Near the north point on the island of Guam is Andersen Air Force Base (AAFB). Along the south-west coast is Navy Base Guam. These military bases are home for many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These active-duty military members often spend many weeks or months deployed and away from home. Church meetings are available for these members within the community. Church membership records follow well, if requested by the members, but it can still be a challenge for a ward or branch to keep track of these transient and temporary-duty-stationed members.
The Church understands these unique situations, so to support these families and young singles, military relations senior missionary couples are called to serve near Military bases to help support these families. Elders Quorum and Relief Society presidents of each unit in the stake serve as primary points of contact for members who need attention. They ask these couple missionaries to locate some of their members. Some turn out to be difficult to locate while others lack the interest to return to church.
During their temporary six-month stay in Guam waiting for the borders to open, one senior missionary couple, Elder and Sister Richards, had the opportunity to support these military families as well as encouraging military relations. Time was spent volunteering with the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society on the Navy base as well as the USO’s. After building some relationships with members on the bases, they began having family home evenings with the singles and some geographic bachelors that are on the base temporarily., “We just get lucky at finding people by attending the different branches and wards,” said Elder Richards.
AAFB partners with “Operation Christmas Drop” each year. Elder and Sister Richards were extremely beneficial in being a bridge of communication between the base and the Church’s Micronesia Guam Mission. Because of their relationship with the military base, the Micronesia Guam Humanitarian Department was able to give a sizeable donation. They paved the way for other missionary couples and young missionaries to participate in this unique event of pushing out parachuted pallets of donations from a C-130 aircraft delivering them to remote islands in the pacific.
The Micronesia Guam Mission benefited greatly with a senior missionary couple called to serve in military relations. Military bases all over the world are blessed by the efforts of military relation missionaries. This couple have since transitioned on to their original call in Japan. Grateful for volunteers willing to serve and help the Lord’s work move forward by supporting military members, the Micronesia Guam Mission looks forward to another senior missionary couple called to serve the military bases here in Guam.