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.