The vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean is scattered with many islands. Although these islands don't immediately catch your attention on a map, we should not overlook them simply because they have people living in them. :)
I think because of our media culture, we are more familiar with Polynesian islands like Samoa and Tahiti, but not so much with Micronesia. Unless, you are a diver, then you may have heard about the cool WWII wrecks in the Chuuk lagoon. So, it's great that you are reading this blog so you can at least have an idea of this side of the world of Oceania. :)
There are three main island groups in Oceania: Melanesia, Polynesia, and Micronesia. Guam is the largest island in the group Micronesia, and about an hour and a half south is Chuuk- one of the four island groups that make up the nation of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). And that's where I've been for a mission trip!
Every year, the church that I went with goes to Chuuk and we bring along a medical team and children's ministry team (like a Vacation Bible School program) from Bucheon, South Korea. And last year, we also had a construction team that helped put together a building for one the churches.
However, this year was slightly different. At the last minute, the Bucheon team changed their plans and became bound for China instead for their mission. At first, I felt a little panicked because the team from Bucheon prepare everything: activities for the children, prizes, school supplies, and medicine. "What are we gonna do without them?????" I thought. And that's when it struck me! A little voice in my heart telling me, "Where is your faith? Is your faith in the Bucheon team or in God?" Oh! Tests do reveal what is in the heart!
You never really know miracles until you are involved in mission, even for short-term. Well, this was the case for me, anyway. And I saw God at a different level- truths about Him that I've known before became more tangible and practical such as His faithfulness, His sovereignty, His provision, His grace, and how God does work out everything for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Hence, by the grace of God, we had health education seminars, pastors' seminars, and ministries for prayer, cooking (to feed the congregations), and the children.
Here are some photos that I would like to share with you about trip:
|The sunrise lighting up the sea and the islands.|
|The setting sun coming in to paint the sky and sea with its magnificent colors.|
|Boat rides were necessary to travel from island to island. Here I am with my|
sweet, lovely sister.
|The last church we went to, and here I am|
|On our last night, my sisters and I had a|
face-painting party! My older sister was our
|Hello, crab! Come up to play?|
|God's creation, breathtaking and at its best. His promises enduring|
throughout the entire event.
Chuuk is a beautiful place, where the ocean and the skies are forever meeting. But the people! I didn't really want to put pictures of them because I wanted to respect their privacy. But the people were so kind and accommodating. Although, we thought we were there to serve and teach them, they instead taught me how valuable it is to have a humble and teachable heart. And oh their voices! When they sing, I think even angels would stop and listen.
But although the natural beauty of Chuuk makes you imagine a paradise, please pray for these things for them:
- Rampant alcoholism in the islands especially for young adults*
- Suicide rates are the highest in FSM*
- Poverty and poor sanitation that entails sicknesses and infections
- The rise of drug use
- The rise of cult religions
- The need for long-term missionaries who will help in church growth
I still have so many thoughts about Chuuk, my experiences, and my hopes to go back next year. I was thoroughly blessed with passionate and dedicated team members whom, although came from different churches, united together to see God glorified in the islands. To end this blog post that has more text than photos (Hehe!), I would like to quote my friend who is just crazy talented in making impromptu speeches: "God's will was done in Chuuk, whether it was in feeding the people, the message, or painting nails." :)
"Praise be to His glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and amen." Psalm 72:19
*Hezel, Francis. "Alcohol and Drug Use in FSM." Micronesian Seminar. 1997. Web journal. http://www.micsem.org/pubs/articles/alcodrug/alcfsm/frames/alcfsmfr.htm.
All Scripture taken from the New International Version (NIV) from biblegateway.com.