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

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