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!