Sunday, July 25, 2010

A New Companion

This picture shows the missionaries serving on Pohnpei. I was able to get this picture from Kevin's mission president's blog.
July 25, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!! I cannot believe it is already your birthday again. I feel like it was just last month that I was writing you from Chuuk telling you the exact same thing. I guess time flies. Dad told me about you looking at the picture from the mission blog and getting emotional because I have grown up. Don’t worry mom. I am still your son. If it makes you feel any better, I don’t feel any older. I still feel like the crazy teen running around Reno in my mustang. Now I just run around Pohnpei talking about Christ instead of blasting rock ‘n roll. Hahaha.
So another eventful week has gone by. Transfers came and for the fifth straight transfer I have been directly effected. Elder Larson got transferred off to Guam and will finish the last two transfers of his mission there as zone leader. My new companion is Elder Brandenburg. He served on Pohnpei for 9 transfers before going to Saipan for 2. Now he is coming back to be with me. He will be coming in on the plane in about 2 hours. Right now I am with Elder Parker again. His companion will also be coming in today. For the last few days we were left without companions so we teamed up. We had fun covering both our areas. We mostly stayed in Palikir though. Next transfer will be crazy with everything going on and I feel like it will be a lot more overwhelming now that Elder Larson is gone. Elder Brandenburg didn’t go to the last zone leader council so he really doesn’t know what is going on and I will have to teach him all the ins and outs of zone leader while preparing him for all the big meetings and such. We leave in two weeks and that is the start of all the crazy stuff. Before we leave we have to have zone conference done and get everything ready for 10 missionaries to come from the other islands. It will be hectic along with all the other things we do. Everything will be fine though. Oh, and to answer mom's question about the meetings, I don’t think that I will ever go to a different island for the leadership training. Pohnpei is the most suited place to have a big meeting like that. I would love to go to Chuuk for it though and spend 4 or 5 days there again. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for other meetings.
The missionary work in Palikir is going really well. We have a lot of good member work going on and they are helping to fellowship all our investigators. We had a family come to church yesterday who we have never met yet but the members were the ones who invited them and now we are going to try to meet them at a member's house to teach them. That is the best way to do missionary work. I am so grateful that the branch has such a strong desire to do missionary work and help us out. We also had Selerihna’s daughter come to church yesterday and it was the first time I had seen that particular one there. We have been teaching her for a while so she is making good progress. I imagine she will follow her mom and get baptized sometime in August. Unfortunately, the English speaking couple didn’t come to church yesterday. They woke up and got all ready and then their parents called them and asked them to pick them up from Kitti, which is a good half hour drive away from their house. They said that next week they’ll come.
I will send off a camera chip today so that should get to you soon. Mom asked about the license and I think they will send that to me if I read the form right. I haven’t gotten it yet but I will keep my eye out. I am the assigned driver now so I need that soon. If I don’t get it by next week I will let you know so you can ask them about it. I haven’t gotten the package mom send a little while ago yet but it should come soon.
Your quad trip sounds like it was a lot of fun. I love Lake Tahoe and how beautiful it is. We saw a lot of really beautiful places on the quads with all our adventures. I am looking forward to a camping trip on them like dad talked about a little while ago. That will be awesome. I am looking forward to seeing what your trip to Alaska is going to be like.
Well that is all for this week. Oh, mom had a few questions about conditions here. All the missionaries have power here and most of the locals do too. Most cook over fires though and use the power just for light and night and fans to cool down their houses. There are a few televisions here too. Women do wear the scatos but they are called urohs here (urohs is single not plural even though it has the s at the end). Some women wear jeans or pants though. It is more American here than Chuuk.
Well, I hope you are doing well. Thanks for all you do for me. I love you both tons!
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Takai Dundun

This picture was taken when Kevin was on Romannum in Chuuk. We have not received any pictures from him since he moved to Pohnpei. His letter this week has promised that he will send us pictures from Pohnpei next week.

July 18, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
Well, another week has gone by already. Today is the first day of the new transfer here. We will be getting transfer calls on Wednesday night which is exciting. We are expecting changes in the zone and possibly I may be getting a new companion. It isn't sure yet though. All will be clear on that soon. This last week slowed down for us a bit which was nice. We had an exchange with some of the elders which was fun. I went with Elder Schuster and Elder Crapo for a day and a half. They are both good guys. Elder Crapo is a greenie and Elder Schuster is his official trainer. They are in a three some with Elder Parker right now because his companion hasn't showed up yet. He got injured in the MTC and had to get some corrective surgery. We have no idea when we will expect him. Hopefully soon. Elder Parker is starting his last transfer and really really wants to train.
So news from this last week in terms of the work: We are meeting a lot of good people right now who have some really good interest in the church. Selerihna is doing great and she has a couple daughters who we have started teaching. They hopefully will be baptized in August sometime. We also are teaching a couple people who know perfect english right now. They are Pohnpeian by blood but American by culture it seems. They have a much better understanding of things than most people we meet and they really want to learn. We have been meeting them for a while and they have been reading and praying and everything. Teaching them in English has been a lot of fun. It is a lot different than in Pohnpeian. Other than them we have some good people who have real good potential.
Today we had a fun zone activity. We hiked up to a mountain down on the Southern side of the island. It is called Takai Dundun which translated means: The rock of the little boys genitals.....hahahah. Ya I get a kick out of that too. The view from the top was neat. We could see over about half the island and out into the ocean. I got some cool pictures. Speaking of pictures, I'm going to try to send off the camera chip next week to you. We don't have time to do it today but I'll do it for sure next week.
Your trip to Alaska sounds like it will be a blast. I am jealous. You should have a lot of fun. Get some salmon vacuum packed for me.. haha jk.
Everything else sounds like it is going well back home. I got a package from Shaun, Grandpa Duane and Grandma Jenny today. I also got a package from Grandpa Bob and Grandma Helen today too! I'm going to send them letters next week to thank them and tell them how everything is going.
So you said that you keep track of my flights and everything. I guess I can tell you my next one. We are going to be heading to Guam again on Aug. 7 and will come back the 9th. I am looking forward to the meeting but not the travel. That whole week is going to be crazy. We get back on the 9th and have to take care of at least elders coming from Chuuk. On the 10th President will come with 2 elders from Kosrae and we will have our zone conference here. On the 11th we start a leadership training which will last 4 whole days. We will have to take care of housing and food for all the Chuuk and Kosrae leadership who will be in attendance. That whole week is going to be nuts.
Well, we need to get going back to our area now. We are going to go see the people who know good english. I hope you are both still doing great. Thank you so much for all you do for me.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Monday, July 12, 2010

Back in Pohnpei

July 12, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
It sounds like your trip to Utah was a blast. I didn't get to see the video clip of the off road vehicle going through the creek. Downloading is hard here so I can't get it. I can imagine though what it must have been like.
So much has happened this last week. I feel as if I have started a new mission. I'll get into details in a little bit later. I'll just write about everything as it came in the week.
Tuesday we met President and Sister Dowdle at the airport and arranged for everyone to have their interviews with him. The were only 10 minutes a piece this time. In the past interviews were about 20-30 minutes. The shorter time was much less enjoyable but I'll explain why later. My interview was really good despite the shorter time. I actually had mine on Wednesday after our zone conference which is what he usually does with the zone leaders. We didn't talk about a whole lot but it was still a good uplifting time with President.
Zone conference on Wednesday went really well. Our training was good and we tried to keep it a discussion as much as possible. That is the best when everyone gets to throw in insights and experiences to support what we are talking about and learning. President gave a really good training on doing work with members. We have been doing really well with that here on Pohnpei but can get a little better still. There is always room for improvement. The whole zone is doing well right now. We had 5 baptisms last week. 4 from Kitti and then Selerihna. She got baptized on Wed after our zone conference. We met her last Monday night and we decided to try to push her baptism up to Wed so she wouldn't have to wait. It was really hectic planning for a baptism while also preparing the zone conference and taking care of everything with President and Sister Dowdle coming in. The branch was a huge help though and everything went well. Selerihna got baptized Wed night by Elder Larson and on Sunday she received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The branch took care of that. They were a huge help and a huge support for Selerihna the whole time.
On Thurs. we got packed up in the morning and left for Guam. We flew out with President and Sister Dowdle. The zone leader from Kosrae was on the same flight heading to Guam as well. His name is Elder Wilson. He is a great guy. The three of us were the only ones who had to go to Guam early. The Chuuk elders and everyone else got on the good flights. We spent two extra days on Guam not doing much. We tracted around a little bit with the assistants in their areas but not much really happened. I ran into the first white guy I have ever really talked to about the gospel. He was deep rooted Catholic and didn't want much to do with us. We talked briefly and he condemned us pretty hard. He tried to talk about doctrine from his church that he believes. The whole experience was weird. So far I am 0-1 on talking to white people.
After the couple extra days all the other Elders came in and we all went mini golfing at one of the hotels. It was a lot of fun. I did pretty good but didn't win. I got close though. The next day was Sunday and we went to church in the Barrigada branch. It was crazy to have church in english again. I went to the Chuukese Sunday School class for fun and loved it but the other meetings were in English. I really liked it.
After church we started the zone leader council and our worlds got rocked. The brethren have put a new curriculum into effect world wide in missionary work. It is a new training schedule and new things to train on. It sounds like a great program but is intimidating. Here is a brief summary:
Zone conferences will only happen quarterly now with interviews being once a quarter as well. They will only be 10 minutes unless a missionary needs longer.
Zone leader council will happen the first week of every month on Guam for now on (I go again on Aug 7)
Leadership training meetings will happen every other month and all the zone leaders, district leaders, and trainers will go to that. The first one will be right after zone leader council next month and will last 4 whole days. (I'm not too excited about that) It will happen here on Pohnpei as well as a few other places throughout the mission. The Elders from Chuuk and Kosrae will come to that here with us. The other zones will be split up amongst the other two areas.
Specialized training will happen about once a quarter as well. President and Sister Dowdle will come working with us out in the field. I am excited for that. It is like an exchange with President Dowdle. I assume that as a zone leader I will get to spend a lot of time with him working. It will be a good opportunity to learn a lot.
That is a brief summary of what will be going on with the new schedule. It is crazy and the whole second week of August we will be in Guam and hosting our own zone conference here immediately followed by the leadership training. It is a bit of a daunting task. I am looking forward to it though.
Today we got back from Guam and things were still really crazy. We had to wake up at like 5:00 am to catch the plane and we got to Pohnpei about 1:00 pm. As soon as we got back we had to run around and do errands for the other elders. We really didn't even have much of a p-day. In a few hours we will be starting an exchange with the Nett elders. I'll go with Elder Schuster and his greenie Elder Crapo. Elder Parker and Elder Larson will work together until tomorrow night. There is no rest really. I am so exhausted right now and need to catch up on sleep but there just isn't any time. Everything will be well though.
While I was on Guam I got to see Elder Krause again. I love that guy so much. He is such a stud. We had so much fun talking together about everything from Chuuk. He is in the office right now for some medical reasons but after a few transfers there he should be able to go back out to Chuuk. He is excited for that.
Well, that is all I really have time for today. I wish I could write more but we have a lot more to do today and no time to do it. I hope you two are still doing great. Thank you for everything that you do for me. I love you both! Take care.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Christmas in July

This video clip arrived quite a bit after Christmas, but it is fun to hear the missionaries singing in Chuukese.

It's a Small World

July 4, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
I don't know exactly where to begin with this last week. I left you with a promising feeling of the work here recently but this last week it seemed to take a couple hard turns. It happens all the time in missionary work though so nothing too shocking. Selerihna was not able to get baptized yet. She had a little setback but the plan was set again for this upcoming Friday. That may or may not happen though. I'll explain in a minute. Selerihna is doing well though. She picked herself back up really well I am impressed and also happy that she learned the lesson she did about picking herself back up and pushing forward. She will be a lot stronger for what she has learned now.
We had a crazy experience the other night while finding people. We came up to a house and outside was an older looking couple. After talking to them a few minutes we found out they came from the states about three weeks before. They have a lot of children and other family there that they visited. They were gone for 7 years and would stay with someone for a while then move on to the next. They would also get jobs while all of that was going on. They lived in Hawaii, North and South Carolina, California, Utah, and....RENO! They lived in Reno for a year in Sparks it sounded like. They didn't know for sure but she did say that she worked at Fitzgerald's casino and after it went bankrupt went to Club Calneva. They got baptized in the church while living in Hawaii and were members for the rest of their time. They told me all about the Bishops of Reno and Utah they met. It is such a small world. They are living with some family here though that we taught and there is a man there who is possibly the most prepared person I have ever met on my mission. He has great questions and feels like the Lord has put everything together for us seeing him. It is my belief that he will be baptized in the near future. Probably within about 2 months. We have cycled through a lot of other investigators lately. We met those people when we were getting a little down emotionally about everything. Almost all of our appointments from Monday to Friday seemed to just fall through and nobody was home for us to meet with us. It was rough. Things may be getting better though.
Last night we got some news that is not the greatest. We were going to go to Guam on Saturday for zone leader council so we made appointments on other days and had Selerihna's baptism planned but while calling Guam to give them our numbers we found out that we will be leaving on Thursday instead. The plane on Saturday was full so now we have to leave Thursday and will come back the next Monday. That takes a big chunk out of our schedule and may disrupt Selerihna's baptism. We are going to tell her tonight and see if she will be fine with the branch just taking care of everything. I hope so. If not we will have to push it back until next week. Keep your fingers crossed.
Tomorrow President Dowdle will fly in for zone conference. Tomorrow all the other missionaries will have their interviews and we will have a little time to talk with President. Then on Wednesday we will have our zone conference. I am nervous about having to give a training. We are training on chapter 4 in Preach My Gospel which is all about the Spirit. We have some good stuff planned that will be a lot of fun but it really depends on how much of a discussion the zone will turn it into. Discussion is what helps make zone conference great.
My exchange with Elder Standage was a lot of fun. I really don't have too much to say about it. We had fun and taught some people. Just typical missionary stuff. haha.
Oh I sent off my eye exam papers for the driver's license last week. Let me know if you got that. I may need a license here soon. Everything should be ready on it.
It sounds like your trip in Utah has been fun. You make with jealous with all the golfing going on. It sounds like Dad may need to put the driver in the bag though. haha jk. Just wait until I come home then I'll give you the perfect example of how not to hit a driver.
I'm sorry to hear that everything with Uncle Roland is going rough. I still keep him in my prayers.
Well, I guess that covers my week. I hope that the rest of your trip in Utah is fun. Thank you for everything that you do for me.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

p.s. Tell everyone else I say hi and give them all my love.