The year-end meetings for the Guam-Micronesia Mission are back to in-person! Flight schedules recently increased as travel restrictions continued to ease, which allowed members from each of GMM’s major islands to gather on Guam.
On December 5 and 6, the GMM Executive Committee convened at the Agana Heights SDA Church on Guam. It was a reunion of familiar faces – a welcome change after two years of virtual meetings and mask mandates due to the health emergency. What a beautiful sight to see members sitting side by side as they collaborated, visited, and simply shared a meal together!
All 18 pastors from the five districts of Palau, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands were present for the annual pastoral meetings on December 7 and 8. At the same time, due to the limited staff at many of our schools, half of the principals from GMM islands were able to come for the principal meetings.
From the stage of the church, the GMM executive officers – President Matthew Kirk, Executive Secretary Remenster Jano, and Treasurer Donald Lloyd, Jr. – welcomed EXCOM members. Elder Kirk’s devotional thought led attendees into a season of prayer before they addressed items on the agenda.
Among the items voted was the motion to recommend Paulo Tenorio to a pastoral position in GMM. Pastor Tenorio is currently serving as the Youth Director of the Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Reports for many of the departments were presented. EXCOM members and invitees approached the mic near the stage to ask questions and offer comments. It was a celebration of what God had accomplished this year as well as a time to share the vision for the work yet to be done.
The most notable item on the agenda was a special recognition for GMM Executive Secretary Jano as his retirement was announced. NAD Executive Secretary Kyoshin Ahn was present to break the news to those in attendance that "a fixture who served the church faithfully" will retire in June, marking 50 years in ministry. Calling it "a great loss as a friend and colleague", Elder Ahn also stated that the North American Division is actively seeking a replacement for the position.
With heartfelt emotion, Elder Jano praised God for extending his life so he could serve Him. In his response, he also thanked Leah, his wife of nearly 50 years, and their children, for always standing beside him.
The mission-wide gathering provided a rare opportunity for the pastors to participate in the ordination of four of their colleagues - Pastor Walter John of the Pohnpei SDA Churches, Pastor Pastor Manuel De Guzman of the Kosrae SDA Church, Pastor Rene Suhot of the Ebeye SDA Church, Selvin Intong of the Delap SDA Church (in Majuro).
On the evening of December 6, the ordination candidates, with many of their family members either present or watching online, shared in a meaningful program of responsive readings, musical selections by the Guam Adventist Academy, and recognition of the ministerial spouses and children.
The week concluded with the leaders of the churches and schools assembling into their respective groups to focus on their shared ministerial and educational goals.
One of the last inspiring images seen during the meetings was that of the GMM pastors inside the Agana Heights sanctuary. With hands joined to form a circle, they sang, “Side by side we stand, awaiting God’s command.”
As we worship the saving King and move on in faith, now that our leaders have returned to their islands, may we all look forward to meeting each other again – if not by next year-end, then in Heaven!
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:24-25)