The GMM Health Ministries and Women’s Ministries Departments wrapped up its “Let’s Move It!” fitness initiative this month. To support healthy habits during the holidays, church members were encouraged to join virtual events between November to January to foster every aspect of one's well-being.
From Thanksgiving to Christmas and into the New Year celebrations, one week was designated during each month to run or walk a 5-kilometer (3.11 mile) distance. In that week, participants could choose the date, time, place, and companions to get up and race at their own pace.
Completing a 5K every month was not just a physical challenge for some, but an opportunity to work off the additional calories that so often accompany the holiday season. But combating extra pounds was only the beginning. Running or walking in pairs or groups addressed another essential health need – socialization. Especially during the pandemic, enjoying sunshine, fresh air, and God’s nature with family and friends brings immeasurable benefits to the heart and mind.
To promote wholistic health, each 5K week was kicked off with a special online event. In November, GMM hosted a week of group exercise using the North American Division Health Ministries’ “Made to Move” program. Participants from last year may remember Season 1 of this incredible program, and many more Zoomed in for this round. Members appreciated the accountability of meeting daily for these full-body exercises, short devotionals, and sharing time.
In December, the kick-off event focused on heart-healthy eating and nutrition. GMM welcomed professional caterer Kathy Robinson who presented "Vegan Holiday Recipes". From her home in Guam, Mrs. Robinson demonstrated how to cook quick and easy dishes that promised to be sumptuous additions to any holiday meal.
Entering January – the month known for "post-holiday blues” – GMM presented an online seminar addressing mental wellness. Dr. Ernie Medina, Jr., an assistant professor of Preventative Care at Loma Linda University, described the symptoms and tools associated with beating burnout in “Success with Stress”.
The knowledge and discussions from the expert online speakers, along with the encouragement to be physically fit regularly contributed to this initiative's success. Yet, it was the work of the participants themselves that moved it forward.
"It was fun to have the personal challenge of walking each of the three 5ks during our recent GMM health events. Although I am not a runner, I was glad for the opportunity to participate by walking with a friend (Thank you, Grace!) and on my own in order to enjoy a different exercise goal and experience, while at the same time enjoying God's beautiful creation!" - Sheryl Dunn, participant of all three 5Ks
GMM Women’s Ministries Director Carmen Kasperbauer and the team of dedicated Women's Ministries leaders in the nine main islands of the Guam-Micronesia Mission promoted and organized events to bring the members together. Members joined in locally on Guam, from the islands of Saipan and Rota in the Northern Mariana Islands, on Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae in the Federated States of Micronesia, and on Ebeye and Majuro in the Marshall Islands.
Incentive prizes were offered for individuals who participated in any of the six events. Those people who were ambitious enough to complete all three 5K races were awarded an additional prize. But the real rewards are in the smiles seen in selfies and photos submitted by church members in the islands, and living according to God's plan for our health.
The Bible says in Mark 12:30 to live in order to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength".
The hope is that members continue this fitness movement going into 2022 with healthy hearts, minds, and bodies that glorify the Lord.