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, October 25, 2010

Flat MaCayela and the Cleaning Day

My great niece MaCayela came to visit for a while. She came in a large envelope asking us to take her around Guam and report back to her school class. We had gone to the Post Office and were on our way down to Talafofo to clean a missionary house so we took her along. Flat MaCayela was a good supervisor!

The Talafofo house had been locked up, unoccupied, for 7 weeks. In a tropical island think of what can happen to a dark, humid house. The cleaning crew went in to wash off all the mold and freshen the house up for the sisters to move in.

This is Elder Colemere. He is an Assistant to the President. He comes from Alpine, Utah and will be spending Thanksgiving there this year. We will be sad to see him go.

This is the other Assistant, Elder Tuaitanu. He has been on Chuuk for a lonnnng time and just came to Guam this transfer. He is teaching the whole Zone Chuukese so they can teach the Chuukese people here on Guam.

This is Elder Cook. What you can't see is that he is on a 6 foot ladder, standing on the very top! He claims he is very experienced working on tall ladders but I looked the other way and just prayed there would be no accidents.

This is Sister Anitema. She is from Australia and I love to listen to her. She is one of the sisters that will be living in the house. That gave her great motivation to tell the elders exactly what needed to be done.

This is Sister Wingate. She also will be living in the house. The floor is old linoleum and was covered with big streaks of I don't know what. Several of us scrubbed and scrubbed to get the floor back to it's original color.

Unfortunately, Elder Schuster, who is from New Zealand, did not get his picture taken but he too worked really hard.

I have to give all the Elders and Sisters kudos. They did a fantastic job and I am sure that the sisters are going to enjoy their new abode.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

October Happenings

As I was browsing through our pictures to do a post, I noticed a couple of videos that Wayne had taken and thought I would try to include them. The first video was taken a couple of weeks ago during one of our really good downpours. I was going to just post a picture but you just do not get the feel of our lovely storms here. The other three videos are just short little clips but they show some really neat members in the Dededo Branch who did fire dances at a Cultural Night. Like I said, they are short but you get the idea.

Transfers occured on October 14th which meant new missionaries coming in and seasoned missionaries going home. This is alway a bittersweet time. I wish I had pictures of the new people but it was a busy time and I missed my opportunity. We had 5 elders and 2 sisters come in late, late Wednesday night. Thursday morning we went up to the Mission Home to do our part in the orientation. I had been looking forward to meeting Sister Smibert who is from Melbourne. Jonathan and Margo are in her Stake but they never crossed paths before she left. I am sad that she was assigned to Saipan and so I will not get to know her until such time that she gets transfered to Guam.

On Friday morning we helped transport 7 missionaries to the airport for their return trip home. One elder had left the day before. One of the elders is from Chuuk (which is actually one of the islands in our mission). He has experienced such growth on his mission and will be such an asset back home.

The elders were lucky enough to be counciled by President Stevenson, the Area President, just before they left. He and the Dowdles were at the airport preparing to leave for Pohnpei where they were dedicating a new Chapel. We crossed paths at the ticketing area he stopped to talk to them and have his picture taken with the departing elders.

With the transfers we added sisters to one of our areas up north. They were to move into an apartment that had been empty for several weeks and had had garbage left in the kitchen. Unfortunately, by the time we went to check on the apartment there were maggots and flys all over the place. I just could not let them move into such conditions so Wayne and I went to do some cleaning one morning. Three hours later we at least had it in a liveable condition (leaving garbage behind might be a clue as to what the rest of the apartment was like). Even with our inspections, it is amazing the condition that these apartments get in.

One week later we went to check on another empty house that the elders had told us had a water problem. We walked into the kitchen and I wondered why it was so dusty. On closer inspection I realized it was not dust but MOLD! The house had the typhoon shutters closed making it dark, it was closed up with no air conditioning for 7 weeks and it was very humid. EVERYTHING was now covered with a thin coating of green mold, even the wood furniture. Sister Miyazaki (the nurse) and I went back yesterday and spent 3 hours cleaning and sanitizing. It only put a dent in the problem. Everything has to be washed - inside cupboards, all the dishes, walls, inside dresser drawers, etc. We have a work session planned for Monday with the missionaries from that District and then another set of sisters is going to move into the house so that it does not happen again. The joys of living in a tropical paradise.

Another of our activities the past few weeks has been to check out apartments for a new senior couple coming in December. We are so excited to have someone coming. We did not think that it would happen. It has been interesting trying to find them housing. We have come to the conclusion that we live in a really good apartment complex and even though it is a little farther from the Family History Center where they will be working we are going to try to get them an apartment in our complex.

Today, the Branch had a combined Young Woman Relief Society service project.

This is a picture of the parking lot at 10:15. The activity was to start at 10:00. There was only one other car in the parking lot. Those cars were all there to clean the building. No one was there for the activity yet except for:

Hannah Stutzman. She is one of our Institute students who hails from Oakhurst. She is here as an exchange student at University of Guam. She knows my son-in-law and it has just been kind of funny to meet someone who comes from home.

Eventually a few more people showed up and we got to work cleaning the "farm" area below the church. There is a large grass area with shade trees where several families in the District have planted gardens. I should have taken a picture of the potatoes, chili's and taro that are growing. Anyone who wants to plant is welcome to do so. This area will soon be under construction. The new Service Center is going to be built here.

No activity here is complete without food. We had red rice, Bar-B-Que chicken and banana bread. Chamorro staples. Wayne is learning how to make the rice so we can do a dinner when we go home.

I had the opportunity to teach Relief Society last week. I received a call Sunday at 7:45am asking if I could help out since the teacher was sick. How can you say no to Sister Mak? Church starts at 9:00am and of course I had not started to get ready yet. I quickly printed up the lesson and a few wordstrips, went in to take a shower and then it was time to go. I skipped Sunday School and went to the Mission Office (next door to the church thank goodness) and finished preparing. That is the way to teach - no time to get nervous. When I said I could teach I had forgotten that I had laryngitis a few days before and it was going in to a cough. I said a prayer that all would go well and it did. My voice was strong and I did not cough once.

We also had an opportunity to visit with one of the Assistants investigators last week. They were unable to make an appointment and asked if we could cover. What a neat experience. The man has been reading and studying the Book of Mormon and has such a testimony. It is so sad that he has a Word of Wisdom problem. He is so ready for baptism but as he says "the Elders really put up a road block when they talked to him about the Word of Wisdom". He is trying so hard and is doing a great job but just can't give up those last 3 cigarettes each day.

We are almost at the half way point of our mission and we just keep saying where did all that time go? The weeks just seem to fly by. We are loving what we do and encourage any who can to go on a mission. Make the decision and start working towards that day that you can go. It is such a good experience.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Several Weeks Worth of Bits and Pieces

I realize that I have not posted much of what is happening, mission wise, since before my parents visited. There has been a lot that has gone on and I don't know if I should work backwards or forwards. The one thing I will start with though is the good news we received just before they showed the General Conference broadcast yesterday for our District. A letter was read announcing that L. Tom Perry is coming in December to organize the Guam Stake. They have been trying to get a Stake here for many years and so everyone was excited.

So, after downloading my pictures in what I thought was past to present, I see that I have loaded the most recent first. These first pictures are of the Zone P-day Capture the Flag activity. The sisters planned it and so there was a slight change in the rules. They could not use physical contact to tag someone so everybody had a tennis ball that they had to throw to tag. It appeared that some could use some target practice. The first picture is of the sisters guarding their flag.

You may not be able to tell, but it was raining. There were puddles every where and the missionaries were all soaked to the bone. They were having a blast!! We showed up under our umbrellas to take pictures. They had their home bases spread out so far that we ended up trudging through 3" puddles to get to all the bases. Our shoes were soaked and we had wet clothes up to our thighs.

This was the base for the North District. Their flag is at the top of the monument. Someone was clever in their choice of flag materials. They had hung a suit coat on a tree limb. Much better than the sock that another district used. I don't know where the jacket came from but I hope it was wash and wear. All the missionaries leave their suit coats in the mission home when they arrive. It is the last time they wear a suit until they are ready to go home at the end of the two years. The only people you see wearing suits here are the Mission, District and Branch presidencies and the senior missionaries. Although it is too hot for a suit outside, the air conditioning in our church works super good and it is actually good to have the extra warmth. We have been here for 8 months now and I still forget to take a sweater with me. I end up with goose bumps by the end of the meeting.

Elders Colemere, Schuster and Cook show their weapons of war. Soggy but happy.

Since transfers are this week, we held apartment inspections last week. Elders Wilson, Stanley and Larsen were the winners of the Cleanest Apartment Award. We started giving an award several months ago. After the first time it became a real competition. We actually have missionaries washing windows and laundering their sheets so that they can win. The last two times we have had near ties. I have had to try to think of what we can inspect to have tie breakers.

Several weeks ago we had a Branch activity. There was a great meal but while we were waiting for the food to arrive they also had a few fun activities.

The tables were laid out end to end. On each row of tables they had scrolls of coloring pages as table runners. Crayolas were laid out every few feet. Janice here is coloring Dora. That was the table I chose to sit at and I must say my picture looked great. It was fun to see everyone coloring, especially the adults. They also had a table with Penguins of Madagascar and that little Japanese cartoon character Nee How or whatever.

They then started asking for "volunteers" by announcing names of different couples. We were one of the first couples to go up and do an apple eating race. One of the sisters got a picture on her phone of us that was great but I did not get a copy so this picture is of the next group, the branch president is in the middle. Oh - and we won the first group.

After the meal they had a "Swap Meet". People were to clean out their closets and garages and share with others. All of the items that were left at the end of the night were going to be delivered to a group like the Salvation Army or something like that.

Wayne decided that he wanted to plant something other than the tomatoes that did not produce well so he got a flowering plant of some kind and a papaya tree. The photo on the left is the size when he planted them. The one on the right was taken a few weeks later. The tree is now about four feet tall. When we visited the Fruit Farm we read that papaya trees can produce 10 months after they are planted. He is anticipating having fruit before we go home. I just hope the tree is not so big that we have to go plant it somewhere. We only have about 8' from floor to ceiling on the landing.

We have a new Elder's Quorum President and he is a go getter. He has organized several service projects that Wayne and the Elders who serve in our Branch have participated in. The first was to put a new tin roof on the home of one of our older sisters in the Branch.

This is Sister Cordero. She is the sweetest lady and I love to see her smile. She has had some health issues lately but that smile is always there.

A couple of the Elders helping on the outside.

And one of our Institute students, Kawika, tearing down the ceiling on the inside.

This is Brother Henry. He is a counselor in our Branch Presidency. He and his wife were preparing to go to the Manila temple this week. He had been ill off and on over the last few weeks and this past weekend he landed in the hospital with a 108 degree temperature. He was unconscious and had tubes everywhere. Yesterday we heard he had had a minor miracle and the tubes were taken out. He was talking and saying he was improving so much that by today he should be able to get out of bed and walk so that he could leave with the others tonight. I feel so bad that they are unable to go now.

Bother Henry is only one of the miracles we have seen in our Branch recently. We have another brother who was in a coma several weeks ago. It sounded like he may have had menengitis. He was in ICU for quite a while. He came out of the coma and has gradually been gaining strength. He has gone deaf with only a little of his hearing returning. We were so glad to see him at the conference broadcast yesterday. We were so worried about him.

During the last Zone Leader Council, the missionaries participated in another service project. A family in the Branch had no water in their home. To flush the toilet, they had to bring in bottles or buckets of water. The project was to install a rainwater recovery system like the church uses at the missionary apartments on the islands. In just a few hours they were able to install the whole system. It is so neat that every other month a service project is going to be planned for these Councils.

Somewhere amongst all these activities Wayne had a birthday. What do you get a missionary for his birthday? We sent out the word for everyone to just send a tie. When you wear one every day of the week you get a little tired of what you have (not to mention that someone slops on them and they have stains). How fun to have a new tie for every day of the week. Someone made a comment that Elder Clarke was out of dress code because one of his ties has kangaroos on it (could that be because she is from New Zealand and there is a bit of rivalry?) but he really likes the tie so will keep wearing it.

Well I am sure that there are many things I could include in this post but it is long enough and I really can't remember everything that has gone on. We seem to keep busy and are loving it here. We are excited at the prospect of new friends coming in December. A Family History missionary couple is coming from Southern California. We look forward to having someone to do Family Home Evening and other activities with.