IT WAS A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

A few days before  Christmas, we passed a Christmas parade. We had to stop and take a few pictures.

We hear there wasn’t any snow back home until Christmas eve. During this parade the temperature was about 88 degress and the humidity was about the same.

Up until the 23rd we continued our Christmas FHE programs. In Mechitiw it was part of the ward Christmas party.

Notice the decorations along the steps leading to the church. Good spirit, good food, good fun.

Elders came in on Christmas Eve. We showed a video about the birth of our Savior and then, with permission, we showed “The Polar Express”. We handed out our little gifts and snacks, then the Zone Leaders handed out the gifts from the Mission President. It was a good time. The morning of the 26th we made breakfast for all the Elders before they went back out to their areas. Several were also making their calls home.

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The Wichap Elders were late and for missionaries, that means the food is gone. I got some extra and the Elders were happy to help cook. We were able to help 26 Elders connect with family by Skype or phone over about a 36 hour period. Given the internet problems here in Chuuk, that is pretty impressive. Sister Hardy and I took down our tree today. It is bagged up and ready for next year. We are taking our first real P day today. Happy New Year to all! Thank you for your help and support.

SEMINARY AND INSTITUTE INSERVICE, PRIESTHOOD LEADERSHIP

December 13 was a big meeting day for us. This time it was with the members rather than the missionaries. The S & I meeting was well attended and we felt good about what we taught.

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We had a good lunch and then the Priesthood Leadership meeting began. I was able to present information about the family being the basic unit of the church and about calling people to serve in the branch.

 

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A few days later, we stopped by a small memorial we had passed numerous times. It was sponsored by a Japanese group in honor of those who had died here in Chuuk lagoon. The picture above shows a view of the lagoon looking south and a little bit west. Over two hundred Japanese ships and planes went down within a few miles of this spot. The atoll around the lagoon was a protection from other ships, but not from US planes.

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Elder Kleven and Elder Holmes came by because they needed something emailed to Guam. We took this quick photo which also shows Sister Hardy has been decorating for Christmas.

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We have planned a Christmas gift for all the members. We are going to every branch and group to present a Christmas Family Home evening. That means four FHE on this island and six on the other islands. Sister Hardy has always been great with costumes and that tradition continues.

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Sister Hardy is barely in the shade waiting for the boat. Some sisters from Romanum have just come in and are waiting in the shade of the boathouse. On the right, is our stuff for the program. Notice the seat cushions which we bought after just two or three trips in the boats. The blue and white stripped bag is my Seminary materials. the plastic sack contains the CD player wrapped up to protect it. The big white bag is canvas and protects the computer and our written materials for the FHE. (We show a five minute 1st Presidency message about the birth of Christ) The pink bag is costumes for Joseph, Mary, stars, angels, and shepherds. There is no Chuukese word for shepherd. Our truck and the District Center are in the background. President Wainis says it is the nicest building in all of Chuuk. I agree. Even the resorts are not as nice.

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This is our boat for most trips. It has a 40 horsepower engine and took 15 gallons of gas yesterday. Looking through the palm trees above you can almost see where we live. This island is called Fono. Elders have been here for just a short time. They have been very successful at finding good people. Behind the tree is a small building, behind that is a house where the Elders live. It has a covered porch where we met. In the picture below you can see Elder Hokao and Elder Kjar. Our boat driver is on the right (standing) and his brother and helpers are on the left. His brother is also a driver and attended the FHE with us on both islands. He helped us carry all of our junk. He was a big help. The picture on the right shows a typical boat landing on the islands. Off the end are steps which would lead to and from a boat.

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The group below is on Udot. The branch President is President Joseph. This covered area is where they meet for church. They have benches under the tent and a homemade pulpit.

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While watching the Christmas Message it was amazing to see the reverence that each group had when President Monson spoke. We were often on the verge of tears as the children sang “Away in a Manger” and followed Sister Hardy with hand actions.

Merry Christmas and thanks to each of you for your interest and support. We are especially grateful to our children, grandchildren, and other loved ones for your prayers and thoughtful pictures and gifts. The Lord is blessing us every day. We love Him, you, the people in Chuuk, and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

DISTRICT CONFERENCE DECEMBER 6 & 7

The Elders were brought in from all the islands on Friday December 5 to meet with President Zarbock and Elder Ringwood before the District Conference. It was an amazing meeting. A wonderful spirit was present and we all learned a lot. The roads and a flight that was a bit late gave us time to study and get in the spirit before they arrived. It also gave us time to snap a photo or two.

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The instruction was wonderful. Afterwards we went outside and took a few photos.

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The tall brother with the green tie is Elder Ringwood. To his left is Sister Zarbock, then younger Sister Zarbock, who just finished a mission in North Carolina. To her left is President Zarbock.

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Boats are coming in from the outer islands for the Saturday conference sessions.

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Saints from the branches on Weno arrived by rented trucks. Inside the District Center. Highlights of this session were Elder Ringwood’s talk and the choir from Sapuk Branch. What a spirit! I could hardly speak for several minutes.

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After conference, most of the saints headed back to their islands. There were at least 420 at the meetings.