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Old 07-20-2006, 05:34 PM   #16
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awesome stuff! Thank you for the detailed sharing. A great encouragement to reach out and do more!!
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Old 07-20-2006, 06:29 PM   #17
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Very interesting read.

We have the same birthday so you are obviously a wonderful person, too. Have you been as stressed out as I have been this summer?
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Old 07-20-2006, 06:40 PM   #18
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Very interesting read.

We have the same birthday so you are obviously a wonderful person, too. Have you been as stressed out as I have been this summer?


Thanks! It's comin' up. Just two weeks more!

This summer hasn't been too bad.
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Old 07-20-2006, 06:49 PM   #19
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Thanks! It's comin' up. Just two weeks more!

This summer hasn't been too bad.
Well that's good. Mine's starting to ease up a bit, too.

I'll have real questions later.
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Old 07-21-2006, 12:23 AM   #20
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I really enjoyed your perspective and the detailed description of what your mission life is like. I served a mission also and definately relate to the reasons you gave as why you serve a mission.

I really went to make a difference in people's lives, however that worked out. I actually served in the states: in Tennessee, Kentucky and Southern Illinois. I did have great experiences and stuff like that.

Have you run into people who are really hostile? Have you been mugged or anything like that?
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Old 07-21-2006, 12:42 AM   #21
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Originally posted by mediaman44
I really enjoyed your perspective and the detailed description of what your mission life is like. I served a mission also and definately relate to the reasons you gave as why you serve a mission.

I really went to make a difference in people's lives, however that worked out. I actually served in the states: in Tennessee, Kentucky and Southern Illinois. I did have great experiences and stuff like that.

Have you run into people who are really hostile? Have you been mugged or anything like that?
I'm guessing you're LDS? (Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I just assumed based on the Utah location and the fact that you referred to your mission in the U.S. I've got a couple Mormon friends in Saipan).

No one's been super hostile but to tell you the truth, I'm not a position where I really put myself out there (the way those, that say go door to door would). They come to us, essentially, since I work in a mission school, so obviously there has to be certain baseline level of openness from the get-go. I did have one student a couple of years back who was a strident atheist. I'm not sure why her parents sent her to our school (they weren't believers either. Dad-atheist, Mom-Buddhist). I'll never forget--her freshman year she volunteered to do all the work on the class newspaper. I should have known something was up when she insisted on doing all the work, including making the copies, at home. She put out this harsh critique of religious belief, including texts from Deutronomy talking about stoning children if they disrespect their parents. Quite a scandal.

But I admired her guts. And in the end we ended up with a great deal of mutual respect, and we still touch base every now and then even today.

Couple of other stories of "hostility"

--My friend J and I went to the Netherlands in the summer of 95 for three weeks right after our year in Chuuk. We participated in a public youth evangelism campaign in Utrecht. I had a lot of good experiences (including a really special girl that I met. Motives were definitely mixed on that one, I'm afraid). But it was HARD! Standing out on the street corner or in a mall, handing out leaflets. I hated it. And people were NOT interested. Your ego took a serious beating.

--This happened to my friend J, when he was participating in a door-to-door prayer ministry in Tennessee (where you go door to door and offer to pray for whatever needs the person has. I've done it before in college, and again a lot of good experiences. Most people were very open and appreciative). He goes to the door, and says "Hi, we're just going through the neighborhood, offering to pray with/for people." The guy responds. "Well, actually I'm a pastor and we're already Christians. So no thanks."
Guess they were all prayed up. Lol. I always thought that was really funny and ironic.

To be honest, I've always disliked doing the door to door, street evangelism thing and I confess I have no good reasons. I just hate bothering people and I hate being rejected.

I've got a LOT more stories about hostility from the few years I spent selling Amway! lol! What a nightmare.
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Old 07-21-2006, 01:25 AM   #22
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Originally posted by maycocksean


I'm guessing you're LDS? (Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I just assumed based on the Utah location and the fact that you referred to your mission in the U.S. I've got a couple Mormon friends in Saipan).

Yes I am LDS. I was just browsing your other thread on conversion stories. Wow! powerful stuff.

What is the hardest thing about being a missionary? What is the easiest?

For me the hardest thing was continuing to "keep on keeping on" as they say. I did alot of door to door "preaching" (we call it tracting). In certain areas the local congregations were small and didn't offer much support so we would go out to the country and meet with people. Usually only 1 out of every 100 doors we knock on will let us in to teach a lesson. That gets discouraging some times.


I notice that you are from Orlando. I used to live in Winter Haven about 10 or 11 years ago. Where in Orlando do you live? Did you go to the open house for the Orlando LDS temple in 93 or 94?

Anyway this is an awesome thread.
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Old 07-21-2006, 09:35 AM   #23
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My parents were (still are) missionaries and we went to Indonesia when I was 3. I spent 13 years there, many of them in a mission boarding school. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on TCKs (third culture kids) and the decisions missionary parents have to make in regards to how to best raise their kids.

I know one of the hot topics in the circles in which I grew up was the "home school" vs. "boarding school" debate. If you kept your kids at home (usually out in an isolated jungle village) at least you could have a more developed family relationship, but then they missed out on some crucial social/cultural interaction with other kids from their home country. Many of the kids I knew who were homeschooled have had a REALLY hard time when they come back to the States because they have no frame of reference outside of their village experiences.

On the other hand, kids like me were separated from our parents at a very young age (6/7) and end up sort of emotionally stunted and distant from our families. The up-side of course is being independent and capable as well as completely comfortable in the "globalized" world.

In the case of raising kids in a modern society (as you've indicated you live in in Saipan) that isn't YOUR home culture, there are still plenty of issues as to which set of values they will pick up and how they will adjust to living between worlds.

So, I guess I am curious as to your thoughts on this. I don't know if you and your wife have children or not, but I imagine it's something you're aware of. It's definitely one of the concerns I hear from people who are interested in missions who want to pick my brain because I have personal experience as a missionary kid.
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:22 AM   #24
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Hi sula, welcome back BTW

Since maycocksean invited other people with missionary experience to answer questions in this thread, I would really be interested to hear more about what your "readjustment" experience was like, as well as those of some of your homeschooled friends. And at the risk of putting words into his mouth, my impression is that maycocksean and his wife are in the no-kids-yet-but-seriously-considering-it stage, so I'm guessing he likely would be quite interested to hear your perspective as well.
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:30 AM   #25
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this is a great thread. when i can think of a question, i'll come back.
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:58 AM   #26
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Plus I have a couple questions for maycocksean.

Is the school you teach at a Seventh Day Adventist school? How would you describe the "mission" of the school itself, and how does that mission fit into the context of Saipan? (religion-wise, social-service-provision-wise or otherwise)

Also, I see from Wikipedia that 86%(!) of Northern Mariana Islanders speak a language other than English--Tagalog, Chinese, Chamorro, Carolinian--at home (though I'm guessing that figure is probably a little lower in the Saipan area). Does this create any problems for the schools? Are language barriers a significant issue socially in any way?

And...again just based on quickie online research...I gather much of the history of the Marianas follows the usual (for that region) one-colonial-land-grab-after-another trajectory...with the usual associated unpleasantries--forced evacuations and conversions, land dispossession, forced labor, etc. Does this have any lingering aftereffects on social relations among the various groups? (e.g., the way in some areas of Hawaii there are serious tensions between Native Hawaiians and more recently arrived groups)
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Old 07-21-2006, 05:12 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
Hi sula, welcome back BTW

Since maycocksean invited other people with missionary experience to answer questions in this thread, I would really be interested to hear more about what your "readjustment" experience was like, as well as those of some of your homeschooled friends. And at the risk of putting words into his mouth, my impression is that maycocksean and his wife are in the no-kids-yet-but-seriously-considering-it stage, so I'm guessing he likely would be quite interested to hear your perspective as well.
Indeed I would.

I was about to say the same thing. I'd love to hear your take on a lot of the questions I've been asked too.
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Old 07-21-2006, 05:17 PM   #28
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What is the hardest thing about being a missionary? What is the easiest?
Again because my "mission" post is pretty easy, I think the hardest challenges are more about staying focused outward, and starting to live selfishly, rather than maintaining a "mission mindset."

The easiest thing about being a missionary is living on a beautiful tropical island with white sand beaches and crystalline waters.
Quote:
Originally posted by mediaman44

I notice that you are from Orlando. I used to live in Winter Haven about 10 or 11 years ago. Where in Orlando do you live? Did you go to the open house for the Orlando LDS temple in 93 or 94?

I lived in South Orlando, Pine Hills area until high school, and then we moved up to Altamonte Springs.

I didn't go to the Orlando LDS open house, since I'm not Mormon myself, and back in those days, I didn't know anyone who was.
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Old 07-21-2006, 05:26 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
My parents were (still are) missionaries and we went to Indonesia when I was 3. I spent 13 years there, many of them in a mission boarding school. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on TCKs (third culture kids) and the decisions missionary parents have to make in regards to how to best raise their kids.
Tough decisions, no doubt. Again, as Yolland said you'd probably have more insight than I would since my wife and I don't have kids yet. But of course, if you know me, I have an opinion anyway. I know it's hard for American kids to grow up outside of America and then return and deal with adjusting, but just because something's hard and sometimes painful doesn't make it bad. I also think it's hard for kids who are raised in a mixed-race home (I did, and my children will too, as I am black and my wife is white). But in both cases, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Both my wife and I WANT our kids to spend some time outside of the U.S. during their childhoods. We want them to have a broader perspective of the world, and while that may make them a little "different" compared to kids born and raised in America, I think in the long run, they will benefit. (You can confirm or deny whether this is so, I suppose).

I know a number of TCK's (now adults) and while I think all of them had a hard time at points in their childhood when they returned to America, all of them eventually adjusted and are remarkable people today who no longer do well in American society, but actually do better, I think as a result of their experiences living abroad.

There are always "trade-offs" in raising children. I think there is a cost to raising a kid in America too.
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Old 07-21-2006, 05:58 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

Is the school you teach at a Seventh Day Adventist school? How would you describe the "mission" of the school itself, and how does that mission fit into the context of Saipan? (religion-wise, social-service-provision-wise or otherwise)

Yes, it is a Seventh-day Adventist school. Like the Catholic church, our denom, has a very large bureaucratic organization (though it is strictly bureaucratic. . .for example, the president of our church has no special spiritual authority, nor do any of the other church "workers.") which includes schools all over the world. The "mission" of the school (simply put. I think we have an eloquent mission statement but I can't remember what it is, sadly) is to provide a wholistic Christian education to the students who attend there. The school wants to give the kids a solid academic, physical, and spiritual foundation (This approach emphasizing good health in addition to academic success and spiritual growth is generally a feature of all Adventist school and most of SDA schools have something to that affect in their mottos or mission statements). Also there is the hope that students will develop a relationship with God, accept Jesus as their Savior, and ideally, become members of our church. In fact, one of my wife's primary reasons for wanting to build a new campus, and expand to a full high school (we end at 9th grade right now) is that generally older kids are more likely to be in a position to join the church than younger kids are.

How we fit into Saipan, is that we provide a private school education, which many parents want since the local public schools are not that great. We do have competition, probably about a dozen other private schools (including two that are decidely non-religious), but I think what we offer is a Christian education without ramming it down the kids throats (the way some of the other religous-based private schools do) and because we are one of the smallest schools on the island, we provide a "family" type atmosphere and an excelletn student/teacher ratio. The teachers, students, and parents at our school, are unusually close, I think.
Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

Also, I see from Wikipedia that 86%(!) of Northern Mariana Islanders speak a language other than English--Tagalog, Chinese, Chamorro, Carolinian--at home (though I'm guessing that figure is probably a little lower in the Saipan area). Does this create any problems for the schools? Are language barriers a significant issue socially in any way?

Language is generally not a problem with the indigenous students (which is the majority of oru student population). If anything, there is more the concern that the younger generation is losing their language because so many of them don't speak Chamorro or Carolinian very well, and many times don't speak it much at home. One thing our school lacks which I wish we had, was a program to teach the local language so that we could be contributing to keeping it alive. A good marker is that in Chuuk you encountered many people who didn't speak English at all, and as a result I learned a fair amount of Chuukese during my year there. But in Saipan, after 8 years I only know Hafa Adai (hello) and Si Yuse Mase (Thank you) in Chamorro, and nothing in Carolinian. That gives you a sense of how little the local languages are spoken.

Right now, contract workers from the Phiippines and China especially, outnumber indigenous people so that contributes to a large part of that percentage, and in truth the percentage is probably highest on Saipan. It's the most populated island and thus the one with largest concentraton of contract workers. Most of these people are adults having left family behind in their home countries, so they are in the minority in the schools. For the Korean and Chinese students in our school, the language barrier is definitely a challenge.
Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

And...again just based on quickie online research...I gather much of the history of the Marianas follows the usual (for that region) one-colonial-land-grab-after-another trajectory...with the usual associated unpleasantries--forced evacuations and conversions, land dispossession, forced labor, etc. Does this have any lingering aftereffects on social relations among the various groups? (e.g., the way in some areas of Hawaii there are serious tensions between Native Hawaiians and more recently arrived groups)
There's DEFINTELY tension between the indigenous people and the Filipinos and Chinese as well as other ethnic groups that make up contract workers. The racial hieracrchy, IMO, runs something roughly like this:

At the top, Chamorros, followed by
Carolinians
Japanese
Other Micronesians like Paluans
Americans (white, or black doesn't seem to matter. It's wonderful!)

Generally, there's not a lot of prejudice amongst these groups, though it's never totally gone.

But next down are the Filipinos followed by
the Koreans
Chinese
Bangladeshi's looked down upon by all.

Again this is an extreme simplification (and may reveal some of my own prejudices and stereotypes as well) but it gives you a rough approximation. A lot of the tensions come from the simple fact that the locals are "outnumbered" and of course the misunderstandings that come from different languages, customs, and cultures. A common stereotype is the Chinese garment worker who wanders into the road and gets hit by a car, the sentiment being that "these people" don't know how to walk down the road without getting themselves killed.

Local culture, though has become a mixture of all that has come before--Spanish, German, Japanese, Filipino, and Korean, as well as various other Micronesians. Paluans and Chuukese in particular seem to have a good sized population on Saipan. Intermarriage is extremely common, and very few "locals" are "pure Chamorro" (such a thing basically have disappeared during Spanish rule anyway) or "pure Carolinian."

However, this does NOT mean that there aren't distinctions made. According to Article 12 of the CNMI constitution, only those of Chamorro or Carolinian descent may own land in the CNMI. So, essentially, all land on Saipan is either owned by the government, or by indigenous people. The rest of us rent or lease. This was set up as a safeguard to prevent outsiders from buying up all the land and displacing the locals.
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