Sunday, May 25, 2014

Chuuk...Ruggedly beautiful and Inspiring

Our final stop, yet perhaps the most interesting group of islands in our journey...Chuuk, formerly known as the Truk Islands.

Upon arrival, we looked for someone with the Blue Lagoon Resort that would give us our rental car. They easily found us. Of course, we're not hard to spot with our name tags and all.

We hopped in a rugged (ragged) looking old Toyota Rav 4. We were about to find out why it looked a little ragged.


The first little bit out of town seemed OK...but then the paved roads of "Chuuk" seemed to have the biggest "Chuck" holes we've ever seen. It had just rained so the holes were all filled in so you don't know what's down there. They tell us that some chuck holes are a foot deep, and I believe them. The road must have been paved over 20 years ago and has never had any work done. That's the last time I'll complain about road work because this is the alternative.

We bucked like the rodeo, so we slowed way down. About 40 min. or so to go about 5 miles. We drove by the Mwan LDS church and it seemed like one of the most popular places in town, even in the rain.

Arriving at the Resort was like driving into a different world. Very nice grounds. The pictures show it all.

Elder and Sister Crisp, the only senior couple on Chuuk, met us for dinner that evening. We loved getting to know them and had a lot of fun talking about missionary work, the islands, the young missionaries, the schools and more.

The next morning we dropped by the Mwan church again and a young man named Brandy Henry greeted us. He said he had been recently called on a mission to Long Beach, California. We met the District President and his councilor. Brandy showed us around a bit more and then we went next door and talked to Elder Obray and Elder Selander, the Zone leaders. We also met  Tarson, Elder Roque and others.

I later asked the Crips if we could drive around with them a bit, especially to Sapuk because five of our current missionaries are from there.

We went to Mechitiw chapel and right next to it were the missionaries. Elder Vehikite demo'd a weight set made of concrete blocks.

Said "hi" to Elder Canakiavata and friends and then we were off to Sapuk.

Elder Rainey and Elder Hunter showed us their humble abode with their outdoor palm leaf shower and then Elder Hunter chopped open a coconut for us to drink.

They said they were going to have 3 baptisms that Saturday and the Chuuk area about 20. The Chuuk area goal for the month of May was 51.

The main treat of the island was our opportunity to go to the high school. It was sort of a pre-graduation event. First a Blue-Grass band from the states, sponsored by the US Embassy, performed for everyone. They were professional and everyone enjoyed it.

But then a group of four seniors sang in Chuukese.

JT Ande
Nuno Kata
The young men had "Team Sapuk" t-shirts on. Most are from Sapuk I suppose.

We found out that two of the young men to the right, JT Ande and Nuno Kata have mission calls to South Africa and Australia. I was told that Nuno's brother Elder Kata, served in this mission last year, and JT's sister is Sister Ande, currently serving near our office in Guam. 

They were really good singers. Sister Martin and I both took videos of their performance. Several missionaries, like Sister Rotuk, wanted to see the video of them singing. Sister Rotuk just became a trainer to Sister Mika who just arrived last week.
This Priesthood - Chuukese

On the back of their t-shirts was written "This Priesthood" written in Chuukese with their names.

After the concert a man from the High School came up to us and the Crisps and thanked our church for donating guitars and keyboards to their music department. The Crisps filled us in as we knew nothing about the donation.

The next morning we were notified that our flight from Chuuk to Guam was canceled until the next day. So, we decided to visit one of the outer islands called Tonowas. It was about a 15 minute boat ride. We walked around and saw an old Japanese hospital built around 1912.

We then went to the Tonowas Chapel and met Elder Plocher and Elder Tafuna. There were a lot of members and investigators playing volleyball.

They have no electricity on the island. Elder Plocher said the solar panels were not working. This is really roughing it. We noticed that most of the chapels with missionary quarters have a rainwater collection system.

One of the boys asked sister Martin if we would be coming to church on Sunday because he wanted to pass the sacrament to her.

And a few crabs on the beach.

We then took the small boat ride back to the main island. President Naka, the branch president of the Tonowas chapel took our picture and was our tour guide for the island.

The missionary work is going well. Many people we have met have firm testimonies that the restored church of Jesus Christ is true and have expressed a love for the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's amazing how many are planning to serve full time missions from Chuuk and the other islands we visited. Our testimonies have been strengthened. We love it and are thankful for this great opportunity to serve.

After visiting all three of the island groups, we gained a greater appreciation and love for the missionaries serving there. It was clear that we all have different skills and talents, and that those serving use those talents and strengths for the common goal of strengthening the mission and furthering the Lord's work.


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