Friday, November 29, 2013

Today is November 30, 2013, our last day on this most beautiful island of Yap.  Wow, where have the last 18 months gone.  This has been a most fantastic experience for us.  WE had to go out and say good by to our favorite lady, Anne and her two girls, Lena and Athena.     
Athena, looks like a boy with her hair curt so short.  Anne call her, her little boy. 
They all gave us both big hugs as we left
Anne, gave Sister Garrett a gold neckless with Yap and some palm trees, me a men's neckless and a sweet good by card. 

Jactina, another very sweet lady.  We and the Elders have been working with her for most of a year.  Last Wednesday she asked to come out to her house so she could say good by to us.  I asked her when she was getting baptized.  She kind of stayed silent then sister Garrett Asked why she didn't get baptized before we left.  She thought about it and then say sure okay.
Jacinta, asked me to baptize her.  The Elders usually do the baptizing so I was honored and thrilled that she asked me to baptize her.
After she was baptized with her nuwnuw on her head  Her husband left her a couple of years ago and  left her pretty destitute.  Her family has owned the land where her house is for many years.  But since her husband left she has not been able to make payments so the bank wants to foreclose.  We are getting a set of Sister Missionaries on Yap on December 7th so I have been working with the bank to let us lease the house and make payment to the bank so they will not foreclose.  We will put a set of Elders in her house and the sisters will live here in the same apartment  as we do close to the Senior Couple.  We negotiated with the bank to payoff about $2,000.00 of past due utilities bills and to put in a new stove for the elders to have.  We will have her house completely paid off in three years.  She is so grateful for all we have done to help0 her keep her house and family land.  Every time I get around her she cries and tell me how grateful she is for helping her save her house.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

We had our opening social for seminary on September 6th and played several games with the kids.  Here Junior is trying to move the cookie from his forehead to his mouth to eat without touching it.  Junior is going to graduate from high school in June and could be ready to go on a mission soon there after.  Hopefully the new couple will realize they need to get behind him and nug him alone.  He wants to go but will need lots of help like we gave our two girls last year. 
Marissa, our non member little 12 year old (now) who wants so badly to be baptized.  She really loves the church, but her mom and Grandmother does not want her baptized yet they think she is too young.
Maytreem.  Her mother is Malyn.  We found Maylyn several months ago kind of hiding in one of the villages several months ago.  She and her two daughters are now very active.  Maylyn is the one who makes a lot of jewelry and flowers out of the natural foliage.  She also is now in the Relief Society Presidency.  The other sister is Mayvain.  Both are great girls and are active and come to seminary.Maytreen was having a hard time getting her previous high school Transcripts so I got involved and got them for her.  She and her sister are both juniors.

Jermiah Nam trying the cookie thing.
Jessica, a member for only two months trying the cookie thing.  It looks so painful 
Johnny, Sam's friend.  A member only two months from Thol.  Doing the missionary relay.  Got to put the white shirt on, button it and put the tie on run down the other end back words then back and take the shirt off and go run and tag your next member of the team.
 Sister Garrett help Maytreem with the tie.  I guess girls have a little more trouble with the man thing.
Niya, sweet little Niya putting on the shirt.  The first step.
Shera Daidad. a member only two months.  Neat story.  She and her sister Merilie's father has been an inactive member for many many years. President Gubung, and I went to visit him and found he had three daughters that were not members.  All three were taught the missionary lessons Shera and Merilie got baptized.  The third sister wanted to also but her husband said no.  You find baptisms every where you go and let the Lord lead you to them.
After the games we had pizza and ice cream.
Yep, Pizza and ice cream
Seminary this year (2013-2014) started September 6th.We started off with a good group of kids half of which were new this year.  Even Sister Garrett got into the teaching the first day. 
We started off in the Multi-purpose room where we had seminary all of last year.  Some times last year we got a little crowded.  But I like the closeness of the kids, where I could look them right in the eye and bear testimony to them and ask pointed questions.  So this year even though it was crowded I still liked the closeness of the kids so we started off in the same room as last year.  But with lots of new kids.  
But we soon got real crowded with over 20 kids coming.  So believing in a true democracy I put it to a vote if they wanted to move in the bigger room where we hold sacrament meeting.  They all voted to move, so we moved.  It really is much better.  See I can change my mind sometimes.  When it is the right thing to do. 

We Worked really hard during the summer to have youth activities and stay close to all the kids and go recruit more kids to come to seminary.  As a result we more than doubled our seminary class.  Half was brand new and 6 were non-members.  Two have since been baptized.  Melanie, Jessica. and Terry.  Two more are planed to be baptized and one, Marissa, wants so bad to be baptized she come to everything, but her mom and Grandmother does not want her baptized yet, they think she is too young at 12 years old..

Great bunch of kids.  We love each of them very much.  We really have seem some changes in all of them.  Some times it is frustrating and so difficult to get them to where you think they are progressing.  But we have so enjoyed this group this year.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Today was District Conference.  We had Elder Michael Ringwood, a 70 and President of the Asia North Area, his wife and President and Sister Mecham and President Hales.  It is the best attended Conference on this island.  At the adult session 40 people, at the general session 110 and the Priesthood leadership session 45  It was great to see so many come out.  Carmen and Augustine talked, Johnny and Jesse also talked.  All recent converts.  Each did a great job.  Elder Ringwood commented on each of their talks.  Elder Ringwood talked about What is the Work of Salvation?
Everyone of us should be involved in doing to hasten the work of the Lord.

1. Every member should be actively doing missionary work
2. Retention
3. Activation
4. Temple and Family History
5. Teaching

All the Elders sang the mission song in Yapese.  WE got a standing ovation.

After fighting with doctors and insurances companies for almost 18 months, we finally got Jesse back to the Philippines where real doctors could look at him.  They did preform three different surgeries  to help him .  However, they told him he was about two years too late to do anything about his back and hip.  They told him he would be walking if he would have come over within the first year of the accident.  But each area had been too long without ample blood supply.  The day he got home he came looking for me with a big smile and gave me a DVD of his surgeries.  He said he was happy he went , thanked me very much and said he can live with what he now knows.  In his talk in Conference he thanked me again for all I had done for him.  Six months ago I made his Dad, John promise me he would come to our next District Conference.  Jesse's mom and dad both came today.the first time they have ever come to church like this.  I hope someday they will join the church.  The big problem is their whole living is based on selling Beatlenut.  But they can do it.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

This is definitely one of the nicer paths leading to a village.  This one is up to the northern end of the Island in what is called Maap.  On the way to Jesse's Koeing.  Jesse is our invalid member.  Most village paths are nothing more than a cow path.
Sister Garrett with Tracy Ayin and her husband Nards.  Tracy has been inactive most of our time on the island.  I first met her when her 9 year old son was getting baptized and President Gubung asked me to help him fill out the baptism record.  Tracy came in with red mouth, teeth, lips and mad at the whole world.  She came to church one day and Sister Garrett and I started helping her come back to the church.  Now her husband Nards is getting baptized.  He is a Filipino.
 Tracy and Nards with their son Andrew.  This island has so much potential.  There are so many members who are inactive with lots of family members who are not members.  I have said it many times every time we go out of our way to reach these inactive members we find people to teach and baptize.
 On Nards baptism.  Alec was also baptized.  Here with Elder Ramiterre and Tueller
Alex, with his aunt, who he lives with.  Alex is another story.  He just showed up to church one Sunday all dressed up in his dirty grubby battle fatigues muddy marine boots and all.  We got the Elders teaching him and then he disappeared.  He then showed up for our year end youth activity.  After that everytime I would see him he would come and give me a big hug and tell me he loved me.  Yapese people do not show this kind of attention.  We came to realize that he was married to Clara an inactive member.  Who we now have coming to institute and church regularly  He wants to get back with Clara but she has moved on even though they have a child together.
The Aaronic Priesthood boys of the Thol Branch all dressed up in their white shirts and ties. (never had them before) our kids and their wards help provide lots of clothes and shirts and ties for our members here.  Left to right, Johnny, a new member and friend of Sam.  Then Sam.  Junior, President Matthews son, and Pete, Sam's brother.  Sam and Pete will move to Utah to be with their mom after this school Year.  Sam graduates from High School this year.  What a great kid..
Meldon's baptism.  He is married to Malani.  President Jim' s adopted daughter. but really his niece.  They both are from Wollei.  She went back there to  go to school but got married (maybe pregant) instead.  Island marriages are that way.  No real marriage just start living together.
 But before he could be baptized, they had to have a real marriage.  Jim is getting much better at the marriage thing.  His first one we had to type up a marriage ceremony out of the church handbook for him.  He has now preformed several.
Some of Jim's family with President Matthew.
Malani's mom.  At first she would not agree to let Meldon and Mailani be formally married.    In their culture the Mother in law is the one who rules over the daughter's family and if they have a real civil marriage she losses all the control.  But the Lord softened her heart and eventually consented.  She is now taking the missionary lessons.
I cannot believe one week from today we will be leaving this beautiful tiny island.  The past 18 months have flown by so very fast it is hard to believe our mission on Yap is about to come to an end.  There is still a lot I would like to put on this blog but so little time to do it.  Tomorrow, Sunday, we are having our district conference.  President and Sister Mecham is coming with the Area President (North Asia Area) Elder Michael Ringwood and his wife.  So we are having a visiting General Authority.  Today Elder Strother and I spent the morning down to the church help getting the building and grounds looking decent for the conference.  When we were through we were both ringing wet.  A little work and a whole lot of sweat.  But the grounds look better than it ever has.  After giving the seminary over to the Strothers two weeks ago, we have been concentrating on The Temple Project.  Where we have 25 people ready to go to the temple in the Philippines on December 8th.  We started out working with 36.  But 11 have dropped off.  Mainly Lucy and her six kids.  Lucy just couldn't get her self ready (word of wisdom and church attendance) to go so she will have to wait for another time.  Unfortunately, Jasmine will not be  going with her mom Laura.  Her older sister Julie and Ken (Julie's husband) has kind of been raising her and they got their feelings hurt when they thought we were going around them and communicating with the mom, Laura.  Dah, who else should we be communicating with.  Anyway they said she could not go and be sealed to her mom.  Jasmine, was quite disappointed.  I told President Jim he needs to spend a lot of time with Julie and Ken so they can be ready to go next year.  Ken has been a member for only a couple of months.

But we are now ready to go.  We have already sent home 7 boxes of stuff and another two boxes yesterday and maybe one more before we leave in a week.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sam's mom, Martina, is moving to Lehi, Utah to be with her daughter who is having her first baby.  Martina, plans on getting a job there and having the kids Sam and Pete join her after school this year.  At 1:00 o'clock in the morning we had to be there to help Martina off.  She has never been off the island and was a little scared.  We had to promise her we would look after Sam and Pete.
Sam & Martina, they look happy but both were a little scared and sad that mom was leaving.
Sam and Pete and Tyler.  Tyler is a cousin to Sam.  He is the miracle boy who stepped out of the jungle way back when we first arrived and we were looking for Jasmine to tell her about Seminary.
 The whole family.  Far left with baby is Laura, Martina's sister.  Laura is going to the temple in December to be sealed to her deceased husband.  The baby is Marvin & Merlie's baby.  The man is Martina's live in boy friend (Island marriage)  He wanted to be married and baptized before she left and he would go with her.  Both are still married to other people and we tried for weeks to put that together but it just didn't happen.  His wife is in the Philippines, her husband is on one of the outer islands.  We tried very hard to get it done but too much red tape.  and no good communications with the other spouses and the outer islands.  There needed to be legal divorces for the church to let them get married and he baptized.  I went to the court house and legal services several times trying but couldn't put that one together.

First time we took a couple of hours and just relaxed on the beach.  Sister Garrett is so white she wanted a little sun`.  Beautiful day, sandy beach, water warmer than the air temperature.
The young men had a service project cleaning around the church.  Best young men only activity we have had.  Course there was pizza after.  Elders Baliling and Hatch helped.
Sister Garrett and I took one of the blankets the young women and relief society made over to Kieonie's new little baby.  The green one.  Notice the swing and Koyeng they live in.
Jessica, on her day of baptism.  (the smaller one on the left)  With her is her friend Marissa.  Jessica is 20 years old.  Now tell me how old is Marissa?   Marissa, want so badly to join the church but her mom who is only 23 year old and her grandmother won't let her.  Both are very active in the church as well as seminary.  Marissa is another one of my favorite.  She is so good with the church even though she can't be baptized yet.
The answer, Marissa is 11 years old.  You go figure.  When I first met her I thought she was at lease 17 years old.  All the elders with Jessica,  left Baliling, Wymila, Tueller, Meyer, Hatch, Ramiterre.