Monday, January 9, 2012

Boonie Chickens (#17)

One of Sister Johnsen’s piano students, Esmeralda, is moving to Sandy, Utah in February. She was asking Sister Johnsen if there are chickens in Utah. Basically, “Do chickens run all over the neighborhood and the town like they do here?”

The answer is, of course, “No!” It’s an island thing. The roosters start crowing about 4:30 in the morning and they are all over outside when we start our walk at 6:45. Every morning we see the mother chickens coming out of the jungle with their little babies following behind them. I ask Sister Johnsen the same question every morning, “Why did the chicken cross the road.” Her answer has become, “Because they want to be chicken soup?”

At 4:45 P.M. the process is repeated. The boonie roosters start crowing and continue until nightfall. Those chickens are out there pecking and scratching every morning and every night. It occurs to us that we are like those boonie chickens pecking and scratching to make a difference in Palau. We are up at the crack of dawn, out crowing about the gospel and hoping that we can “wake up” the members to the glorious message we have. We keep at it all day and are still crowing when the sun sets.

Every day our schedule is full to the top, but this week was a little different because we had Zone Conference on Tuesday. President and Sister Mecham came from Guam, and we had training and interviews. Elder Wright asked us to sing something and so we chose, “An Instrument in His Hands.” Elder Johnsen was also asked to give a talk on hope. He said that Alma the Younger in the Book of Mormon was the poster child for hope. Was he deserving of being snatched out of everlasting burning? No, but nevertheless, when he “caught hold” of the idea of the atonement (Alma 36:17) the Lord reached down and rescued him.

Elder Johnsen said that he could relate to needing to be snatched from destruction. He described a time when he almost drowned during a trip we made to Hawaii some years ago. He described how he went swimming when the waves on the north shore of Oahu were super big. He described how fun it was to be treading water and to be lifted up 20 feet from the bottom of the wave to its crest. All the other swimmers in the water around him had fins, and Elder Johnsen figured out why when he finally got tired and headed to shore. The waves were crashing to shore with such force and then the water was rushing back to the ocean so that each time he made the attempt to reach the safety of the shore the big waves would pound him into sand, and then drag him out into the water again. What he wouldn’t have given to have had a hand to snatch him like Alma the younger described in Mosiah 27:38.

Besides training, President Mecham interviewed everyone, including the senior couple. When Elder Johnsen was interviewed the Elders really enjoyed it because they could hear Elder Johnsen and President Mecham laughing even though the door was closed. It made the Elders laugh too.

We have been preparing for our Senior Conference that is coming up next week in Guam. We leave Palau at the 2:50 A.M. (Which Elder Johnsen calls, 0-dark thirty.) We have been asked to prepare a 15 minute presentation about our work in Palau. By the Senior conference we will have been on Palau 3 months. We had a goal to meet all the members by this conference. We started out with 356 members, and now have a truer list of about 290. We have visited about 200 of them and know where another 50 are. We only have about 40 lost ones now. We know we still have lots to do.

Sister Johnsen cleaned out the family history library, and purchased a shelf for all the miscellaneous items that get stowed in there. She hung up the 4 family history posters that were in a mailing container.

I brought home two broken computers and have tried to find time to look at them. No one can do family history because the computers don’t work, but they don’t want to buy new ones in case the old ones can be fixed.

We went out to find more lost people and even taught a lesson to a member who asked us to come back. We showed him the Restoration video. We have an appointment to see him again next week.

We have planned a full week of visiting members and finding others. Last month we visited 72 members of the church. It really helped the home teaching averages. The Elder’s Quorum President has come up with a plan of how 8 to 10 people can visit about 100 families. We are trying to help him.

So we will be out there crowing all week with the boonie chickens! It’s the island way!


  1. Those chickens in the street are one of my biggest memories of Guam-- particularly from my first visit when Elder Johnsen was still living in that apartment. Its such an island thing.. but very amusing to picture the chickens walking around in Sandy, Utah!! We miss you so much but it sounds like you are more than anxiously engaged in an incredible cause!!! Love you both.

  2. oh that's right-- in a moment like this-- think of the CHICKENS! (name that movie).