These two pictures are from Sister Dowdle's blog. Sister Dowdle is Kevin's mission president's wife. She titled the first one "God's Army." The pictures are from the zone leaders council Kevin attended in Guam.
June 6, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
Alright, so another week has gone by and this last one was super eventful. I don't even know where to begin. We had our zone leader council and that was great. I may have left some room for confusion in my last email but as far as I know now I will be replacing Elder Linzey here as zone leader this Thursday. Elder Linzey, Elder Larson and myself were the only ones who went to Guam from Pohnpei. All the zone leaders from the whole mission went and participated. It was great. The meeting started early in the morning and we got trained on a chapter from Preach My Gospel by the Assistants. That is the training that we will be giving when we have zone conference this transfer. It is about the Spirit and revelation. That was our morning session and ended around 1:30 in the afternoon and then we took a short lunch break. We started the afternoon session and had a big council. We talked about challenges that the mission is having and how to solve them. It was a great open floor discussion led by President Dowdle. We had a lot of stuff talked about. That ended at about 4:30 and then we went to a place called Leo's Palace and went bowling. That was a lot of fun with everyone there. The next day was our shopping day. We joined one of the district meetings that morning and then went to a few different stores. It was insane seeing how crazy Guam is compared to Chuuk and Pohnpei. It was scary thinking that life in the states is even more hectic and crazy than on Guam. The cars go so fast and everywhere is so crowded. The people aren't as nice to each other as on the islands either. Life on the Micronesian islands is so much more simple and enjoyable. While I was on Guam I had the chance to take a hot shower but I passed it up. I didn't want to enjoy that then come back to Pohnpei and complain about the cold. I just took cold showers the whole time I was there. I had a chance to eat out at Chilis with all the other missionaries and President Dowdle as well. I had a burger that was sooooooo good. We went to McDonald's one night too and that was way good. While we were in the zone leader council we got some interesting news from President Dowdle about that meeting. In the past it has happened once every other transfer but President has arranged to have that meeting every transfer from now on. So next transfer I will be going to Guam again. The days will be different but the meeting will still happen. I was surprised to hear that but he said that the meeting is important and will really help the mission. I sincerely believe that. President told us the price that it costs to get all the zone leaders to Guam and it is around 8-10 thousand dollars in airfare alone. That blew me away. That is a testimony to me of how important that meeting really is to the work here.
While on Guam I had the chance to meet a lot of the other missionaries in the mission. I didn't know most of the ones that I met there. I was really happy to see the other ones from Chuuk though. The three of us from Pohnpei stayed in the zone leader's apartment and one of them is named Elder Stanley. He is Chuukese and I had so much fun talking to him. I remember Chuukese a lot better than I gave myself credit for last time we talked on the phone. The first day I had a few things that were slow to come out but by the second day I had it down really well again. Elder Stanley even said that my accent was really good still. That surprised me because Pohnpeian and Chuukese have pretty different accents. I assume that means my Pohnpeian accent is pretty bad then! haha.
So we came back on Friday morning and that day was really hard for me. I was really tired and Jetlagged. All is well again now though.
The work is still going well in Kitti. I will be in Kitti until Thursday then I will go to my new area. I will miss Kitti. Elizabeth and Olfred are still doing well but need to quit their word of wisdom problems. They struggle giving up smoking and Kava (called Sakau here). Once they do that they will be able to be baptized. Rickson and Justin are doing well still too. I am excited to start teaching Rickson about missionary work. He is 18 so we want to help him get prepared to serve a mission. It would also be really good if he could come out with us teaching sometimes. He will make a great missionary and will be able to help a lot of people. This last week at church we had 11 investigators again, not including Rickson and Justin since they are not investigators any more! Two families showed up and a few other people. We had 48 people at church which is the highest I have seen in the branch. I have heard that once a branch gets 50 people in regular attendance for a quarter, a church building will be approved. Within a year or two I think Kitti will qualify. The active members we have right now are all studs and doing a great job. I think once a church is built even more people will get baptized.
So I tried a new food. I do not know what it is called in English, but here they call it sumum. (the u makes an oo sound as in boo sound) It is a shellfish that can boiled or fried. I had it boiled. The shell of the fish is like a spiral pyramid. It was alright, but nothing special. Nothing to write home about! (haha lame joke) It didn't have much of a taste and was kind of chewy. Breadfruit season is here again and I love it. On Pohnpei they bake the breadfruit in their homemade rock ovens and it is so good. I eat it as fast as they give it to me. Just like when mom would peel shrimp for me when I was young!
I had an exchange with Elder Clark before I went to Guam. we had a great time together. We spent most of the day doing service. We cut down weeds with a member and chopped firewood with an investigator. It was intense but fun. Elder Clark is a great guy. He goes home soon though. His family is coming to pick him up. First they will go to Guam and then come to Pohnpei for a few days. I am looking forward to meeting them.
I am glad to hear that Larry Thompson got baptized and that everything went well with that. Grandpa is such a good missionary! I am sure that everything went well with the confirmation. The Spirit will help Grandpa to perform that ordinance.
Thank you for sending the last post from the Duncan's blog. I was really excited to see the pictures and to read about some of the stuff going on in Chuuk. The work there is going really well from what the Chuuk zone leaders told me. I was really excited to see the picture of Elder Tuaitanu especially. I love that guy so much. Mom asked about me getting pictures through the e-mail. Downloading is hard so I can't get videos. I was able to get the picture you sent, but if the picture is pasted onto the actual email it comes really well. I got the one from your trip to Utah and thought that was really cool. I was excited to see Russell in the picture. Tell Russell when I come back he can stay with me in Provo if he wants to. We can work on that as it gets closer.
So I guess next time I email you I will be in my new area and with my new companion. I will probably have a lot of other stuff to tell you about then. I am excited to go there but will also really miss Kitti. I love the people there. I am grateful for the chance I had to serve there. I am grateful for the chance I have had to serve here in Micronesia in general. I know that this work is true and I am eternally grateful for the time I have had to help our Heavenly Father's children here. My time here has change me a lot and I have loved it all. Most importantly though I am grateful for what a blessing it is to be in this family. I hope that you are both doing great still back home. I love you both so much. I look forward to hearing from you next week.
Elder Kevin South