Called to Serve

We have loved traveling and being with family for the past two years but we felt the call to serve another mission so here we are in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania for the next year.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

This past week we have spent most of our time getting more acquainted with our duties and the materials we are working with in the Mission Office. We have a Church Service Center that takes care of buildings and other admin functions in the islands so we went in to introduce ourselves to everyone. It is a very International group. The main person is half Tongan and half Caucasian, the receptionist is from Fiji, another woman is from Tonga, one man from Puerto Rico and one is from the US but married an Asian woman. It is really interesting getting to know all these people.

I have spent about half of my time this week trying to clean out the supply room and going through filing cabinets to weed out unnecessary materials. There was quite an accumulation. I think that you can gather by my activity that this job is not going to keep us busy full time. I am gaining a lot of knowledge as I clean out the files both in the filing cabinets and on the computer.

One thing we worked on this week was trying to figure out when we can call home. To keep our calls to the usual Sunday evening that the family is used to means we must call on Monday morning before we go to the office for Jonathan (that makes it about 5pm Sunday for him) and then on our lunch hour to California when it is about 6pm. We did get a call into everyone on Wed. (Tuesday for everyone) and Skyped Thomas and Lucas. Ashlyn and Preston were watching TV when we called and did not want to talk to us.

Thursday we met a real estate man at a condo complex that had 3 vacancies. Unfortunately, he could only get us into one and the minute we walked into the apartment we knew it wasn't for us. It had carpeting and it had been empty for quite a while. In this climate carpet picks up the moisture and it smelled really bad. It was also a bit old and dirty looking. We have decided that we will keep looking but there is no hurry and if something comes up that is good we'll take it but we are okay where we are if nothing comes up.

This is looking at our apartment complex from across the street. We are on the bottom floor about 1/3 from the left.

This is our water filter system. I am not sure that it is really necessary here on Guam but you absolutely need it on the the rest of the islands in our mission. This is a three part system. You have to change the filters at different times. I can't remember the schedule but I know # 3 only needs to be changed once a year. The other two are monthly, maybe, on a rotating basis.

This WAS our resident house Gecko. We saw him several times the first week and then we found him dead in the middle of our living area. I think he did not like the bug spray we used to get rid of the cock roaches.

This is what we see every time we walk out our front door. It is actually fairly neat here. The shoes are usually scattered and there are chairs, etc.

We went to a night market here in the Chamorro Village. This is an area down town that is set up to highlight the Chamorro culture, foods and crafts. Once a week they open this tourist area to people who set up additional food and craft booths and they have entertainment too. The place was PACKED! It was wall to wall people - the majority Japanese tourists. We did buy a print of a water color painted by a woman who goes around capturing island settings. I was also very tempted to buy a necklace made with pieces of vertabrae from the Brown Tree Snake that is prevalant on this island. I held off and if I still want it when we go again I will get it.

This is the Brown Tree Snake. It came to the island shortly after WWII. It is a nocturnal snake, thank goodness, and it has a liking for birds. For that reason there are very few birds on the island. They are trying to cut down the population of the snake with the hope that there will be more birds.

The highlight of the week was our trip around the South end of the island today. Since all of the Senior Missionaries went - that makes seven of us - I guess we could call it a Seniors activity. We took a leisurely tour of the main sights along the coast road. We saw a lot of WWII related monuments and museums. They were all very interesting and I just kept thinking of my Dad every where we went.

The United States wanted to make sure they did not land on Guam only to have the Japanese outnumber and defeat them so they bombed the island for almost two weeks from out at sea. By the time the Marines landed in July 1944 at Asan Beach most everything was destroyed.

Asan Beach today.

Memorial to US Armed Forces at Asan Beach.

Each side of the memorial was a different branch of the armed services.

This is a Japanese submarine outside
the War in the Pacific National Historic Museum.

On the way around the island, we stopped to look at one of our chapels in Talisay. We did not get a picture of it but there is a small house built on the grounds where the missionaries live.

We stopped in Umatic where Magellan first made contact with the Chamorro people in 1521. Supposedly the people went out to Magellans ship taking trinkets, etc., and then they took the skiff - maybe felt that they had paid for it with the trinkets. Magellan retaliated by burning down their village. This picture is taken from the Fort above the village.

Ruins of an old Sentry Box at Fort Nuestra Senora de la Soledad.

There are still three canons located in the ruins of the Fort.

Sister Zaugg was itching to take a ride on a carabao. It is like a waterbuffalo. The man is Chamorran but had lived in LA for a time. He was a real comedian.

There was a little old man selling bananas and coconuts under a thatch roofed hut. We were surprised to see orange coconuts. The bananas were very tiny but sweet. That is Elder Westergard and Sister Westergard. They leave in April and we are going to be SOOOOOOO sorry to see them leave.

Our next stop was at Saluglula Pool. This was a protected area where the water was crystal clear and it was perfect for swimming. There were several little cabanas in a grassy area so you could bring a picnic and spend the day.

When we were almost to the end of our loop, we stopped to eat lunch at a highly overpriced hamburger joint named Jeff's Pirate Cove. It was a place that just had to be experienced but we have had our $10 burger so we probably will not go again. During WWII this area was developed as an R&R place for bomber pilots. They had tennis courts, a swimming pool, etc. The restaurant has been there for many years but it has changed hands several times. Jeff, the present owner, tends bar and greets diners. He wears a bandana on his head and has a beard but that is as close as he gets to looking like a pirate.

We all had a great time and all came back a little pinker than when we started out. Fun in the sun!!

We ended Saturday with a baptism. Elder Walpole had told us about this young man that he had been teaching. He did not speak English and the elders did not speak Chuukese - the young mans language. They have had to have an interpreter help them with the discussions and it is just amazing that the young man was able to feel the spirit and ask for baptism. This was someone that they just happened upon when the man they were supposed to see was not home so they approached 3 people who were sitting outside next door. The service was really good. Two young women gave the talks and you could tell how nervous they were but they did great. They gave part of there talks in Chuukese.

Many young adults from the smaller outer islands come to Guam for better employment opportunities so we have several different languages and ethnic groups in our branch. We have members from Palau, Yap, Siapan, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Korsae, and they each speak different languages in addition to the Chamorro spoken on Guam. Fortunately we have young missionaries in Guam that have served on those islands and have learned the languages on their own. These young missionaries are just amazing and it is such a joy to work with them.

This is our chapel in Barrigada.

Today is Sunday and we heard on the news about the earthquake in Chile and the subsequent tsunamis. They announced in church that the outer islands had all been evacuated to higher ground but there was no need for that in Guam. We had a very peaceful Sabbath day. We had invited Elders Maybe and Colemere for dinner. Elder Colemere said it is the first dinner appointment he has had on his whole mission. He has been out 15 months! I am just sad that we can only invite the missionaries who are serving in our immediate area. That limits us to 2 elders and the sisters. I guess I will just have to keep treating the others on Pday in the office.


Laura said...

Wow! Thanks for the amazing update and stories. I know so little about Guam; it is hard to believe there are so many different languages in what (I thought) was a small area. Crazy!

Linda Nimer said...

Finally had time to check out the blog. It is almost like being there with all the narrative and the pictures. Thanks for taking time to keep us updated.

FHE is tomorrow at the Wright's home -- we are having a scripture treasure hunt with a potato bar. I was out of town again today, so no news from me about church other than there was a food storage fireside tonight.

Dehmel's said...

Thanks Libby for the updates. We love reading about your time on your mission and about Guam. Things are good here, I saw your pictures on Stephanies blog and loved them.