Saturday, July 18, 2015

I thought I would sit down and write about our mission so far.  The MTC was wonderful.  We met many wonderful "senior couple missionaries" who were going to serve all over the world.  Our district was diverse.  There were three couples in it.  The Harringtons are serving in Phillipines.  The Browns are serving in Turkey.  We are serving in Micronesia Guam.  There were 60 or 70 seniors there at the time we were there.  There were 10 single sisters going various places. 

In the MTC we mostly learned the lessons and practiced teaching them.  We went to the MTC not knowing for sure if we were going to Hawaii for training or just to Guam.  Finally on Wednesday or Thursday we called the mission office and found out that we were still going to Hawaii for training and then to Guam to begin training for the office couple in case the new office couple ended up not being able to come.  If they were able to come then we would go on to Pohnpei to do what we were trained to do in Hawaii. 

We didn't stay at the MTC each night.  We drove home and stayed.  We had plenty of things to do to get ready still. 

When we arrived in Hawaii we were treated very well.  Everyone there was friendly and we stayed at the Marriott, they rented us a car, and they gave us a meal card to eat at the college cafeteria (which was not that great), but we got full.  We met with staff in the different departments at the school such as enrollment, finance, online, school of education and more.  Our heads were swimming and we felt like we needed to forget something to learn something new.  We were reassured that we could call or email any of them at any time if we had questions.  We even met with the president of BYU Hawaii, President Wheelwright.  We didn't dare tell them that we might not even make it to Pohnpei to serve.  We just went on doing as President Zarbock had asked us to do and figured we would go where the Lord wanted us to go.  We were treated to tickets to the Polynesian Cultural Center as well.  I really enjoy it there.  We had no idea that they were going to all the time and expense to train us.  It will be a shame if we don't end up doing their program.

We are supposed to organize the International Teacher Education Program on Pohnpei.  It is being use in the Marshal Islands with much success but only on one island in Micronesia.  The program is geared to getting teachers there higher teacher credentials.  They would enroll in online classes through BYU and even go to the campus for part of the time.  It would be funded by grants and loans that they could either work off or hopefully get the Micronesian Government to help pay.  The purpose is to get better qualified teachers that would get better pay and better their home lands.  They would also have to live church standards even though they may or may not be members.  They may also be taught and join the church and take that back to their home towns as well. 

We then left Hawaii on Friday afternoon and after bout an 8 hour flight we arrived in Guam on Saturday.  Guam is a little less than a day ahead of us.  BYUH also sent 5 boxes with us on the plane containing computers, monitors and laptops to be used in Pohnpei.  When we got to Guam we found out that one of our suitcases and two of the boxes hadn't arrived.  We had to go to the airport the next night and get them after the flight from Hawaii came in.  They were all there.

The Martins met us at the airport with a care package.  They have been so kind to us.  They put some food in the fridge and also invited us for dinner on Sunday night. On Monday night the Zarbocks had a get to know you dinner to welcome us at the mission home.  The senior missionaries from the island all came and we met them all.  They spend a lot of time together.  They make you feel like you have been here forever.  They are all super.  There are 4 senior couples including us plus President and Sister Zarbock.
The Zarbock's daughter, Amy, is visiting for a few days.  She's also very kind and friendly.

We were given an apartment in Guam because we would be staying longer than a couple of nights and the church had one that another couple had left.  The mission keeps some apartments rented and moves missionaries around.  We have been in the office being trained by the Martins who will go home the end of August.  It is good in some ways and doesn't really seem like missionary work in other ways.  I'm sure we will love it wherever we are serving.
Finally on July 17th we found out that we are officially staying in Guam and serving as the office couple.  Sadly the other couple that was going to come has medical issues that won't allow them to serve in Guam.  We wish them well.  We will not be doing anything with the ITEP program.  They will have to look for someone else to start it on Pohnpei.

On August 4th we will travel to Yap for a visit.  President Zarbock wants us to go before the Martins leave.We look forward to that opportunity.  And no I will not be dressing like the natives.

One good thing about Guam is that it is a territory of the United States and so the living conditions are not as primitive as the Micronesian Islands.  It is very expensive for food though.  Milk is $6.99 for 3 qts. and eggs are over $5.00 per dozen. 

Well that is the latest on our new adventure.  God's hand is in it every step of the way.  We miss our family but we know that they will also be blessed as we serve.

Picking up the Battys up from the airport.  Pres. and Sister Zarbock and Elder and Sister Martin.
Elder Batty
                                                                       Sister Batty

          The Battys arrived the day after we did in Guam.  They will serve on the island of Kosrae.
     Hiking to the Piti Guns.
These were Japanese guns from WW II that were never fired because they weren't completely set up when the confrontation started.
The Guercios, who serve as the mission nurse, took us around to some sights on the way to the beach on Saturday.  Saturday is our preparation day.  There is a lot of World War II presence on the island.  The Thomas' who are the military missionaries took the senior missionaries to the beach at the naval base.

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