After a lot of prayer, studying, and discussion, we decided to focus on Micronesia and move to Pohnpei. Though we live in Pohnpei, the work spreads across Micronesia - encompassing All states in the FSM (main focus), Guam, Palau, and hopefully soon, the Marshals. We consider ourselves to be missionaries to all of Micronesia, not just FSM. We are continuing the work that was started by Roy and Kathy Jones in the 80's, then Scott and Rebecca Shanahan in the early 2000's.
The Federated States of Micronesia is located in the West Pacific Ocean and is made up of 4 states: Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, & Kosrae. It is part of the Caroline Islands, along with Palau. FSM consists of 607 small islands (65 inhabited) and extends 1,700 miles. The last complete FSM census was in 200, with a more current one underway, and at that point the population was 107,000: 153,500 in Chuuk and 34,500 in Pohnpei. 45% of the FSM population was below the age of 20, but there has been a mass exodus in the past few years, and we suspect the percentage of children is much higher now. Chuuk currently has 1 small congregation, Kosrae has none, Pohnpei has 1, and Yap is unknown. The congregations in Chuuk and Pohnpei have local men who can preach, but they and the other members of the church need a lot of education and training in studying deeper in the word and on holding Bible studies and effective evangelism. We still believe it is possible for the churches to become self-sufficient, but right now, they need a lot of training and guidance and studying to get deeper into the truth and get off of the milk of the Word.
The islanders are very communal people, so to reach out to them, we have to dive into the communities. They don't usually like to do much on their own, so one on one Bible studies will often turn into a group study. It's very easy to get islanders to sit and talk with us, but it takes a lot more to get them to change their ways, even when they know their ways are wrong. Breaking from their family's traditions and culture is the most difficult challenge.