Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Parable of the Star Sand

It has been fun to see the Star Sand on two different beaches so far, here in Guam. One source on Coco's island and the other on Tarague beach.

Looking at the "Star Sand" and how they are different from the rest, made me think of God and His majesty and great plan for all of us, and how each of us are unique and special to Him. Other thoughts reminded me of one of my favorite songs called "He Sent His Son", where God asks us to, "Live Like His Son". In doing this it usually means that we stand out different from the rest.

We gathered up some of this sand and put it in small bottles.

We decided to send these bottles of sand to our children and grandchildren. I wrote this poem to go with it, with some great help from Sister Martin.

Close-up of Star Sand mixed in with the rest

Pictures of two grandchildren checking out the Star Sand. (Thanks Debbie for posting the video)

"At Sunset's Close One Summer's Eve..."

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Office classics, Missionaries, Menenggon Memorial and Father's Day

We enjoy and are blessed with so many experiences while serving in the office. Here's a few from the past couple of weeks:

The younger missionaries finished their Zone Meeting then dropped in for a few minutes...

Elder Matalolo - that looks serious

Sister Aviata in the background just received her Chuukese Language Mastery booklet to learn. Sister Misinale buying postage from Sister Martin. Her letter got returned needing more postage. The young missionaries always ask us how much to send a letter to somewhere.

Sister Misinale and Sister Aviata

Yes...Sister Aviata is excited to learn Chuukese - "Ran Annim" means "Hello"
Received this letter, returned in the mail to the mission office the other day, postmarked "8 Nov 2013". It was a letter sent by the previous Office couple missionaries, Elder and Sister Prince. I emailed Elder Prince on it and his response was "That's a Classic".

Over 1 1/2 years in the postal system before they returned this letter.

You can never be in a hurry in Micronesia.

People often ask if we've seen a package for them from the states, that is delayed. I ask them to tell me what their tracking says. Whenever it says "Richmond, CA" on the USPS tracking, we know it's on the slow boat. It takes from 5 to 7 weeks to arrive in Guam and a few extra weeks for the outer islands.

We've been tracking two bikes we sent to Yap Island about two months ago. They finally arrived. They were on sale at Kmart for only $94.00 each + $68.00 for the slow boat shipping each.  

Elder Roque, Elder Roberts and Elder Mott checking out the new, low maintenance red cruiser bikes for Yap. 
Another classic example of Micronesia is communication challenges. For example, in the office we have back-up Wi-Fi box we plug in, just in case our GTA internet stops working. This happens almost once a week. 

Dropped off some leftover curry to the Mangilao Sisters while they were cooking a hamburger sauce to go over rice.
Sister Kichiro and Sister Kuau making dinner

The Sisters said they had been fasting. They had a member helping them teach that day who was fasting with them. What an example of exact obedience since they are not supposed to have others in their apartments.

They ate dinner with the member outside on the balcony.

Looks like they are going to try my curry with their dinner right now.

Vehicle Challenges are ongoing for missionary cars.

Where did that bolt go that helps hold the bumper tight for this Yaris? Gotta keep 'em on the road.

During the last couple of months, we bought 6 tires for Guam cars, 8 tires to Chuuk, 4 tires to Palau, 16 tires to Pohnpei, 6 tires to Yap, and just received a 4 tire order for Kosrae. 44 tires. People sometimes ask if I'm in the tire business and I say, "Yes".

New LT 10 ply truck tires bound for Chuuk

Sister Martin and Elder Martin on our way to the post office to ship 4 tires to Chuuk and 2 tires to Palau

I started using USPS "Click and Ship" recently and was able to create our own shipping labels on our printer. Then the postal truck picks them up and it's done. This was a huge time saver. But then their system quit working out here and so we're back to taking them to the post office and filling out the customs forms by hand. We are crazy busy and we love it.

We always get strange looks with all of the tires at the post office, and sometimes at the tire store. Sometimes we can get into conversations about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We try to tell them that we are sending these tires to the outer islands to keep those missionary cars going, so they can continue spreading the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

For Family Home Evening the other night, Elder and Sister Guercio took us on a little field trip to some of Guam's historical sites.

We started at The Father Duenas Catholic School for Boys in Mangilao, not far from where we buy our weekly groceries.
Elder and Sister Martin in front of a statue of Father Duenas, a religious leader
during WWII in Guam. He was killed by the Japanese in 1944.

Elder and Sister Guercio

Next we drove down near Yona, Guam to a Menenggon memorial. This was the site of a WWII concentration camp where most of Guam natives/Chomorros were forced to go, just before the US forces re-captured Guam.

Sister Guercio telling us about the memorial

This was their water source. Now people jump and play in this pond.
Sister Martin took my picture after our Stake conference on Father's Day. Some of the wards handed out treats to Father's. We heard some great faith promoting messages that strengthened our testimonies. We know that God lives and loves each of us.

Sister Martin bought me this cool purple tie for Father's Day 
"Happy Father's Day" to my dad and all the other dad's out there.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Jam Session at the Farewell Party for Drew Burton

Brother and Sister Burton, left, Drew Burton, center, his sister, and then Jamie
Paul and Tami Burton invited the Barrigada Ward to their home to say "good-bye" to Drew. Their son Drew is leaving Guam to go to BYU Provo. We had a hard time finding their home. After returning home, we noticed they put full directions on the Barrigada Ward Facebook page.

It was good to share this time with their family and the many other ward members who came.

 The Hague family and Kaela

 Sister Tosie and Sister Sam

Sister Siren and her granddaughter

Bishop Davis and others were playing their Ukulele and Guitars. I hadn't played Guitar for a long time. I played and sang an Afterglow song that I love called, "Thou Shalt Love the Lord Thy God". It was fun.

Then they handed me Kaela's Uke and I started playing a few songs I learned by Larry Rivera of Kauai, Hawaii. One was "Puka Road", and the other was called "Hele on to Kauai". Bishop Davis, who is from Molokai, Hawaii joined in and it became fun a little Jam Session. Even though I couldn't remember all the chords I used to know, it was still fun.

The ward members are great. I appreciate their example to me. Sister Martin and I feel so blessed to be able to attend their meetings and participate in their ward family activities while serving here in Guam.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Mission Office - Busy like a beehive, special training and more

The office was very busy this week with Zone Leaders flying in for Mission Leadership Council, New Missionaries arriving, and a few departing for home (a bitter-sweet parting).

Elder Waimila (departing home for Fiji Sunday), with Sister Talakai and Sister Baum

Sister Baum and Sister Aviata with Sister Talakai in the background

Sister Martin and I talked to the new missionaries about a few office details. Sister Huni, Sister Wahlquist and Sister McBride are the new arrivals to the best mission in the world - The Micronesia Guam Mission.

Sister Martin with Sister Wahlquist and Sister McBride

We left the office just in time to see the conclusion of a beautiful sunset. This is the view to our left as we leave the mission office. Sometimes, Sister Martin will say, "Turn Left" so we can drive towards the sunset instead of towards our apartment...taking the long way home.

We had the Mangilao Sisters for Dinner. Sister Kuau, Sister Wahlquist (waiting for her flight to Pohnpei) and Sister Kichiro
P-day for the Guam Zone had a volleyball activity. A lot of action and energy. They are each energetic and diligent servants of Christ - in finding, teaching, reactivating and baptizing.

It was our P-day Saturday but we were in the office in the afternoon preparing our presentation for Mission Leadership Council on Fast Sunday.

Elder and Sister Guercio asked us if we were going to the Mango Festival and we said "Yes." So we pried ourselves away from the office and picked them up at 5:00 pm.

Mission Leadership Council was held at the Mission Home on Sunday afternoon. The part we attended went great.

After our office training, Elder and Sister Guercio talked about potential problems with bugs in our tropical island paradise. They gave practical advise on how to protect yourself from these critters. 

Sunday evening after Mission Leadership Council is a valuable time to go to the office. While the zone leaders are calling for Key Indicators or stats, Sister Martin and I can talk to some of them about needs in their areas, like replacing 72hr kits, apartment issues, car issues, financial questions, etc. 

Elder Kim, Elder Bunn (serving on Pohnpei) and Elder Jonas (serving on Chuuk)

Elder Heim (serving on Chuuk) and Elder Holmes (serving on Guam)

 Elder Bunn and Elder Peterson discussing things with Elder Martin

Elder Orton (serving on Saipan), Elder Becraft and Elder Mott (serving on Yap)

Elder Bush and Elder Striplin (serving on Palau)

On May 28th, President Zarbock asked all of us to come to special training for the Guam Zone. He taught about how we need to be "Firm and Undaunted", Alma 57:21. He reminded us to address everyone as "Sister" and "Elder" and not use first names, and also avoid acronyms like "AP's" instead of the proper way, "Assistants". This was part of his, "Careful and not Casual" instructions. He asked us to read 2 Nephi 28 and beware of Satan's tools that deceive and discourage us. It was all very uplifting. I like these shorter, under one hour devotionals.

Sister Zarbock made cookies.

Elder Murdoch and Elder Fabiano enjoying the cookies

Hello Sister Guercio

Sister Rock, Sister Bulewa(front) and Sister Kuau

Sister Thomas, left, trying to catch a photo opp

Elder Canakaivata, Elder Schroath, Elder Fabiano, Elder Murdoch, Elder Ferguson in a break-out session after

Elder Ferguson, right, served in Kosrae

After the cookies and break-out sessions, President Zarbock interviewed some of the missionaries, including a few finishing their missions and going home. Many converged on the Mission Office  and President Zarbock gathered them together to sing their favorite mission song: "What a Great Day!"

Sister Martin standing on her desk to get a good picture

Sister Muamoholeva, Sister Rock, Sister Misinale, Sister Baum, Elder Wright, Elder Matalolo, Elder Schroath, Elder Fabiano, President Zarbock, Elder Arcayan, Elder Waimila

Sister Ta'ase, Sister Kuau (left) joined the group with Sister Aviata (up high)