An energetic group of youth left Guam to spend their Spring Break on Pohnpei during March 24-31, 2019. This dedicated group of Youth, accompanied by a Pastor and a medical missionary team, conducted evangelism, Vacation Bible School, and construction in FSM’s (Federated States of Micronesia) capital: Pohnpei. This beautiful island home provided a rich experience for these service-minded youth.
Conceived as an idea by Tina Heinrich, PA (Medical provider at the SDA Guam Clinic) this Mission Trip was not just about seeing patients and then sharing Christ in a separate setting. Tina wanted to connect the clinic patients with the local church so the patients would identify physical healing with a local church that could then provide Spiriual healing. Her inspiration for this idea stemmed from the AMEN (Adventist Medical Evangelism Network) Conference she attended in the Philippines.
The first step in planning the trip was scouting out the possible church and construction work sites for the youth. This occurred in November 2018. The plans started to come together and it was decided that the medical clinics would be held at the Kolonia SDA Church. A medical team then formed at the SDA Guam clinic in preparation to bless Pohnpei. Next, it was decided that the youth would work installing a much needed floor at the Palikir SDA Church Fellowship Room. In addition to this, the Youth would also conduct a nightly VBS (Vacation Bible School) program led Dr. Gabriel David (SDA Guam Clinic physician). To top it all off, the Guam Clinic Church’s Pastor, Mesikt Idechong, would preach a week long series at the evangelistic meetings (held next door to the VBS kids program) in the Kolonia Church, the same venue as the Clinic. What a dynamic role each one would play in working during the day and sharing Christ directly each evening.
As with every mission trip the question of how much money was needed arose. After calculations were made, the task of fundraising began. Faithful youth and parents joined forces for weekly car washes, lunch plate sales, a curry dinner night, and bake sales that accompanied the car washes. Sunday after Sunday the group tirelessly worked to earn money.
After 2 1/2 months about $10,000 was raised. Finally, week after week, the money needed was raised and what a reward it was for the group to know they had paid for their airfare, food and accomodations. Their dream would be reality!
Their preparations came to a close when they met to prepare the VBS materials and pray for the group. They each received a matching t-shirt which they proudly wore on the trip. Prayers continued as they prayed for success and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which brings eternal results.
The day finally came when they packed their bags and checked in at the airport. They boarded the United Jet with much anticipation and waved goodbye to their loved ones back in Guam.
The week started off with a grand welcome by the Pohnpei Youth, who greeted the Mission group at the airport and led them to the Kolonia church for a delicious spread of island food including fresh coconuts.
Then, preparations and set up began that very afternoon for the VBS and the evangelism meeting. Youth were found diligently practicing their music by voice, ukulele and/or guitar.
Each night the Evangelistic meetings were graced with our youth presenting song service or special music and opening prayer. Our medical team’s professionals took turns presenting health talks.
Pastor Mesikt Idechong delivered heart stirring messages that led listeners to make commitments nightly and some to decided to be baptized or rebaptized by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, in the fellowship hall, happy voices were heard in the Vacation Bible School. There, the Youth helped teach crafts, participate in science demonstrations, lead song service, and make new friends during the various activities
The next day as morning dawn appeared and rooster's calls beckoned to sleepy youth, the mission group arose to attend their first morning worship. The cinnamon oatmeal, toast and fresh bananas were a welcome smell and sight as hungry youth enjoyed breakfast. Our cooks (Dora and Gladys) were assisted by 2 Pohnpeian women each day as meals were prepared.
“It’s time to load the truck,” was the next order of business for the group. The youth dressed in long pants, tools belts, hard hats and ready hammers loaded into the flat bed truck. Dennis Tkalec was the group’s Construction Chief. Also, two more fathers on the team helped lead the youthful construction crew. As the truck drove off with the construction team,ready to face the day’s new challenge, the medical team set up their stations outside the church and in the fellowship hall so they could begin seeing patients. Grateful faces and cheerful spirits described the patients each day. The physicians and medical team prayed with their patients and gave practical advice about how to optimize their health or change their habits. Patients came away with burdens lifted and hope filled hearts.
When 4:30 p.m. rolled around, so did the construction crew as they made their way back on bumpy roads. Upon greeting the kids we saw their happy faces and mud-stained clothes as they piled out of the truck to take their showers before the evening programs and supper. With gratitude, the loving islanders, brought our team their best food almost nightly. The spread of local foods was nicely displayed on a long table just outside the church. During that time we got to know our fellow island believers and thanked them for their labor of love. Not long after we saw our faithful youth practice for their musical numbers before and after supper.
In the Fellowship Hall, VBS rang out with joyful and enthusiastic song service while happy children learned about Jesus night after night. The number of children who attended grew and friendships were made. A few feet away, the nightly health talks were given and powerful moving sermons were preached, graced with songs and prayers by youth from Guam and by the local Pohnpeians.
The climax of the week was blessed when the appeal was made on Friday night by Pastor Idechong to the congregation to come to the front if they wanted to surrender to Christ through baptism or rebaptism. Two young ladies stood for rebaptism. The call was echoed but even more powerful on Sabbath morning. Other souls stood for baptism. True joy was felt by all as we witnessed the rebaptisms after church in the outdoor baptistry. With voice's lifted and songs sung, we praised God for His everlasting love and recommitment that our sisters in Christ had made.
It was then that all the days and months of planning, fundraising, music practicing and final preparing paid off, showing eternal results. Praise God for He rewards our sacrifice for Him!