Monday, October 28, 2013

Zone Leader

May 20, 2013

Dear Elder Hadder: 

I am pleased to extend to you a call as a Zone Leader in the Guam Zone in the Micronesia Guam Mission. I am grateful for your obedience, hard work and the respect you have earned from your fellow missionaries. I look forward to you service in this very important assignment. I am convinced that zone leaders play a vital role in establishing the spiritual atmosphere of the mission. Please remember that all leadership assignments are callings to serve and minister to others, not for your personal gain or reputation. 

You will be expected to move the missionary work forward in your zone by: 
* Your example in personal study of the scriptures, obedience and hard work. 
* Inviting others to come unto Christ, by carrying a full proselyting load in your assigned area. 
* Supervising, teaching, inspiring and strengthening the faith of the missionaries in your zone. 
* Teaching and training district leaders and other missionaries through companion exchanges. 
* Teaching and training the missionaries in district meetings and as assigned in zone conferences. 
* Conducting thorough baptismal interviews of investigators taught by district leaders. 
* Through additional personal efforts, including as directed by me or by the assistants. 

Continue to be obedient, humble, and diligent in the work. The Lord expects you to maintain the highest standards of missionary conduct, and to continue to be exemplary in your own efforts to invite others to come unto Christ, particularly in your own proselyting area. Establish and maintain positive, cooperative and close relationships between you, the missionaries in your zone, and local priesthood leaders. Local priesthood leaders and members are an essential key to our success to "invite others to come unto Christ, and to remain steadfast in Christ to the end". Be a leader in eery sense of the word. Be resolute and committed to following all rules and directions contained in the Missionary Handbook and Preach My Gospel. Exemplify teaching by the Spirit with boldness and conviction.

May the Lord bless you as you magnify this new assignment and continue to serve Him with all your heart, might, mind and strength.

President Stephen F. Mecham
President, Micronesia Guam Mission

May 2013 Transfers

Transfers are somewhat anxious, because a missionary never knows when he or she will be asked to go to a different area or accept a new assignment. Missionaries often want to stay in their area, as they have worked hard with people who are wanting to learn the gospel, and have come to love many of the families and members that they serve.

May transfers brought a change in Eric's assignment as District Leader:

He was called as the Guam Zone Leader with Elder Cole, seen seated next to Eric. Eric was nervous about the assignment, but is determined to try his best to serve in this capacity. He wrote "Zone Leader is basically a trust from the Mission President, so I am trying my very hardest to be worthy of that trust."

. I know he will miss the families, and the Nortons, whom he has come to love in the District. But being a missionary is about change too. There are other assignments for him to fulfill. The adventure continues.

Turning 22 in the Mission Field

Eric turned 22 in May 2013. Right before his birthday, he attended District Meeting.

District Meeting May 2013

The Nortons are so kind to the District by making awesome meals for the missionaries: fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, corn and rootbeer floats. 

The Nortons also helped Eric celebrate his birthday at the home of the Alberts during Family Home Evening. Sister Norton made him an early birthday cake (cherry chocolate chacha- yummy) because transfers are coming up and Eric could transferred to another island or given a different assignment.

 It is so strange to think that I won't physically see my son the entire 22nd year of his life. I thought long and hard about what I could get him for his birthday. I sent him a package with all his favorites: beef jerky, peanut butter, grape jelly. I wondered if it would be what he wanted. It wasn't until after I sent him the package that I realized Eric didn't really want anything. I am sure he was grateful for the package, and he wrote home his appreciation. But looking at these pictures I saw he already had his birthday gift: serving a mission and the people in Guam.

 Happy 22nd Birthday Elder Hadder. Your family misses you so much, but we have never seen you look happier.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Real "Betel" Juice

A tradition of the Pacific Islands is chewing a podlike substance called betel nut.

The islanders chew it and it is highly addictive. It will turn your mouth red, your teeth black, and causes cancer of the mouth.
But on the Islands it is given to children to help with teething pain and then as adults they take a piece of cigarette and put it inside it and then chew it. It is a HUGE problem and unfortunately it grows wild on the trees so it is free and easy to get. Someone can work so hard to give it up and then family members give it to them or it literally grows free on trees. Unfortunately, it so easy to fall back into bad habits.

Every culture has its bad habits - the Western world has alcohol and designer drugs. Being addicted to a substance robs you of your ability to choose (free will or agency). Following rules to avoid addictive substances may sound like a restriction, but in actuality it is keeping you free. Just another reason why bringing the gospel to all parts of the world is so important.

Uninvited Roommates

A missionary always has a companion. Throughout a missionary's service, he or she is always paired with another missionary for safety and accountability. Sometimes, however, you get an uninvited roommate:

Or worse, some pest makes themselves at home and has to be shown the door:

Ai Tong Mgonuk I Nei We!

On Saturday, May 4th, the postman rang our doorbell. Max went to the door, and returned with a curious object:

As soon as I saw "GUAM" on the coconut, I knew it was a Mother's Day present from Eric. I immediately burst into tears. I was so excited and happy that my son remembered me from across the globe and took the time to do something special for me. A special thank you to Brother Norton for painting the Guam side - beautiful. I later learned that Elder John, a Chuukese missionary serving with Eric, was amused by this project. He didn't understand what all the fuss was about coconuts. Even after explaining that coconuts aren't as plentiful in the United States as they are on Guam, he still looked dubious. He still probably thought the whole thing was silly.

But not silly to me. This unique present sits in the living room in a place where I can see it easily. Ai Tong Mgonuk I Nei We - Happy Mother's Day to me indeed.

Guam Hot Dog: Warning graphic content

In April, Eric and his companion were treated to Sunday dinner at a member's home with very modest means. The family had dug a pit and had roasted the dinner to serve to the missionaries.

 [This picture is sideways - if you lean your head to the right you can see the pit.] Imagine the missionaries' surprise when the main course was unveiled:

Wild dog.....very different from what we eat in Arizona. However, Eric and his companion knew the sacrifice this family had made to feed the missionaries something special. They were grateful for the meal and the kindness in which it was offered. When you serve a mission in a foreign country you learn about different customs, including food, well off the tourist path.  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Pictures of Guam Zone April 2013

Recognition of May birthdays at Zone Conference

Guam Zone April 2013

Training During Zone Conference       

Guam April 2013

April 2013 in Guam was moving the work forward with teaching, baptisms of Bryant and Sage, helping with other baptisms, writing a list of 30 names of those with whom you feel impressed to share the gospel and Family Home Evening with a blackboard of the Plan of Salvation (click on picture to see full view).

We had a chance at home to work with the Missionaries in our Ward in Arizona with a very kind man who was interested in the Church. Eric has been a part of 18 baptisms by April. He wrote " Thank you so much for helping the Sister Missionaries. I love how you guys were guys were able to be there and help that man. DON'T you love missionary work? It is such a satisfying effort. Now imagine me, I get to feel that Spirit EVERYDAY. Oh how much I love the Spirit, and when it touches someone else."