Sunday, October 17, 2010
This week Rocked on Pohnpei
Dear Mom and Dad,
It is always so good to hear from you both. It sounds like things back home are going really well. Before I get into my awesome week here I'll respond a bit to your letters. I am glad that you both got a relaxing weekend at home. I'm sure that was a nice change. That is great that Jaxson and Kolby are doing so well now and that Jaxson can even point me out. I am excited to see that on video. The big test will come in a few months I guess when I actually get to see him. Tell me how Grandpa Duane is doing now. I really want to hear that he is doing well. I continually pray for him. I really liked the comments that dad made about some of the articles he read and also the talk that he gave. I don't know how soon I will pick up that article about return missionary life though. That kind of stuff scares me now. I'll definitely pick it up when I'm home.
Ok so on to my week now! This week rocked here on Pohnpei. We had the open house, dedication, baptisms all over the place, and met with a general authority. I'll start with the baptisms since that was the best part of the weekend. Synthia, Donna, and Love all got baptized this weekend at the Sapwalap open house. We were worried about them all being ready for this weekend but they were. The open house ended at 4:00 and then at 5:00 we had the baptismal service. They were part of the first group to be baptized in the new chapel. It was an awesome experience. I got to baptize Donna and Synthia. President Ongesel (Branch President in Palikir) baptized Love. Elder Stevenson and both President and Sister Dowdle were all there for the service and got to see it. I am so glad that they all were baptized. We helped unite two more families in the gospel. They are all studs and the branch is excited to have them there. Those three weren't the only ones to get baptized at the open house either. Kitti had five people get baptized. 3 of which were a family that I got to work with for a while down there. The sisters in the Uh area also had a baptism. There were 9 here in one weekend! That is huge! There will be more coming up too. In total there were 14 people who got baptized on Saturday. 5 were child of record baptisms in the Sapwalap branch. The work is going really well here and we have some more people who should get baptized soon. We found a part member family with a wife and two children who aren't yet baptized. The wife and one child accepted a baptismal date for the 6th of November. The other child wasn't in the lesson but will be there next time so we'll offer the same invitation. That will be yet another family that will be united in the gospel.
So you probably have figured out by the way I have been writing that I did not get transferred. I am still in Palikir with Elder Brandenburg. This will be our third together. I am excited to still be in Palikir and am looking forward to all the work that we will get to do. There are 5 more people that I want to be baptized before the end of next transfer. I hope they will all make it and I will get to see that happen. Nothing too big happened here for transfers. Elder Standage went to Guam already and we had a new elder named Elder Corn come in on Friday. Elder Donakey is training him in Kitti. He is a great guy too. Sister Howard left for Guam late last night and we had a new sister missionary come. She had served on Pohnpei before so she is here for the second time. Next transfer will be an interesting one here on the island. I don't know if I will get the chance to stay in Palikir again. It is hard to say where I think I would go if I do get transferred. I'll just have to see what the Lord wants me to do.
Elder Stevenson came in on Friday with President and Sister Dowdle. We had an awesome chance to have a missionary meeting with him. He talked about some great things and focused on the simple doctrines. He told us about his experience going to Salt Lake City for General Conference when he had the meeting in the upper room of the temple with all the General Authorities. He said the First Presidency always teaches them about the first principles and ordinances of the gospel so he wanted to do the same for us. Those are the most important and we shouldn't look beyond the mark and focus on stuff that isn't as important. I know it is important to master the basics in life so it was a good meeting. He basically taught us the message of the Restoration of the Gospel over a two hour period. I learned a lot and got a lot of good ideas in how to teach. He used me for an example with golf. I got up and briefly taught people the basic mechanics of a golf swing. Then someone (Sister Howard) who had never golfed before got up and tried to repeat back everything and do the swing I just taught. It was a disaster. He asked how I learned to swing and I said with a lot of practice and hard work. He used it to show that missionaries learn how to teach effectively over time and that it takes a lot of practice before it is natural. He made a lot of really nice comments to me on how he thought I was good teacher and was doing good work here. Last night when we were at the airport with them he compimented Elder Brandenburg and I on all the good stuff going on in the zone here. It was really nice getting to hear all that good stuff from a general authority. President Dowdle also made a lot of really nice comments.
On Saturday we had the open house in Sapwalap and it was a blast. There was dancing and singing and everyone had a great time. I got a lot of the cool cultural stuff on camera for you to see. There is an awesome Pingalapese stick dance that stole the show. It is the kind you would expect to see at the Polynesian Cultural center. I want to make a Micronesian Cultural Center some day. haha. The open house was from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It was really long but good. A lot of people got to learn a lot more about the church and I even talked to a man who lived in Reno for about a year. He was a really nice guy and was open to some things but didn't seem too interested. He doesn't live in my area but if he did I would go see him and talk to him about everything. After the open house we had the baptismal service and then went back home. We got back around 8:15 p.m. and hadn't eaten dinner so that ended our day.
The next day was Sunday and church was really good. We had 4 investigators there and Synthia, Donna, and Love all were confirmed. Elder Brandenburg confirmed Donna and President Ongesel confirmed Synthia and Love. It was really good for all of them. As soon as church was over we went to the Sapwalap chapel for the dedication. The drive over there is painful. It takes an hour from our house on windy pot-hole filled roads. I don't want to make that drive again for a long time. The dedication was great and there were a lot of people there for it. I really felt the Spirit during it. When the dedication was over we had time for pictures with everyone and got to talk to people for a while. It was a great time.
Late last night we went to the airport to help Sister Howard. Her plane left at 1:30 am. President Dowdle and Elder Stevenson were on that plane as well. They went to Chuuk and Sister Howard continued on to Guam. We have to be there to pay the departure fee for Sister Howard and make sure everything is ok. We had a few minutes to talk to President and Elder Stevenson which was fun. We got home around 12:30 and then got to bed. I am really tired today since I didn't get as much sleep as I normally do. Life goes on though. It was good being able to talk to President and help Sister Howard.
That covers my awesome week here. I'll send pictures of it all home soon. I have the two camera chips and I'll send one home this week. All the pictures are scattered on the two chips and I am going to keep one for a little bit longer because I wanted to show Elder T. the pictures of the Pingalapese stick dance. He will be coming for a tour at the end of this month. I am excited to get to talk to him and see him then.
Well, I hope you two are both still doing good. Thank you so much for all that you do for me.
Elder Kevin South