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Guam - Slideshow

A slideshow of worship in Guam and Micronesia.

Slideshow

Guam is the largest island of the Marianas Archipelago located 6,000 kilometers west of Hawaii. Guam is a self-governing, unincorporated territory of the USA since 1898, which makes Guamanians US citizens. One third of the island is used for US military bases. Nearly 45% of the Guamanians are employed by the government or military. This often leads to cultural disorientation with the influx of US culture.

Guam is known for its diversity represented in the wide range of people groups that live on the island. This includes Micronesians 43% (mostly Chamorro), Asians 29% (mostly Filipino), Caucasians 17% (mostly US Mainland), and other immigrant ethnic groups 11%. The official languages Guam are English and Chamorro, with an impressive literacy rate of 96%.

Guam is also known for its religiosity with Christians forming more than 95% of the total population. The majority of Christians there are Roman Catholics accounting for 77%, Protestants for 12%, and the rest belong to other denominations and religious groups.

Most Protestant congregations are multi-cultural. Immigrant communities have responded well to the gospel. There are four thriving Korean Presbyterian congregations, one Chinese, and also churches in each of the Micronesian immigrant ethnic groups. The Micronesians with their protected and nominal Christian background have found adaptation difficult, and need prayer for spiritual renewal and social assimilation. Pray for harvest among indigenous and immigrant peoples.

The major thrust of missions has moved from military ministries to the indigenous and migrant peoples in church planting, Bible teaching and development. There are two Bible colleges, ministries to young people and to children, as well as a fast developing prison ministry which is reaching the indigenous population in a significant way. Pray for resources to develop all of these ministries. Pray also for a spirit of cooperative unity among the different evangelical churches, missions, and other para-church organizations working in Guam.

The Federated States of Micronesia (Yap, Chuuk, Pohnnpei, and Kosrae). Due to its strategic location, Micronesia presented a tempting target for various powers for centuries. It was ruled by Spain (1710-1897), then Germany (1897-1914), and then Japan (1914-1945) before the USA took over the administration as a UN Trust Territory.

In all four states there is, theoretically, freedom of religion, but some islands show hostility to variant newer denominations and religions. Furthermore, nominalism is widespread as a reaction to historic bitterness from the time of the Spanish rule, where all islanders were forcibly Catholicized. All this makes for a challenging context for missions and church leadership development. Please pray for a spirit of tolerance and revival of the faith of the Micronesians.

Pray also for Bible translation and distribution. The lack of Scriptures in two of the majority languages (Carolinian, Kapingamarani) and 15 other minority languages, the lack of the Old Testament in all but the Chuuk language, and the limited reading of the Bible and misunderstanding of its content hold back the spiritual development of the largely Christian population, and lay them open for Western cults. Pray for the Scriptures to dynamically impact the population.

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