Friday, November 26, 2010

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane.. and Heading Back to Chuuk!

The above picture was taken on Pohnpei. We sent Kevin a big bag of carmel apple lollipops last month and were happy to see him sharing his treats with the locals.

The following letter arrived snail mail.
Dear Mom and Dad,
Ran Annim ami!
Big transfer news! I am going to Chuuk again! I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to go back! Especially to where I will be! My new area is called Sapuk. It is on Weno(Moen) which is the main island. My new assignment 100% intimidates me though. I have been called as the branch president of the Sapuk branch. Sapuk is the only area in the mission that has a missionary as a branch president. The branch is awesome and the plan is to have me be the last missionary branch president.
Sapuk is probably the best area in Chuuk. All the people there are so awesome and the relationship between the missionaries and the branch is great! I will have the same tranquility as I did on the outer islands. It is a walking area. It is the farthest area away from the town as possible. It is like a little heaven out there.
I talked to President Dowdle briefly about my responsibilities and it is pretty much to get the branch ready to hand over to the local members about the time I come home. I am so happy that I get to be an instrument in preparing for this!
I will most likely not be able to e-mail again for the remainder of my mission so it is back to letters. Please don't wait by the computer this week! I hope that isn't disappointing.
Well, that is my big news! I was blown away when I found out. It will be a new experience, but it will be great!
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South
PS I don't have any information on my new companion yet. Also, same mailing address as before when I was in Chuuk.
PPS Cheer extra hard for me when you watch the BYU and U of U game!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nine Baptisms at the Sapwalap Chapel Dedication

In October when the new Sapwalap chapel was dedicated there were 9 baptisms as part of the clebration.

All I Want for Christmas is.......... a Chuukese Dictionary!

November 14, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
This week isn't very rushed so I won't have to cut things short.
So this last week was crazy again here. Work was slow because of meetings but we have a lot of good people we are working with still. There is a part member family who is progressing really well and should get baptized in December. There are three in the family who will be baptized. We have other part member families we are working with too that are doing a lot of really good things. I am super excited for everything they are doing. There are so many people to work with in Palikir. These last two transfers have been so busy. I am going to miss Palikir when I go. That pretty much sums up our work this week. Everything else was just a lot of meetings. We had our leadership training on Tuesday with everyone. It was really good and we learned a lot of great stuff. President Dowdle always gives such awesome trainings. Something about the way he opens up the scriptures just makes it that much more meaningful. On Wednesday we had our zone conference. We gave a short training in it that went well. President's was the main part though that really made it a great experience. He talked about learning by faith and renewed a promise that was given to Pohnpei in 2007 by a general authority. It is up to us to act on it now that we have an assurance. The week overall was crazy because we had so many extra missionaries here. There were 9 extra that came that needed food and transportation and places to stay. We are the only ones with a car that live anywhere close to Kolonia so we had to take them everywhere and do everything for them. It was hectic and stressful but now it's all done so that is nice. On Thursday we had an opportunity to get interviews with President Dowdle. It has been a long time since I have really gotten to talk to him about stuff and had an interview. It was great.
I am glad to hear that Russell is doing well. I am really excited to get to see him again at some point. I really miss him and pray for him often. Tell him I said I love him.
That is really cool that Isaac Olive found someone from Micronesia that he is teaching. In Kansas I expect it will be either a Pohnpeian or Chuukese. There are a lot of them there. Micronesians are mostly focused in Hawaii, Guam, California, Oregon, Kansas, and a few scattered between the Carolinas and Nevada. Most everyone we meet has family between those places. I don't know if you remember but there was a family in our old ward who was from Micronesia. One of the sons went to high school with me and played on the JV team when I was on Varsity. I think that some of his relatives are twins who returned from missions about 5 months ago. I talked with them about it a bit and they said that is most likely their family. I don't know much about them there in Reno though. It could be them or it could be a Chuukese family. They stayed in the South Meadows ward after the split.
You asked about the dog I ate. A recent convert had a dog that kept killing people's chickens so he had to shoot it. He cooked it in the local style oven. He saved a leg for us. It still had the fur on it so we had to take that off and we tasted it. It tasted a little like dark turkey meat.
So no information yet on when to expect me home. I should get the information in a few weeks I suppose but just expect me sometime in March. I will have to work things out with President and do what I can. I'll let you know when I know more.
I have thought about something you could send for Christmas and there is only 1 thing I want. It is a Chuukese dictionary. I have the Pohnpeian one but I would really like a Chuukese one. They don't have a grammar book so don't worry about that at all but there is a dictionary made by a guy named Goodenough (or something close to that) that is really good. He lived on Romonum for something like 60 years. He was part of the peace corps and just fell in love with the place so much that he went and lived there. Elder Kuss knows who he is and remembers him but he was either dead or had moved by the time I got there. He was like the Chuukese master. He spent 60 years figuring out EVERYTHING in that language. The dictionary he made rocks. Other than that though please don't send anything out for Christmas other than like candy. I am fine with everything I have now.
Well, that's about everything. I am glad that you are both doing well. Thank you so much for everything you do. I love you both tons.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

I Love to work with the People

Snail mail sent November 8, 2010

Dear Mom and Dad,
We are coming back from Guam today and I won't have much time to send you an e-mail. When we get back to Pohnpei today the AP's and 5 elders from Chuuk will be there. We are all going to do an activity to build unity. We are going to play football! It is going to be a lot of fun.
So I guess I am 21 years old now. I feel so old... hahaha! Just kidding! I still feel like some punk 18 year old. I'll be a teenager for life! Guam was a lot of fun. We went bowling together and I got the high score out of everybody. I got 104 the first game and a 140 the second game. I only had one strike the whole time which was rough, but during the 2nd game I was the king of spares. It was a blast there with everyone. I set a goal to get a least 120 and I dominated that. My next goal will be 150. Bowling was our activity Saturday night after we got in. On Sunday we went to church at the Barrigada Branch. It was a good experience. I joined the Chuukese class which was a lot of fun. When church was done we went to the mission office and started our council. It was soo long. We started around 1PM and ended at 10:30PM. There was a lot of really good stuff talked about that when implemented right will help the mission a lot. Our mission is super young right now so it needs a lot of help. 60% of our missionaries have only been out since June of this year. 7 more go home this transfer and 10 more are coming in.
This week on Pohnpei we are going to have leadership training. That's why all the extra missionaries are with us. It is only a one day thing that will happen on Tuesday. On Wednesday we are going to have zone conference. We are going to give a short training during it. I am also looking forward to my interview with President Dowdle. Elder Colemere said that he will probably talk about transfers. I have been in Palikir for 4 transfers so I am thinking I may be moved. I have been with Elder Brandenburg for three transfers so something will probably change.
Work in Palikar was rough again this week. We didn't have time for much because of all the other things we had to do. We had a scare with one of the new misssionaries. He felt sick and went to the hospital and they diagnosed him with mumps. The mission puts people with mumps on a strict quarantine with two weeks without going out of the house. we were trying to coordinate how we would be able to work with the investigators in Kitti. It was a lot of stress and planning. The morning we left for Guam we got a call from the missionary asking if he could get a second opinion because all his symptoms had disappeared. The doctors did not really understand it because all his symptoms just sort of went away. I believe it was the answer to a lot of prayers and a priesthood blessing. He is okay now and not on quarantine. That is a huge relief to everyone on the island. Because of that and other things we did not get much work done. I want to end my mission being able to do lots of work with the people. Outer island Chuuk was the best!
So I am sending a camera chip with this letter. It has a lot of videos and stuff. The Pingalese Stick Dance from the open house of the new chapel is super cool. I have another chip with pictures on it that I will send soon. Probably in a couple of weeks. I'll let you now a week in advance so you will be expecting it.
I hope you are both doing well still. Thanks for everything you do for me.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South
PS I got the other birthday box you sent! Thanks for all the cookies and the awesome ties! YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!

Monday, November 8, 2010

30 Extra Days

Dear Mom and Dad,
Well, this is going to be a short email to you. I am sorry that I have had to do that to you a couple times recently. I wrote a hand letter to you on the plane today though to make up for it. Today we got back from Guam which was a blast and had 7 extra elders with us from Guam and Chuuk. We all got together and played a football game. It was a blast.
I did get the second birthday package you sent out to me. Thank you very much for that. I also got Grandma Helen and Grandpa Bob's birthday card as well. I will send them a letter soon. I started it but haven't finished it yet.
I have made arrangements with President Dowdle to stay for 30 extra days on my mission. I don't know why, but I really feel this is the right thing for me to do. I'll find out soon when I will be home. Plan on me coming home in the middle of March.
We have leadership training tomorrow and then zone conference the next day so this will be a good week.
Work this week was rough. We had to help more sick elders and prepare a lot of stuff for this week. This week work will be hurt too. We have some great people that we are working with though and some people will be baptized before the end of the year.
Well, I hope you are both doing great still. I love you both so much.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

P.S. Tell Thomas and Russell I love them when they get to Reno.