Monday, May 31, 2010

So Much to Tell You and so Little Time

The above picture is from Margery's baptism on Romonnum in February.
May 30, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
I could probably spend about 3 hours to you writing about this last week and everything that has happened. It sounds like everything is going good back home. I can't believe that you got snow in May! I hope that next winter will be a short one so I don't have to experience that. I dread coming home in the middle of winter after being in the tropics for 2 years. Your trip to Utah sounds like it has been good.
So Rickson and Justin got baptized this Saturday. We had a great experience with them. The baptisms happened at the church building in Kolonia. It is the nicest building on Pohnpei and seeing how the Kitti branch doesn't have a building let alone a baptismal font we came to Kolonia for it. We also had a child of record baptism for a little boy named Junior in the branch. His older brother AJ baptized him and did a good job. AJ is 16 right now and is a super stud. He comes teaching with us at least 2 times a week and does a great job. He is preparing for his mission. I had the privilege of baptizing Rickson and Elder Sandvik baptized Justin. On Sunday we switched and I confirmed Justin and Elder Sandvik confirmed Rickson. Before the baptism I was under the impression that Rickson was in his mid 20's but I actually found out the he is only 18 years old right now. He has a strong testimony of the restored gospel and he has seen amazing changes in his life over the last few months. We are going to work really hard to help him prepare to serve a mission. Justin is only 9 right now but he is the first member of his family to be baptized so hopefully he will open the door for other people at his house. We will work on helping them here. His parents both work in Kolonia which is about a 30 minute drive from Kitti and they work crazy hours so it has been hard to meet with them up until now.
All of our other investigators are doing well right now too. Olfred and Elizabeth were in another part of Pohnpei for a while and we didn't get to meet with them for a while but they came back on Saturday night and came to church yesterday. We met with them again and their scheduled baptismal date is now on June 12th. That makes me sad because I will have been transferred out of Kitti by then. I will be able to attend the service though and show my support at least. Yesterday we didn't have quite as many investigators at church but we did have 4 (not including Rickson and Justin who previously counted in the total). The work is still going good in Kitti. Unfortunately, I won't be around much to see it.
We had our zone conference this week and it was amazing. It was probably the best one I have had my whole mission in terms of getting me pumped for the work and helping me to improve on things that I do. President Dowdle trained on a training that he received at a mission's president seminar. It was all about how to work for the investigator. We don't ask ourselves "What do we need to teach them" but rather "What do they need to hear." It has shown helpful. I was better able to understand how to do the work and focus solely on the investigator. They are the most important and what we have to share with them is the most important message they will ever hear. The improvements are going to help their needs be met a lot more as they feel the spirit and not just us teaching them.
I had a good interview with President Dowdle. In the interview President did tell me that I will be leaving Kitti this next transfer. I was a little bummed about that since I have really grown to like the branch and our investigators. He didn't tell me specifically where I will be going but I know now. Last Tuesday we got a call from the office elders who told Elder Sandvik that I will be on a plane to Guam tomorrow. Transfers aren't until next week but I will be going with the zone leaders to zone leader council. Elder Linzey is going home this transfer and they want me there so I can take everything from zone leader council this transfer and have it for the next two transfers instead of being in complete darkness as to it all. Zone leader council provides instruction to zone leaders which, they, in turn, instruct the missionaries on in the next two zone conferences. I will be on Guam until Friday afternoon for that. I'll let you know how all of that goes.
My new area is called Palikir and my new companion will be Elder Larson (the missionary whose grandparents met Grandma Jenny and Grandpa Duane). I am looking forward to serving with him but am a bit daunted by the position I am getting put in seeing that I don't know Pohnepeian very well yet and have never even been a senior companion before. I'll do my best though and trust in the Lord.
Well, that covers my week here. I hope that everything back home is still going great. Thank you both so much for everything that you do for me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pohnpeian Weddings, Infected Blisters, and Pohnpeian Langauge Mastery Completed

The above picture was taken on Romonnum. Kevin is inside the water tank and is cleaning it.
May 23, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
My P-day just barely got changed about 2 days ago to Monday. It came from the area general authority so for now on Monday is the new P-day.
This last week has been a good one. We still have a lot of good stuff going on. We had 11 investigators at sacrament meeting again this Sunday which was awesome. Rickson and Justin were there and they will be getting baptized this Saturday. Other than them Ohlfred and Elizabeth are still doing good too. They came to church and on Saturday they got married. The marriage was pretty funny but good. We have that out of the way for them so now all we really have to do is get them to stop all their word of wisdom issues. Their wedding wasn't really a wedding. On Saturday it was suppose to happen at 3:00 at the building we have church in. We got there and waited until 4:00 then went to see them and ask when it was going to happen. They weren't ready yet so we went home and had dinner then went back to them again. They got ready and everyone showed up at the building around 5:30. There were about 15 people there in total. It happened in the branch president's office. Most of the people there didn't even get the chance to see it because the office is so small. They held hands and said "I do" then switched headbands. No kiss or anything. That is really against the culture. They signed a paper and then everyone left and went home. haha Pohnpeian weddings rock!
Other than all that I finished my language mastery yesterday. It is nice to have that out of the way. My Chuukese one took a lot longer than my Pohnpeian one did. I am going to hand it to President Dowdle when we have our interview on Wednesday. He is coming in for zone conference.
I went on an exchange with the zone leaders this last week. I went with Elder Larsen to the Palikis area. I had a lot of fun. Elder Larsen is a stud! While I was with him we had a meal appointment. It was the first meal appointment of my mission. It was with a family from the states named the Calls. Brother Call works as a lawyer at the Capital here. They will be here for two years. They made us pizza and apologized for it! I could not believe they apologized! It was so good! They are a really cool family.
I have been battling an infection on my hand the last few days. Last Wednesday Elder Clark and I were on an exchange. We worked in Kitti. We did a lot of service using machetes and I got a couple blisters and scrapes. Two of them got infected so I have had to keep an eye on those and take measures to stop it. They are good now and I think by tomorrow the infection will be all gone. Elder Clark is one of the many going home after this transfer. It was my second chance to work with him.
I guess you haven't gotten the chance to write an email yet because of the change on P-day but I'll hear from you next week. I hope you are both still doing great. Thanks for all you do for me.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South
Oh I almost forgot! I don't have Tori's email address anymore so I can't write her personally but can you please tell her happy birthday for me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Work Continues to go Well

The picture below was taken on Romonnum on New Year's Eve. New Year's is a very big holiday on Romonnum. The church planned a party that went all night long. In this picture chicken is being cooked for the celebration.

May 17, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
Hi! I just wrote you a hand letter that I will be sending off today as well. Sorry it has taken me so long to write you another hand letter.
Everything has been going great here on Pohnpei. The work is still going forward strong. We have two investigators who will be baptized on the 29th - Rickson Paul, and a 9 yr. old named Justin. They are both studs and are doing well. They live with members but none of their parents are members. The next week after that Ohlfred, Elizabeth, and Oliver are scheduled to be baptized. I hope they will make that date because I am about 95% positive that I will not be staying in Kitti next transfer and that is the last chance I would have to see them get baptized. They have been doing really well. This Saturday they will be married by the Branch President here. Other than them we have some other people who are doing well but I don't have too much else to say.
This last Sunday was District Conference so we didn't get 11 investigators at sacrament meeting like the week before. We did have 2 there though. District Conference was really neat. It was a satellite broadcast that went out to a bunch of different islands in the Pacific. I think Pohnpei might have been the only one in the mission who received it. There were four people who spoke. A member of the 70, the General Primary President, Elder M. Russell Ballard, and President Henry B. Eyring. They gave great talks about the people in the Pacific and families. It was really neat being able to see them on a satellite broadcast. I don't think the people here had a full realization of what was going on but that's fine. I think they thought it was just a movie the church put out. We didn't find out that this last week was District Conference until last Tuesday when we were heading back out to Kitti. It was a bit of a shock and we realized that nobody from the Kitti branch knew that it was going to happen. We had to go around and tell all the members what was going to happen.
So not much else really happened this last week. I guess I am pretty boring! I have been working hard to learn the language still and I am teaching almost 50/50 with Elder Sandvik. I have a goal to finish my language mastery by zone conference next week so I can hand it to President Dowdle. That will be good to finish that and it will be a relief to have that done with. I will still have to work hard after that to keep learning the language though. I have a long ways to go still.
Dad's ipad sounds like a pretty cool thing. How big is it exactly? Is the screen the size of a normal computer monitor?
I am glad to hear that Grandpa Daune is still doing well. I hope he is able to get all the proper medical help he needs to make a full recovery. As always, he is in my prayers.
I was sad to hear that things are hard right now for Uncle Roland. I have also been praying for his well being and his recovery.
Oh, I almost forgot, yes, I would really like to have those drivers license renewal forms sent out. There is a place here that can give me an eye check then I will send them back.
Dad, Thanks for the short clip of the talk that you put in your email. I have heard that before but I forgot it. It was really neat hearing that again. I know that this is the church that holds the Priesthood keys. I know that this is Christ's true church and that His gospel has been restored. One of the things that I studied just this morning that I think is worth sharing is found in Mosiah 14:10. (I am pretty sure that is the write chapter. It is the one when Abinadai quotes Isaiah 53) I thought about how the Lord tells us that when we make Christs offering an offering for our souls we become His sons and Daughters. Abinadai also goes on to elaborate more in chapter 15 v 10-12 on that scripture as well.
Well, I hope that everything is still going great back home. I love you both so much. Thank you so much for all you do for me.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South
p.s. Dad, I don't know how many strokes you will expect Lewis and I to give you and Uncle Kerry. I haven't golfed in almost 2 years! and besides, you and Uncle Kerry have much more years of experience under your belts! haha jk.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Nan Madol Ruins, Pohnpei

Last week Kevin wrote that he was able to visit a place called Nan Madol, which are ruins close to his island. I am posting a link for anyone who may want to see pictures of the ruins.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Eleven Investigators at Church

The pictures below were taken in February. They show Kevin and his companion, Elder Cherrington, with the cat that Kevin saved using CPR.

May 10, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
It was so good being able to talk to you both yesterday. It was great to hear from the whole family. Everyone sounds great. I am really glad that everyone is doing well and life is good. I wish we could have had a little bit longer to talk but that is how it is.
I do have some exciting stuff to share this week. I didn't bring it up on the phone yesterday because I figured I would just bring it up in this email. We have 4 people getting baptized here really soon. One is scheduled for the 22nd of this month and it will go well if he can make the changes he needs. If not his baptismal date will be pushed to the 5th of June. The 29th is District Conference so that will be impossible on that weekend. The 5th we have a family of three scheduled to be baptized as well. They recently moved in with the branch president while they build their own house which is right next door to the branch president. It is the ideal teaching situation. They have an awesome support system and we don't do much other than teach a little doctrine and the Conrads (branch president's family) tell great stories and bear their testimonies. The investigators, Ohlfred, Elizabeth, and Oliver have really grasped everything well and love it. We have seen some big changes in them already. They came to church this last Sunday and loved it. This last Sunday we hit a record for investigators at church for me so far on my mission. We had 11 there. All 11 can get baptized too. We just have to go work with them and their families. Most of them have just a couple things holding them back right now in terms of their families. We can help them overcome them all though. It will open up doors for the rest of their families too.
Today before we came in to Kolonia we went to a place called Nanmadol where there are some really cool ancient ruins. It is such an amazing place. You should look it up on the internet to see it. The stones that are there are a mystery. There is no way that an uncivilized group of Pohnpeians could have built it. There are legends behind it but there are only two conclusions in my mind 1) Anciently the people here had the gospel and the Priesthood and made a place of worship and later went apostate or 2) Satan had them make a place for them to do vain rituals and helped them to make it. I got a ton of really cool pictures and videos of the place for you to see. You will love them.
So that sums up my week. I did have a couple questions I wanted to ask though.
Can I get Elder Heims' address from you? I have a letter already written that I really want to send out but I can't find his address. Also tell me what Elder Hansen's address is too. I am going to write him soon.
What is the price of gas right now? It just went up 35 cents here in one day so I wanted to know what has been going on in the states. It is $4.25 here right now.
That is all I have for this week. I hope you have an awesome week. Thank you so much for everything you do. I have been so blessed to be born into this family and to have such great parents. I am so grateful to be born in the covenant and be sealed to a family. That is the greatest blessing God has ever given me.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Mother's Day Call (How are your Shoes Holding Up?)

We enjoyed our Mother's Day call with Kevin. The thing that was the best to us was to have him tell us how much he is loving his mission, how happy he is and being able to hear it is his voice. It was a wonderful Mother's Day!
P.S. We also checked on how his shoes are holding up! We were a little worried after watching the above video we received a few weeks ago!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Micronesia and Argentina

Kevin and Reilly Heims have known each other their whole lives and even went to preschool together. They are now both serving missions. Reilly is in Buenos Airies West, Argentina and Kevin in Micronesia. Quite by accident they have matching ties on their missions. The picture of Reilly was taken at his farewell in December and the picture of Kevin was taken in Febuary.

A Small Mountain Called Pwisin Malek (Chicken Poop)

This picture is the picture that Kevin mentions in the following post. This picture shows how Kevin "showered" for two months on Rommonum and on Mwan where he stayed for two weeks before he was transfered to Pohnpei.

May 3, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
Next week I will get a call from you! I thought that I would be calling you to set that up like I have done in the past but I guess I will actually just be setting that up now with this email. Elder Sandvik has the phone at 5 so you can call at 6 and all will be good. Call on Sunday for you. That will be my Monday around noon. That will work out really well. I'm really looking forward to talking to you.
Before I get the chance to talk to you Dad's birthday will happen! Happy Birthday DAD! I hope it all goes great.
This last week has been really good. Elder Sandvik came on Friday and it has been good with him. It is different from when I was with Elder Parker. Both have been good though. The work is going really well and our branch President and his family hit a super stud mode. They are helping us out a lot and are getting their families involved. We started teaching some of their cousins and President Conrad has come with us to a few lessons. He is a big help to us. We have some investigators that are doing really well and are going to make a lot of good progress. If we can get the Conrad family to keep helping us it will be great. I'll let you know how it all goes in the call next week.
I got the package mom sent with the Pohnpeian books this week. Thank you so much for all of that. The books are super helpful and the food is all really good too. I love the picture card as well. There are some awesome videos on there. Jaxson and Kolby look great.
Today we climbed up a small mountain before we came to Kolonia called pwisin malek or "chicken poop." It was really fun and we got some cool pictures. There were 6 of us that went. Speaking of pictures, the picture you two were debating on is me pouring water on myself for a shower. That was taken one morning while I was staying in Mwan. I did that for about 2 months total of my time on Romannum and the few weeks I was in Mwan.
I had a couple questions for you. How is Elder Mitton doing?
You had a few questions too:
The language is still coming along well. I teach a little but not 50/50 yet. It will be a while before I am fluent in it. Elder Sandvik is from Oregon. He went to BYU for a while before he came out on the mission. He served on Pohnpei for a while before he went to Guam to be assistant. He remembers the language well. He is making the transition back to teaching in Pohnpeian pretty good.
No new foods yet. I'll let you know when I get some though.
The church has 7 branches and 1 unit here on Pohnpei.
There are a decent amount of cars here but not a ton.
It still rains a lot but not as much as when I first got here. It comes and goes.
Tell Roland I am praying for him and keep me updated on him.
Tell Grandpa Duane I am praying for him and that I'm going to try to write them a letter soon.
Ok well that is everything this week. I hope you are both doing great. Thank you so much for everything you do. Take care.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South