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!