Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hard Work in Paradise

Serving in Guam is like serving in paradise. The tropical plants, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, gently flowing ocean, abundant avocados and's a very special place. But missionary work is just that....WORK. Here are some of Eric's stories:

"I have countless times looked around and have found myself to be the only white person, speaking a different language, claiming that there is a prophet on the Earth, while sweating like crazy, or raining on me, and also being a foot taller than everyone thought you had an awkward moment."

"It's raining, we walk up to knock on a house (this specific area is extremely Catholic), so we knock on the answer...knock answer. Then this car drives by us and the driver yells out of the car 'you guys worship the Devil', then he speeds off. No one opened their doors that day."

"So as I have said before, people here will make up so many excuses to turn us away; 'I'm busy', or send their kids to say 'My parents are sleeping', or 'I'm Catholic' or 'I don't care', not even answer the door, or as we walk up they turn off the TV and hide, answer the door in a different language (if they speak Chuukese we respond - then they say in English that they are too busy) and a lot of other things. Well one day, we had a different "no". As we were knocking on random doors, we came up to a house and knocked. Then the occupants began making really nasty noises for us to hear and yelling gross things. It was definitively unique, but they did what they were trying to do. We turned around and walked away."

What are dimples?

Eric has always had deep dimples. 

He said that while on Guam, he noticed many of the native girls would giggle at him when he passed by. It unnerved him for awhile, until someone finally told him why they were all laughing and teasing him..... the dimples. They love them and they talk about them whenever he meets someone new and he gets teased about them. They all laugh and then point to their cheeks. A genetic gift from his mom. He found it interesting how different he is than others that the locals have seen before. This has been such a great adventure.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

First Baptism: Savesea Engkichy

On September 15, 2012, Eric baptized Savesea, a 19 year old young lady that he taught. He has come to love her and her entire family. Her mom is very wonderful to Eric. He was so happy and excited. He hopes to be life long friends with her and her sweet family that he has come to love.

         Brother Norton, Eric, Savesea, Elder Kata and Sister Norton

                 Her sister got baptized by Elder Norton

Savesea is very special because she is Eric's first non-family member baptism and he got to teach her and watch her grow in the gospel. Her family dynamics are not ideal and sometimes her family is in physical danger. They fled from the offending family member, only to fear his return. Normally baptisms are held on Saturdays, but for some reason the baptistry was not available. So the baptism was held on a Friday night. It just so happens that Friday that the family member they had run from decided to show up drunk with some of his friends to cause trouble for the family. But no one was at their home, because all had attended Savesea's baptism! Eric said "The Lord took special care of this family. Welcoming a member into His fold, as well as protecting the rest. It just shows that the Lord DOES know us individually. He honestly is aware." Eric says his life has forever been changed by the love he feels for this family. Watching them overcome the trials of abusive family members and poverty to grasp the gospel. Watching their lives change for the better - he says it has been a very humbling experience. I think he will always love this family and have tender memories of his time with them.

My prayer in Chuukese (Ua iotek non fosum Chuk)

Semach,        kot         won       nang,
(Our Father) (God)  (in/on)  (Heaven)

Alla   kinisou        chapur         ngonuk   ren     ei      ran    ikenei
(we) (thankful)    (very much)  (to you) (for)   (this) (day) (today)

Me      om     Kapas allim, me    ei       tu fich     pwe    sia   
(and) (your)      (gospel)   (and) (this) (opportunity) (that) (we)     

tongeni    kaeo      fengen
(can)       (learn) (together)

Aua   kinisou      chapur      ren   ewe Puken Mormon
(we) (thankful) (very much) (for) (the Book of Mormon)

Jises Kraist        achasefan     me      an    tongeikich
(Jesus Christ), (Atonement)   (and)   (His)    (love for us)

Kose kan Mochea kopen       efeiocha kem ren      ewe Ngun mi Fel
(Please)            (will you)      (bless)  (us) (with) (the) (Holy Ghost)

me     miret,       me     kinamwe, me    Pecheku non manauem.
(and) (wisdom) (and)   (peace)    (and) (strength) (in) (our life)

aua apasa    ekkei   mettoch non    iten      Jises Kraist, Amen.
(we) (say) (these) (things)   (in) (his name) (Jesus Christ), (Amen).

God Loves Us

Eric wrote this to us September 9, 2012:

"The fact that my family has been watched over so many cases do I need to prove to me that we are loved? The Pharasees and the Scribes constantly asked Jesus for signs or manifestations of his Messiahship, yet if they were to only look around and see all the good He did, and all the blessings and miracles that He performed, they would have known. I have two parents that have been preserved despite medical circumstances [both have cancer]. I have seen people's hearts and lives change directly in front of me, sometimes in the middle of a lesson. Is this not enough for the convincing?

An Upcoming September 2012 Baptism

Dear Family:

I am doing excellent! Our P-day lasts until 6 pm but we are going to cut it short to go to investigators and teach them. They are three Chuukese girls, 17, 15, and 12. They are Pentecostal, and are extremely shy (as almost every Chuukese girl is). So its hard to teach them, but after 2+ months, the 17 and 12 year old accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 15th of September. You have no clue how happy I was when they said yes. I was overcome with the Spirit. It sounds cheesy, but I truly have come to love them, and want nothing but the best for them, whom are my sisters. I talk to them in Chuukese (they are from a different island than the dialect I am learning, so it's a bit difficult) and I try my best to help them understand and learn.

I have learned so much since I have been on my mission on the subject of religion as well as just human interaction.

Transfers are September 23 (Bryanna's birthday). It is so strange to say a sentence in Chuukese, and someone else understand, and respond.

There are black butterflies outside my apartment. They are everywhere in the South. BTW I love reading now. all that time I wasted playing games....(not to say that I won't play games anymore) but I have come to love reading. I am on page 464 of the Book of Mormon, I have read Our Heritage, True to the Faith, and Our Search for Happiness, and now I am on page 108 of Jesus the Christ (HOLY cow its a very hard and informational book). If you read that book your thoughts and mind will be so opened. I have learned sooooo much from the first 100 pages of that inspired book. It's extremely fascinating. It's 800 pages, so I'll be busy with that for awhile. All of that and I started on July 10 [note: this note was written September 2, 2012].

Here on Guam there are so many languages. So far I have collected how to say "Thank you" in 11 languages.

I always pray for you and Dad. It brings me close to you. Love you all. Thanks again for all the love and support.

Elder Hadder

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A note home and President Mecham

Eric says the language is hard, but he is trying his hardest to learn it well. He loved getting Bryanna's senior picture and one from Max. Max loves Pokémon, and we decided that Eric's evolved form was PikaCHUUK. Hey, we like bad puns.

We have been sending Eric lots of stuff in the mail, because we can use the flat "if it fits it ships" postage. The big box is only $15 and we like to stuff it full. I send stuff for his companion Elder Kata too. Eric said he kept pulling things out of the box and giving it to Elder Kata and he said "Fakkun?" which means Really? in Chuukese. Eric gave Elder Kata his suitcase to use. We can always buy Eric another one. Eric's Mission President pulled him aside and told him he put in Eric's name, my name and Dad's name into the Temple. What a wonderful man is President Mecham! Eric loves him and so do we for all the tender care he has shown Eric and all the missionaries in his stewardship. Thank you President Mecham.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Letter Home August 26, 2011

"Sorry today was a really weird day. It was a Zone P-day. They always happen after a transfer (at least here on Guam). SO by that last statement you can probably deduce that I am still on Guam. This was to be expected, because I am in the training phase.

That is cool Dad got a high tech phone. LUCKY.

Oh, I am doing GREAT. Not hurt or sick or anything. I now weigh (a healthy number) with all my proselyting clothes on. We have had a car for the last week and a half because the lady who sells the older cars was off the island on vacation for a week. So we are using an old car for the moment. But this will come to an end soon, and we will go back to the bikes. Well, I got your packages numbers 2 and 3. They both came in today.

I have not written Bryanna back yet, because well I just got the letter today. So next Monday I will send her my reply. I sent the picture card last Monday, so it should be there soon.

The weather here is something else. I thought it was rainy before..oh I was wrong. It POURS daily now, and we will soon lose our car, so we are going to be in misery soon. But hey, the more hours and doors I knock on in the rain... the ...well you know.

I love you very much Mom. I am so sorry that you were upset on account that I wasn't able to get on earlier today. I know you will get through Chemo well this last time. You start it on Thursday, so I will fast on Friday (your Thursday). So know you will be watched over and protected. Both you and Dad have the strength and power to overcome your respective cancers. I know it.

There will be an ocean baptism on Saturday, August 25, 2012, and I will get to be a witness :0) I am soooo excited for it. His name is Frances. It will be so amazing.

Well I love you all very much.

BTW Bryanna, thank you so very much for your choice to respect and keep the Sabbath Day holy by your choice of playing soccer for a non-Sunday team. You are opening the opportunity for blessings.

Elder Hadder"

Funny Stories for a Best Friend

Eric and Bryanna are brother and sister by birth, best friends by choice.

Eric goes out of his way to remember funny or amusing incidents and tell Bryanna the stories. In August 2012 he wrote home these two stories for Bryanna.

"hahaha, OK this is really funny. We walked into a convenience store to buy water and there was a Korean teller. He looked at us and said "Oh, you Mormons". We put on our missionary faces and said "Well, yes, however our actual name is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints", and he goes "Oh Mormons....plenty wives". We laughed so hard and tried our best to fix his assumption of us."

"We also have an investigator who has five kids, all with a different mom. He says "She no good. I come home, house not clean, no food on table, so I run away." Eric and Elder Kata tried their best to explain why that wasn't the right thing to do. Not sure they succeeded.

Eric also told Bryanna that they were teaching someone from the Marshall Islands and he lives in the jungle out of an old broken down bus - and he is happy. And there is an operating McDonalds out of an old shipping container! Not sure I want to eat there.

First Talk in Guam

Eric gave his first talk in the Guam Ward early August 2012.  He recalls that Sacrament service started without power (welcome to Guam), but as the opening prayer started, the power turned on (welcome to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). His very first baptism, Teoni, was confirmed a member of the Church and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. Then Eric spoke and he felt the talk went well, and he bore his testimony in Chuukese for the very first time. The Spirit was so strong that Teoni's mother, who is not a member, was crying. It was an amazing experience for all.

God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again

August 12, 2012
A member of the Ward in Guam has a family that is mostly Catholic. Sadly, his nephew hung himself. Elder Kata and Eric attended his first Rosary Mass at the Catholic Church out of respect. On Tuesday, members of the Church, with Elder Kata and Eric, are singing "God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again" and "I Know That My Redeemer Lives", songs from the LDS Hymnbook, at the Catholic Rosary. These are two beautiful songs and appropriate in any religious setting. It was an amazing missionary experience.
Sadly, our own Ward lost a very righteous man, Brother Mark Hamelwright, around this same time. We will all miss them. Sweet is the peace the gospel brings when you know that families can be together forever through the sealing ordinances. I am grateful for this knowledge.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Enjoying the People of Guam & A Ukulele?

Eric is pretty tall by United States standards at 6 foot 3 inches (or slightly taller). But in Guam he looms large:

Eric and Elder Kata have been enjoying the people of Guam and getting to visit and teach many. One family in particular he LOVES and he has spent some quality time with their family:

Some nights at their home, Elder Kata will play his ukulele and sing.

Eric shot some footage of Elder Kata singing. Unfortunately, with no lights on, it was too dark to show, but I have included the video for the sound quality of the singing. The songs are in Chuukese.

Sometimes the children would sing along!

Food on Guam

The Elders are "spoiled" on Guam, because there are many yummy things to eat. Eric reports that he is eating a lot of coconuts, bananas, rice, chicken, pork, apples, bread, peanut butter, jelly, cereal and a lot of water! Eric says there are all types of coconut trees and different types of coconuts. And they taste differently too. Some are wonderful and some are gross! I never thought of that, as all the coconuts I have at the store are all alike and I have only tasted one "type" of coconut. There are many kind people who have helped feed the Elders. As parents, we are so grateful for those people. It has made us be more aware of the Missionaries that serve in our Ward boundaries. We try to sign up to feed them as often as we can. It is a way to pay it forward for the kindness of the Guam people to our son as he serves.

GIFT HINT: Send Eric peanut butter and beef jerky! He loves it, they ship easily, and have a long shelf life. Because most things must be shipped to Guam, the prices can be quite high. As a splurge treat, Eric may buy a gallon of milk for $8 (in Arizona we pay about $1.89 on sale) and a gallon of fresh orange juice is $10 EXPENSIVE

This is a picture of a fruit called pandanus, which flowers effortlessly in Micronesia. Because of its distinctive flavor, it is used to flavor drinks and other items, such as ice cream.

Not sure if this guy is for eating - he sure looks like he can rule the road. Wild!

Breadfruit is a staple on Guam. Eric loves the way it tastes and he has had lots of opportunity to eat it.

First Baptism

Eric was honored to baptize Tieoni, a 19-year old Chomorro girl on Saturday August 11, 2012. This is his first baptism with Elder Kata.


The people the Elders teach on Guam speak English, Chomorrow, Chuukese, Pohnpeian, and Palauan. For Eric and Elder Kata, they teach the lessons in English and Chuukese. They will stay as companions for 12 weeks. Eric will give his first talk in Sacrament on August 12, 2012 in English, but will bear his testimony at the end in Chuukese. What a wonderful moment for the Elders and new Sister.

Witnessing an Ocean Baptism

Many of the baptisms on Guam on in the ocean. Eric was able to witness his first one on Saturday, August 4, 2012:


Online Chatting and Mission Plaque Picture

We have figured out that Sunday night in Arizona is Monday afternoon for Eric in Guam. With Monday as his P-day, we are able to "chat" online if we happen to be online at the same time. So I write a letter to Eric for him to read and then I camp out online Sunday night and hope to catch him. This has been such a gift to have this time with him, no matter how small. To be able to ask questions and get answers and just "visit" together- it has taken some of the sting out of having him gone for so long. I requested that Eric send some nice pictures for his Mission plaque in the Ward hallway. Here are the ones he sent me:

He had to borrow a Member's coat, because his suits are locked up in the Mission home. No need to wear a suit with the weather in Guam! And no Temple, so short sleeved white shirts are acceptable with durable dress pants and crocs or heavy shoes. I think Eric looks amazing! We picked the first picture for his Mission plaque, and it hangs in the Ward building waiting his return. Sometimes when I am at Church I will walk down the hall and see his picture, smiling back at me. And my pangs of missing him are a little less, knowing he is happy and is serving and doing exactly what he wants to be doing with his life. We are so proud of you, Elder Hadder!

Letter from Eric July 15, 2012

"Hey Mom and family:

Bryanna got her license! I'm soooo glad I'm on this island and away from the potential disaster that awaits all those poor and unsuspecting drivers in Arizona :P I love ya Bry :) Just please be careful, I wouldn't want to come back there and "teach you a lesson" if you were to get into a crash... oh, and yeah, BE HOME ON TIME!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAX!!! dude you are so lucky that Mom, Dad and Bry are having a super cool Mario Birthday party! LUCKY! That sounds like so much fun! If I were there, I think I would be BOWSER! MWAHAHAHA. And then I would take all your presents (stars) and you would have to play games against me to earn them all back! haha. I love you very much, and thank you for taking care of Mom for me. You are the best bro ever :)

I'm happy to hear that you are doing well Mom with the chemo. I know that it is hard, and that there are times when you just think...what's the point. But I know that you WILL beat this. And that you will have an enriched testimony on the power of blessings and faith. I am so extremely proud of you and Dad, for all that you have been through and for the positive examples that you both have been in my life, and the lives of those around you. I love you very much, and please keep me updated.

It is so B.E.A.utiful here! Not only is the weather amazing, but the trees, and ocean and just the general atmosphere. I have learned so much about life, having a native companion, as well as being able to teach and learn from all the diverse types of people here on Guam. We are teaching someone and I have been able to see him experience the Atonement in his life, and it has been such an amazing and spiritual experience. I can't even describe it.

The bikes are a bit hard, because we have to bike 5 miles to get to the village where most of our current investigators are, and it is about 80% of the time uphill :( but it's all good, because on the way home, it is a breeze:) I have never been so wet in my life, between the constant rains, and the crazy amounts of sweat. haha. I have learned a bit of Chuukese. Here is my testimony (but the spelling may be wrong):

Uwa sinei pwe ei mwechifen mi ennet, me pwe Joseph Smith emon sofonson Kot. Uwa sinei pwe Ewe Puken Mormon mi pwan eu pwarata usun Jesus Christ. Uwa kinisou ren merit me kinomwe non maniouen, me ei tufich en angang fan iten Semach won Nang. Uwa apasa ekkei mettoch non iten Jesus Christ, Amen.

In English: I know that this Church is true, and that Joseph Smith is a prophet of the God. I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. I am thankful for knowledge and peace in my life, and this opportunity to serve in the name of our Heavenly Father. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you all, and thanks for all the support everybody!

Love, Elder Hadder

Getting Used to the Island

July 2013 Eric is working with Elder Kata and the Members on Guam. The bike ride is hard, and Eric is still getting his lungs back to full working capacity. He is grateful for the Mission Nurse and the medical care he has received. Senior Missionaries Elder and Sister Norton are sometimes able to take them back and forth in a car (which they really appreciate!) to their appointments. Here they are filling up the backseat.

Eric has really enjoyed taking pictures of his new home. He loves the island already. Here is a picture of Eric and Elder and Sister Norton at a baptism: