Just before the nationwide shutdown due to COVID-19, the 3rd annual Guam Micronesia Alumni Reunion was a ray of sunlight shining through an imposing dark sky. It was such a blessing and joy to reconnect with close friends and to relive heart-warming memories. The awkward “foot-shakes” and“elbow bumps” were forgotten at the door as old friends hugged and embraced after many long years of separation.
The reunion was held in Loma Linda, California on March 7 during the university-wide Alumni Homecoming Weekend, to which all eight Loma Linda University schools were invited. Inside Linda Hall, right next door to the Campus Hill Church, the 125 plus people who attended the Guam Micronesia Alumni Reunion enjoyed catching up and visiting over good food at tables lit with candles among palm fronds and ginger blossoms.
We were all happy to hear the Guam SDA Clinic update from its CEO, Victor Shepherd, and Medical Director, Dr. Michael Robinson. Guam-Micronesia Mission (GMM) President, Ken Norton, gave a well-received update on the work throughout GMM. He stressed the many prayer needs that GMM has at this time, including for the Lord to supply student missionaries for the many Micronesian schools that rely on these volunteers to operate. It was exciting to feel part of the work and catch the vision for the future.
This year’s special feature chronicled the early Adventist work in Saipan. This was narrated and put together by Dr. Steve Fisher, the pioneer of the Saipan SDA Clinic, who shared stories and pictures of establishing the clinic and work on Saipan. It was amazing to see photos of a very young Maria Agulto, who trained at Loma Linda School of Dentistry and still serves at the clinic as a dental hygienist 43 years later. Dr. Kyim Mung, who recently served at the Saipan SDA Clinic, Mathew Lopez, a second-year medical student at LLU whose mother, Lovely Lopez, continues to serve after 23 years at the clinic, and the Pierson girls, Shylah, Ava, and Layah, who were all born in Saipan, joined to perform an island-inspired musical number that brought big smiles and blessing to all.
Dr. Ken D. Pierson, the former Saipan SDA Clinic Director, and Dr. Warren Creed, the current Clinic Director, presented a video and update on this year's Featured Alumni Project is to build additional housing for student missionaries at the Saipan SDA School after the existing housing was badly damaged by Super Typhoon Yutu in late 2018. The school hopes to have this building project completed before the beginning of next school year in August. If you would like to donate to this mission project, please go to www.gmmsda.org. The alumni at the reunion gave generously, but more funds are still needed!
Dr. Steve and Karyl Fisher, who established the Adventist presence and worked in Saipan from 1972 until 1991, were recognized as the Honored Alumni and were presented with a latte stone shaped plaque by President Norton.
Our Alumni President, Dr. Ed Holm, invited to the podium a missionary pioneer, Pastor Clinton Shankel, GMM president during the 1970s, to share highlights from missionary endeavors in Guam-Micronesia. Pastor Shankel gave a very inspiring review of the early work on Pohnpeii, island capital of the Federated States of Micronesia, during his term.
Just before the reunion concluded, Dr. Michael Fillman brought us into a reverent atmosphere through a special piano number complete with a majestic corresponding slideshow. This was followed by a special prayer time led by Dr. Ed and Barbara Holm. Mrs. Holm gave each guest a printed prayer requests with an attached quarter commemorating either the Northern Marianas or the War in the Pacific Park. Then in groups of two to five people, everyone prayed over the list of requests and all were encouraged to remember to pray daily with their list, using the commemorative quarters as reminders. The evening ended with everyone standing in a circle, holding hands and singing, I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God.
This reunion of friends, who are one big GMM family, reminded us of how wonderful that reunion we all look forward to in heaven will be. The Guam Micronesia Alumni Reunion cast a ray of sunlight that will be treasured by all who were there. We hope to see you there next year! If you want to know more about the reunion for next year or how you can support Alumni projects at GMM, please contact AlumniCoordinator: Mrs. Tina Robinson at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Dr. Ken Pierson, edited by Mrs. Tina Robinson