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.

Monday, March 29, 2010


This past week we had the wonderful opportunity to visit several of the islands in our mission. The idea was that we would be able to get a feel for the differences and see what our missionaries are experiencing and what their living conditions are. We are so thankful that we were able to do this. Each of the islands has its own unique characteristics and we were able to meet all the missionaries. We can now put faces and places to the names that we work with daily.
I am posting pictures and telling a little about all that we saw but please keep in mind that the pictures cannot do justice to the beauty of these islands. On Guam we do not really feel like we are living in a tropical paradise but while visiting the other islands we definitely got that feeling. Not only did we see some wonderful sites but we met the best people. We had such a good time with all the senior couples who showed us around their islands.

Since there are so many pictures I am doing this in 3 seperate posts. It is just about midnight and I want to finish this so the pictures are probably very much out of order. Not to worry. Wayne will correct me in the morning and I will come back and do some editing later.

The first island we visited was Chuuk.

Elder and Sister Duncan met us at the airport with some beautiful leis. The scent was wonderful. It was just so sad that in the hot, humid conditions they wilted quickly.

This is Elder and Sister Duncan. They are from Wyoming and they have 10 children. The conditions on Chuuk are somewhat difficult and we just kept getting the impression that they really love where they are and what they are doing.

From the airport we went straight to the Duncan's apartment for the weekly District Meeting. We had the best time. There was a little bit of fun, a lot of spiritual and a great lunch to finish it all off.

Immediately after the District Meeting we headed out to see the meeting houses, inspect missionary apartments and check out their vehicles.

On Chuuk this was pretty typical of what the chapels looked like inside. They are very simple and basic.

The inside of another chapel. The flooring was a little better in this building.

Thought I would throw in a picture of what you will find on all of the islands of Chuuk. There is no garbage pick-up and so the garbage is just thrown anywhere. Some areas are better than others but this is basically what you see.

This is the new chapel that is being built in Weno (pronounced woulda). The building was to be finished before now but the area president came to check out the building and saw that it did not have air conditioning so he ordered it to be put in and now the building is scheduled to be dedicated in May. Elder Christopherson will be coming and they are trying to plan some humanitarian projects to coincide with the dedication.
The building is beautiful and as the owner of the hotel we stayed at said, it is setting the standard for the island. Most buildings are never completed and there is no landscaping anywhere. The chapel looks wonderful and everyone talks about it. There is a project going on for road improvements and the man who is in charge of overseeing the work told Wayne that the road would go from the airport to the "Mormon Temple". He may have his terminology wrong but he at leasts recognizes it as Mormon.
Yet another chapel. This is the one that the new construction is going to replace. Only locals can own land and so the church leased this land and built the church and missionary apartment on it. The lease is up and the landlord is not renewing so this building will be torn down after the new church is finished. The landlord thought he was going to get a building the easy way. The new church land is owned by a member.
This was the view from our ocean view hotel room. We stayed at the Truk Stop Inn. Truk is the old name for Chuuk. Also at this hotel was the Hard Wreck Cafe. There are a lot of sunken ships in this area and one of the main tourist activities here is to go diving to the old wrecks.

We visited three of the outer islands. To do that we had to take a boat. The boat would drop us off and then we had to walk to where the church and apartments were. There are no cars on the outer islands. This is one of the paths we followed.

Another chapel with the ever present basketball hoop. I think I only saw one chapel that did not have a basketball court. The church grounds are usually a gathering place for the children in the area to congregate. They have flat surfaces that are kept clean.

This is an example of the apartments owned by the church and used for missionaries.

Every time we would get off the boat we would see children. These were especially friendly and wanted to have their picture taken. One little boy really took to Elder Clarke and was holding onto his hand for a while. When we returned later to get back on the boat there was the little hand reaching up again.

In these little village communities there is usually someone who will build a large structure such as this to use as a gathering place. It is used for family activities or sometimes a community activity.

This was the last island that we visited. As you came into the area the church was the main thing that you saw. This happened to be an island where the lady who lives next to the church was very anti-Mormon. She threatened the missionaries who were living in the nearby apartment and so they had to make a quick exit. The apartment is sitting empty until it is determined if it is safe to send missionaries to that island again.

This is the vacant apartment. You can see a couple of children in the picture. As I said, the church grounds make a really good place for the children to congregate.


Laura said...

This is so cool! I called Meg, Jonathan, and Samuel in to read the post to and to show them the pictures.
The trash makes me sad--they live in paradise and dump garbage around!! Yikes.

Lynn said...

I love the pictures. What kind of mission are you serving? I would like to learn about your work.

Elizabeth said...

What an amazing experience! I can't wait for my turn someday!!

Rebecca said...

Thank you, thank you for posting this. I served in the Mwan Branch in '94 and '95 and have many sacred memories of the Weno chapel and the sweet saints who worshiped there.

Did not know about the new building until a few minutes ago when it was covered in the Church's World Report between Conference sessions. I rejoice to see these pictures you posted and to read more detail of this glorious blessing. Thank you, again, for taking time to blog about this!

Hoorah for Israel!