SEMINARY & INSTITUTE GRADUATION

Our graduation was held on June 2, 2016. We had set the day partly for Brother Nicerio. As it turned out, a big event in Guam prevented him from being able to get a flight back to Guam. We did OK without him, but missed his presence. We didn’t have any graduates this year but had many who completed the Old Testament course of study. The teachers worked very hard to help with make-up work.

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Sister Ewar taught Institute in Mwan and Sister Walter taught on .Romanum. Three of the boys attended at both places depending on which island they were on at the time class was taught.

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This photo shows S and I students who earned certificates this year. Most of the teachers are also shown.

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The mission had a new Elder’s Quarters built on Udot. It is very nice, and very functional. I was blessed to be able to attend the open house and dedication of the structure. It was well attended and over 100 were in attendance. After the dedication, the local leaders had prepared a meal and those in attendance were fed physically as well spiritually.

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The dinners were prepared and served up on plates and setting on the floor of the new apartment. You can probably just make out the meal consisted of chicken, hot dog, rice, breadfruit, taro, and a banana desert. This traditional dinner is a part of Chuukese culture. anywhere we go, if people are eating, we are always invited to join them. They share food like no other culture I know. considering how little they sometimes have, it says a lot about the people.

 

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Elder Reed and I were happy to be able to be a part of the day. The next FHE we drove part way to the octopus. We hiked the rest of the way to the microwave tower and were able to get some good pictures. The Eliasons had about two weeks left and the Reeds about three. It was a nice time together.

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One Friday afternoon and the following Saturday was scheduled for a Father’s and Son’s camp out.  We took several boats to a small island. The organization left something to be desired, but the boys had fun and were able to hank out with some good priesthood leaders. Most of the boys who went were less active. I scheduled a boat to take me back to Blue Lagoon. Lorna met me there and we had some dinner. It went well considering all that could have gone wrong.

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Most of the food came with the later boats which didn’t arrive until very late. The boys found coconuts that had just sprouted and broke them open. They were filled with spongy white material. the boys told me it was Chuukese bread. It tasted good and was a lot like bread. It did not have a strong coconut flavor. After dark we built a fire which helped keep the mosquitoes away. The young men found coconut crabs and them them on the fire. After roasting for a few minutes, they pulled them out and threw them in the ocean to cool them off before eating them. No one went hungry.

 

The Eliasons have gone; the Reeds leave in two days and we have about 5 more weeks. Strange days indeed!

 

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LOTS OF ACTIVITIES THIS SPRING

In April the Young Women had a combined New Beginnings and YW in Excellence Evening. It was actually afternoon since it is not advisable to be out after dark. Few have cars so an evening activity would put young sisters in a situation where they had to walk home in the dark. It was well attended and a first for this sort of activity in Chuuk.

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We also had a fun YM & YW activity. The youth met on a Saturday morning and took a boat ride to a nearby island for a picnic. We had 4 boats and they each had to make two trips coming and going to get all the youth transported. We had chicken and hot dogs from the grill and potato salad and kimchi on island plates (leaves).

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It was amazing to see the way the older youth pitched in and gathered sticks for cooking, firewood, and organized games. With the warm water, swimming was a big attraction for many of the youth.

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During May we also were able to witness several baptisms including this wonderful family from Mechitiw.

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One last trip to Rominum brought joy and sorrow. We love all the branches and students and teachers, but this was our last boat trip and the realization that we won’t ever be going back really had an impact. We love the saints here.

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We really appreciate all who have helped us in any way. We thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Please continue to pray for us we have so much to do and the time is going so quickly.

THE BUSY TIMES CONTINUE

During February, we were invited to go to Guam and put on the pageant for the wards there. It was a great experience and we made some great friendships and memories while we were there. The pageant was wonderful. Most of the actors were Chuukese but we also had local actors and a few Americans. Several minor miracles showed us just how much the Lord was helping us with the event. We were so blessed.

After returning to Chuuk, we had our February inservice and a seminary visit almost every day. We had a fun institute activity on February 27. The young adults did a service project and repaired several song books. They had speakers, a meal, and danced. It was a fun time for them to get together. Once we caught up on our visits, it was the middle of March and time for our March inservice. President Zarbock was here for the middle week in March and he was followed by Patriarch Gittens who gave multiple blessings. The final week will include a visit from Brother Nicerio, our S & I leader. No wonder it has taken me so long to post again.

We did have a Mwan Branch Relief Society activity; the husbands were invited to join them after the meeting. A few pictures follow.

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The priesthood brothers are doing what we always do at Relief Society events; wait for food.

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Once again, we thank you all for your support and prayers. E/S Hardy

A Busy Two Months

THE MONTHS OF DECEMBER AND JANUARY were very busy. We didn’t get time to post a new blog. Sorry Lance. Our celebration for the Book of Mormon in Chuukese was wonderful. We had some real concerns about weather, but with fasting and prayer all went well. We started the day with a devotional; next was an open house with missionary displays and others. We fed over 1250 for lunch and then had a cultural celebration and the pageant. We finished with a dinner for about 800 people. Elder Choi of the 70 was the presiding authority.

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Even Sister Zarbock and Sister Choi were included in the dancing. The cultural program was great and the Book of Mormon Pageant was really great. Hopefully, these pictures will help tell the story.

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Lamanites and Nephites. Moroni and the title of Liberty. Samuel the Lamanite preaches.

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The Father and Son appear to the prophet Joseph.

The day after the celebration was District Conference. It was well attended and the full Book of Mormon was available to all of the Saints.

Christmas and New Years celebrations seemed to come before we were ready. We had the opportunity to speak with friends and loved ones. It was a great time for us.

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Our apartment is a bit larger so we invited the Eliasons and Reeds to join us for New Years Eve. In typical senior fashion, we finished the party at about 9 PM (Don’t ever get old; you do strange things). Later in January, we went into Guam for a Senior Couples Conference. It was great to see old friends and make new friends. Most of the couples will be returning home before the next conference, so it was hard to say good-bye to friends we may never see again, in this life. A few pictures follow; they take so long to upload we could not get every couple included.

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Sister Reed helps with the stewardship report. Elder and Sister Thomas are the Military couple. The Hamiltons are the office couple and do a great job. Elder and Sister Hedgpeth are our counterparts in Pohnpei. They do S & I.

We are so great full for all the prayers in our behalf. We are so impressed with the young Elders and Sisters who are so diligent and strive to be exactly obedient. The gospel is true; we just need to live it.

 

Institute, Elder Fiti, and Thanksgiving

The young single adults have very few activities, so we held an Institute activity. Over 60 were in attendance and were able to mingle with LDS young adults from other branches.

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Activities included a discussion on dating (which is difficult since there is no word for dating, since it is not a part of the culture), pioneer dancing, and musical numbers from the various branches.

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It was fun to get them to mingle and speak up. Neither is really encouraged by the culture they live in.

Another fun event was a party at Mechitiw Branch for Elder Fiti, who completed his mission and returned to his home on Tonoas. He was a District Leader and was loved and respected by the people of the branch in Mechitiw.  He will be a real strength for the church here in Chuuk District.

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The children tried to be patient while sitting on the floor. Elder Fiti presented a talk and his testimony. It was a good meeting and afterward, like all good meetings should end, we had food.  IMG_1569      IMG_1575

Speaking of food, the Eliasons, the Reeds and the Hardys were able to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for the 26 Elders and Sisters who serve here in Chuuk. It was a fun time and the food was certainly appreciated.

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After the meal we took a group picture. Parents, hopefully you can find your missionary. We have also included some pictures of zone meeting so you can see a few more missionary pictures.IMG_1578          IMG_1553

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For friends, family,and loved ones who support us with prayers, Facebook posts, and care packages. Kinisou!

A VISIT TO TONOAS

During World War II, Tonoas (called Dublon then) was the central island for the Japanese soldiers and sailors here in the Chuuk lagoon. Along with the Reeds and Beachams we were able to take a trip there. On the other side of the island from the chapel there are several sites that still exist from those World War II days. It was a fun day but exhausting. We climbed and walked quite a distance.

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Sister Soram and her niece were our guides. She recently returned from a mission in Canada. Sister Hardy helps out by being the mosquito bait; she attracts the mosquitoes so no one else gets bitten.

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We saw some beautiful country and some beautiful flowers. These steps lead to a Japanese compound during the war. There were offices and other buildings; now we can’t even find foundations. When we got to the top we saw three big gun emplacements.

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All three had 8 inch guns mounted on a concrete and steel turntable so they could be aimed. I was amazed at the technology given the day and age the difficulties associated with getting so much mass up to the top of the mountain.

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The view from the top is pretty amazing. The Japanese flattened out a nearby island, Etan, and built a runway there. From the air it looked like a huge aircraft carrier. Several US pilots reported direct hits but said they could not make the carrier sink. The dark circle in the right hand picture is a concrete hole with metal rungs that leads down under the guns to the aiming mechanism.

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This man was gathering breadfruit. He ties it to a stick so it can be carried. He probably has 60 or 70 pounds on the stick. The next two photos show a mushroom. You can see the end of my size 11 shoe in the middle photo.

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This is the Japanese Army hospital. It had two wings and an open courtyard in the center. The roof is gone but the concrete is still standing. The design feels “nice”.

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The photo on the left is of the Reeds and our guides. In the center is a unique structure attached to a house. It is a huge covered area. The size is larger than a tennis court; the sides are open so the breeze can blow through. It is a pleasant place for neighbors to gather and visit. The Beachams are pictured on the right. They worked with the courts and have returned home now.

Looking at the dates on these photos, we made this visit over a month ago. Since then we have been busy with the planning for the Book of Mormon Celebration and Pageant on December 12. We have visited all the seminaries at least once each month (that includes a boat ride every week). I also teach a BYUH education class twice each week. We really haven’t just taken some time to be tourists since this visit to Tonoas.

Thanks to all who support us with your thoughts and prayers. We feel your strength. We have passed the midpoint of our mission and have some much left to accomplish. Hopefully, after December 12, things will be a little quieter.

 

 

WE ARE ABLE TO HOLD YOUTH CONFERENCE, FINALLY!

After being postponed several times, we were able to help with Chuuk District Youth Conference. The weather and the schedule finally came together last Saturday and the youth were able to participate in their Youth Conference.

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Sister Hardy decorated a bit.   The Reeds and Eliasons get ready for the youth to arrive.

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The District Leaders did a great job.

Everyone had the opportunity to feel the spirit as they learned about embarking in the service of God. Speakers talked about serving with heart, might, mind and strength.

Each branch provided some form of entertainment. Some sang.

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Others danced.

One branch wrote and performed a skit.

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The young people loved it! Everyone seemed to have a great time.

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The Pioneer Dancing and the Balloon Games were a hit!

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We were sad to see everyone leave for home.

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Once again, we express our gratitude to our friends, family and loved ones who support us; more importantly, we express our gratitude to the Lord for His tender mercies each day and especially for giving us the opportunity to serve here in Chuuk and the Micronesia Guam Mission.

 

 

 

 

SUMMER COMES TO AN END

We don’t have leaves turning red and gold or shorter days or the chill of the night when you open the door in the morning, but we have the end of summer activities and the beginning of the routines that signal fall is here. I mentioned that we had a couples conference in July. Below is a photo of the group. We returned to Kosrae for their celebration; we joined with the Hursts and the Battys in helping the members make it a great day. The Hursts and the missionaries of the Kosrae Zone enjoyed a lunch at the Nautilus cafe.

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The production went well, but we were backstage so all we have are shots of dress rehearsal. Several of those follow:

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An Old Testament Prophet                 The people separate into Lamanites and Nephites

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Father tells stories from The Book of Mormon                Another Prophet; Moses

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Lehi’s family gives thanks for arriving in the promised land.     Wicked King Noah

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Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty             The entrance to the celebration

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The cultural celebration included singing, dancing, and crafts. The two branches also had a combined choir that was amazing.

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Sister Hurst and Sister Batty                                   Elder & Sister Hardy ready to fly back to Chuuk

IT’S A BUSY SUMMER

Once we finished the S & I graduation programs and the BYUH class we thought we would have a little time to catch up on things and maybe relax just a bit. So far that hasn’t happened. Doing laundry often takes most of a day, especially if we have to wait for washers or dryers. A photo of a typical laundromat day.

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We have also helped the Reeds and the members with a garden or two. Sister Hardy and Sister Beecham pose beside the garden in Sapuk. We usually spend at least one day a week, and often two, helping prospective missionaries with their paperwork for missions. The medical, dental, and legal processes are very convoluted and certain things are only dealt with on specific days of the week. That is further complicated if the prospective missionary lives off island and has to come in to Weno multiple times. Fuel fuel for a boat runs about $50.00 per trip. Most of these young people have little help from parents, and some parents are in opposition to their children leaving. It takes a lot of our time, but it is well worth it. These young men and women will be the leaders of the District and Branches in just 4 or 5 years.

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We finally got a chance to visit Xavier High School in Sapuk. It was started by the Jesuits and they continue to staff the school today. It is well known throughout Micronesia and students from many islands and even the far east come to attend this school. The facility was originally a WWII Japanese complex. Additions have been made as the school has grown.

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The Beechams, Father Bob, and Sister Hardy. A bomb struck the facility but failed to detonate; it is encased in this concrete pillar. Father Bob was an excellent guide and shared stories and information about the school. Most of the teachers are Jesuit volunteers.

Each of the four states of the FSM are represented by a traditional structure. The students from the islands often gather in these areas after class or during free time.

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The school also houses a wonderful library/museum of things Micronesian. It is a lifetime of collected culture and information. These sticks are maps the old-timers would use to find their way from one island group to another. They are amazing artifacts, which appear simple, but are complex in that they allow for currents as well as direction.

 

 

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Four or five rows of books, periodicals, and government generated information are also in the collection.

In June we traveled to Kosrae to help with their Book of Mormon Pageant. We were able to watch two young men be baptized. The middle picture shows the family. The photo on the right shows a young father who is a huge strength to the Branch and District in Kosrae. He is a returned missionary from a San Diego Mission.

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We built a stage (you can see it on the right of the first photo) and completed one run through with part of the cast, so we felt pretty good about the pageant. Hopefully, all will come together for the celebration. Elder Hurst visits with a member who was a carpenter and a great help in building the stage.

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Kosrae has a lot of something that is a scarce commodity on Chuuk; sandy beaches and the sound of ocean waves were a pleasant surprise to us. After returning home, we taught two more sessions to principals here in Chuuk and attended a great Zone Conference with the Elders. President and Sister Zarbock did a wonderful job of teaching us.

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L to R Elders Maughan, Fiti, Robinson,          L to R Elders Leota, White, Beard, Matavo, Bloxham, Dann, Kjar, and Garae.                    Stripling, Heim, Jonas, and President Zarbock.

Recently, we attended a couples conference in Guam. It will help us be ready for seminary in a month. Bishop Nicerio did a great job and it was wonderful to have Elder Jung there to teach us. We spent every free minute working on the sound for the Kosrae pageant. It took us a day or two after we returned home, to catch up on our sleep. Next week we go to Kosrae for the pageant and celebration. We still aren’t sure about Youth Conference. It may happen this week or it might be put off again. Hopefully, our next post will have some great pictures.

 

SEMINARY COMES TO AN END; NEW WORK BEGINS

We have been asked to help with co-writing a script and co-producing a Book of Mormon Pageant for Chuuk and for Kosrae, another island in our mission. That task has taken much of our time in the last few weeks. The pageants will be a part of the Book of Mormon “roll-out” for these languages. Kosrae will have their celebration in July and Chuuk will celebrate in November. The Kosraean Book of Mormon will be the 110th language translation of the book. The Chuukese version will be language 111.

The script is finished now, and Sister Hardy has been working on costumes for the last several days. We will be going to Kosrae at the end of the week to help with the stage, costumes, and directing. It will be a very busy four days.

We also continued our regular duties and have just finished a class on assessment for college students who want to become school teachers here in Chuuk. We are also teaching a workshop on classroom management to the principals of all the schools here in Chuuk. It will take four sessions to teach them all.

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These photos show some of our college students taking their final exam for the class. Sister Hardy is doing language study.

We also have managed to put together a seminary and institute graduation, and to help with a Family History Discovery Day. The upcoming youth conference has also taken a lot of our time and energy. I happens on the 26 and 27 of Jume, so, next post we should have pictures.

We are sorry it is taking so long between posts. Each time we post, we think we will be able to post again, very quickly. So far, we have not been able to make that happen. We promise to do our best in the future.

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We managed to find time to participate in a 5K walk for those who had lost homes in the typhoon. The spray paint shows we made it to every checkpoint. We were in the first 10 finishers in our age group so we received a T shirt.

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Here we are with brother Nicerio, our supervisor. The second picture show priesthood leaders, teachers, and students.

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Mwan Institute students. Both young men have mission calls.

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When we first arrived, we were the only missionary couple on the island. Now we have Elder and Sister Eliason (doctor), Elder and Sister Reed (self-reliance), and Elder and Sister Beecham (judicial). The Beechams are not under the mission, but are under the direction of the church’s legal department. They are here helping the local Justices. It was Elder Beecham’s birthday and we were invited to their hotel for a party. The L5 hotel is next to the airport and the ocean, so we took the opportunity to take some photos.

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We appreciate all the support and help we have received. Many families have sent clothing and other items for the victims of the typhoon. We have distributed items to those in need, which sometimes includes missionaries who have lost a lot in the storm. We send our love and thanks to all of our friends and family who have been so good to support us during our mission here in Chuuk. We see the Lord’s Kingdom growing here and feel blessed to be a part of the process. Thank you for your help and prayers.