Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hanging Out Chuukese Style

No word from Elder South recently. I am posting a video that was taken about a year ago in Chuuk.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Banging on Tins at Midnight

The above picture was taken in the Chuuk zone on the island of Tonoas early on in Kevin's mission. Kevin mentions loving "someone's guts" in this letter. It is an expression many of the missionaries seem to pick up. It must be an expression used in Chuuk.
January 5, 2011
Dear Mom and Dad,
I seem to have failed too many times to get you a camera chip. I left my chip out in Sapuk on accident and I am at the zone leader's apartment. I'll get it ready to go and give it to them after our district meeting on Thursday. It has some really good pictures of Christmas and New Years.
New Years and Christmas is all over now. New Years was a blast again. On the 31st we had our branch party. We got started a little later in the evening and had some music going. When it got dark and we had some dancing going on and just hung out. The only sad part was that right at midnight the power went out and stayed out. We had empty tins and banged them around and chanted, but that is entertaining for only so long.
On the 1st work was rough. Members did not want us to go out because of all the drunk people. We finally got to go and sure enough we ran into a bunch of drunks. They cursed at us and tried to fight us. We walked away and then went back to the church. We couldn't do anything really so we went back to the church to celebrate New Years with all the members. That night the Michitiw elders joined us and we played music really loud. A bunch of the locals came by and danced around with us. At midnight we stopped partying because it was Sunday. The next morning church was okay. We had 30 people which wasn't much but I figured most people were sleeping because they partied after midnight. That put an end to our new Year's parties.
We just barely had an exchange with the Mechitiw elders. I worked with Elder Butler in Mechitiw. We had a good time together. I really like Elder Butler. He is in the marines and took a leave to come out on his mission. He is a super stud and I love his guts.
Work has been going alright in Sapuk. I've got a goal of getting four people baptized before the end of my mission. There are four people that are all on baptismal dates right now. 2 are Ande's family. It's his son named Hanson and Hanson's wife, Jereen. They are such awesome people. I really think they can get baptized soon. He has a calling in the Protestant church, but came to church on Sunday. The other baptism is for an 18 year old named Jess. He is like a best friend to Elder Fisher and me. The last one is a guy named Bacardi. He is a great guy who is working really hard to change his life. He kicked all his word of wisdom problem cold turkey on the first. He can get baptized pretty soon. If those four people get baptized I will feel pretty happy about the end of my mission.
Well, nothing else is really going on here. Elder Fisher and I are doing great. I am thinking I will be with him for another transfer.
I haven't heard from you in a while, but I figure it is just the Christmas rush at the post office still. Hopefully next week I will hear from you. I Hope you're doing well and I hope I hear from you soon!
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Few Challenges and Some Divine Intervention

The above picture was taken in March 2010 in Chuuk.

A little note on this letter in the top margin says Hi From Elder Robertson and a little smiley face.
December 27, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
I almost forgot to write you this week. Since I talked to you yesterday and today was the branch Christmas party I felt like I had already written you. It's already 6:30 PM and we're at the Duncan's abandoned apartment. The Petersons are making us a belated Christmas dinner. The outer island missionaries couldn't come in until today and the Peterson's wanted to feed all the missionaries so we had it today.
Well, I don't have much to say since we just talked but I will tell you what happened these last couple of days. So on Sunday we had a run of bad luck. We tried to go back to Sapuk around 8:30 AM so we could get everything ready for church but when we were backing out onto the main road we ran over something and the back tire was flat. We didn't have any spare, the zone leader's phone was off, it was pouring rain and church was going to start at 10AM. We did the only thing we could. We started to walk. I think it is about 4 miles. We got soaked to the bone. We tried to hitchhike but it took a long time. Finally some saint let us get on the back of his flatbed truck and took us within a half mile of the church. We were so grateful for his help. We got home around 9:15. I had time to shower and clean up before church. Church started and only one of the 4 people I asked to speak was there so I had to speak about 30 minutes. I felt like it went good though. All in all we had a good showing at church and we had all the other meetings as well. It was a crazy day, but it increased my testimony that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. We probably wouldn't have made it home if it wasn't for his divine intervention.
Today was the branch Christmas party. We woke up and started getting everything ready for it. We barbecued a bunch of chicken and hot dogs and then got started. We had a secret Santa exchange and then ate the food. When we finished we played around and relaxed. After that I threw out candy to the masses. You'll understand when you watch the video. We played more games and hung out. A few of the games are on the video I will send you soon. When it was all done we came here to the Petersons. The party was good and on Friday we are going to have another one for New Years. Last year's was crazy and awesome and I'm sure this one will be too.
That about covers the last few days. It was really good talking to both of you again. I wish we had been able to talk a little longer, but in a few months we won't have to worry about it at all. Thank you for everything you do! I love you!
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Have a Love for Learning Chuukese

This picture was taken when Kevin visited the Sapuk lighthouse early on in his mission.
December 20, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
So, I'm writing this letter up on the lighthouse in Sapuk. You saw pictures of it a long time ago. We took picture so soon you will have pictures of the lighthouse with a whole new gang of missionaries.
I'm actually going to be calling you in a few days to set up our Christmas phone call. I am so excited to talk to you again. In all honesty, it doesn't feel like Christmas at all yet. It is always about 90 degrees so I am stuck in June. I got the Christmas packages you sent. Thank you so much for those. Thank you also for sending out the boxes of candy for the branch. I know they are going to like it. They are all excited for Christmas.
We have been getting ready for the Christmas party lately out in Sapuk. It is going to be on the 27th because that will be our zone p-day. All the missionaries will come to the party. We are going to have volleyball, music and a LOT of food.
Work in Sapuk has been getting better. We are working with a couple of really good people. The baptisms we had scheduled soon did not happen. We should have a couple in January. Two guys we are working with are big studs. I have really liked working with them and they are awesome. Other than that work is still just going forward bit by bit. My branch president responsibilities take up a bit of my time, but it is still okay. We manage to get work done. Teaching by myself is a much different change of pace. My whole mission has mostly been working with people who know the language so it is a lot different. I kind of like it though to be honest. I feel like my teaching is pretty good now compared to where it used to before. There really isn't a language barrier at all any more so any idea I want to convey or question I want to ask is possible. Some things are a bit rough to be able to get across sometimes but I can struggle my way through it usually. Those are rare though. It is usually dealing with stuff that is just super new to them like some doctrinal concepts. It is amazing to see how people think and comprehend things when they spend their whole lives on small islands and don't get a good education. My Chuukese language abilities have already caught up to and probably surpassed where I was before I went to Pohnpei. We always have some of the locals around with us so I can ask them questions and I get to know how they speak in just hang out settings and when they tell stories. I really have a love for learning this language. The dictionaries you sent are a huge help. They have so much good stuff in them.
Elder Fisher is doing well. I remember what it was like to come out straight from the states and it was a huge culture shock. He is adjusting well. I think he may be my final companion.
Well, I'll be talking to you both in a couple of days so I don't have much more to say now. Thank you again for all the stuff you sent out. I am really looking forward to talking to you soon. Take care.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Best Christmas Present

This is a short video that Kevin sent us last year (2009) from a church Christmas party. I believe the party was at one of the chapels on Weno, the island he is currently serving on.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

About 6 Hours of Power a Day

This picture was taken at a branch Christmas party in Chuuk in 2009.

December 13, 2010
Dear Mom and Dad,
I received several Christmas packages from you today. Thank you so much for all that stuff. I saw the note and so I got to open the present with the dictionaries! They are exactly what I was looking for. Thank you! I was not expecting as many presents! I don't know what they are, but will get as much use out of them as I can in the next three months and then leave what I don't need any more here. By the time you get this letter I may have already opened them and talked to you for the last time of my mission. Mom mentioned in a letter that you know I'll get home on March 18. I just got my flight itinerary last week and it told me that too. My flight will go to Japan and then Seattle and then Reno. I should get home in the afternoon/evening. I don't want to dwell on that long right now though.
So I am sad that BYU lost to Utah this year. I am at least glad that BYU put up a really good fight. Next year we should beat them good at home. I have a few questions about stuff with football. Is Jake Heaps going on a mission? What is the schedule like for next year? I am also happy that BYU basketball is doing so well. I should get in a few games at the end of the season I think, but I am not entirely sure.
So things in Sapuk are picking up a bit. We have some really good investigators we are working with and the branch is doing alright. I guess I haven't told you a ton about the branch yet so here goes. There are about 111 members on record right now. We usually get around mid 30s for Sacrament meeting. We have 4 active Melchizelek Priesthood holders and that makes 6 if you count the missionaries. Most people who attend church are older. The primary is pretty small. We have our own branch building with a small basketball court next to it. Our house is right next to the church. As for our house, no we do not have to take bucket showers but it would probably be better if we did! Our shower barely trickles any water so it seems pretty ineffective. We do have a fridge and a working oven. We have not used the oven yet. We have a propane stove which we have been doing our cooking on. There is no microwave. I like the house and everything is great. If I had any complaints it would be that the power is terrible. We have about six hours of power a day. At night we use the flashlights and my camping light to do anything. It isn't too bad.
So in other exciting news this week, I gave Papa Ande the Melchizdek Priesthood. He is doing a really good job in the branch and his family.
My responsibilities as branch president are going pretty good. I am doing tithing settlements right now and have been doing what I can to help the members do what they need to do. Being on the branch president side of things has given me different perspective of the branch. I have worked really hard to be extremely patient and loving in everything I do. Things have been hard out there sometimes and I try to say a prayer, be nice, and be as happy as possible. I understand much more now that the church is perfect, but members aren't, including me. Well, especially me. Christmas is coming up and we are going to have a party for it. I also want to have one for New Years. It will be a blast.
The zone here is doing really well. They are all really young except for Elder Krause and me. They are all studs though with how hard they work to learn the language and help people. I love the zone already.
You asked if I miss Pohnpei at all and I do a bit. I love both Pohnpei and Chuuk. They are so different and both are great. I am still waiting to hear if the people we were working with in Palikir got baptized. There were 5 who were really good and 4 who were super set. One just had a couple things to overcome first. I may get the chance to go back in January to go back for a four day leadership training. It just isn't set yet. I would love to go back and see the members there but at the same time I don't want the work to stop here in Sapuk for that whole time. It always takes a while to pick back up after things like that.
Well that is all the news this week. Thank you so much for everything you sent out. Thank you for being awesome parents. I am looking forward to talking to you soon for Christmas.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South