Friday, September 14, 2007

An adventurous day in the Jungle!

Following two days of school holiday, we began the day at PICS high school. Our lesson covered the physical creation of the world, Adam and Eve. The students are doing well on their scripture mastery. It was a good morning.

Got in a couple loads of laundry and took the Zone leaders to a birthday lunch. Stopped by the grocery store and loaded up on treats for Friday, another stop at the local open market for a variety of bananas. We grabbed a thirty minute nap in front of the fan.

We made a quick trip to the church to meet, by request, with the Branch President of Sapwalop. He wanted to encourage us to train a young man, Darney Aloti, as Institute teacher of his branch, which we had been planning to do. This was our first teaching assignment in that branch.

We headed to Sapwalap, a forty minute drive into the jungle over curving, narrow roads with children, dogs and chickens darting out at any given turn. We arrived ten minutes early.

The chapel was open, little kids were playing outside the building. No teacher trainee. We opened the louvered windows and turned on the fans. It was hot!

Inside, we found a young mother lying on the tile floor with her baby…….napping.
We asked “are you here for Institute or English class”; the answer was groggy and unintelligible. We assumed she had a different agenda.

Ten minutes after the class was to start, a member of the Branch Presidency came to see how we were doing. Well …no one was there yet. They started to trickle in one or two at a time. The age bracket for Institute is 18 to 30. There were more kids between the age of three and 13 than any other age. They came right out of the jungle. From nowhere, they just appeared. Finally as the young adults took their seats, the kids got sent outside where they
proceeded to run around, scream, run in and out and generally create havoc. All this while I’m trying to begin class with “I Am A Child Of God” and an opening prayer.

No kidding, it was like driving my convertible with the top down, in 110 degree heat; stop and go traffic, holding an eight inch soft swirl cone in my right hand, licking as fast as I can, with three kids in the back seat with their own cones. I didn’t know which end was going to be up.

Without a doubt, it was the most chaotic atmosphere in which anyone could ever be expected to teach. If I had been in Utah, I would have stopped and strongly urged for order. Here, you just have to roll with the punches, and they were coming from right and left.

Mothers with infants came, adult men, and oh yes, the trainee finally got there by taxi.
Elder Smith asked one sister with nursing baby to sign her name to the roll where the older people sign. She turned and asked, “how old do you think I am?” He fumbled a bit. She was 26, just the right age to be there and she was on the front row. She moved from seat to seat to get comfortable. Her husband came in half way through the class and plopped right next to her and really got into the lesson. Grandmothers sat in the back.

It was amazing! I just kept going into the scriptures and relating the creation as recorded in Moses 1 and 2 and reminded them, they are ‘children of God’. It was hot; noisy around us, but they were really listening and understanding. The Spirit was there! We closed the class with prayer (by the trainee) and asked “now where are those who want to be in the English class.” No one left! More came. Now we really had a mixed group.

They were fascinated and really want to learn. We talked about vowels, sounds of letters, meaning of words and idioms. We spelled their names phonetically and they got a kick out of that. It was fun and they laughed a lot. Finally, something for the kids; Primary started at 6PM.

Elder Smith got some great pictures, we left with hugs and smiles and promises to be there on time next week. The ride back to our apartment was even more treacherous because it was after 6PM, twilight time and many more people on the road than before. More dogs and more traffic. I was wringing wet but couldn’t do anything until I wrote this down!

In eleven hours we start all over again! And Saturday is a double-header. With two branches and two English classes, plus a farther distance through the jungle.
Sunday will be a “day of rest” visiting two branches, one we haven’t visited before.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A day at the races!

Maverna and her canoe

Canoe team and friends

Crowds gather

Mens race is on

Maverna in front of boat, her team wins!

Variety of bananas and coconuts

Little roadside show

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Jungle Branch Life!

Jungle road urchins

Sister Missionaries check out the Seminary closet with me

Where are the students?

First inservice........."lesson one" be comfortable

Sister Smith with Seminary teachers from Sopwalop Branch

Sister Smith with Maverna...Mand Branch

Uh Branch sisters singing "Israel, Israel God is calling"...Their favorite!

Uh Branch Relief Society

Uh baby and proud grandmother

Uh Branch, Larry Abraham, 19 years old...

1st counselor in Presidency / Branch Clerk / Institute Teacher

Uh Branch President Lorenzo

FIRST DAY, Early Morning Seminary at PICS High School, 18 students

Pretty Young Women, Uh Branch

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Still Whirling QB's Version!

Well, to say we have been busy, would be an understatement. Today was our second day of Early Morning Seminary in our nearest branch of Kolonia. There are about 20 students who meet at the local High School. One of the school teachers allows us to use her classroom. We have a metal cupboard to store our books and supplies. The kids are great. Don't know all their names yet but will slowly get them matched up with their faces.

Last Sunday we visited three of the outer branches. Some very small. Many women and children, few priesthood men. Beautiful spirit! All want to shake our hands. We'll be going to all of them each week to teach either English, Seminary or Institute. There are still two other branches we will be participating with in the same way. The only day not scheduled for any thing other than early morning seminary will be Monday. "P" day for all the elders and sisters, so guess it will be ours as well. What a schedule.

These people are very social. It's a friendly and social island. You would love that the branch and district presidents are barefoot conducting sacrament meeting. The deacons usually wear a printed tee shirt of various colors under their "white shirt" so they can strip after sacrament meeting.

I got my hair colored and cut by a little lady (Philapine) today. It looks pretty good. We'll get pictures of her shop and the process next time. She has no product to put in the hair after shampoo and conditioner. My hair is so flat right now, it's scary. But I think she did an okay job considering what she had to work with.

One of the neatest things to happen was Sunday after we returned. One of the young men who has graduated from high school came over and asked if I would home teach him seminary. He admitted that when he was younger he didn't pay enough attention, and now he wants to learn more and get ready to serve a mission. It was so touching. We are going to have him over a couple of nights a week to teach and help him get ready. We also told him he needs to go to institute and we'll help him understand. His father is one of the branch presidents, serving his fourth time in that calling. The branches just don't have enough priesthood to become a ward.

Jungle Boy is feverishly writing some other things that happened so I can include them.
Love, Queen Bee

Still Whirling JB's Version!

Hi from Jungle Boy!

Yesterday was our first day of Seminary....out of the apartment at 6:45 AM As we prepared to walk out and load the car with a big box of manuals and other "stuff"...It started POURING rain. When it rains here it really rains....we stood at our doorstep and waited to no avail!! We finally ran to the car 12 feet away and guess what. The keys were not in my hand. I set the box of materials down in a "small lake"...anyway we were soaked.

We got to the school and the gate to the parking lot was LOCKED....seminary was starting in 20 min. We drove to another gate which was 100 yards from our class building. When getting out of the car, Sister Smith announced she had left her classroom key back at the apartment....still raining.! We raced back...ten the key....raced back to school, ....our students were "gathering at the door"...All smiling and waiting to shake hands with Elder and Sister Smith. End result; Mom did a great, great Job...18 students.

We even had music and sang all verses of "I am a child of God". The kids love Mom, I could tell. My job, hand out materials, take roll, cover windows from Hot sun (after 7:15 there is hot sun)...Yes, it rains!.. It rains more and...It's really humid. And I sweat like a dripping Popsicle on a hot day. But I'm always smiling.

After hugs for sister Smith, we loaded our car and headed back to our apartment sweat-box.

We then made a trip to Palikir, the Capitol city of the island. to the Gov. Headquarters. We had received a request from the mission office to aid in "walking through" paper work to permit a new elder from New Zealand, to serve in Micronesia.

We have to return this afternoon to finalize the paper work, send it by way of DHL to Guam in time.

Back to apartment...try to stop sweating...I love being in the car though, the AC is a blessing from Heaven! Every day at least a dozen people come to visit us!!! All I want is to strip down to near nothing and sit in front of our big fan.

Sister Smith is the best!! Sometimes she even tolerates my sweating.

Second day today, Sister Smith was even better today. Nineteen students. I tell the students that I taught her everything she does...when they ask me what I do...On to coconut factory to pick up coconut and mango Popsicles. A new VICE we found. Then on to the Hawaiian store, patio cafe, with tiny view of the bay and a Kosher hot dog with popcorn. Bye for now!

Love, Jungle Boy

Thursday, August 30, 2007

View from The Village, a fine outdoor restaurant with bungalow lodging.

Private dining cabana overlooking the ocean.

Wish you were here! Make plans!

The trade winds begin in October, Mahi-Mahi season.

Canine company for a great brunch.

Sokehs Rock in background of the far left palm tree.

View from The Village bungalow #1.

On the trail to bungalow #23.

Interior & window view from each bungalow.

Pathway to the best restaurant on Pohnpei.

Beautiful trees on a jungle road not far from The Village.

Native boys taking a river plunge.

Typical "Crash em and Leave em" the jungle will grow over it eventually.

FYI... for everyone!

The Village website is or Prices are very reasonable. Everything is quite remote but only about 5 miles from our apt. They have their own dock and take boats out with divers and fishermen every day. The best ocean view rooms are called the Sokehs View #1 #7, #16 or The Point view #19, #20, #22, #23 Prices range from $113. to $127 per night. double occupancy. Extra guest in room $10. Give us your dates and we can make sure of the room. They are all the same inside. Just different views. You'll get the story on this place when you go to the website But they are California people. Interesting and friendly. Love you, QB

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Farwell Meeting & Fish Market

To night we were invited to a farewell meeting for the Branch Pres who is leaving, coupled with a congratulation meeting for the families who just got back from going through the Temple in the
Phillipines. It was supposed to start at 3PM. We were warned by the sister missionaries that it wouldn't start on time, so we made sure we were there before 4:00. It started at 5:30 and went until 8PM.

No one spoke in English except for a few words here and there. One Elder from American Fork, UT sat behind us and translated for us. It was the most amazing meeting. To see and hear these humble people say how they felt about the church, temple, Pres Hincklely, the Book of Mormon and family. The Spirit was so strong.

They had Maramars (a sort of head Lei) made from local ginger flowers and boganvilla blossoms. This was all followed with a hugh meal. The food was questionable, to say the least. Plenty of rice though. We ate sparingly.

On the way back to our apartment we stopped at the fish market. This is a disscusting (I'm not worrying about my spelling tonight) road side business where fresh ocean fish is brought in every afternoon around 5PM. I needed 20 tuna steaks for Monday dinner for all the missionaries. So we stopped to see if any Yellow fin tuna was brought in today. Yes it was. They weighed two whole tunas, skinned them and cut them into filets for me for $26. It would have cost three times that much at Dan's. Maybe more. Jungle Boy waited in the car like a mafia guy while I did the bargaining.

Now I have to remember how to cook the catch. Pohnpei is famous for it's black pepper so I may try crusting it with that and serving it with wasabi and a ginger teriyaki sauce. With lots of rice of course. I'll let you know how it turns out. We're going to do ice cream sundaes for dessert. Yes there is ice cream. Not 31 flavors but not bad for little island 400 miles north of the equator.
Must go to bed. Church is at 10 and they asked us to speak for 5 min each.
Will write more later. Love you lots. Queen Bee & Jungle Boy

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Queen Bee crowned & Jungle Boy goes coconuts!

Ummm good! Jungle Boy like it!

Queen Bee is crowned "Island Style" to welcome her to Jungle Boy Territory

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Need is Great!

Thank you for your prayers. We're doing great so far. A little overwhelmed with what's ahead. We haven't slowed down for one minute since we've been here. There is so much to do and learn. We are trying to get everything settled with where we are before the school seminary/institute) year starts.
We had a great two days on Guam with the Berretts (a couple assigned to Mission Presidents office). We also had a couple meeting with the CES direct for Micronesia. And when we finally got here, there are dozens more things to do in our assignment that we were told originally. The need is great because the people don't understand much. They are trying but easily fall out of activity. When you see how and where they live, it's no wonder.

The missionaries are doing a remarkable job. There's so much to say
already. We spent today with the zone leaders touring all the branches of the island, meeting many people and seeing where all the missionaries live.
We're supposed to do a surprise visit each month to see if they keep their residents clean.(who thought we'd be doing that?) We're having all of them over next Monday for dinner and a meeting to help us get caught up before we have to return to Guam for a couples conference with the Pres. Not sure how everything will turn out, leaving just before we get a good start.

Dad is doing great. He has caught the spirit of the missionary work
and is very productive. So far he's suffering from the heat and
humidity and wears out early, but is trying really hard to hang in

First Day in the Field!

Branch members . . . Family Night surprise 9 PM to welcome us at our door!

"Uh" (pronounced ooh) branch chapel in jungle. Elders Ashcraft & Gardner (zone leaders) and our guides.

Sapwolop Branch chapel

Just back from the Manilla Temple were he was sealed w/ wife & 13 children. Branch leader in Sapwolop.

Sapwolop members across the road from the chapel.

Welcome sign to the Branch chapel in Mand.

Elders plush bathroom & shower.

Elder's housing

Contacts posted on the apartment wall keep missionaries focused.