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NAD Administrators Affirm Work and Assess Needs During Visit to the Guam-Micronesia Mission

Selfie of a man, prominent, with several children in the background

NAD Undersecretary Jorge A. Ramirez preaching for morning worship at Yap Seventh-day Adventist School. Photo: Jorge A. Ramirez

Beginning January 4, 2024, a North American Division (NAD) administrative team visited several islands within the Guam-Micronesia Mission (GMM) for two weeks. “We wanted to provide encouragement and do an assessment of needs and see how we could better support the work there,” said NAD president G. Alexander Bryant.

Oversight of Guam-Micronesia Mission, an administrative region of the Seventh-day Adventist Church comprised of islands in the western Pacific Ocean, shifted from the Southern Asian-Pacific Division to the NAD in 2011. This shift acknowledged that many of the region’s government regulations are U.S.-oriented, and a significant number of individuals employed in the region come from North America. Today, the region is home to roughly 5,855 Adventists.

NAD leaders visit the region for specific purposes, such as year-end executive committee meetings, school accreditation, or special events. And while it has been close to 10 years since the entire team visited, the division aims to have the leadership visit every five years.

This past January, NAD administrators split into three small groups to cover the islands where the Adventist church has a presence, including Majuro, Ebeye, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap, and Saipan. The groups then converged in Guam and Palau. Matthew Kirk, president of the Guam-Micronesia Mission, met them in Guam and accompanied them to Palau.

"I deeply appreciate the commitment of the NAD leadership to supporting the Guam-Micronesia Mission territory. The challenges are significant, and the Division's support is vital. A trip of this nature brings visibility to our needs as well as the stories we can celebrate of how God is doing miracles in 2024 to advance the message for our time," said Kirk.

Two men stand at the front of a room with a map on a screen, while others, seated, look on.

The NAD administration team had the chance to learn more about the Guam-Micronesia Mission (GMM) and its ministries from GMM leaders on a recent trip to the area. Photo: Jorge A. Ramirez

While on their GMM tour, they visited medical and dental clinics, schools, churches, the AWR Guam and JOY FM radio stations, and the mission headquarters in Guam. Much of their time was dedicated to fellowshipping with pastors, principals, teachers, church members, and missionaries, including sharing meals and hearing their stories. Finally, NAD leaders preached at local churches and schools, sharing messages of hope and wholeness.

Calvin Watkins, NAD vice president for evangelism, emphasized their desire “to show [the people of GMM] that no matter how far away they are from mainland America and the church headquarters, they are still part of the North American Division family.”

“It’s easy when you’re on an island, and there’s a limited population, small churches, to feel isolated,” added Rick Remmers, assistant to the president. Thus, NAD leaders wanted to “let [the Guam-Micronesia Mission] know they are not a forgotten part of the world church or the North American Division, and we care about the ministry they’re involved in.”

Visiting NAD administrators included Bryant, Kyoshin Ahn, executive secretary, Judy R. Glass, treasurer and CFO; Remmers; Jorge A. Ramirez, undersecretary; Carolyn Forrest, associate secretary and director of human relations; and vice presidents Adam Fenner (digital media), Watkins, and Ivan Williams Sr. (strategy and leadership).

Several people of different ethnicities on a boat smiling

NAD leaders were struck by the beauty of the region as they visited the different islands. Photo: Jorge A. Ramirez

NAD leaders shared that they were struck by the beauty of the islands and the warmth of the people, as well as the abject poverty in certain areas. They also found a hotbed of mission activity, particularly in the schools. For example, Guam Adventist Academy is renowned for providing a top-tier, Christian curriculum in English and offering students unique extracurricular activities such as a choir and handbell choir, which performs around Guam at Christmas on demand, and free golf, courtesy of the owner of the golf course across the street.

“I saw our schools being centers of influence,” said Watkins. “I’ve never been to a place where our schools are embraced like they’re embraced there.” Speaking to the primarily non-Adventist student population, he asserted, “[The schools] are the frontrunner of the gospel. Even the public school teachers put their kids in our school.”

Medical clinics also play a critical role in outreach. Saipan has a dental clinic staffed by dentists and dental hygienists. The comprehensive, reputable clinic in Guam offers on-site and mobile medical, dental, and optical services, including visiting smaller islands by boat. Forrest stated, “If you say Seventh-day Adventist, everybody knows the clinic.”

Another standout experience for NAD administrators was attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new, five-story administrative building on Palau’s elementary campus. The president of Palau, Surangel Whipps, a Seventh-day Adventist who chairs the Palau Mission Academy Board, and Palauan dignitaries attended this ceremony. Courtesy of Whipps, the NAD group could tour the capitol, including visiting his office.

A man is standing in front of a glass building, speaking, while others stand

NAD administrators attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new, five-story administrative building on Palau’s elementary campus. The president of Palau, Surangel Whipps, a Seventh-day Adventist (standing) and other Palauan dignitaries were present. Photo: GMM Facebook

Later the team visited the Palau Adventist Academy in the mountains. Whipps also took them to the home where, in 2003, three members of a missionary family were murdered, with the sole survivor being Melissa DePaiva Gibson, then age 10. Her survival story is the subject of the film Return to Palau.

Administrators expressed their admiration for GMM’s missionaries, who serve sacrificially. Watkins said, “The spirit of the missionaries renewed my faith in our young people and the importance of sending missionaries. I told them they are modern-day Pauls and Silases.”

Moreover, witnessing the needs of the islands first-hand made them more palpable. NAD administrators spent time in their small groups, then in the larger group, developing a list of needed resources and ways the NAD could assist. These included:

  • Providing schools with necessary supplies, such as computers, supplies, textbooks, playground equipment, and even riding lawnmowers or bicycles;
  • Helping to revitalize the student missionary program, which took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic and negatively impacted school staffing, as the schools are largely staffed by missionaries from NAD territory. Notably, in Yap, the scarcity of student missionaries led to the closure of the secondary school program; and
  • Assisting with human resources and funds to renovate or construct church and school buildings, many of which are run-down

Despite these challenges, Remmers noted, “Whether they have limited or more significant resources, [within the Guam-Micronesia Mission] are committed, trained workers who are serving well and making a difference.”

Black man, smiling with brown children

NAD president G. Alexander Bryant engaging with young students at the Adventist school in Ebeye. Photo: Desiree Bryant

Bryant concurred. “We were amazed and inspired with what God is doing [there] through the work of dedicated pastors, teachers, and student missionaries. The impact on the communities they serve and the lives they touch is simply incredible.”

“Yet they labor in such challenging circumstances,” he stated, adding, “We must find a way to provide greater assistance to them.”

Forrest spoke to the urgency of supporting this mission. “Time is winding down, and the Lord will return sooner than we think,” she said. “There are still so many people who do not know Jesus. And there are thousands and thousands and thousands of them in the Guam territory.”

How to Help

  1. The Guam-Micronesia Mission urgently needs missionaries. Click here for a description of each island and its entities, then search postings at or Click here to learn more about the clinics.
  2. Donate via their website, which details specific projects, or Adventist Giving. Per Watkins, “If you want to see your dollars have a positive effect, give to Guam. You’re not shooting an arrow up in the air. If you shoot an arrow up in Guam, it will hit a need.”
  3. Pray. You might not be called to be a missionary pastor, teacher, or doctor, but you can support those who are with your prayers.