still been going great. I wrote about everything in the letters I sent you, hopefully those arrive soon.
Nothing to exciting to write about now that I haven't already told you in the letters. I will get to answer all those questions you had though.
The water pump is still broken which is a bummer and is really annoying but we do have light now! We don't have to study by candle light anymore. ya!
I did get the birthday boxes and thank you so much for all of that. I cheated and opened them early. It was yesterday. I had to do it then so I wouldn't have to carry them to Weno with me to open them on the official day. Sorry. Thank you for everything though. It is all really awesome stuff. I am going to wear the new clothes for zone conference so look for the pictures on President's blog.
Don't worry about the boxes going through customs ever. I don't know if any of them actually ever have been. They never have said anything like that. I did get the watch you fixed back from you...unfortunately it is on its way back home again. When I got it back the adjusting pin was broken.
My knee is all good now so no worries. It was sore for a couple days but it was nothing serious. No other injuries to report either!...knock on wood!
As for the email from Randy, I don't think I ever got that. Tell him to send another one and then I will respond to it.
Your trips to Utah sound like they have been a lot of fun. Give Tori and them all my love. I haven't heard from them in a while so I don't know what's going on with them.
I hope you are both doing great and all is well. I love you!! Take care.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Happy Romonnum Group

This picture was sent to us by Elder Brady Well's mom. It was taken on Rommunum. Elder Brady Wells and Elder Sorenson are in the front and Kevin and his companion, Elder Ako, are in the back.



Dear Mom and Dad,
I had the chance to go to Weno yesterday for zone p-day but I didn't have the chance to e-mail. The computers were all down.
Zone p-day was a lot of fun yesterday. We hiked a pretty big mountain on Weno and then played football. It was nice to get to hang out with the other missionaries again. I had been on Rommunum for a loooong time and hadn't seen another missionary besides Elder Ako. Elder Ako is great and we get along great. Don't think I view being with him so long as bad thing. Getting to hang out with all of the missionaries though is just fun. We also did a little shopping while we were in and then the Duncan's fed us. It is amazing and always tastes so good.
I am figuring I won't be on an outer island for much longer (3 months max) and will have a way healthier diet on an inner island. (or possibly Guam) :( It is a guarantee that at some point in my mission I will have to leave Chuuk and I really don't enjoy that thought. I want to spend the two full years here, but I will go where I am needed.
So, news on Rommunum for the week..... Kantus should get baptized this week. I'm really hoping so. This baptism has been a big hurdle for us and it needs to be done with soon. After Kantus, we have one, possibly 2, kids being baptized. They are kids of an investigator trying to get baptized. One is a 12 year old boy, named Door, and the other a 12 year old girl named Marinta. They are both good kids. I will keep you posted on everything with them.
This week I had the chance to attend a remembrance event for a person who passed away a year ago. It also included a family council called an interiges. I think I actually told you about the possibilty of me attending in the last letter. It was a really interesting experience. A lot of leaders from the Catholic and Protestant church were there and we sat with them at the tables of honor. That was weird. They spoke briefly of the deceased person and then started the council. The council mostly talked about people wanting to get rid of alcohol on the island, but the leaders said that there was no way they could ask the companies not to send alcohol to Weno and that is where most of the people get their alcohol from. I was not given the opportunity to talk at all.
Well that takes care of my week on Rommunum. I am looking forwrad to hearing from you both soon. Take care!

Foson Charame


Dear Mom and Dad,
Well, you get another double lettered envelope. I hope the increased distance between letters hasn't bothered you.
So how have you both been? Hopefully all is going well with you both still. I haven't heard from you this last week so I assume all is well still. We haven't been to Weno for three weeks now so it is hard to get mail. I did get two boxes from Grandpa Bob and Grandma Helen for my birthday last week which was fortunate. The zone leaders had just picked them up at the post office when they ran into one of the members from Romonnum so they gave them to him and he brought them to me. All the birthday boxes I have been getting are great! Maybe by the time you get this, I will be 20! That's weird!
So this last week has been fun. I tried a new food which was awesome. Turtle eggs! I had two raw and three cooked. One of the members fed us turtle thay had just gotten and it was full of eggs when they killed it. The Chuukese love them. The eggs are really soft so you just tear them and suck out everything inside. They were pretty good. The members gave us some of the turtle meat too and it was sooooo amazing! Turtle meat is one of my top favorites now. At least how it was cooked. I could eat it for the rest of my life. I also had lobster today too which was okay. I bought it for $2. I got it on camera for you. I know mom is jealous!
We also just had a cool drunkard experience too. Two guys were drunk and yelling and were trying to fight. We had to step in and get them apart. The drunks here can get away with almost anything thay want. Rommonum doesn't have nearly as many drunks as Tonoas which is good.
So news on Kantus. He did not pass his baptism interview this last week which stinks. He wasn't completely honest with us this last week and started smoking again. I was really disappointed, but we'll keep working with him. We'll shoot for two weeks. Our other investigators are still doing well. Some of them are still struggling bodily, but we are helping them and praying for them. Please keep them in your prayers as well.
I have started learning a new style of talk here as well called foson charame. (sweet talk) haha. It is awesome. It is used mostly for flirting, but don't worry. I won't use it for that. I like it mostly because there are a lot of deeper words involved. It is like a Chuukese poetry. I've been coming up with a lot of good stuff on my own and people say it is pretty good. The people on Rommunum think the zone leaders are great sweet talkers. They are like professionals. They are better than a lot of the locals. Well, mostly all actually. I want to keep learning the foson anunnon (deep talk) as well. That talk is awesome. It is the old language. When people use it, only a few people can even understand it. People get respected for knowing that stuff.
So our water pump is still broken which stinks. To shower we still have to do our tower showers which is awkward. We attract crowds of Chuukese who watch me climb to the top, pour water down on Ako and then on myself. Yesterday, the Duncans, the senior couple, came for an inspection and they came right as we finished a service project so we had to shower and they got it on camera. You should check their blog and see if you can see me. Elder Duncan was surprised how we shower and couldn't believe it.
The service project was interesting we did yesterday. It gave me a huge appreciation for lawn mowers. We went to an investigator's house who asked us to "ottot" or help him to cut back the grass in his yard. It isn't a lawn but it is a big patch of grass between his house and cooking hut. What did we cut it with you ask? Machetes. Dull ones too. We had to hack at the grass. You hack at it at about a 60 degree angle to cut the grass. It is monotonous and takes forever. It is unproductive as well. We hacked for two hours and it didn't look much better than when we started. We got really dirty doing it all too. The hacks make the dirt fly and we were sitting and kneeling. It was really sunny so we sweat a lot too. It was good though. Anything we can do to help is great and we are willing. Afterwards the investigator invited us to his "interges" which is like a family meeting where big important stuff is talked about. It is a big thing for Chuukese so it was cool we got invited. We haven't decided if we will go or not though.
Well, that is all of my week. I hope that you are both doing great and that all is well.

PS I am enclosing a letter for Sister Wilson's seminary class. Please give it to her to give the students.

Twenty Foot Waves in the Lagoon!

Dear Mom and Dad,
I can hardly believe it is October already. September was a good month. There were a few letdowns but mostly it was good. October is going to be a really good month. We are expecting about 5 baptisms this month. The baptism with Kantus was pushed back again. It hopefully will happen this week. He made a pretty direct commitment for this week. He went fishing again this last week rather than being baptized because he doesn't want to lose his house and then be forced to divorce his wife. It was disappointing. He had an experience while fishing that taught him that God should come first. This last weekend was a crazy one with extremely stormy weather. I am even a first hand witness that the waves in the lagoon were the largest I have ever seen in the lagoon. We estimated them about 20 feet. We had a miserable boat ride during it all on the way back to our islands. Kantus' brother- in-law felt it appropriate to go fishing regardless though. While out there, the waves were too much for their small fishing boat to handle and it ended up sinking a long way away from any island. Kantus got thrown from the boat just before it sank and had a hard time staying afloat. Luckily he was able to grab a gas container that he emptied and clung on to. He says that for 4 hours he floated helplessly praying for help. In a very unusual circumstance, help finally arrived from someone who didn't want to go out but felt the need to. Kantus is grateful for his life and says he made the wrong decision to go fishing rather than be baptized. We talked about his experience for awhile and then I shared Revelations 3:20 with him and told him to open the door and get baptized this week. The spirit worked hard on him during the lesson and he has said he will. I will tell you all about the baptism this next week.
Everything else here is going great now. Our other investigators are doing well and still preparing for baptism. We finally got one named Tison to come to church and he liked it. He was slow to come because of persecution from friends and neighbors. We talked to him about it not mattering what others think, but what God thinks. I gave him Mosiah 4:9 to read and told him that God knows everything and that we don't. That is why we need to put our trust in God and do what he wants us to do. I thought to myself how horrible it would be to stand before God to be judged and have to say that I was afraid of what others would think so I made the wrong choices. I'm glad that Tison won't have to experience that.
Nothing else very exciting has happened this week. The weather has been bad, but it hasn't been too bad. A lot of the people have been circulating rumors about a typhoon coming from Guam and they are really scared. We did hear news of a typhoon by Somoa, but don't know which way it is moving. I'm not worried though. A few years back Chuuk was hitting hit by a typhoon every year. A general authority came and blessed Chuuk to not get hit by typhoons anymore. I believe it has been 7 years since that happened and zero typhoons have struck since then. The power of the priesthood is real and that is one of the millions of things that can testify of it.
Oh, I got the boxes you sent me! Thank you so much! All the food is awesome! I can't wait to open the presents! I am tempted to open them now, but I'll wait! :)
I can't believe my birthday is already here! It was just yesterday that I said good-bye to you at the MTC. Time has flown. I'm about to hit the "snowball effect" soon when they say things seem to start going faster and faster. I can't imagine it being faster than now though. Next transfer I get to talk to you for Christmas. I am really looking forward to that.
I will send you a camera chip soon. I have been trying to be mroe active with taking pictures. I can't wait for you to see Romonnum. It must be weird not being able to find out much about it on the internet. The pictures will blow you away.
I am looking forward to hearing from you. I hope you are both still doing well. Thank you for everything you do!
PS I got dad's letter about the Dallas stadium and the Cougar VICTORY! I was sad to hear about the Florida game though.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

E-mail From a Busy missionary

Dear Mom and Dad,
It's transfers again so we are in Weno for a couple days. Nothing big happened at all for transfers though so nothing exciting to report there. Life is still going well here. I have two letters coming out to you soon. I will mail them tomorrow. I would have done it today but the post office is closed. It is some holiday here in Chuuk. I don't know what it is. The people here look for any way to create a holiday so it is nothing really special.
Romonnum has been good. I am starting to get a lot more settled in now. We have a ton of really good investigators now and a lot of them are getting ready for baptism. We should have about 5 or 6 more by the end of the year. We have one in two days which will be good. His name is Kantus. I told you about him in one of the letters I will send out tomorrow. I'll tell you more about the other investigators we have when they get closer to their baptisms. They are doing really well though and we have had a big break through with a lot of them this week. The spirit truly is such a powerful thing. Watching it hit people and testify to them the truth of everything is such an amazing experience. It is even cooler seeing it in a different language.
I guess I haven't really updated you on the language lately. It is still coming along well. I am still learning a lot but I can say pretty much anything I want. I can understand most of what people say. So many people just have different ways of speaking here that their different words and sentence structures throws me off sometimes. For the most part I have got it down. We have one investigator in particular who throws me off a lot. He is from an island right next to Romonnum called Ton (pronounced like Dad's secretary's name but with a T). He uses some of the weirdest words we have never heard and always uses synonyms of the simple words that we don't know yet. Sometimes I think he does it just to have fun with us. It helps us learn though so we don't complain. The guy is going to get baptized sometime this month so he isn't just throwing us for a loop or anything. He is a good guy.
So I got the letter from mom about the game in Dallas. I was excited about that. I heard the result about a week before from Elder Wells so it wasn't a surprise. I hadn't heard about any of the other games though like the Florida one so that was a bummer. It happens I guess. I'm still waiting for some news on it all from Dad or Lewis. Hopefully soon.
You said in the Email that Ryan came to Reno. Who is Ryan? Kristen's boyfriend or something? Don't make fun of me if I am stupid and just forgot about some close family friend or something.
Well I am glad to hear you are all still doing well. I am looking forward to hearing from you soon. Take care.
Love Always,


September 16, 2009
So I just wrote you a letter that you will get soon. There is a letter from the week before too. I wish I could get letters out to you sooner, but we do not get the opportunity to send mail as often as on Tonoas. (did he send letters often??) Letters hould come in bulk from now on. (will his parents survive this?) Things are going really well here. I love Romonnum and the people. We have 8 people with baptism dates and they are really solid. We are in Weno right now for zone conference. President Dowdle flies in today and conference is tomorrow. I am excited for it. Then on Saturday we will go back to our island. I love coming in to Weno to see everyone and have fun, but I love the peace of Romonnum. It is really relaxed and there is never any stress. The Chuukese call it Kinamwe. Well I don't have much to say since you wil get those letters soon.

No Light Bulbs Sold on Romonnum

September 15, 2009
I have pretty humbled this week. Our work has been amazing, but living condtions are.. wow! Fou about a week we haven't had a normal light source in our house. The light bulb burned out and we had to resort to using the small flashlight I brought. After a couple days all the batteries died and we had to resort to using a candle. It was already small from previous missionaries using it so we had to be smart with it. We managed to make it last three nights. All of our language study, planning and cooking had to be done by candlelight. Until last night when the candle died. It left our house completely dark. I never thought I would have to experience that. Things get better though....... our water pump died too. We have to take showers from buckets directly from the big tanks. We wear basketball shorts and I climb on top of the tanks and lower the bucket in and pour in down onto Elder Ako. I just pour it over myself for my shower. It doesn't get us nearly as clean as we want but that is our only option besides the ocean. That would be worse though because when you dry off your body is covered with salt. Then came the physical beating. We were walking through a dense part of the forest the other day and I tripped really hard. My knee landed on a sharp rock and walking has been a task since then. Especially climbing up the mountain. Then the drunks come in. We were walking on our regular path and a guy was coming towards us. We did not know he was drunk. He took us by surprise when he started yelling profanity in English. We stopped in shock and then he threw quite a large rock at me. It didn't hit me on the fly luckily, but it bounced once and then hit my leg. We ran way to avoid any further problems. That has made for an exciting week here! Enough of the negative though.
30! That's the new goal for baptisms on Romonnum by the end of the year. We are at 20 now and have 8 scheduled. More will follow too. The month of October will be a big one. A lot of people are trying to quit smoking now and I have never seen such a strong desire of heart to quit as I see in a couple of the people in particular. I'll go more into detail on each of the people as the time gets closer. That will be soon though.
Elder Ako and I have taken over as seminary teachers. The normal teacher's husband is really struggling with some things so we were asked to do it. We are teaching the book of Mormon which is interesting to do because it is not all translated. Less than half of it is. The kids have liked it thus far.
Speaking of the translated Book of Mormon, I have big news. The first Presidency approved a full translation. I most likely won't get the chance to see it on my mission ever, but I am excited about it anyway. There is a lot more for the Chuukese to learn in the untranslated sections.
Other exciting news: Zone conference is in two days. I can't wait. I want to be bale to hang out with some of the other msssionaries too. When I was on Tonoas there was a district meeting once a week and we would see other missionaries. On Romonnum our district is a whole two mssionaries! Us! Nobody joins us so our meeting is usually just an extra 30 minutes of companionship study. More good news though! The zone leaders come tomorrow for exchanges. I will stay on Romonnum for it and Elder Ako will go to Paata. I am a little jealous as I have not gotten to see Paata yet but I have a lesson tomorrow that will complete my language mastery. Once I am done with that, it will be a huge burden lifted. Oh, and guess what? By completing the language mastery I will get 15 credits of college credit! I don't know if Chuukese will serve many purposes, but I love it! I will be able to make fun of people back home and NOBODY will have a clue what I'm saying. Haha! Just kidding!
Well I have no mail to respond to this week as no one has brought mail or anything, but I hope you are doing great! Sorry about all the black blotches all over the place. Believe it or not, I am forgetting how to communicate and write in English!
Can't wait to hear from you!

Exciting Times

September 8, 2009
I hope you are doing great. Things are going well here in Romonnum. Our missionary work has been going really great. I have some really exciting news to report. We have 7 investigators with scheduled baptism dates. Four of them are family members of Vais. He is the man that was baptized 2 weeks ago. The other three are people scattered here on the island. Missionaries have been here for 25 years and the success from this year is unheard of. I am blessed to be part of the great work here.
I have a cool story from a couple of days ago with one of the investigators. His name is George and he lives on the top of the small mountain here. He is from a nearby island called Ton. Each island has a slightly different way of speaking and he still has a Ton style. We didn't have a problem to start with, but it was more of a task than anything trying to figure out some things he was saying. That was the condition of the lesson until the end. He asked a final question that we couldn't come close to understanding. I had never heard anything along the lines of the wording or even the words before. Elder Ako and I tried to understand and figure it out but we just couldn't. We asked him to say it differently but he wouldn't. It seemed almost like he was testing us. We had to leave the lesson and commited ourselves to figure out what he was asking so we could answer it. Our next appointment came and we had an idea of how to answer but weren't sure. We started the lesson and reviewed a little from the previous week. At the end of the review we asked him to ask us the question again. As he did, all the confidence we had in the answere we had left. We had no idea how to answer. Elder Ako and I looked at each other puzzled. Then out of no where it seemed like I understood. He was asking what we should do or more what was possible to us because of what we had talked about (the restoration) I turned and looked at him and went with it. I told him all about the return of the prietshood and how we can be baptized now. I bore testimony of the priesthood and how because of it we can perform the needed ordinances for obtaining eternal life. George's face lit up as if we had passed the test. He readily accepted the invitation to be baptized. It was amazing and nerve racking at the same time.
While we are on the subject of language I have another story to tell you. This helped me realize the true meaning of the gift of tongues. There is a guy from Virginia who has been living here for two years now. He is with the Peace Corp and a pretty nice guy. We talked to him one day and just asked him about what he does here and stuff like that. We talked to him about the language too and what he said surprised me. He said before he came to Chuuk he had 6 weeks of training in Chuukese. When he came to Chuuk he knew a little of it and tried very hard. It took him 6 months to feel comfortable talking to anyone and a year before he could have a conversation. I was shocked and even more shocked when he said he had already graduated from college and was raked high in his class. I have felt at times that the language has been a challenge but I was ble to talk to people at three months. That opened my eyes to the gift of tongues. Missionaries are blessed to learn quickly. The Lord helps more than I ever knew.
Last Sunday two fo the recent converts were given the Aaronic priesthood. One was Vais and the other Joas. (pronounced Jass) Joas asked me to give him the priesthood. It went really well. The words were difficult in Chuukese because they don't have equivalents. The hardest one was ordain. It went well and there is now another priesthood bearer.
That covers all the recent church news. The other thing I got to do was pound breadfruit. That was neat and I got some pictures of it for you to see. The end result is called Kon (pronounced Kone) and it is good. It is like a really really thick mashed potato.
So I got a package from you a little while back and I liked all the food. I liked the Tiger Woods article you put in there. If you see any more interesting things like that send them my way! also, please send me an indepth analysis for all the BYU football games. I am dying to know about all the games.
Speaking of which, about 5 minutes ago I got some more mail. One of the members came back from Weno and the zone leaders gave him our mail! I got one from dad! Wow! 50 yard line! Woo Hoo! I about fell over in my chair when I read it! Try to get tickets like that when I get home! I was excited about all the articles on football too. I was hoping for the results from the big game but maybe next week. GO COUGS!!!
Everything else back home sounds good. Tell grandpa I remember him in my prayers every night. I know the Lord will help him.
I am excited Reilly is going to Argentina. He is going to do well. By time he gets home it will be three years without seeing each other. It will be an exciting reunion!
I was way jealous about Hot August Nights so you know! You make sure that in two years I get a seat reserved in the Shelby. Haha! I did miss getting to spend that time with you though, dad. That will always be a special bonding time for us.
I almost forgot to tell you about the one greeting dad put in a letter... you said Nepong Allim which actaully means good night. I laughed when I saw it. Here are the greetings.
Ran Allim- good day (most common)
Nesor Allim- Good morning
Neanowas Allim- Good mid-day
Nekunion Allium_ Good Evening
Nepong Allim- Good night
Well that covers everything from this week. I can't wait to hear from you again.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Romannum is Amazing

We did get a letter from Kevin (finally!) It was dated August 25.

Dear Mom and Dad,
I am in paradise! Romonnum is amazing! The people are all really nice and humble here. I love talking to them. The best part about it though is that Romonnum is the hotspots for baptisms now. There have already been 19 this year. We just had 4 last week with a family that lives near the church. We all loaded into a boat and went to an island that is a little ways off the shore. On eof the elders who lived here last transfer came and performed the baptisms. It was awesome! On Sunday I was able to confirm one of the girls. Her name is Eminin.She is 13 and really cool. The confirmation went well. I really like getting to do those things. I am getting better and better with the language too so it is getting easier.
We have another baptism coming up this Saturday and another one the week after that. This week's baptism is a guy named Vais. This is pronounced like Vice. He is an older guy who moved here recently. He is a stud. he is the kind of investigator missionaries dream of. We meet with him everyday and he knows everything so well.
We have had some interesting times getting settled in but Elder Ako and I both love it. We get along really well too. He came to Chuuk two transfers before I did so he knows more of the language than me. Not a ton though! He is a great guy and we are going to do great work here!
I was thinking and I realized that I am a big time minority here. I am the only white person here on the island. It is strange and at the same time fun. 598 Chuukese, 1 Hawaiian, and one white! haha!
We had a bit is a war recently. We had 4 women figting to do our laundry. It got pretty aggressive. The branch president had to step in to stop the problem. The women fight because we give food to whoever does our laundry.
I got the package you sent with the socks. They are a life saver! The candy you sent in that box was perfect for a game we play here on the island. It is called budget. It's helpful for Elder Ako and I to learn the language. Whenever you get asked a question you can't say yes, indeed, or shake your head. You have to answer in a complete sentence. If you ever say any of the things that you aren't allowed the other person says Budget and you have to give them something. The kids give us coconuts and we give them candy. I have played with one of the kids here named Natik. Guess who won? Wrong! I did! I got thirteen coconuts out of it. He doesn't want to play with me any more! Haha!
So I got the pictures you sent from Hot August Nights. I am way jealous! The cars look amazing! I also got some pictures from Tori of Jaxson and Kolby. It is always neat to see that stuff.
Thank you for everything you do for me!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Can You Do This?

We have not heard from Kevin since the last e-mail we posted. I thought I would take this week and post a few pictures that I have saved to post on the weeks we haven't heard from him. This little guy climbing the tree shocked us!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Home Sweet Home

This is a picture of Kevin's home on Romunnum. This picture was taken by Elder Brady Wells. Thank you for letting us use it!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Awesome Romonnum! (I've see it spelled 5 different ways now!)

Dear Mom and Dad,
I just mailed you a letter last week that told you a little about my new area but you had the questions now and I don't know how many of them got answered in the letter so I will just answer all of them now.
My new companion is Elder Ako. He is from Hawaii and we get along well. He is a very relaxed guy and we are both loving the new Romonnum lifestyle. The house is awesome. It is super tiny but we don't need anything more than it. It is right on the ocean. We are about 20 feet from the water. Our house faces to the west so we get to see the sunset into the ocean every day and it is the most beautiful setting I have ever seen. I took a couple pictures of them for you to see. We do have a small fridge but we dont use it really. It uses a lot of the power and our batteries are weak so they die in the middle of the night if we have the fridge going. We definitely do not have a microwave but we don't need one either. We have our little propane camping stove and it works for everything we need. Don't worry about any of that stuff.
There are about 200 members on the island but we only get about 70 to church each Sunday. That is big though. It is definitely one of the stronger branches in Chuuk. It is awesome and all the members are really nice and love us. It is a lot further to Weno but it is fine. I like the boat ride and I get to see like every other island on the way there practically. Missionaries don't drive the boats. There are a couple pf guys who get paid by the church to do it. They are really cool and if we asked they would let us drive a little bit. Ok, so that answers all your questions.
Good News! I have lived on Romonnum 2 weeks and we have had 5 baptisms. We just had one on Saturday and it was awesome. The guys name is Vice and he is a stud. I baptized and Elder Ako confirmed. We have more baptisms on the way too that Elder Ako and I are working hard towards. Romonnum is doing so good with the work this year. It has 20 baptisms already. The goal for the island was only 10 and everyone laughed when it was set because the most they had had any year before that was like 5.
No other really exciting news now. I love Romonnum and am having a great time. The language is good and I would say that I can claim fluency now. It is so much fun speaking in such an amazing language.
Your trips sound like a lot of fun. You make me jealous. You and dad have been doing a lot of traveling lately. I love Bailey Creek. That place is way nice. I hope you guys continue to have fun and stuff like that. You are both blessed to be able to do that kind of stuff.I hope you are both doing great. Thank you so much for everything you do. I love you both so much.
Take care.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Sunday, August 30, 2009

No News, So I Created Some

We did not hear from Kevin this week. We suspect there is a letter floating out there somewhere as when he e-mailed us about his transfer he said he had mailed us a letter, but no letter here. We are anxious to hear more about Romannum but will have to be patient. For everyone's viewing enjoyment this week, I have taken a picture off of the Mission president's website. It is a picture they took of the new chapel on the island. The chapel was dedicated just a few weeks ago. The larger building would be the chapel and we think the little building alongside the chapel is where Kevin lives. We know he lives right by the chapel. It's right on the beach! So it appears that Kevin is continuing to live in paradise!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Moving to Romonnum

Dear Mom and Dad,
I have big news that I wrote in the letter that I have mailed to you but I'll just break it to you now...transfers. I'm going to Romonnum. (Kevin is moving but he will still have the same address as he will still take a boat in to Weno every few weeks to get supplies) That is going to be fun. Elder Ako and I will be going out there tomorrow. It is going to be an adventure since neither of us know any of the people and we don't know the different dialect. We will get the hang of it soon. The good news about it all that I found out today is that we have about 10 strong baptismal candidates. I am excited to see that. It is going to be good. There are only 600 people out on the island so it is going to be such a new world. I am going to get to know the people there really well. The island is only about 1 square mile too so it is such a change from Tonoas. Once every two weeks or so we are also going to get the chance to go to another small island called Pata with a small branch of about 10. I am looking forward to that. I think Pata has about the same amount of people as Romonnum.
You asked a question about the shells and yes they come like that all shiny and stuff. They just pull them out of the ocean and they have these slug like things in them that we wait until they leave. Once the animal leaves it stops smelling really gross and is clean. It is cool that things like that are created in the ocean. It is one of the beautiful things in the world that the lord has blessed us with. (Kevin mailed home some shiny and very pretty shells a little while back. I posted a picture of what he is describing)
I am excited for Reilly to get his papers in soon so I can find out he will be coming here to the Micronesia Guam Mission! (I wish).Ok well that is everything about this week. I hope everything is going awesome back home. Give my love to everyone. I love you both!
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Zone P-day

The following are pictures from a recent zone p-day activity on the island of Weno. I have posted infomation about the lighthouse for those who are interested in lighthouses or WW2. This lighthouse was built during WW2 by the Japanese.
Sapuk Lighthouse
The Lighthouse at Sapuk at the eastern end of Weno is one the most substantial war related structures in Chuuk; a most imposing site with a marvellous view of the north-east pass. It was built by Japanese contractors in 1937 of thick reinforced concrete and operated during the war as an observation post and a location for a powerful searchlight. The location of the lighthouse was once the location of a fortified residence of a Chuuk paramount chief, therefore the area has traditional as well as World War II historical significance.
The World War II structure has three levels, the ground floor Command Post still has its tiled floor, and the upper level with tower, contains the steel rotating mechanism for the light. The light can be found about 100 metres down the hill, where it stopped after being pushed off the tower. A long flight of steps leads up to the light from the east. Jungle covers much of the surrounding area, which is said to contain the remains of generating equipment, support buildings, a well and an air raid shelter. The tower still shows the scars from the strafing inflicted by the British during their raids in June 1945.
D. Colt Denfield, who carried out a survey of the World War II feature in Chuuk, states that "This is an exceptional site complex when seen in context with the turret guns below it; together they form one of the best preserved defensive positions, not only in Truk, but in all of Micronesia."
The turret guns are four, 200mm Armstrong guns that were removed from the cruisers Iwami, Iwate, Nishin and Kasuga and are the largest coastal defence guns in Chuuk. The guns were placed here in March 1944 after four months of very hard work, to fire on any enemy ships using the north east pass. They each had a range of over 18,000 metres (11 Miles).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dreaming in Chuukese

We received this letter in the mail this week. It was written July 28.
Dear Mom and Dad,
I was thinking about how it is already August almost. Is it hot in Reno now? It is really weird for me to think it is hot back home since I left in the winter. I guess it is even more weird for me to think that it is almost done with summer there.
Things here are going good. We had an open house for the new building on Romannum on Saturday that was a lot of fun. The night before we were all supposed to go back to our islands and try to catch rides with our branch presidents but we ran out of time to do the full island loop so we all ended up staying on Romannum for the night. (the 6 outer island missionaries) That was a lot of fun, but very crowded. The Romannum house is the smallest in the mission and there are only two beds. 4 of us slept on the ground. I am getting adjusted to sleeping on the ground without a mattress but it was very crowded, hot, and there was a lot of sand on the floor so it was impossible to sleep. I was tired the entire next day. But is was still a lot of fun none the less. We had a ton of people come from all over Chuuk for the open house and there was a party with singing and dancing. A lot of the rooms were used for short lessons on a variety of topics. Some of the non-members went around to those. Other than that we mostly just hung out and talked with the people. I took a couple of videos of the singing and stuff for you. The primary children on Romannum worked really hard on the song, "I Love to see the Temple." They sang it in English for President and Sister Dowdle. It was really cool. I asked one of the kids if he knew what he was singing and he said "no." After the celebration we all went back to our areas. They had the dedicatory prayer the next day. President Dowdle did that. A General Authority from Japan was scehduled to come to everything, but he missed his plane so all the repsonsibilty went to President Dowdle.
In another note of news, I may be able to start e-mailing you much more. For a little while at least. The high school on Tonoas was chosen awhile back to be given a bunch of laptops so they could advance more. Most high schools in Chuuk only dream of these things. The Tonoas high school was donated a computer lab building, a printer, a webcam, cameras, a generator, solar panels and batteries for the panels, and free software. They are putting the finishing touches on the internet this week. We meet with one of the teachers and he told us that it is open to the community and we are free to use it when we want. I was really glad to hear about the school getting everything. Not because I want to e-mail more, but it will really help a lot of people here. Chuuk needs to do a lot of catching up to the rest of the world so this is one step towards that.
I have something cool I forgot to tell you about. I have dreams in Chuukese now. It is always people in Reno that I talk to and suddenly they start talking to me as well. It is always fun, but then I get offended when people back home know Chuukese so well. Elder Wood has said that I occassionally talk in Chuukese in my sleep as well. I thought that was interesting. The language is coming along well. I am at the point where I am learning the kapas anonnon or deep words. It is a really cool language. They have words for some of the most complicated concepts imaginable. Some of them are impossible to describe in english but you hear them every now and then. They are hard to learn since they don't have equivalents but I'll just keep working towards it.
You asked about the boat situation and if it is a taxi or something like that. The boat is owned by the church. For safety reasons it is bigger than the smaller fishing boats. It really is unneccesary though. The small boats are safe and much more convenient. The big boat has to go to a dock that is a lot further from our house so we have to carry our groceries and stuff all the way there. That really isn't anything to complain about but all the Chuukese people see our food and they come to ask for it. When we don't give it to them they call us strong words like selfish and stuff like that. The Chuukese culture is very giving and if someone asks for something you are suppose to give it to them. We aren't allowed as missionaries though. It causes problems every now and then. We really want to help the people, but we have to turn them away.
So I got a letter from mom this week. Your 4th of July trip sounds like fun. I do remember the Oakley rodeo from when I was really young. I really only remember sitting high up in the stands and the fireworks though. The house you guys rented sounds nice. I can't remember which course Homestead is, but I am thinking it is the one in Midway where we have gone to eat at the cafe. That must have been fun for dad, Mitch, and Uncle Kerry to get in all that golfing. I got the picture you sent of Kolby holding the golf club and I liked that. I'm glad to see he is learning young. I also can't belive how big Jaxson is in the one picture on the couch. But I guess I have been gone over 5 months and that is a lot of time to grow. I was shocked to see the picture of dad with the Shelby. Some of the elders here saw the picture and I told them about some of the awesome adventures we had in the Shelby.
I am sad to hear that Pearl has still not shown up. I hope that she is happy and being taken care of. Please let me know if anything happens there.
Oh, I forgot to tell you that I gave a talk in church a few weeks ago. The speakers did not show up at church and so the branch president called on the missionaries to talk so it was a surprise. That was fun. I got up and decided to talk on prayer. I shared some scriptures on prayer and talked about them and then bore my testimony. I asked the branch president if what I said made sense and he said yes so I guess I will count it as a success.
I look forward to hearing from you and anyone else that writes!
Tongei Fuchofoch,

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Chuukese Foods

We did not hear from Kevin this week so we thought we would use this week to post pictures of some of the Chuukese foods Kevin has tried. The first picture shows Kevin eating Sushimi. It is raw fish. Kevin ate it on the campout. He said it is delicious, but has a ton of little bones in it. The second picture is a close up of the Sushimi. The third picture is sea cucumber. The fourth picture shows Chuukese bananas that grow on the island. Kevin said they are small and sweet. The last picture is a picture of pounded breadfruit. It is called Kon. Bon Appetit!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Check out Kevin's Dear Elder page

New pictures have been posted on Kevin's Dear Elder Web Page. For those of you who have not checked out that page before: Go to Dear On the left click missionary sites, then when that comes up, type in South where it asks you who you want to find. There are a few items posted on that page, but people who follow this blog will have read most of it. There is a link across the top of the page that says photos. You can click there and you will see a few photos on there that have not appeared on this blog. Enjoy!

News from Tonoas

Dear Mom and Dad,

You both must be getting tired of me saying this in my emails to you, but I do not have too much exciting stuff to tell you about. I just wrote you a letter on Tuesday and I mailed it off today. It has all the good stuff in it. Anyways, how are you both doing? I hope all is going great back at home. Things are going great here.

We are on Weno now for zone conference. That was yesterday. It was so good. We got a ton of really good training from our leaders and President Dowdle blew my mind as always with the doctrine that he teaches. This time it was on the fall and agency. He went into some really really deep stuff and then even tried to help us see how the other churches view the fall. I am really looking forward to next zone conference when we hear about the Savior's atonement. I did also have a really good interview with President Dowdle. He is such an uplifting person. He truly does care for the mission here so much and for all of the missionaries. He helped me with things and answered some questions that I have come across.

One thing that may be of interest to you is that I am allowed to take videos with my camera. He just does not want me to go overboard and look like a crazy tourist or something. He said it will be good to create some memories and have them with me from the videos. So, next time you get a camera chip from me it will have some videos on it as I come across fun stuff. I have some things that I want to show you on videos and stuff so I am looking forward to it.

So today is a pretty relaxed day. We are on Weno and will just be doing some shopping and emailing. I really don't have any shopping to do now so I will go around with the others and look at some fun stuff. We will head back out to the outer islands today and then tomorrow we will all be going to Romollum (pronounce Romanum). It is the small island here that has 600 people on it. They just built a new church building there that will be getting dedicated on Sunday and we will just be going for the open house. It should be a lot of fun. I really like the Island there. It is closer to the edge of the reef and has some nice beaches and other stuff like that. It is quite a little paradise. Well, all of Chuuk is in reality but Romollum is different.

We did not baptize Noris this week as we hoped. His mother did not feel well. She is also not sure he should be baptized as she says he is "nukumage." (disobedient) We explained to her that he should still be baptized and given a chance to try to be obedient but she is not so sure. She also said when he is grown up he won't so what he should and will just sin.

This week Elder Wood and I met with the branch president and worked on cleaning up the branch. We had to fill out quarterly reports two weeks ago and it was embarassing. Pretty much every aaronic priesthood holder is behind on where they should be in terms of ordinations. We made a list of callings that need to be filled, ordinations that need to be done, and made a home teaching schedule. When we get these things done our branch will be much stronger. Many people don't want to come to church because of how unorganized it is. That can be changed though. I'll let you know how it goes.

Elder Wood and I hope to go fishing soon. Most people spear fish, but we are going to do it with a line. I am hoping to catch a shark so we can try it. Some of the people here know places where we are pretty much guaranteed to catch one.

Noris just came by with a sting ray. He is cleaning and gutting it right now. It isn't huge, but it is pretty sweet. We are going to deep fry it tonight and eat it. I'm looking forward to that. I actually don't know if it is considered deep frying, but we will put some olive oil in our frying pan and get that way hot and throw it in. I'll take pictures of it so you can see.

Oh, I almost forgot. We got a new missionary in our zone who is younger than me. He spent two transfers on Guam and then came here. It is weird having someone here younger than me, but it was bound to happen! His name is Elder Mitten.

So Mom asked about why the islanders get mad when we burn our trash.. They like to dig through it and find items that could be of value. Pretty much anything that isn't rotten food is used. I helped a member build a little "fanang" or hut for storage the other day and while cleaning up the area I came across a lot of our trash stacked up. People like to see what we "Americans" throw away.

I am still sorry to hear that Pearl has not shown up. There is always still hope. I am also glad to hear that Grandpa is still improving but am sad to hear he has days in which he struggles. I keep him in my prayers and am grateful for the help that he has already received.

I was excited to hear about everyone's mission calls. It is so strange to think that people are going out on their missions now who I was friends with. I am really excited for all of them. Brenden will love Iowa and that is a cool place to go. Eric's call was also an exciting one. I'm sure he will really love it there. (Argentina)

I received a letter from Robbie LaRovere about two weeks ago and it was neat to hear from him.

I received a package from you this last week as well as one from Grandpa Bob and Grandma Helen which is always so appreciated. Oh, and thanks for sending my rubik's cube. I can even do designs on it now as well as solve it. Thank you for all of that. I hope you are doing great and am looking forward to hearing from you again. Take care. I love you!

Tongei fofoch,

Elder Kevin South