Elder Johnsen: While there has been a little more of a culture shock for Sister Johnsen than for myself, overall, things are going great. We’ve settled into our apartment here, learned our way around and are having great experiences going out and finding and ‘teaching’ part member/less active members. The Hansen’s (the Senior Couple who departed in August about 2 months before we arrived) had a start on putting together a computer file with pictures of members and instructions on how to find their “home”. We found that so helpful that we’re continuing to build that file—we’re up to about 30 pages now. The people seem to love having their picture taken.
President Kesolei (the Branch President) carries a lot of priesthood responsibilities with not a lot of help, so along with being the Executive Secretary which is typical for Senior couples, he has asked me to help with the Branch membership clerk job. That job takes a lot of time and that’s what we have. We have been really blessed to discover how to get death dates and also found that we could get help with removing the names of people who have left the island. We are really thankful for these blessings.
This morning we caught the former district president home (Palau actually was it’s own district some years ago when there were 3 thriving branches on the island). Do to some offense taken they haven’t been back to church in years. As I asked him questions about his service and complemented him on his leadership I felt his enthusiasm for the gospel rekindle.
We discussed how the lease on the building on Meyuns was lost and how to keep that from happening in 11 years where the lease on the land here at the topside branch expires. I told him that Pres. Mecham (the Micronesia Guam Mission President) was going to be on the island this coming Sunday and asked him if he’d come to meet the new mission president so we could talk more about his ideas/concerns regarding the branch building lease. I’m not so naïve to believe that he will “for sure” come on Sunday but I have “hope”.
Both Sister Johnsen and I spoke in church last Sunday and we’re scheduled to sing together this coming Sunday. Monday (a local school holiday), there was a joint activity (which lasted 4 hours). We had a great time playing with the YM/YW and getting to know the adults YM/YW leaders better. I was asked to give a spiritual thought to that gathering. I also enjoy that so much. There are some super solid people here.
Last Tuesday night we went to the Kesolei’s to view “17 Miracles” a movie that we brought along from the states. We had a great experience together. (They also got to experience Johnsen’s famous popcorn too!)