“Church under a Canopy,” New Era, June 2018
Guam is a small island where the Pacific Ocean meets the Philippine Sea. It is a U.S. Territory and my home. It’s also home to hundreds of remarkable members of the Church.
When my family moved here in August 2016 as part of the U.S. military, we were overwhelmed with new weather and a new culture, but we also met wonderful people and began to experience the strong presence of the gospel here.
After we adjusted to our new ward for a few weeks, our bishop invited us to attend the Talofofo Group, located in the village of Talofofo, several miles away from the chapel. Here a group of faithful saints met outside under a canopy each Sunday.
There were many challenges when meeting outside: the heat, dogs, rain, mud, mosquitos, ants, chickens, and so on. Regardless of these challenges, I have never felt the Spirit so strongly before. It reminds me of how the Saints in the time of Joseph Smith met outdoors in open weather, lacking necessities, with many distractions.
I love the scripture 2 Nephi 29:7. It testifies that Jesus Christ “created all men” and that He remembers those “who are upon the isles of the sea.” To me, this says that His kingdom is everywhere, even down to the smallest island, and that God will bless our efforts in establishing His kingdom. I know that He is looking out for me, and will help me wherever I am.
Throughout my time here and around the local Chamorros (indigenous people of Guam), I have learned that everyone has worth and that our Heavenly Father loves us equally. I come each Sunday to feel the Spirit, learn gospel principles, and make friends in the Talofofo Group. We are able to find peace, strength, and guidance in the time we spend together.
The Saints in the group feel like family, and I love each one of them as my brothers and sisters.