Saturday, February 26, 2011

Good-bye, Elder T

A recent picture of Kevin and the three missionaries he went through the Mission Training Center with.
February 7, 2011
Dear Mom and Dad,
This last week has taken me a bit by surprise. Things were a little rough for a lot of reasons. I am glad that I will have more time to be here to see things turn around a bit and get back to good. There were funerals left and right. We also had meetings to go to that kept us busy. One thing that was both a blessing and a curse was that I was able to see Elder T this week. He came to Chuuk for an AP tour. He spent almost a week going around to the different areas and seeing people. We had a great time together and had a lot of fun talking about old times and our missions. The curse was saying good-bye. We saw him off at the airport and that was the last time I will see him as a missionary. One thing we had always talked about was going home together and talking Chuukese the whole way home. Because of my extension we won 't be doing that. Seeing him go and saying good-bye was hard. I miss him already. I'll see him in Utah though.
This week we have our zone conference here. It is the last one and I am excited for it. I will give my testimony and have my last interview before my exit one. I do think that the member branch president will be called and set apart soon. I will enjoy helping him before I have to leave.
I received a letter from dad today and was happy to hear that everything is going well. I was also really happy to hear BYU basketball is doing so well. I hope they beat San Diego in the big game! I am looking forward to watching them in the tournament this year! It would be devastating if I get home the day after they lose and are another one and done. I expect them to make it to the sweet sixteen at least this year. My fingers will be crossed.
I am sorry that I don't have a lot to report on this week. It was a rough week but I guess that is normal with missionary work. I hope both of you are doing well. I love you!
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

It's Weird Thinking I Received My Last Package From You

This picture shows a stove on Pohnpei

January 31, 2011
Dear Mom and Dad,
Good news! Bacardi was baptized this weekend. It was a really good service and the spirit was really strong. A lot of people commented about it. He was baptized by a 19 year old in the branch named Osimiday. He is getting ready to go on a mission. It was awesome to have him baptize someone. He did the confirmation too. The coolest thing happened during the baptismal service. We waded out into the ocean for it. There were a lot of people on the shore. I was in the water because I was a witness. All the people on shore said that as soon as Osimiday raised his arm to the square two white birds flew over us in the air. When we got back on shore everyone was talking about how cool it was and that it was just like Christ's baptism. I thought about what Joseph Smith said about that. He said that the dove is assign from the Holy Ghost that the work has been accepted. I explained that to the congregation on Sunday prior to the confirmation.
This week at church we had a meeting high for attendance since I have been in Sapuk. We had 38 people there and also 5 investigators too. Things have been going really well in the branch and things are going to get even better. A lot of good stuff is going on and a lot of locals are starting to notice it. The church in Sapuk has grown a lot the last two years and it is going to go a lot faster here soon.
So I am glad that BYU has been doing well in basketball still. I hope I will get to see some games after I get home. What does the schedule look like? I can't imagine them being a one and done tram this year. We can only hope though I guess.
I have had a chance to listen to the tape you sent and see the pictures you sent. Everyone looks and sounds great. I was so happy to see Russ with the family. Make sure he is around when I get home.
I got the last two packages that you sent today. Thank you for sending those to me. It was weird having you write that these are the last ones you are sending. It makes me feel old or something.
I hope you are both still doing well. I love you both!
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Scenes From Sapuk

No news from Elder South this week. The two pictures above were taken by Elder Fisher, Kevin's companion. we liked them so much we thought we should share them! We are looking forward to Kevin arriving home in less than 4 weeks!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A View of Kevin's World

No new letters from Sapuk this week, but we enjoyed last week's letter so much we can't complain!
This picture is a sunset view from Kevin's home on Sapuk.

This picture shows a rainbow seen from the chapel in Sapuk. Kevin's home is next to the chapel.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Congratulations to Sad and Tara

Cutting the cake

Feeding Each Other the Cake

Kevin with Sad and Tara

Sad, Tara, Kevin, Elder Johnson and Elder Butler

Tara is Baptized

Elder Johnson Baptizes Tara

Kevin with Newly Baptized Tara

Sad and Tara are Married

January 24, 2011
Dear Mom and Dad,
Well, I have to apologize to you. Last week I failed to write you. We were on Pohnpei and had meetings all day on Monday. When we finished we had dinner and that ended our whole day. I wanted to write you on a different day, but we are not suppose to so I didn't. Sorry. I know I broke my promise to you.

I have to talk about this week. I will start with two weeks ago. Work was good, but we didn't have the baptism we were planning on. The man's name is Bacardi. He needed a little more time to get ready and agreed to push it back until the 29th. We picked up some good investigators that are great! The big news from that week though was that I performed a marriage for the first time. The couple is a couple that is working with the Mechetiw elders. The guy's name is Sad and the girl is Tara. Sad is 18 and Tara is 15 and they have a baby boy that is still very little. They are a really happy young couple. They live in a small wooden room with a tin roof. Tara was baptized on the 22nd. She asked me to speak at her baptism so I went and spoke at that. It was a good service by the ocean. Sad was going to be baptized but needs a little more time to get ready. I think he will be baptized in February. At the marriage we had a small gathering and Elder Johnson and Elder Butler got a cake from a lady from the Philippines. They wrote out their names with M and Ms. I had to translate the wedding ceremony into Chuukese which was honestly a challenge. I also found out when I arrived they wanted me to talk about marriage and I had to do that on the spot. I spoke briefly about eternal marriage and told them that they should set a goal to go to the temple. I also spoke about them founding their marriage on Jesus Christ and his gospel. After that I performed the ceremony and then we had a small party. It was a lot of fun. One of the best parts was the kiss at the end. I told you already that public displays of affection are never performed in Micronesia. In the handbook it said to follow the ceremony written so I had to tell them to kiss. It was funny and awkward. He hesitatingly went in for his kiss and she fought it. He won in the end and got the kiss. It was a small peck. It got a good laugh out of everyone.

That Sunday night we went to Pohnpei. We go there really late and woke up early for the training. It was a 4 day training and really good. The trainings really help me to be the teacher the Lord needs me to be. I had the chance to see some of the recent converts in Palikir. I stayed with Elder Brandenburg and Elder Schuster. It was really fun seeing the Pohnpeu members again. I was able to see the Seiola family and Derno's family. Derno was having some struggles and Elder Brandenburg did not know what else he could do to help. He was hoping that just me being there would help. I think it did. I had a good heart to heart with Derno and he said he is going to get his life back in order. I don't think I will get the chance to see everyone there again so it was sad saying good-bye. Another good thing happened on Pohnpei. I had a great interview with President Dowdle which always is great and is helpful to me.
This upcoming Saturday we have 2 people who are scheduled to be baptized. The people are Bacardi and a young woman. They are both really good people. I hope it works out for the girl. Her name is Austerina and she recently moved from another island. She is 17 and her parents really don't want her to be baptized. We hope to work things out so she can. The parents live in Mechitiw so it is a bit of a challenge. Hopefully it works out.
I got a package from you this week. Thank you for the lanterns! I am putting a camera chip in this letter. Sorry it took so long to get it to you. I know it is long overdue. I hope you like the pictures. There is way too much to explain now, but I will explain it in person in a couple of months.
Love you both! Take care!
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

Kevin Hears News From Pohnpei

The above picture was taken on Pohnpei.
January 10, 2011
Dear Mom and Dad,
The first full week of January is over now. We made a bunch of resolutions that we have been working on in our zone so we have been working hard. Work has been picking up a bit in our area and we'll have some baptisms soon. We have 5 people scheduled for January 29th. They are all solid for baptism even if they aren't entirely ready by that day.
I received some awesome news from the zone leaders. They just had the zone leader council and came back. Elder Brandenburg sent out a bunch of pictures of people we were teaching who got baptized! Here are their names:
1- Robert Yago (JR's older brother) December 11,2010
2- Veronika David (family of three, one more to be baptized soon) December 25, 2010
3-Jefferson David December 25, 2010
4- Bryanna Paul January 1, 2011 (Morchlokese girl)
5- Edwin Agrippa (Morchlokese guy in Sekere branch) January 7, 2011

I am so excited that these people are baptized now. I was really close to the first four on the list and they are like my family on Pohnpei. The last one we taught and he got married while I was there. I wasn't expecting him to be baptized so soon but I am way excited for him. There are two more people that I am expecting to get baptized soon from Palikir.
This last week at church we had a decent turnout. It wasn't a good week because a local Protestant church had a third Christmas. I guess the first one wasn't enough. They invited very single church in Sapuk to go. Our branch was the only one that didn't go. Some of the members went though. The branch is doing well though. I called a Relief Society president this week which will help a lot.
I'm excited to go to Pohnpei next week. We leave on January 17th and come back on the 20th. I'm going to get to see all the people who got baptized. Elder Brandenburg stayed in Palikir and I'm going to be with him. Elder Standage was transferred to Kitti so he'll be at the meetings too. It will be good.
I received a couple of letters from you this week. I'm glad to hear you are doing well and that BYU sports is doing really well. I heard TCU dominated in the BCS and that Utah got stomped on so all is well in the sports world. I got a packages from Grandpa Duane and Grandma Jenny and Uncle Shaun last week. I'm going to write them soon. I may have time next week on the plane ride. I struggle to find time on Preparation Day to write all the letters I need.
Did my missing package with my journal I sent home ever arrive?
I love you both and hope you are doing well. Thanks for everything you do for me.
Love Always,
Elder Kevin South

PS Next week I am going to marry a couple in the Mechitiw area. I'm way excited for it!