Thursday, July 31, 2014

Exploring Guam's beauty - Feeding Missionaries - Storm "Halong"

30" of rain in July and still raining
Last weekend we looked forward to this fun break away from the office, which provided a little exercise as well. We totally love this mission, on call literally 24-7. While I began writing this blog at 10pm, we received a call from the assistants to the President requesting a flight for a missionary that the President wanted to come to Guam ASAP. Sister Martin made the flight immediately.

This P-Day was on July 21st, Guam's (WWII) Liberation day. There was a big parade but we decided on a hike.

We started out intending to go to Sella Bay, a 3 hour hike and rated moderately difficult. Bishop Davis drove us with Marthalina to the southwest side of Guam.

On the way we saw "Bear Rock" which looks a little like a bear.

As we got closer to the trail head the rain intensified, making it unsafe to do the Sella Bay hike due to the "Red" slippery dirt (now mud).

So Bishop Davis drove us to Fort Soledad, an old Spanish fortess c.1810, facing the bay.

Even this big Carabao (water buffalo) was having fun in the rain.

We then went on a short hike to Fonte Dam, (pre-WWII, built about 1910).

Bishop Davis had been here several times before and had never seen a small stream on the trail and as deep of water in the pool below the dam.

We then went to the Sella Bay trailhead and overlook. It was hard to see down to the bay but we looked toward the center of the island and saw a few water falls created by intense rain.

We finally ended our morning at Latte Stone Park. Latte stones were used anciently to hold up roof structures. They have become a common symbol often seen representing the culture and history of Guam.

Another fun day to enjoy with our friends.

Feeding Missionaries
Several days later we enjoyed having Elder Ashcraft and Elder Petersen over for dinner.

Both are very committed to missionary work and have mastered foreign languages such as Pohnpeian and Chuukese.

Side Note...Sister Martin was talking with Elder Petersen in the office recently and found out that his dad is "Chef Brad", a famous chef. We first saw Chef Brad a few years ago at BYU Education Week.

We decided to have Elder Petersen and his companion over for dinner to cook one of his dad's recipes. We made the "Chia Garlic Roasted Mashed Potatoes" and loved it. We served it with Ahi (Maguro) Tuna and Aioli sauce.

Here's a link to his dad's web site.
Chef Brad

Tropical Storm Halong

Another big storm came through July 30th. The Governor of Guam requested that everyone stay in doors. We went to the office and grabbed some things to do while the storm cranked up. They say we got about 9 inches of rain. Luckily the storm center was slightly north, so flooding was minimal. By the end of the day we were feeling like we wanted to get out of the apartment but it was still pouring down. We are grateful to have good shelter. Most buildings in Guam are concrete and can withstand Typhoon strength winds. Hope we won't have to test it out while living here.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Couples Conference and a Farewell to Sister McClellan

The Senior Couples from Chuuk, Kosrae, Yap, Palau and Pohnpei came to Guam to have a conference. Enjoy the pics.

Unforgettable - Elder and Sister Chandler, Elder and Sister MacCabe

Elder and Sister Hurst, left, gave amazing talks on family history

Elder and Sister Strothers are great entertainers

It consisted of three full days, July 15-17. Much of it was focused on Seminary and Institute training because most of the couples are directly involved with those programs.

We enjoyed spending extra time with Elder and Sister Crisp from Chuuk

Elder and Sister Curtis from Kosrae

We loved the testimonies of those that will be departing in the next few months. They testified of truth and their love of the Lord's work on the earth. After hearing them, we were filled with the spirit of God. Sister Curtis shared her testimony about how she was born in Germany and came to the States as a young girl. She later served a mission in Germany as a single sister. She shared an experience of giving a Restoration pamphlet to a Catholic Cardnial. He had just returned from a long journey and said that he would like to talk to them later. They made an appointment for the next day. He stayed up all night reading the pamphlet. The next day when she went to see him. The housekeeper said that she checked with him before going to bed and he was reading the pamplet. When she saw him again in the morning, he was still sitting in the chair with the pamphlet across his chest. He had passed away. The Curtis' volunteered to serve for 23 months, so they will be here until after we depart.

During the last day we all had fun, especially the part where we divided into groups and helped teach each other (none of us were falling asleep).

In just a few minutes each group had to come up with a poster and a jingle to teach others the assigned topic. "Line upon Line"

We were amazed with the performances in so short a time.

Elder Jung, an area seventy from Korea, and Brother Nicerio over the S&I program in Micronesia participated in all of the activities with us.

Looking forward to the next conference in January of 2015.

Farewell to Sister McClellan, our mission nurse specialist.

Her "Last Request" was that all the seniors in Guam go down to the park for FHE (Family Home Evening), watch the sunset, and eat Chinese food.

We all met at the Statue of Liberty Park (Paseo de Susana) just two days before she flew home to Florida.

President Zarbock mentioned we should go there more often

After the chinese food, Sister Martin unveiled this farewell cake with a coconut flavor that tasted great.

The pictures show the rest.
Sister McClellan watching the sunset with Elder and Sister Hurst

This next picture needed a slogan. I showed this picture to Sister Warner, one of our sister missionaries serving in Yigo, Guam and she said President Zarbock's slogan is, "Give 'em Heaven". 

We had a fun time and will miss her a lot. Her service was second to none.

In the short time Sister Martin and I have had the opportunity to get to know Sister McClellan, we have grown to love her. She is an amazing example to us all. We love her unwavering testimony of the Savior. Each time she talks of Christ and the restored gospel we feel the love of God and the warm peaceful spirit of the Holy Ghost.

In a recent talk, she shared her initial mission application comments. She remembered writing "Nurse" as a side note, preferring to serve using her other talents like drawing and art, etc. She has not only been an amazing Mission Nurse to the young missionaries, but has had the opportunity to do a lot of artwork, such as the bus stops, and last week's Relief Society activity table cloths and wall decorations with a pioneer theme. These were mentioned in earlier blogs. She has made many wedding cakes for investigators wanting to get married before they are baptized.

It will literally take two people to replace her. Instead of a single sister nurse, we have a senior couple that just arrived to take over the nursing in the Micronesia Guam Mission, Elder and Sister Guercio.

We wish Sister McClellan joy and happiness on whatever she decides or is called to do in the future.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Baptisms and Pioneers

We have enjoyed seeing some great people enter the waters of baptism the last few weeks here in Guam. Enjoy the pictures. I wish this blog could convey the down-pouring of the spirit we are blessed to feel as these wonderful people are baptized.
Elder Hatch (from the U.S.) and Elder Hunter (from the U.S.) working in Talofofo

A great family attended the baptism to support their son's decision

Elder Pita (from the U.S) and Elder Baliling (from the Philippines) working in
Merizo, and Brother Willie Albert far right

Elder Seguin (from Canada) on the right
Elder Krueger (from New Zealand) and Elder Hokao (from Vanuatu)
At a Relief Society function, Sister Martin was asked to give a presentation about her Pioneer Ancestors. July 24, 1847 is the date the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints remembers the arrival of our faithful pioneers who began arriving in the Salt Lake Valley.

Daniel A. Miller and Hannah Bigler are Sister Terry Martin's Great Great Great Grand Parents. Her presentation covered various highlights such as when they converted to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints they demonstrated their faith in Jesus Christ despite their persecutions and challenges. The Biglers stopped by Hauns Mill, just missing the attacking mobs, arriving a few hours later. Find out more at  Family Search Web Site

Below is a map I created to help her show the timeline.

Dr. John M. Bernhisel
It's interesting to note that the Millers were part of the Brigham Young Company. This was Brigham Young's last trek to Salt Lake.

Dr. John M. Bernhisel, Great Great Great Grand Father to Elder Michael Martin, arrived shortly after them in the Heber C. Kimball Company, also in September of 1848.

We are grateful to our ancestors and their testimonies and perserverance of courage, and for not turning back or giving up. We draw strength from their examples as we face our challenges.

Barrigada Relief Society Pioneer Event for July 2014 -
Artwork by Sister McClellan

The Barrigada ward Relief Society hosted the Pioneer event.

Several sisters brought a variety of food. Sister Roberts did a candle making demo. All of the sisters walked 10 times around the cultural hall, dipping their wicks in wax until candles started to form.

Many more performed and participated. A fun party for all who attended.

More Pictures...

Sister Vave (From Tonga) and Sister Kolini (from Papau New Guinea) also came

See candles

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Welcome President and Sister Zarbock

Yes, we have a new mission president, President Zarbock. He and Sister Zarbock just arrived. We're excited for them, excited with them, and for all of the missionaries who will soon meet them.
This great picture is from the Mecham's MGM Facebook page.
Their goal is to meet all of the missionaries in the mission in the first month. This is a difficult task because there are so many islands. Their first flight was to Saipan and back where they had a great zone conference there. On their return flight they reported the plane bouncing around a lot in the storm but landed safely.

Their next trip trip was to visit Kosrae, then Pohnpei, then Chuuk, where Sister Martin and I had the opportunity of visiting. The United island hopper first stopped in Chuuk, then in Pohnpei but a large bird damaged the engine turbine or something so the flight to Kosrae was canceled. So they met with the missionaries an extra day in Pohnpei. A few days later, their next flight to Chuuk was also canceled due to a sick flight attendant, (rumor is that the crew really wants extra time in Hawaii). Then they had another extra day in Pohnpei. I'm sure the missionaries loved it. A rescue plane came the next day and took them to Chuuk.

I remember when we were stuck in Chuuk an extra day. I mentioned it to President Mecham and he said, "Welcome to Micronesia". Flight cancellations are a common thing here.

We were concerned that his flight back to Guam might be canceled because a big tropical storm was suppose to hit Guam. But it weakened and moved a little north.

(July 12th) This morning we heard that their flight to Guam was canceled anyway due to airplane maintenance. It is rescheduled to come tomorrow, Sunday evening.

Wow! Three canceled flights in one trip to visit three islands. Like President Mecham said, "Welcome to Micronesia".

Guam Zone Conference - A Wonderful Spiritual Feast
Last week we enjoyed our first zone conference with President and Sister Zarbock. President Zarbock taught us all  new "unofficial" mission song that goes, "What a great day, what a great day, Whata whata whata whata whata great day......" We all had fun singing it together.

Several outgoing missionaries bore their testimonies, a tradition when this is their last zone conference. Sister Rotuk's testimony especially touched our hearts as she talked about her wayward father who has since come unto Christ while she was on her mission. She has a powerful testimony of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sister Rotuk

Tears of gratitude filled my eyes as I thought of the blessing of having a righteous father and mother who raised me knowing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sister Martin also says she counts her many blessings when remembering her father being baptized when she was seven years old.

All gave amazing testimonies of how they have learned and grown so much on their missions while serving the Lord by serving the people.

The Chinese take-out food was great.

Musical number - Elder Ashcraft, Elder Fabiano, Elder Seguin, Elder Naegle, Sister Ande, Sister Rotuk and Sister Vave

We talked about finances, blessings and shared our testimonies

Monday, July 7, 2014

Goodbye President and Sister Mecham

We were very fortunate to have spent time with the Mechams. We love them and will miss them. They are amazing missionaries, and example to all.

One of my favorite statements that President Mecham said was, "I really don't want to go. They are throwing me out of the mission!"

We loved the competitive nature of the Mechams. During our Senior Family Home Evening games they would usually slaughter us all. Anything scripture related, or Guam history related, they were knowledgeable and amazing.

Another memory we like were President Mecham's hand gestures activities. He would have everyone stand up and then we would all hold our arms above our heads and make the shape of an "O", then a "Y", then an "M". At the same time we would all repeat the words, "Open", "Your", "Mouth".
President Mecham's Dynamic Teaching Style
One day he came in and said that they were bringing over a container cube soon and were going to pick up most of their belongings. It happened six weeks before his "three year term" ended, and they would be living out of a suitcase. President Mecham's style was unforgettable. He would tell it like it is, going "full blast" with missionary work until the day he flew out, and no doubt beyond.

A picture of President Mecham and his fire for missionary work, was on the desks of some of the missionaries. Below are two examples of Sister Missionary's study desks.

The work schedule a mission president and wife keeps in the Micronesia Guam Mission is incredible. There is a law here that after you have lived in Guam 30 days you must get a Guam Driver's License. Well, in three years they were never on the island of Guam 30 days straight, constantly traveling to one of the many islands in the mission.  Subsequently, President Mecham said he never had to change his license, like Sister Martin and I had to do.

Short story...Getting a license of Guam was a story I've told that most have a hard time believing. Sister Martin and I arrived at the large building of Taxation or something like that. After finding out what line to get in and then waiting in it, we finally talked to an agent. They were very nice and quite efficient to start with. 

Then came the fun part... paying for your license. You then get in another line to pay. When we were finally helped, the cashier explained that is costs more to use your debit or credit card than cash. So, of course I chose the "cash" method. They give you your receipt and then tell you to go back to another line and put your receipt into a box. A nice man called our names several minutes later and gave us our licenses. I asked for our receipt but he said he couldn't give it to me. I didn't believe he was serious so I told him I needed a receipt to keep track of all of my purchases, especially cash ones that have no bank transaction records. Then came the punchline...He said he could make a photo copy of the receipt for me but that it would cost $1.00. I reluctantly agreed, but then he said we would have to get back in the long cashier line to pay the one dollar, and bring him the receipt. Then he would be happy to give us a copy of our receipt. We did so, and a little while later we had a copy of our receipt. 
Elder Martin "smiling" in front of the Driver's License building

Yes...We really bought and paid for a receipt, in order to obtain our receipt---I probably could have been upset in a situation like that but I was all the time trying not to laugh. Unbelievable is all I have left to say about that. Sister Martin took my picture out front (of me smiling), perhaps because we had so much fun there. We were literally laughing and smiling ear to ear on the way out.

Back to the Mechams. We enjoyed going to a couple of different farewells in honor of the Mechams. President and Sister Mecham continued to testify with boldness, the truthfulness of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and how they truly loved everyone and would miss them. They love missionary work. We'll never forget the powerful, beautiful, yet simple testimonies they shared that touched our hearts.

Pictures of the farewell parties / feasts.

Sister Martin enjoyed making this quadruple layer cake 
The Guam Service and Distribution Center farewell party

Back: Lewis, Liz, Dorothy, Grace, Lota, Rose, Elder Martin, Agustine.
Front: Susan, President Mecham, Sister Mecham, Sister Martin

Fun mementos.
The Barrigada Ward farewell party.

Relief Society sang "God Be With You Til We Meet Again" in Chuukese.
Wow. We didn't understand a word but the spirit touched us powerfully.

Sister Mecham

A cute Fire Dancer performed

Barrigada, Guam ward group picture with the departing Mechams
The Guam Senior Couples with our Senior Sister farwell party for Elder and Sister Mecham
Elder Martin, Sister Martin, Sister McClellan, Sister Mecham, President Mecham, Sister MacCabe, Elder MacCabe