Thursday, June 19, 2008


The MOTH (Man Of The House, in case you've forgotten) arrived home safely last night after a
month out on The Islands, as we call them. Specifically, this time he was on the islands of Saipan, Guam and Pohnpei. There he held a week of Bible classes, mostly for the Micronesian people. It was three hours a night for a week on each island and then six days traveling -- three there and three back.
It is sort of like seminary or Bible College for these island people who mostly have no more than a sixth grade education. After they have finished a certain number of courses, they are granted a diploma. They can then return to their islands and in turn teach their own people. We have three or four missionaries who teach these classes on various islands, under the name of the Morning Star Institute, each for two or three weeks a year. In the photo below you can see MOTH in the blue shirt and missionary Alan from Australia standing next to him. They are both wearing mar-mars, the traditional island gift of honor. This particular photo was taken a couple of years ago. This trip MOTH went alone. He has been conducting classes on the islands of Micronesia for close to 25 years.

The islands look spectacular. They are very beautiful, but very hot and humid and not very healthy. They are located just 6 degrees above the equator and there are hundreds of them, some with only one or two families living on them. I used to go and help teach the teachers in the Christian schools, but not any more. The climate became too much for me. Women are not allowed to teach men, in the churches. That is their custom handed down from the 1800's when these islands were first visited by the missionaries. When we first used to go there, women could not wear shorts or pants -- only the Micronesian style dresses. Even now it is more respectful for women to wear this style of dress.

There are very few sandy beaches on these islands and for most of us to go swimming, we have to go an hour or so off shore to a small uninhabited island where the water has not been contaminated by drainage. It rains a great deal, heavy tropical downpours --300-400 inches a year in some parts.

This is a reef around one of the islands, probably Chuuk, which used to be known as Truk. It is famous for its diving and wrecks from WW ll -- not to mention sharks.

This is a typical island church. There is much poverty there, especially now that they are no longer a trust territory of the United States.
The Islanders are suffering because of the high price of gas -- everything has to be flown or shipped in. The price of rice, their staple food, has
recently skyrocketed.

On approach to one of the islands by boat. Boats are the main form of transportation. Most islands have no roads or one main road, with lots of potholes.

The people are wonderful-- generous, kind and happy. Sadly many of them suffer from diabetes and health facilities are very scarce.



Wanda said...

Oh Chris what a wonderful experience for MOTH and what wonderful pictures for us to share.

I would love to take a Missionary Trip some day.

Jose said...

Wow Chris, this is indeed wonderful such a shame that the people in the islands have to struggle so much. You have not been reading my posts of my trip to Mexico a couple of weeks ago. In one of the days there my sister whom teaches bible study here in Phoenix at Saint Vincent de Paul went to the little church and rang the bell. In Santa Maria where we went they have a church but no priests so it stays unused unless someone pays to have a priest come over from a nearby town. Anyway, after ringing the bell close to 20 people from the little ranches came over and she spoke to them about the bible and about what she does here. Needless to say they wanted for her to stay there. She talked to them about two hours and they really wanted to hear more.
If you have not read about my trip, you may want to visit my Joe Cool blog. it really was a memorable trip to get reaquainted with my parents roots.

Betty F said...

What beautiful photos! What a wonderful way you've both spent your life to this point. Sounds like you kept busy while MOTH was gone :)