Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another Great Week on Tonoas

Another week has gone by. The weeks seem to be going so fast. Life is still great here in Chuuk. I have good news. The box that mom sent in March that never came, has arrived! I was really confused when I saw some of the contents, such as the camera battery, but then I figured it out. The post office had put it in the wrong area. I'm glad it showed up. Now the only thing missing is the camera card and hopefully that will show up too.

We have established contacts in a new village and have been working there. The village is about a half hour walk from where we live which really isn't anything to complain about. One day we were talking about the church to a person named Ryan (pronounced Ree-anne) and a large crowd gathered around us to listen. We met several people who were very interested in what we had to say. Last week, while in this village, we came upon the coolest basketball court ever. It is only half court and the basket is attached to a coconut tree. There isn't concrete, only sand that is super compact. We watched for a few minutes. There were 40 young adult men playing in a tournament. They asked us to play, but we were dressed up and couldn't. They invited us to come back later so we went on our p-day. It was so much fun. Nobody there knew that I know how to play so they all laughed when Elder Wood and I joined in. The laughter continued because at first we were confused as to who was on our team. We got things straightened out and then the game really got underway. I'll give it to a few of the Chuukese that they know how to play. The Chuukese have a different style of play and they make it work. Our teammates weren't being the greatest at first and wouldn't pass. One took a shot and I got the rebound. A couple of defenders tried to get it away but I managed to get it up and in. Everyone stopped and started clapping. It was kind of awkward. The game progressed and I scored 4 of our team's 5 points. I also had some sweet blocked shots. The Chuukese were loving it. We had a blast and they have asked us to come back again. What an awesome way to do missionary work! Find people to work with by playing basketball on p-days!

Our week also had another fun day. You may remember me telling you about the zone conference when the now former area 70, Elder Hopoate came? He is from Tonga and super funny.He came wanting to meet some of the seminary teachers and students. His first stop was Tonoas. We organized a small greeting party with coconuts and necklaces. We all met for a little bit in the church and he gave a quick little message and testimony. It was fun.

Our recent convert, Darien, has been struggling. He got drunk the other day. He ran through the village whooping and yelling and cursing everyone's moms. (huge Chuukese insult) He ripped down laundry lines, threw rocks at people and started fights. He destroyed a small house made of nothing more than a rusty tin roof and a few wooden poles. It was horrible to watch. The poor family's house was in ruins when he got done with it. He terrorized the village all day long and into the night. He went after people with knives and saws. (even the women) He treid to come after us too. Two days passed until we saw him again. We gave him a warm smile and visited with him. He apologized but is still really struggling. I hope he figures out what is really important and we will keep working with him.

So I have more exciting news. I have started a small collection of filipines. Filipines are the darts that the Chuukese use in their slingshots. They are the #1 weapon of choice here. (well, maybe a rock is too) I have a slingshot that I am using it with and they would be pretty deadly. I got one to go into a tree about an inch. I didn't shoot it that hard either. Don't worry. People won't ever shoot them at us. I don't carry mine around either. You would be surprised at how accurate people are with their slingshots. I let a little kid play with mine the other day. I should have figured out what he was going to do but I didn't. First shot, he hit a little bird in a tree. It was both impressive and depressing. At least the bird didn't go to waste though. He had it cooked and ate it. I would never have thought small birds were good to eat. They tell us that they are good though. They told us that they would get some for us to try, but we were not too fond of the idea.

We have been working on the marriage issue here on the island. (for those of you who have not read Kevin's prior entries he mentioned that there really is not a marriage, couples decide to get married and just move in together which means they are married. Technically the rest of the world does not recognize these couples as married.) We are making people marriage certificates. The two people sign it and then we take it to Weno and for $2 we get it stamped and made official. The couples do not even have to be present. Several other missionaries on the other islands are doing this too. Another thing we are working with the priesthood members on is to strengthen their friendships with one another. We have had all the young men come to the church every night this week and we showed them church movies. We had to translate but they loved it. Things like that are a rare treat here. I told you in my last letter, too, that we have the campout planned for them where we will all go to a distant outer island. People here do not really know how to schedule and plan events and activities. They are really enjoying the things we plan for them.

We have gone to the island of Uman a few times recently and worked with the missionaries there.

Whenever all the missionaries get together in Weno, we play with Elder Well's rubic's cube. I have my time down to fixing it to 4 minutes. All the missionaries in our zone know how to do the rubic's cube so we always joke that the Chuuk missionaries must be the smartest zone in the world.

My Chuukese improves more and more each day. I work on it diligently. I am still a little rough around the edges but I am getting better. I love working with the people. They are so simple and pure.

Mom, could you get me some pictures of some of the people I have sent you pictures of? They love to see themselves in pictures. If you have any more questions about life in Chuuk please ask. I love telling about Chuuk! Thank you so much for everything you do for me. I appreciate it more than you can imagine.

Tong Fofuch (Love always)

Kevin South

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