Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chuukese Hand Jive

We did not hear from Kevin this week so we are posting a video clip from his last camera chip.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thoughts from a Missionary

January 12, 1010
Dear Mom and Dad,
It has been almost three weeks since we have been in to Weno. You probably have been missing my letters for quite awhile. I will send them out when I get to Weno on Thursday. They will be in different envelopes as I don't want to risk putting them all in one envelope and have them go missing. There should be three envelopes with 4 weeks of letters.
So there has been good stuff going on this week. We got word this week about Elder Kuss and he is 100% okay. The hospital in Chuuk is terrible and they messed up. We are all really glad he is ok and back in Chuuk. He came back yesterday (Monday).
Our work is picking up and we have some real good investigators. The last few weeks had been a little frustrating because the work was slower than we wanted it to be. We struggled badly to stay busy and would walk around trying to find stuff to do. We ran into a lot of people who did not want to meet with us and a lot of haters who just wanted to bash. They have no idea what they are missing. So many people leave me baffled about what they believe about our Heavenly Father. How sad it must be to not believe that God is our Heavenly Father and how much he truly loves us. I can't comprehend how much he loves all of us but I am grateful for what I do understand. If only people could know of our true relationship to God and what he wants us to become. I wrote down a quote from president Uchtdorf's talk this last General Conference that I love. He said, "We are only temporary travelers in this world. Let us not devote our God given talents and energies solely to setting earthly anchors but rather, let us spend our days growing spiritual wings. For as sons of the most High God we are created to soar to new horizons." We all have the chance to soar to new horizons. It is hard to see people reject their chances and stay limited to the ground as travelers in a lone and dreary wilderness. God has given us so much and asks for so little. Salvation is free to everyone, we just need to make the choice to get it.
We go into Weno in a couple of days for zone conference and I am excited for that. Maybe I will find out a little bit about where I will go next. Wherever I go, it will probably be my last area before I go to Guam. Hopefully I will have a chance to come back to Chuuk. I am excited to see what the work in Guam is like but want to stay in Chuuk. This next transfer is big and I really don't have any clue what will happen.
Well that is about everything for this week. I wish I had more exciting stuff to tell you about or a letter to respond to. Probably next week. Thanks for everything you do for me. I hope you are both doing great.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy New Year! Stranded...AGAIN!

January 5, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
I don't even know where to begin right now. This week was so awesome I probably can't describe it in words. New Year's Eve was incredibly awesome. We had a branch party outside the house during the day that was mostly for cooking all the food. There was so much. I took pictures of it so you can see how much rice these people eat. As the sun was setting Elder Kuss's dad brought over a large stereo. We blasted Chuukese music and hung around. We turned the light on in our house and the church so it made a little bit of light on the basketball court. That became the dance floor. Chuukese dancing is different than American dancing and I enjoyed watching it. Elder Cherrington and I would run out occasionally to get the party really going and the members really liked it. We had a ton of fun with everyone and we would throw out a bunch of candy every now and then. When midnight rolled around all the "teams" came aorund and did their routines. For New Years the Chuukese always form their teams with a bunch of people and walk around the island screaming and banging on pots and empty cans. As the teams would come they would dance for a bit and do some fun stuff for everyone. We would throw candy to everyone as they were about to leave to celebrate. About 2AM we got too tired and went in. It was impossible to sleep though because the stereo was going all night. All the members slept outside on the grass. Well some of them at least. A lot said they never went to bed.
I thought that was the only night people would party, but it carried over for the next night too. The Chuukese consider the party from midnight to the next midnight. We didn’t stay for all the partying on Romonnum because we had stuff to do on Paata. We went in the afternoon and didn’t get too much done because when we got there everyone was out in their teams. That night things got really rowdy and we stayed in the house for safety reasons. Luckily, there is a fence around the property so it was really safe. We were curious to watch some of the excitement there so we climbed up on the roof and watched from there. We carried our mattresses up later and slept on the roof but it started raining about 1:00 a.m. so we went back in. New Year’s on Romonnum was more fun than on Paata. I loved it.
You’ll never guess what happened to me when we were there. Siramino was supposed to pick us up on Saturday around noon. We got all ready and waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. But he never came. THREE PAATA TRIPS IN A ROW! It is so frustrating, but then I realized it just doesn’t matter. I’ve learned to take things as they come now. We ended up going to Church on Paata which was fun. We had nine people there total. I ended up teaching Sunday School to all of them. They don’t have a very functional branch. It is hard with only nine active people (three of which are under 3 years old). After Church Siramino showed up and we went back to Romonnum. As soon as we got there, we had to get to work and do a bunch of stuff. It was a hectic day. Monday came and we got back on our normal schedule. It is good to have things back to normal now.
So I’m going for a record now on my longest time of being on Romonnum. We won’t go in for another week until zone conference. It will make three weeks straight out here. Since I’ve been here for so long it will be awhile before you get any letter from me. Sorry about that. I can’t really do anything about it.
So, update on Elder Kuss. He went to Guam last Saturday to have a test done on him. It is more of an in depth physical and we will find out the results on Thursday or Friday.
Work went well this week and we’ve been getting new investigators. If they understand the Gospel, they will work hard. Nothing else really matters when someone understands it. The Gospel encompasses all the important things of life like family, faith, freedom, etc. It is hard to see those who reject the Gospel miss out on something so amazing. I hope you are both doing great and had an awesome New Year. Thank you so much for everything you do.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Presiding Over Sacrament Meeting in Surreal Rommonum

Dear Mom and Dad,
It has not been very long since I got to talk to you last week for Christmas. That was awesome. I really enjoyed catching up on everything. New Year's is on its way. New Years is the big holiday around here. We are going to have a branch party that will be fun. The next day we will be going to Paata. We need to go to Paata because we have not been able to baptize Peterson because Sam, the branch president, is not really Peterson's father. He was actually adopted and his real parents live in Kansas. Sam adopted Peterson, but it was a Chuukese style adoption which means there are no legal papers and nothing was involved. It is totally legal in Chuuk and really common for women to just hand babies over to people to take care of. Sam has raised Peterson since he was very little with his wife but the church needs to have somthing official. So either we need to get permission from Peterson's parents or we need to get Sam and his wife made as official guardians. Hopefully soon Peterson will get baptized.
Things on Romonnum have been going well. We are still working to help Margery get the go-ahead for baptism from her mom. It has taken a lot longer than I thought it would take but it should be done soon.
Elder Cherrington and I are getting along well. He was on Guam before so the work is a lot different than what he has known. But it should be a good transfer. I say transfer because I think I have only one more transfer here. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I will get to go to Sapuk or somewhere cool. Mostly keep them crossed that I stay in Chuuk. I don't want to go to Guam yet. I don't want to ever go actually. Chuuk is too cool. I wnat to stay here for the full two years so I get super good at Chuukese. I want to try to get on the translation team later, but I need a lot more practice and work. Being with Elder Cherrington has been good because I have been getting good experience at being the language speaker. I do close to all the talking and conversing so I have been hearing a lot more ways of saying stuff and a lot more words. I have a whole transfer of it so I should learn a lot.
Today for P-day Elder Cherrington and I went up on the mountain and saw a large cross the Catholic church put up. It overlooks the lagoon and the view is amazing. We had a couple of people from the Aaronic priesthood with us and they got us coconuts and we just hung out.It was really peaceful and a little bit surreal. I love it. It makes me sad that my time here will be so limited and I will probably never see these things again. I will miss this stuff so badly.
You will never guess what I did the last two Sundays! I conducted church! The branch president skipped out on church! Both weeks we waited for a long time and then just got started. The meetings went well and by the end of the first sacrament meeting we had 67 people there! I was really happy with it! It was fun conducting. Especially in another language. I am not sure I would want to do it all the time though and I feel sorry for dad doing it all those years! I did feel a little awkward too as currently there are three whites on the island and so it adds to the attention of being white. Ha ha! Now I can say I was the presiding authority over a sacrament meeting! That is fun!
So tell me what is going on in the college sports world. Who won the championship this year? How did TCU do against Boise? Is the basketball team still doing well? How did BYU end up in the final football ranking?
I have been really enjoying all the nice stuff I got for Christmas. Thank you for that once again. I was thinking about it after mom asked on the phone if I needed anything and I mentioned in my email that some acne face wash would be nice. If you could just send one that would be good. That would hold me until I get to Guam. Thank you in advance.
Well that wraps up everything. I hope you are both doing great! Take care.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Making my Way to Paata

We will once again post video clips this week. We have not heard from Kevin since Christmas. We enjoyed our Christmas Day phone conversation with him so much that we can't complain. This video was taken on the way to Paata. Paata is Kevin's favorite island.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Halloween Candy Throw

It is a much loved tradition for the missionaries to throw candy on Halloween.

The Candy Game

After the candy throw, the children play a game with their candy.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Very Merry Chuuk Christmas

Kevin had a very Merry Chuuk Christmas. Thank you to the Duncans, the senior missionary couple who live on Weno. With the help of their children, who live in the states, they created a memorable day for the 10 missionaries in the Chuuk zone. I have copied the following passage and pictures from the Duncan's blog.

Elder Duncan Plays Santa

Missionary Stockings

Elder Tuaitanu and Elder Mitton

I see Kevin!

Elder Kuss

How wonderful it has been to spend the Holiday Season in Chuuk, involved in the Lord’s work. Hearing the old, familiar Christmas songs in Chuukese was great.
With no children living with us and no grandchildren close by, it seemed we would not have the opportunity to play “Santa” this year. But our ten children in the States sent Christmas stockings and lots and lots of goodies and gifts to stuff them with so each Elder in Chuuk could receive a “Surprise Stocking”. We had so much fun going through all the gifts and treats our children sent and then dividing them up into the stockings.
Christmas morning at 8:25 am, the Missionaries arrived. They thought they were coming over just for a nice Christmas breakfast. But we had 10 filled stockings hanging, with their names on them. We were ready to get their reactions recorded with cameras. It was so much fun to watch their faces as they looked at the stockings, and then realized that THEIR names were on them! In about 30 seconds flat they went from 10 missionaries, to 10 happy kids. They dug through their stockings, big grins on their faces. Lots of laughs and comparing and “Wow! Look at this!” all around. Also we heard, “Yes! I NEEDED socks!” and “Hey! I got a new tie!” We heard one Elder ask another, “What did you get?” And the answer: “Just about everything I wanted.”
So, we did get to play Santa, and we really appreciate our children helping us do that. The Elders enjoyed their Christmas breakfast and then dutifully wrote thank-yous to their benefactors.
These Elders work so very hard and deal daily with disappointments and discouragement and exhaustion, it was so nice to see them, just for a few minutes, be happy and carefree and giddy with joy. It made our Holiday just wonderful.