A DREAM DURING COVID
I was working in the multisystem intensive care unit one day, when I was contemplating the fact that, for the last year, I had witnessed so much death during the COVID-19 pandemic. As an ICU nurse, I was accustomed to saving the lives of 90% of my patients, but during the frontline COVID battle, I could hardly say that 10% of my patients had recovered. That made me wonder why Jesus had not yet come back, and why there is so much pain and suffering and seemingly no hope for the future. In that moment, I was reminded that the gospel message needs to reach all parts of the world before the second coming of Jesus takes place.
I did a quick internet search and discovered that there are still islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans that have not heard about the Three Angels' message that Jesus was returning soon. Even more astonishing, some of those islands have not yet heard about the first coming of Jesus. Immediately in my mind, I designed a plan to become a medical missionary pilot so I could reach those places that one can only get to by plane or long-voyage ship. “Maybe, I can fly to those places, provide medical care, preach the gospel and attend to the needs of those unreached brothers and sisters,” I hoped.
I put this dream of mine into motion by first taking flying lessons, then finding a job as a nurse practitioner at an institution that truly prepares medical missionaries -- the Guam Seventh-day Adventist Clinic.
In 2022, the clinic marked 65 years of mission work in the Guam-Micronesia Mission, providing an excellent opportunity to recognize its anniversary and the other ministries working to reach the rest of the region through a Celebration of Mission event.
CELEBRATING WHAT GOD HAS DONE
Looking back at the years following World War II, God brought faithful missionaries to proclaim His message on the island of Guam. With the Adventist work already blossoming in the region on Palau, a visit to Guam by brother Henry Metzger - a medical corps serviceman and the first Adventist missionary to Guam - grew the Adventist presence in the territory. Today, Guam has eight congregations made up by a diverse population, complete with various cultures and ministries. The island is also the headquarters for Joy FM - a radio station that proclaims the Adventist beliefs. Their work also reaches to the local prison and, as a result, a correspondence Bible study ministry has been established. Guam also hosts the Adventist World Radio tower that reaches almost the entire Pacific and Southeast Asia, bringing the words of hope to scarcely populated areas.
Guam is the headquarters for the Guam-Micronesia Mission of Seventh-day Adventists, which oversees departments, ministries, and organizations that serve the nations of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the U.S. territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. The celebration event was designed in a way to bring glory to God for His amazing work in these islands.
REPRESENTING ALL NATIONS
The service took place behind the clinic on Saturday, December 10, and was an island-wide event. The massive tent could hardly contain the diversity and legacy of the twenty different nationalities representing the missionaries that God has brought to Guam over the years. Attendees were encouraged to wear their national costumes and the venue was decorated with the national flags of the church members, with the flags of GMM’s islands – Palau, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, CNMI, and Guam – taking central place on the podium!
It started with a prelude from the Ordot SDA Clinic Church Orchestra playing “To God Be the Glory” and “Joy to the World”, joined by the singing of the whole congregation. These songs had been sung in previous clinic anniversaries and this year event continued the tradition. A prayer was lifted by Guam SDA Clinic CEO Victor Shepherd and his wife Joaquina Vega in their native language of Spanish. The Sabbath School lesson was presented by Dr. Jeffrey Ing, who emphasized the importance of medical missionary work and how, according to the Spirit of Prophecy, it needs to be shared by all church members, not only by the medical and clinical staff. He underlined the importance of being role models to the world in health, eating and natural remedies.
Warmly emceed by Shion and Amber Shironishi, the program introduced different SDA churches as they sang musical selections in various languages: the Northern Church performed a song in Tagalog, the Guam Korean Church in Korean with the help of a brass quartet, the Happy Family Company in Palauan and Kosraean, the Man`Aguiya Company in Marshallese, the Agat Church in Chuukese, and a Japanese group from the Ordot Church in Japanese. Representing the native language of Guam, the Agana Heights Church performed a Chamorro medley and the Talofofo Church offered the scripture reading and sermon in the Chamorro language. There were more songs and Bible readings in Burmese, Karen, Napalese, Serbian, Bulgarian, Russian, German, Bahasa Indonesian, Cantonese, Thai, Laotian, Chinese, and Akan (Ghanaian), with the event closed by GMM Executive Secretary Remenster Jano praying in Pohnpeian.
After the congregation was delighted by the sights and sounds of many nations, they were treated to the smells and tastes as well. Members contributed to an international potluck, with dishes from the Pacific islands, Asia, Europe, Africa, South and North America.
MISSION IN PROGRESS
Updates were also presented: for the Guam-Micronesia Mission by GMM President Matthew Kirk, for Guam Adventist Academy by Teaching Principal Cynthia Tkalec, for Adventist World Radio by the Chief Engineer Brook Powers, for Joy FM by Manager Matthew Dodd, and for Guam SDA Clinic by Dr. Michael Robinson and Mrs. Tina Robinson.
Through his sermon, spoken in Chamorro then translated by his wife Janet, William Flores expressed the struggle that the Chamorro people had to face when they joined the SDA community – the ostracism, the broken relationships with family, and opposition of brothers and sisters from other denominations. It was eye-opening to see that there is a price to be paid, not only by the missionaries, but also by the local church members. Accepting the gospel comes with a cost, but also with a great reward. Now in Guam, there are more than 1500 members and more and more baptisms are taking place.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with the 66 unreached inhabited islands in the Guam-Micronesia territory. There are still people that have not heard about Jesus’ coming. The event collected donations with the purpose of spreading the gospel to other areas in the region, because God cares about those people and He has put the burden on our souls to go and share the Hope that we are all so richly blessed with in Guam. This is both a celebration of mission and a mission still in progress.