THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST
Februarv 7, 2013
Micronesia Guam Mission
620 W Route 8
Barrigada GU 96913
Jameson Asher Hunter
Dear Elder Jameson,
We look forward to your arrival in the Micronesia Guam Mission! What a wonderful place to serve the Lord as a full-time missionary! We wish to share just a few details about the mission so that you can come better prepared.
We presently have established church units and missionaries on the following islands: Guam, [a territory of the United States] located in the western Pacific, (1500 miles south of Tokyo, Japan); Saipan, 125 miles North of Guam) in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands; the Republic of Palau, (830 miles Southwest of Guam); and the island states of Yap (540 miles Southwest of Guam), Chuuk (632 miles Southeast of Guam), Pohnpei (438 miles East of Chuuk), and Kosrae (340 miles East of Pohnpei), which form the Federated States of Micronesia [FSM]. Our mission covers a territory more than 1000 miles from North to South and 2300 miles East to West. The mission home and mission office are located in Guam.
The major proselyting and teaching language in Guam and Saipan is English. Missionaries who are assigned to the other islands must learn a language to become effective teachers. These languages include Palauan, Yapese, Chuukese, Pohnpeian, Woleaian, and Kosraean. These languages are not taught in the MTC. Although it is challenging to learn a language without an introduction to it in the MTC, with the Lord's help, our missionaries do it well. If you are assigned to such an area of the mission, as you put your trust in the Lord, you will be able to learn one of the languages. Because of the number of Filipinos on some islands, we generally have a few missionaries from the Philippines who do some teaching in Tagalog. Because of the travel expense and the language differences, a missionary may spend much or all of his or her mission on one island group.
There are strong Christian traditions on all of our islands. Catholicism is strong here, but there is a significant Protestant presence also. The people in Kosrae are almost exclusively Protestant.
Although flight schedules are somewhat limited, all of our major islands are serviced by United Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft. Travel to the outer islands in Chuuk is done by boat. Missionary work on the islands is done by car, on foot, or on bicycle. If you arc a licensed driver, we ask that you bring with you a current "Motor Vehicle Report" from your local department of motor vehicles. This will help us determine your eligibility to drive mission vehicles. If you have not done so, please complete and submit to the Church Travel Department all of the requested entry permits and police clearance papers. Some of our islands require these permits to enter for an extended stay.
We hope that you have obtained a copy of Preach My Gospel, and have been studying it carefully. Learn as much as you possibly can before and during your time in the MTC. Concentrate your study efforts, and do everything you can to understand the basic doctrines that must be taught to those investigating the Church,
You are coming to a mission where living conditions are not what you are used to at home. It is hot and humid in all areas of our mission. Rainfall on the islands can be from 150 to over 300 inches a year. In addition to what you were given in the missionary packet included with your call letter, we emphasize and clarify the following:
- Elders should bring white short-sleeved dress shirts (polyester-cotton blend) and conservative ties
(polyester is best).
- Bring a few more shirts than suggested, or plan to have new shirts sent to you at the end of your first year, as it is also difficult to keep shirts clean and white in some areas of the mission.
- Any good quality permanent press dress slacks work well in the islands.
- Shoes must hold up under wet and muddy conditions. Durable slip-on shoes may be best, as it is the custom in most areas to remove one’s shoes before entering a home. (Most elders wear Crocs, with socks)
- Because of the heat and humidity, suit coats are not required in this mission. They are, however, required during your stay in the MTC, and during your travel to and from the mission. To save money, we suggest that you not purchase a new, expensive suit. Your suit will be stored in the mission home on Guam during your mission so that you can wear it home when you return.
- Most of the missionaries feel that 100% cotton temple garments are too hot and stay wet too long. More popular are cotton-poly blends, although nylon mesh work well also.
It is the greatest of all privileges to invite others to come unto Christ. May God bless you for your decision to serve a mission, and we look forward to greeting you when you arrive in Guam.
With warmest regards,
Stephen F. Mecham President. Micronesia Guam Mission