Monday, September 27, 2010

Truckin' Along in Pohnpei

Dear Mom and Dad,
I am sorry to hear that your weekend was so rough. It sounds like things just went wrong in every way possible. I am especially sad that Grandma Jenny is going to have bragging rights over BYU.
Well, my week here in Palikir was really good. We had a baptism this week. Logan (J.R.) got baptized on Saturday and everything went really well. He is 13 years old and is the first from his family to be baptized. We are working with his older brother and his mother and they will both be baptized too. They will possible be baptized in October and will definitely be baptized by December. This week we have two more baptisms scheduled for Selerihna's two daughters. They are doing alright but tonight will be the big deciding factor if it will happen this weekend. They were not doing a very good job at reading and weren't showing the greatest desire. I think they just didn't understand so much what we are trying to help them receive though. They both came to church and the one who had word of wisdom problems is clean now. It really is just the attitude towards everything that needs adjustment. We had a really good lesson last night though and I explained the difference between the gift of the Holy Ghost and the power of the Holy Ghost. As we talked about how we are trying to help them receive the gift of the Holy Ghost we saw a big change. They seemed to understand why we are here to teach them and why it is so important to be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. The hard part about the baptisms happening this week is that we are leaving for Guam on Saturday and will come back on Monday. If they happen we will have them on Friday and the branch will take over the confirmations on Sunday. That is how we did it with Selerihna though so it will be fine. It is really just up to the two girls if they will be ready or not.
Apart from that stuff I really don't have much exciting news. We haven't heard much about transfers yet. They happen in two weeks and I am excited to see what is going to happen. It is going to be a big one. All the zone leaders on the east side of the mission go home and one of the assistants. Things are getting crazy here. I am afraid that I might get transferred but it is a 50/50 right now. If I do get transferred I will probably leave this island. I may find out by next week since we will be on Guam.
Oh, I almost forgot. We got a new truck this week. It is a Ford Sportrac. It is brand new. We picked it up on Wednesday and get to drive it around now. The old one is going to be sold. I like the new one for some reasons but like the old one for some too. The thing I really have a hard time with now though is the smell. I really do not like the new car smell at all. It makes me car sick. We manage though. We spray it with air freshener almost every time we get in.
Well, that is everything from this week. I'll send my camera chip soon and can't wait to see the one you are sending me. Probably next week.
I love you both so much. Have a good week.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Harvest Time

The picture below is a Pohnpeian Stove. In the following letter Kevin shares that people in Pohnpei make "neat" things to fulfill their needs.

Dear Mom and Dad,
Well, another week has gone by now and it was a great one. Yesterday we had 9 investigators attend church. That is the most I have had there since I got transferred to Palikir. JR did not get baptized last week but he came to church yesterday so it will happen this Saturday. He is so ready for it now. He just needs to hear a couple more principles and commandments and then he is set. Our other investigators are doing well too. Selerihna's daughters, Donna and Synthia, both came to church and are doing well. They should be baptized on the 2nd of October and then we have another 12 year old girl who is in a part member family set for Oct. 9th. She is Morchlokese so I get to teach her and her family in Chuukese. It is a lot of fun over at their house. I am excited for the rush of baptisms coming in now. There is a lot of good stuff going on in our area. There are some other people we have been doing a lot of work with who are really good investigators too. Dad asked about the possibility of me being transferred and it seems to be about a 50/50 now. I really hope that I get one more in Palikir though because I want to be here for the harvest. I have been working hard here and have really come to love all the people we see.
Before I forget as I have many weeks in a row now, Can I please get pictures of the baptisms that were sent home on the last camera chip? People have been asking for some and I keep spacing it. Thank you in advance. Oh, and about that picture with the wooden contraption on the tree, that is a Pohnpeian stove. They cook all their food on it. There are some really neat things they are able to put together here. I will take more pictures of some as I see them for you to see. JR's family has a cool one that is in the basin of a wheel barrel.
This week we had the leadership training here on Pohnpei and it was really good. We talked about the Doctrine of Christ again and at first I was disappointed because I had been trained on it about three times before. It was sooooo good though. I am glad that was the topic. I needed to hear it again because I had stopped focusing on the Doctrine of Christ as much as I should. It is the basis of EVERYTHING we do out here and if I'm not focused on it then I am not fulfilling my calling. It gave me a renewed urgency to help people work towards baptism and confirmation. The days before and after the leadership training were crazy here. We had to take around 9 extra elders and also help President Dowdle get around island so he could work with a couple of the companionships here. We drove so much. In one day we drove over 100 miles which on an island that has only a 49 mile circumference is a lot. We started about 8:00am and didn't finish until about 3:30pm.
So I am sad to hear that BYU lost again. That really stinks. I hope they pound UNR though. I still bleed blue!
As for some of mom's questions: Pohnpeian is not a written language. They have a Bible, a poorly translated Book of Mormon and a few other religious materials from various churches and peace corps. type organizations. It is only a spoken language which presents the challenges in learning it. The kids do go to school but it is not mandatory. Most do though because they know they need it. School is taught in English which is required by law. The kids do not really know any English though. I think the teachers are too lazy to teach in English so they just do it in Pohnpeian.
Well, that is all I have got for this week. I hope you both have an awesome week. I love you tons!
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Monday, September 13, 2010

One Dream in Three Languages

Dear Mom and Dad,
Another good week has gone by here on Pohnpei. Last week we had almost the whole time to work and meet with people. That has been a rare treat since I came to Palikir. The work is going really well right now with a couple baptisms coming up soon. We are working with a boy named JR who lives right below the church. He is 13 years old and has been coming to church and other activities for a while. His parents are not members but really like that he is involved with the church and want him to be baptized. He was scheduled for this Saturday but did not come to church so we are going to give him another week just to make sure he is ready. The young men were really helpful yesterday though because when Priesthood started I asked if we could all go down to his house and see how he was. We had like 8 young men with the young men president and Brother Patrick Gallen (counselor in the young men presidency) all go down with us. JR was really shocked to see us all there but it was great. Brother Gallen told him how much we love him and missed him at church. He is such a stud that way. Next week JR said he will come to church so on the 25th he should be good for baptism. We have other good investigators right now that we are working with too that hopefully get baptized sometime in October.
The zone is having a lot of baptisms coming soon. We had two this week and both are studs. There should be more to follow. Our September goal of 22 is daunting though. We have to average seven a week from here if we want to make it. That is a lot of baptisms!
Pesident Dowdle will be coming for a leadership training this week along with two elders from Kosrae, 5 from Chuuk, and the 2 assistants. This time the training will only be a one day thing which will be really nice.
As for school, I would really like to start right away and go to Utah in April. When things get closer we can work out schedule and other things. I imagine that pretty soon I will receive permission from President Dowdle to get on and start looking for classes and such.
I am sad to hear that BYU lost to Airforce. I always love pounding those guys. It must have been a really sad day. We'll dominate them next year though. It sounds like this year is a bit of a rebuilding year since we are so young and lost a bunch of stars. That will be good though because when we start our independent season we will be ready to rock.
So I kind of laughed when dad asked if I am fluent in Pohnpeian and if I have dreams in it ever or if they are still in Chuukese. Last night I had a dream with what started off as a conversation in Pohnpeian with some people that turned to Chuukese and then English. haha it was a fun dream. I would say I am almost fluent in Pohnpeian now. I still have a lot to learn and work on but I can communicate pretty much whatever I want to now. I don't think I know Pohnpeian yet as good as I knew Chuukese when I got transferred out of Chuuk. I still have a long time to go here in Pohnpei though probably.
I was happy to hear that Grandpa Duane is showing progress. As always he is in my prayers. I hope that everything goes well with Aspen. It sounds like a bad accident and she is also in my prayers.
Mom mentioned that my birthday is coming up soon and to think of stuff that I may need. I don't think I need anything though. You can just save the money and put it to something else. I will be home not long after both my birthday and Christmas so I don't need anything out here really. I have all I need. Thanks for the offer though.
Well, that's about all for this week. I hope you are both still doing great. I love you both!
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Missionary Hard at Work

September 5, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
We just got back from Guam a couple hours ago. Guam was fun. We found out last Thursday that we were going. We left on Saturday morning and did the same routine as last month. The zone leader council was really good as always. I love getting the training from President Dowdle. It was such a good training on the Spirit and how it works to help us. I am super excited to teach about it in the future. This last week was transfers so there was a new zone leader there from Saipan. It was Elder Shuler. It was awesome getting to see him there. He goes home next transfer which is sad but I will get to see him again on Oct 2 when we go back again. There will be a pretty big group who goes home then. The mission is going to take a pretty big hit. With this transfer we even took a big hit. Elder Parker and Elder Sandvik left for home. I miss them both already. The zone just isn't the same. There are two new elders who rode on the plane with us today. One is from Alaska and the other from Logan Utah. They are both good guys. Elder Standage and Elder Cook are training them. Right now there are 10 elders in our zone and we are struggling on language speakers. There are only 4 right now. We have two companionships here who have barely any language experience. The most within them is 2 transfers. The zone here is really young. It is hard but the Lord is the one who has it this way. There were options for people who already know the language to come back from Guam but the Lord made it this way. Things are going to work out good.
It sounds like your trip to Alaska was a blast. I have gotten 5 postcards from you already. They are awesome to see. I can't believe you planned that trip while I was out here though. I feel so cheated! haha jk. It looks amazing up there in Alaska though.
I am glad to hear that BYU won their game and things are going good for them being independent now. I am more happy that we will get to watch their games on ESPN a lot more now. That is awesome news. What ever happened to Boise State? Are they in the MWC now?
The Gallen family is still doing good now. Patrick has taken it pretty well. The wife had a hard time but now she is better. We went over one day and she started talking to us about how she found him and what led up to it. It was kind of awkward to hear from her because she told us in the actually house where he had died. She pointed to the closet and said that was where she found him. I felt so bad for her and didn't know much about what to say. She didn't cry though so I think she is getting a lot better.
We have some really good stuff going on in Pohnpei right now. In Palikir we have 10 people with baptismal dates in September. I am so excited to be helping them and working with them. We have a goal to get 4 of those people baptized. It can happen and I think it will. We have some great families and individuals right now who want to be baptized. As a zone we have a goal for 22 people to be baptized from now until Oct 2. That is huge. I have faith that it can happen.
Well, I hope you are both doing great still. Thank you so much for all you do. I love you tons!!!
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

p.s. In mom's email none of the pictures made it. It may be better to just send hard copies of them because it costs more to receive those in emails. We get charged by how much memory we use on the computers so that consumes a bit. Thanks.
p.p.s. Dad, don't get too comfortable beating the younger guys in golf. That won't be the case for much longer... hahaha jk.