Uniting Across the Pacific
Ever since the North American Division (NAD) was given the Guam-Micronesia Mission (GMM) the NAD Education Department has been discussing ways that we in the United States can help our sister schools and churches located in GMM. The idea that each Union in the NAD could be paired with one school in GMM was approved, and the Southwestern Union has been paired up with the island of Pohnpei, one of the Federated States of Micronesia.
Pohnpei is an island with a population of roughly 37,000 on its 129 square miles. It has three churches and one school, Pohnpei Seventh-day Adventist School. The school has an enrollment of 335 students and is staffed by 28 employees, 15 of which are student missionaries. The student missionaries are all classroom teachers and every year the school needs to find new student missionaries to replace the ones that are leaving and going back to college. The three churches share one pastor.
This past February, I travelled to Pohnpei with representatives of the Southwestern Union, including Carol Campbell and Bo Just, to do a needs assessment so that we in the Union can help our sister school and churches in Pohnpei. We visited the school and the staff, as well as the pastor. They shared with us a list of things that they need to help their programs run more efficiently.
Superintendent of Schools for GMM Leonard Quaile, says that one of the biggest ways to help is just to ensure members are aware that missions still exist and that we should support mission work across the world.
Nearly all the supplies and equipment on the island must be shipped to that part of the world, making many items very costly. However, not everything they need or could use are things. If any church or school wants to go on a short-term mission trip, the Pohnpei school needs services such as putting a roof on one of the churches, painting at the school, workshops or clinics on health, evangelistic series, children’s ministries and more.
Soon, we will share a list of supplies, equipment and furniture that is needed. Currently there is only one projector at the school and the desks that students use have been repaired and painted more than once. Some of the student missionaries need different types of furniture in their school-owned apartments. They also need books that the students can read for class and enrichment.
The Southwestern Union envisions meeting the needs of the school by filling a shipping container with various items and goods. We would also like to involve students at our schools, Pathfinder clubs, youth groups, men’s and women’s ministries and any member who would like to help. Once items are collected, they need to be transported to the Southwestern Union Office and stored in the shipping container. We need to avoid sending anything that is in poor condition or wouldn’t serve a purpose.
This is an ongoing project and we will share additional information soon. We believe that both givers and receivers are blessed when they help other people. Prepare to be blessed and start planning on how you can help your mission field in Pohnpei.
By Mike Furr, Southwestern Union Director of Secondary Education