The pictures below were taken the day Kevin left Chuuk and went to Pohnpei.
April 19, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
I'm glad to hear that my camera chip made it home. I was a little worried about that. I always am worried about sending a chip home but it never making it. There is a lot of important stuff on it that I want to keep. I hope you enjoyed it all.
So this last week has been a good one. Life has continued on as usual to tell you the truth. We have been doing some good work here and have some good stuff going on. No baptisms yet, but some people are getting closer and closer. For them it is just baby steps right now but eventually they will reach it. There is a family with one of the Protestant teachers who really agree and like everything, but they just need the final push. AND we figured out just the thing. There is a recent convert in the zone leaders' area who used to be in the same position. His name is Patrik Gallen and he is a stud. We have coordinated with him to come and we hope that once the family hears his testimony and his conversion story that this will be the final thing they need. It is hard for Pohnpeians to take seriously the things that two white Americans say, but with the testimony of a Pohnpeian that will help. It will help them see how true these things are and how they can bless anybody regardless of race or nationality.
We were able to watch General Conference this week which was amazing. Fortunately the branch decided to watch it in English and I was super excited. It would have been two long days of just sitting there and not being able to follow everything. They did watch the Sunday afternoon session in Pohnpeian so I will have to find time to watch that again but that won't be too difficult. I felt the spirit a lot during the talks and really liked the messages. I definitely caught the family message. It seemed like almost everyone spoke about families. Priesthood session was so awesome. There were some really awesome talks. I particularly liked President Uchtdorf's about patience. I found that one to be really relevant since I am learning another language. I have had some struggles in all honesty. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that I have to say a silent prayer and try to endure. I am blessed to find relief every time though. This week I tried teaching a lot more and it has been alright. Yesterday we had a lesson with an investigator and we decided to start over from the beginning with him. It was a bit of a training moment for me and Elder Parker just told me to do what I could. I taught almost the whole lesson. I let Elder Parker take over for the last little bit but I did it for a long time. It went well and I think the investigator understood it all. He was patient with me and he had heard it all before so it was helpful. The only frustrating thing I face now is having to think about everything in my head before I say it as opposed to just being able to let it come naturally. That will come with a lot of practice and a lot of time. My brain has adjusted to learning a new language now. A lot of learning a language is getting one's brain trained. I feel as if I don't start teaching more I will go crazy. Just sitting there during lessons without being able to teach is hard. I get a big yearning to just jump in and be included. I have a lot of energy during the day that I just need to get rid of, but I can't if I am just sitting in on lessons.
I also really like President Monson in this General Conference. He showed a side of himself that I hadn't ever really seen. His opening remarks Saturday morning were awesome. I really liked his Sunday morning talk too. I could really feel the spirit as he talked about Jesus Christ and His atonement. The other talk I really liked as well was Elder Holland's. Mostly because the tea joke he said was the funniest moment of conference. It took me a little bit to stop laughing. I could also feel the spirit when he talks. He is an amazing speaker and every time he speaks it seems to just blow me away.
President Dowdle will be coming in tomorrow and the next day we will be having our zone conference. I am super excited. President Dowdle is a great guy and is an awesome mission president.
It sounds like Shain's homecoming went well. That must have been really cool to be there at the airport with him.
Ok so you both had a few questions I'll answer:
Elder Parker is from Mesa AZ (same as Elder Standage my MTC companion). He goes to a community college in Mesa and really likes golf. He played for the community college but won't go back to it. It is fun talking golf with him sometimes. There is one other BYU student here in the zone. It is one of the zone leaders, Elder Linzey. Mom has e-mailed with his mom. We haven't had too much of a chance to really talk about BYU sports or anything like that but if the time ever comes up I know we will do it.
For p-days we pretty much always play football. Today we played and had fun. It was raining so it was a challenge but we liked it. All the elders play each week so it is a 5 v. 5 game. We haven't really done anything else for p-day yet.
Mom asked about a driver's license and I haven't had the chance to get one here. I don't drive the truck but that is fine with me. Mine is long expired so I will probably just have to wait until I get home to get a new one. It will be a bit of a hassle but it is fine. It really isn't that big of a deal.
My shoes are doing alright. I have the pair of crocs now that are holding out ok. They are getting a little bit thin on the bottom but when they go I still have that other pair of leather sandals I came out with. Once the crocs go I will just wear those ones so don't worry about sending out any shoes.
Pohnpei is not a stake yet. It is a district with 7 branches and one unit. It will be awhile before it becomes a stake. For district conference everyone meets in the district center and President Dowdle comes. Occasionally another general authority comes. My fingers are crossed to see another one at some point in my mission.
We do a lot of tracting here, but we would like to do more with member referrals. The only problem is that the branch is small so we can't get many.
A lot of our work is done in the jungle. We walk through a lot of small streams and on a lot of crazy paths. We get soaked a lot here. Getting soaked isn't comfortable but I love it now. The missionaries say that the more finding a missionary does in the rain, the better looking his wife will be. All I can say is BRING ON THE RAIN!
On Sundays we get around 30 people at church. As missinaries, we do a lot of the work during church, but there is a primary teacher and an adult Sunday School teacher. There is not a Relief Society or Priesthood block. We don't want to overstep our boundaries so we can't enforce one. The District President knows.
There are 10 elders and 3 sisters on Pohnpei. There is a 4th sister coming soon. The zone is good and I like it a lot. There is only one biking area. Pray that I don't go to the biking area please!
Food on Pohnpei is really similar to Chuuk. A lot of bananas, tuna, spam, ramen (from Japan with MSG in it), fish and of course RICE!
I have not gotten to see any ancient sites yet, but I hope to soon. We do those types of things on zone p-days, but we haven't had one yet. There are some really cool ruins here from what I hear. I have seen some sweet waterfalls though. There was a sign by one that said it was higher than 500 feet. They are all over our area.
All is well here on Pohnpei and I like it. I will love this place a lot more once I can speak to the people more. It was the same thing on Chuuk. Once I could speak the language I loved it.
Thank you so much for getting the Pohnpeian books for me. I really appreciate that.
I liked reading about both of your accounts at Half Moon Bay. But is does sound COLD! I don't know the definition of cold any more so I can't even imagine how you felt. I have good memories of that place though such as the bagpipes on #9 and how beautiful everything is. Thinking about it makes me trunky for golf. Hahaha!
Alright, well that covers this week. I hope you both are doing great still. Thank you so much for everything you do. I love you both tons!
Elder Kevin South