Saturday, February 27, 2010

Every Day I Wake Up and Think, I Can't Believe How Incredible This Place Is!

Each time we receive a letter from Kevin, he tells us what a wonderful place Chuuk is and how blessed he is to be there. He loves the people, the sights, the culture, and the language. He says the pictures he takes don't begin to show the real beauty of this incredible place. We did not hear from Kevin this week. He will hopefully take a trip to Weno SOON so he can mail us his letters. Until then, enjoy the sights!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sights From Chuuk

We have not heard from Kevin recently, but thought we would use this time to post a few pictures from his last camera card.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hero Elder South Uses Cat CPR

Finally! News from Chuuk! We received an envelope with several letters! Letter days are always happy days at our house!

Dear Mom and Dad,
Sorry for the sudden stop in my last letter. Last week while I was writing we got word that there would be a zone p-day the next day. We had a Chuukese BBQ and it was fun. (dad's BBQ is still number 1) Then we played basketball.

The rest of the week turned out to really suck. I started feeling really sick. I tried to work but had to come home. I felt dizzy and had nausea. I was sick all night. I was sick for two more days. I hated being sick.Saturday rolled around and I had very little strength but I was so tired of being stuck in the house that I went out. I still have not felt 100% but I am not sick to my stomach any more. I have also lost my appetite.

The last few days have been exciting here. We got transfer calls last night! After 4 transfers on Romonnum I.... stay on Romonnum! 5 transfers in a single area is not common, but I am fine with it. Elder Cherrington got transferred though. That was a bit of a shock. He was only blessed with one transfer here. He is going to Mwan to be with Elder Kuss. My new companion will be Elder Schuler. He is from California and has been out about 15 months. He hasn't spent all his time in Chuuk though so I know the language a little better. I am looking forward to him coming. We get along pretty well so it should be fun. I am excited to stay on Rommonum again as well. Other news for transfers though: Tonoas re-opened and Uman closed. We don't have enough missionaries to keep all our areas open all the time. There were some other changes in our area but nothing else too big to report.

Exciting news for this week. Margery is going to be baptized. The plan is for this week and if it does not happen this week then for sure next week. The only thing that it is based on is if Elder Kuss will be able to come. He can't come this week and Margery really wants him to be there. (he is related to her somehow) If he can come next week it will be next week, but if he can't come next week it will just happen this week without him there. Margery is excited and the whole branch is good about supporting her. That helps missionaries work so much better when the branch is active in supporting our investigators. I'll write you this week and let you know all the details if it happens on Saturday.

We have some other investigators as well. Elder Kuss' older brother, Sainus, is doing really well. He has a smoking problem but is working really hard to kick it. He has made some big improvements. A big part of that is that we have become really good friends. We hang out with him whenever we can. I love hearing his amazing fishing stories. Today we hung out with him and his family. They made us tapioca cake which is awesome. We bought the stuff and gave it to them to make so we could see it made. It was cool seeing their Um. (pronounced oom) That is their traditional oven for cooking dogs or pigs but now they make tapioca cake in it too. I got a lot of cool pictures of the different stages of it. The cake was huge and turned out great. We all hung out and ate it afterwards. We have a bunch of leftovers that they loaded us up with. We are going to give some to our close member friends and investigators. All of this time on Romonnum has helped me to get really good friendships with the members. This will make departure so much harder though.

So another cool things happened this Sunday. I saved a cat's life. Two kids threw a cat in the ocean just off the shore. I walked up not knowing it was there. I spotted it and got scared when I saw it in the water and I could see that it could not swim and it could not get its head above water. I managed to get in and get it but by time I could get it, the cat had stopped fighting and was limp. It was not breathing at all. So I busted out cat CPR. It spewed up salt water as I pushed on its chest. It was sad to see it. I thought for sure it died. I kept pushing on its chest and then it started breathing again! It was stunned and weakened and we helped it back to health. It was a really cool experience. The cat is good now and we gave it back to Siramino's family. I had a serious talk with the kids about not torturing animals and throwing them in the ocean if they can't swim.

I did get some letters and a package from you brought out to me this week. Thank you so much for the package. It sounds like Christmas in Washington was fun with everyone. Thank you for the chapters from Chad Lewis' book that you sent. I read those while I was sick in bed and really enjoyed it. The surrounding yourself with greatness idea is really good. That is a part of being born again spiritually I have found from my studies. I have tried to improve my life a lot as far as thoughts go. Being a missionary makes avoiding a lot of crud really easy but I plan to continue it after my mission. That is when the true test will come. Mom, thanks for all the pictures you made for the Chuukese. They love them so much. Please continue to send those whenever I send home a camera card. (another one will come soon) I also love the tie and was excited to hear Reilly had one just like it. I'll send you a picture of me wearing it in my most pensive pose on the next camera card for sure. The sacto pictures of Tori and Kolby were really cool. It is so weird whenever I see a woman without a sacto on. Jeans and pants don't exist for women here. Tori helped keep the scato tradition alive. Kolby looked like a regular Chuukese kid going to the shower. A lot of kids wear scatos in the shower. That rocked.

Tell Grandpa Duane I pray for his recovery every night. Tell him I know he is in the Lord's hands and I look forward to coming home and seeing him again greatly.
The Lord is truly watching over our family. He has blessed us immensely and I am so grateful for it all. I know he is watching over all of us. I am so grateful to be here amongst these amazing Chuukese people. This church is true and I am so grateful for it in my life. I am grateful for both of you as well and for being able to be sealed to such loving parents. Thank you for all you do for me. You are always in my prayers.

PS I am on Weno!! The computers are not working so I can not e-mail. I also forgot the Wanlass' address on Romonnum. I am putting a note for them in the envelope. Will you please get them my note? Thank you!!

Being Sick Really Sucks Here

January 25, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
This last week has been an interesting one. Most of it was spent in the house. Elder Cherrington was sick a lot and spent most of the week sleeping. He got better on Saturday and we went out again. On Saturday it was pouring rain all day and really windy. It was miserable and I was freezing the whole time. That whole day was spent shivering and walking around the island. Sunday morning I woke up with a bad cold. My whole body was weak and my head was throbbing. I couldn't do anything so we ended up staying in the house again. Being sick really sucks out here. Staying in the house drives me nuts.

I would have gone crazy this week but on Thursday the zone leaders saved us. We had an exchange with them. Elder Wells stayed on Romonnum with me and Elder Cherrington went to Weno to try to get medicine. The exchange with Elder Wells was fun. we did not get too much work done but it was still a good day. We went and said a lot of good-byes. I don't think I told you this already, but Elder Wells is going to Guam tomorrow to become the new Assistant to the president. He hates the thought of leaving so much. I don't know what is going on with the rest of the zone, but I will probably know more today. I'll write down everything when I know. Anyways, so the exchange was for Elder Wells to say good-bye to a lot of people here.

Lanterns Are Good, Mold is Not!

The blue water tanks shown in the picture are on the island of Tonoas, but they are just like the water tanks that Kevin cleans in the following letter.

January 19, 2009

I have not heard from you for over three weeks as we have not had the chance to go to Weno. I did get a box the last time just before I came out. Thank you for the food and the cosmetics and the emergency lantern. The lantern is so cool. The Chuukese LOVE it too. You said not to worry about bringing it home so I have already promised it to Tansisio when the time comes for me to give it up. I'll get my use out of it first though! I also got a box from the Wanlass family too. They sent me a hanging tent lantern that is really cool! I have been using that too so I have lots of lights now! They must read my blog and you must have written about the time I went without lights for three weeks. All the things I get are such a huge blessing out here.

I miss hearing from you both. The last time I heard from you, dad sent me a Cougar sports update. GO COUGARS!

So this week we had some exciting things happen. We got a goal that before the next zone conference each area will try to get two baptisms. It is a good goal and I am excited!

I also had to go to Uman and help Elder Mitton pack. He is going to Guam to be checked out by a doctor. He has been on Uman for 4 and half transfers and there is no water pump there so it is impossible to filter the water. He has gotten sick quite a few times and has been so sick he has even had to stay at the dirty clinic. Now he is just super tired and it is hard for him to do a lot of stuff. He is a cowboy though and has stuck through it for a long time. We are praying for him to have a safe return and be healthy again. Uman is temporarily closed until the pump is fixed.

The last few days on Rommonum have been good ones. On Sunday we had good church meetings. The branch president is working to make things run smoother. I am excited about that as I have been taking over the jobs and responsibilities of many others. I am not complaining, but I do teach Sunday School and then priesthood and talk in Sacrament meeting each week. My companion and I also do everything with the Sacrament each week. I also conduct branch council each week and other things whenever they happen. A smooth running branch will strengthen the members here so much.

After church is when the good stuff happened though! Margery is going to get baptized on January 30th! Her mother wants her to get baptized now and Margery is so excited for it. It has been a long time to have her mother's heart be softened but now it is all taken care of. The words of Nephi in 1 Nephi 3:7 are so true. The Lord prepares the way. We just have to be patient and find it. We have some other good investigators right now and I am hoping they get baptized soon. Some of them are real studs and they just have a couple of things holding them back.

Today was a bit of a gross day. I did something I never wanted to do. Sister Dowdle asked us to clean our water tanks and I had no idea how gross it was. I also hated the idea as I knew it was going to be a lot of work but today we had the time. Unfortunately for me Elder Cherrington was not feeling well so he sat down in the shade to rest while I worked. First I had to move the water from one tank to the other. When there was about a foot of water I climbed into the tank which was a challenge in itself. The bottom of the tank was covered in about a solid inch of mold and the sides of the tank were lined with it as well. I took down bleach with a brush and scrubbed it for a long time until the mold was off the sides and bottom. I then had to bucket out the rest of the water. The water was a greenish brown color and there was about a billion mold particles floating in it. It was really hot and humid in the tank so I was sweating really bad and was covered in mold and dirt. When the job was done the tank looked really good and there was no more mold. The tank took about two hours to clean. When I finished I bathed in the ocean first (that is approved if needed) and then went into the house and showered. Next week I will clean the next tank. I'll probably have to be the one to do it again since Elder Cherrington is bigger than me and won't be able to fit in the opening. I'm not looking forward to next week.

Well that about wraps up my week. Thank you for everything you do for me.