Archive for ◊ July, 2010 ◊

27 Jul 2010 beautiful faces in beautiful places
 |  Category: kosrae  | Leave a Comment

Kosrae is a beautiful island.  There is no doubt about it.  It is quiet, serene and the scenery  will take your breath away.  But I think you will agree that this is one beautiful group of construction workers  (well, some of us can pretend to be in construction for at least a week).  It’s so difficult to get everyone together for a photo.  Absent from this photo are Jake, Amy, Sammy and Louis (sorry guys).  But other than those four, this is our current group of volunteers/servants in Kosrae. 

 

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These are the six brothers and sisters that flew over to Kosrae from Pohnpei to lend a hand with the roof pour.   It was great to see them again, and we were all so happy to have their help!  Annabelle, on the far right, works full-time with the Ponapean translation team.  She took two weeks of vacation to work in Kosrae with the construction group!  All of these brothers and sisters have such a generous and willing spirit. 

26 Jul 2010 Friday, July 9…..Kosrae missionary home roof pour
 |  Category: kosrae  | Leave a Comment

What a day!  At 5:30 AM the only thing pouring was the rain, but as the events of the morning unfolded, there was no doubt that Jehovah was going to give us all the help we needed to make sure that the roof pour was finished.  A lot of planning goes into a day like this, but we learned that no matter how much planning we as humans can do, certain things are just out of our control and that you just have to trust in Jehovah.  You may remember than in Pohnpei we had about 95 volunteers helping with the roof pour.  Our much smaller but just as determined number of volunteers for the roof pour in Kosrae was about 35.  This includes our construction group, our 3 international volunteers (Matt, Johnny and Javier) 6 brothers and sisters that flew over from Pohnpei, 4 of us from Guam, and brothers and sisters from the Kosrae congregation.  So we were all set to pour 75 yards of concrete on July 9th with the help of some locally rented equipment and equipment operators: a truck for mixing the concrete, a front end loader to lift the sand, concrete and gravel to the mixer, and a crane to lift the concrete to the roof.  One week before the pour,  the construction company informed us that the mixer was broken but they would try to fix it.  Two days later they called and said the mixer had been fixed, but now the crane (yes THE crane, the only one on the island) was broken and they would not be able to fix it in time for the pour.  They offered a forklift instead….not exactly an equal trade, because now we would have to use wheelbarrows to move the concrete once it was lifted to the roof.  Then yet another phone call…this time the company that was supposed to deliver the 700 bags of concrete called to say their delivery truck had broken down.  The group determined that it would take 3 days of non-stop delivery using the group vehicle to get the concrete to the site.  But then a favorable farmer that lived nearby was hired to deliver the concrete.  So fast-forward now to the day before the roof pour.  Everyone is anticipating the big day.  The heavy equipment operators hired to run the equipment said they would start work at 7AM so it was announced to the congregation that we would be on site for morning worship at 6:30AM.  At the last minute on Thursday, the operators agreed to start earlier, so phone calls were made and a change was announced.  We had breakfast at 4:30AM and were on the site by 5:30AM, eager to get started.  Would things run smoothly from this point forward?  The answer to that is No.  As previously mentioned, at 5:30 AM it was pouring down rain.  After Sean Miller conducted morning worship at the site, we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of our heavy equipment operators.   A few of the sisters headed back to the house where food preparations would be taking place throughout the day (about a 15 minute drive from the site).  Suddenly, the electricity went out on the site.  So its pouring down rain and the electricity goes out.  Still, excitement is in the air because all present are determined to get this roof poured.  Then the sisters return to the site with the latest news: a tree has fallen across the road and no one can pass through (yes THE road, the only one around the island).  And this was not your ordinary tree.  This was a gigantic mango tree and it just so ‘happened’ to fall directly across from the old Kingdom Hall.  So the brothers quickly jumped to action, at first thinking they would just go drag the tree out of the road.  But when they saw the size of the tree, their plan quickly changed to using hacksaws, machetes and any other available weapon to gradually move this obstacle out of the way.  Many locals also joined in to help, keep in mind it is STILL raining.  And yes, this is why the electricity had gone out on the site.  The equipment operators arrive at the fallen tree, and on a normal rainy day on a sleepy island like Kosrae, they may have just called it a day.  But our brothers were waiting for them by the tree, letting them know we have a vehicle on the other side of the tree ready to take them to work.  Eventually the utility company arrived and helped clear the tree off the road.  So after that exciting start to our day, the rain had lightened up a little and we are all ready to pour the roof!  Oh and did I mention that had the time not changed at the last minute to be at the site earlier, we would have all been on the wrong side of the fallen tree……

4:30 AM breakfast the day of the pour.

 

Ready to work….waiting for the equipment operators to arrive

Once the mixer was started and we began pouring concrete, guess what happened?  Yes, it stopped raining,  and we had beautiful cloud cover the entire day!  We finished pouring the roof around 6:30pm.  It could not have turned out to be a more perfect day.  Everyone worked hard all day long, for some of the brothers it was about a 20 hour day.  But everyone had smiles on their faces all day long.  It was truly a beautiful day and a great opportunity to reflect on the many ways that we can ‘trust in Jehovah’ during this incredible time in history.   

Ready to Go!!

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Johnny: our international volunteer from Texas waiting for the rain to clear and the mixer to start.  qual es tu problema, Johnny?? :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the wheelbarrows begin rolling……

 

 

Amy, Marisa and Donna ran the stinger all day, while Dawn and I did the edging.  Sorry Dawn I don’t have any pictures of your awesome edging skills!  Val and several other hardworking sisters were vital to the success of the day. 

 

This is Matt, our international volunteer from Georgia.  Let me tell you, this Georgia boy knows his concrete.  Besides being a hard worker, he’s also always good for a laugh or two on site.  Mike and family, thank you for sharing him with us.  We hope to return him in one piece  :)

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More pictures coming soon……

23 Jul 2010 update
 |  Category: Guam Branch  | Leave a Comment

Well it has been a few months since I posted anything, so before I put some pictures up I wanted to share a quick summary of what has been happening.   The Guam Branch is buzzing with activity as usual and the Kingdom Hall Construction Desk has been busier than ever.  In April, the first new Kingdom Hall was completed on the island of Pohnpei.  There are about 100 publishers in Pohnpei so we were thrilled to hear that 176 were in attendance at the first meeting in their new Kingdom Hall.   The Kingdom Hall in Pohnpei was dedicated in May.  In the meantime, the Kingdom Hall construction group has moved to Kosrae to begin working on a new missionary home and Kingdom Hall.  They started constructing the missionary home first, and a few weeks ago we were able to visit Kosrae and help with the roof pour of the missionary home.  What an experience that was….more details about that day and the fun week with the group will be coming soon. 

Exciting things have been happening in the Marshall Islands too.  The Marshallese translation team, currently working at the Hawaii branch, will soon be relocating to Majuro.  As you can imagine, the publishers in Majuro are looking forward to having the team live and work in Majuro, where no doubt they will be an asset both in the field and in the congregations.  Not to mention that most members of the translation team are originally from Majuro so they are really excited to be returning home.   So the challenge was to find or build a suitable home and offices for the translation team.  A recently constructed new home, that seemed it was built exactly for what was needed, was found.  The home owner agreed to let us do some renovations to the home, including adding-on two additional rooms to serve as offices for the translators.  A small team of six construction volunteers (2 from Pohnpei, 4 from Guam) were sent to Majuro to complete this small project.  Travis and I were able to help with the final phase of this project, and the three weeks we spent in Majuro were truly unforgettable.   You will love the pictures from Majuro!

Where did July go??  The time seriously flies by here!  Our District Convention is August 6-8 and all the missionaries will be flying in from the outer islands for the convention.   It is a very busy time around bethel because preparations are being made to have missionary meal and also family night! 

So that is my brief summary of the past few months.    Now I will try to get to what you really want to see……pictures!