Saturday, November 29, 2014

Double Thankful for a Double Thanksgiving

Sister Martin and I have so much to be thankful for. We could even be thankful for her extended cold (cough), if you consider all that I accomplished with Family History research. And, last weekend, we decided to buy an 11 lb. turkey ($1.50 per lb..not bad for Guam) and some potatoes. We thought of inviting missionaries, but with her still coughing and weak, we decided against it.

So, Sunday after church we started the turkey baking, and then did a video chat with the Bullen's on the internet. That was fun to hear about all the news. Later I peaked out the window and it was pouring rain.

After enjoying blessings of turkey most of the week, we were blessed to enjoy thanksgiving with all 42 missionaries on Guam. Even the Hedgpeths came. They are the new senior couple going to Pohnpei. Welcome Elder and Sister Hedgpeth! We will deeply miss Elder and Sister Chandler in Pohnpei. They are leaving soon.

Elder and Sister Hedgpeth

Then all of the food was set out. Looked like enough food for over a hundred people.

Sisters first.
Yes, I made my traditional clam dip to go with chips and veggies. Sister Martin made 2 big batches of Fudge. It was a big chocolate with pecans. Yum, yum.

Elder and Sister Thomas made mashed potatoes. Elder and Sister Reed made some fruit salads. Elder and Sister Guercio made a turkey and the big pot of gravy. President Zarbock made a deep fried turkey with a touch of curry spice. Sister Zarbock and her daughter Amy made another turkey, green salad and much more. Elder and Sister Hurst made a green bean casserole. I'm probably forgetting someone or something but it was all great.
Sister Hedgpeth and Sister Reed

Sister Kuau - A glimpse of Sister Martin in the background starting the cleanup.
We watched a church movie during dinner, talked and had a lot of fun.

Sister Baum and Sister Orrock

Having fun with pictures

The Sisters & Elder Hunter in the background rushing to get leftovers - He used one of the big foil pans and filled it up 

Sister Misanale, left, joining in the fun

Elder Afualo, Elder Hatch, Elder McEwen, Elder Ladore, Elder Samachy
We have so much to be thankful for. We are thankful for wonderful people we are getting to know here, beautiful sites and sounds of Guam from the sea to the jungles. But most of all for our Heavenly Father creating this beautiful world, our wonderful brothers and sisters of the world, and our Savior's love providing our way back home to our Heavenly Father.

All of the missionaries that go to the Barrigada, Guam ward clean the church and set up the chairs every 5th Saturday so Sister Martin took a few fun pics to see.
We all had fun except when Sister Martin screamed because a large cockroach flew towards her while cleaning in the kitchen.

Friday, November 21, 2014

I'm Dreaming of a SPAM Christmas

Not a lot of snow here on Guam unless you put your hand in the freezer. So what's the next best thing to snow and pine trees? Spam of course. At least that's what this major Grocery store uses to make their Christmas Tree display.  

Yes, Spam is a popular food in Micronesia. I've talked to several young missionaries on the outer islands with intermittent or no power, and so they cannot keep their fridge or freezer stocked with anything perishable. I asked Elder Hunter his thoughts on this. He said while he was on Chuuk they would sometimes buy some frozen chicken and other cold items. Unfortunately, it would often only last a couple of days. After that, Spam and rice is the staple, and it comes in multiple flavors. 

Luckily, Sister Martin and I haven't had much of it. Perhaps at a church pot-luck dinner, etc.  

Instead of snow on trees, flowers are beginning to bloom on them. Our Gardenia plant outside our front door bloomed last week, and now our little Plumeria tree has a lot of flowers. Enjoying God's beautiful and incredible creations right on our own front porch.

What do you do when you're stuck inside your apartment for days?

(Sister Martin caught the cold most everyone and myself caught, and so we're staying inside after work each night and over the weekend.)

Well, you could do Family History work. That's what I did and was able to find some new families. I was talking to Elder and Sister Hurst, the Family History couple here, and Sister Hurst suggested I try looking on I had never looked there before and was amazed to find a variety of clues to help continue my research. They have pictures of head stones and other information that people share with each other.

The following is just a bit from my little indoor adventure over the past week or so:

I found this head stone and also her death certificate which gave me clues about Mary's Father who I was looking for. It said his name was Henry and was born in France. Prior research from US Census said he was born in Germany.

As I was searching for Henry I found that he was an older brother to Mary, not her father.

One bit of a challenge to this detective work was finding all of the names her father and mother went by. I found on an immigration record that Mary's father's name was Francoise Choulet, on the ship from France to the US. The US Census was a big challenge because the "sounds like" or "broad" search function in Ancestry didn't work that great. I had to keep typing different spellings, first names only, and sometimes typing in children names and leaving out the parents names, etc.

Example of last or surnames: Choulet, Chouley, Choult, Shouley, Schoulet, Chonley, etc.

Examples of her Fathers first names: Francoise, Francis, France, Frank, etc.

Examples of her mother's name: Lucine, Lucinda, Lucina, etc.

Since all computer searches rely on indexers, we all hope they will get it as close as possible. For example, the indexers on this census had typed in the last name as Chonley. It could be Chouley if you examine the "u" and the "n", the way the scribe wrote Alexander and Lucina

The end result was adding 9 of Mary's siblings with a few of their spouses, and her father and mother. It's exciting how Family History is so doable by the average person now, due to the vast amount of information that is online. Count our many blessings.

I still searching for Lucinda's maiden name as well as other areas.

Sister Martin is starting to feel a little better so she went to the Relief society event tonight. When she makes wedding cakes, often there is a hand carved watermelon on the table with "Congratulations", the couple's name, or similar with roses. The man who does this did a demonstration.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Another (Amazing) day at the office - missionaries coming and going

We will miss all of the missionaries going home this month. We always wonder how things will go for them when they return home. Life will be so different and the transition is sometimes difficult for some. But our memories will remain.

Here's one memory of Sister Ta'ehia and Sister Rotuk (and Sister Kolini - not shown) who called me one morning with "two flat tires". I borrowed a spare tire from a similar mission car in order to help them drive to the repair shop. After the tire shop installed two new tires a strange thing happened. One of the new tires went flat after just a few hours. We found out that the rim had a big dent that wasn't fixed. They pounded out the dent and everything has been fine since.

Sister Rotuk went home to Chuuk over a month ago and Sister Ta'ehia left last weekend. We will miss them.

Elder Luong, Elder Afualo, Elder Waimila, Elder Martin in the office

Goodbye Sister Vave and Sister Ta'ehia

Sister Calder will be trained by Sister Taumoefolau in Yap

Elder Dann on his way to Chuuk with Elder Heim - Ordered a Chuukese name tag

Sister Mataitoga will be training Sister Welch in Pohnpei

Elder Climer will be trained by Elder Striplin in Palau 

Transfer week is a busy time in the office - Many questions that we hope we have the answers to

Sister Misanale will be trained by Sister Warner (not shown) in Guam -
The arriving missionaries are a sharp group excited to do the work of the Lord
Since our mission is so far spread apart, we don't have mission conferences. Therefore, many of these missionaries may never see each other again.

A few days later on P-day, Sister Misanale and Sister Warner were in the office. They shared how the Elders came and rescued them from a small snake in their apartment. There are no poisonous snakes on Guam or in our region of Micronesia that we know of. It was a brown tree snake. This video with sound, captures the drama of the event.

Elder and Sister Reed with Elder and Sister Thomas, helping with car inspections
Elder Hunter and Elder Ladore won the prize for the cleanest car - Where did they get those suit coats? It's over 90 degrees.

More pday happenings.

Elder Rice working on emails

Elder Matalolo reading a letter

Better clean that car even if it's a little crunched.

It's an amazing blessing to be around these great missionaries who have chosen to give their time and resources for 1 1/2 to 2 years for unselfish, unpaid service to the people of Micronesia and to the Lord Jesus Christ who we love and serve. All the glory and all the credit goes to Him for all the good works that may be accomplished here.