Pohnpeian Miracle in Birmingham – Ward Mission Leader Write-Up

“This group is a miracle. In the summer of 2015, Dallin Lyman, who had recently returned from serving a mission in the Micronesia Guam Mission worked during the summer in Birmingham Alabama. Brother Lyman learned of people he had worked with in Pohnpei who were living in the Birmingham area. He started bringing them to church and two Pohnpeians were baptized as a result. Gradually over the course of the next year the knowledge of many Pohnpeians living in Birmingham emerged – some of whom were members. A 17-year-old young man recently arrived with membership records of three additional people that had moved to Birmingham from Pohnpei. As the missionaries continued to work with the Pohnpeians it became apparent that there were a large number of them living in the area and that there was a tremendous need for them to be able to worship in their own language. The idea of this meeting was conceived by the missionaries after a visit on March 31st with a part member family and after feeling of their desire to worship with their fellow people. The missionaries called Brother Lyman seeking guidance on how to help the Pohnpeians. The idea of a Pohnpeian Group was conceived and Brother Lyman changed his summer work plans and his fiancé agreed to cut their honeymoon short to come to Birmingham straight from their wedding in Utah. The missionaries began working with local priesthood leaders to obtain approval to have this group meeting. The same part member family agreed to hold the first Pohnpeian sacrament meeting in their home. This went from conception to an actual sacrament meeting in a total of seventeen days. The group first met April 17th and thirteen Pohnpeians were present with four missionaries and a local member. There was a feeling of excitement, happiness and reverence in the small living room where the emblems of the Sacrament were blessed and passed. Pictures of the group were taken and shared on Facebook and word quickly spread about this Pohnpeian Group meeting in Birmingham, Alabama. The group quickly became the talk of the members and missionaries of the church on the island of Pohnpei. The second Sacrament Meeting was attended by twenty-two Pohnpeians with four missionaries and a local member in the home of a Catholic sister who had a larger space in her basement to accommodate the larger group. Once again the spirit was strong and the Pohnpeians were very happy to be meeting together. Once again pictures were shared on Facebook and the excitement continued. During the off week one of the missionaries went on exchanges to Oxford, Alabama equipped with phone numbers of Pohnpeians living in that area. Unfortunately, none of the calls were returned. However, the Lord still had a plan. The missionaries stopped at a local drug store and the elder looked at the back of a woman’s head and the spirit whispered, “Pohnpeian” in his ear. Not trusting in the spirit, the elder approached the woman and asked her if she spoke Spanish and she said no. He then asked her where she was from and she replied, “The South Pacific.” To which he said, “Pohnpei?” and she looked back at him incredulously. Brother Lyman has been in regular contact with the missionaries and has made arrangements with the Micronesia Guam Mission to send language training materials. He plans to assist the missionaries in learning the language. The third Sacrament Meeting was attended by twenty-three Pohnpeian members in the same basement along with four missionaries and three local members, which filled the basement. This was a testimony meeting and three Pohnpeians (Makalii, Domenica, and Alex) bore their testimonies along with a few missionaries and a local member. A baptismal service is scheduled for May 21st for all Pohnpeians who are prepared and ready to enter the waters of baptism. Approximately eight Pohnpeians are working with the missionaries presently to be ready for this service. Two additional missionaries have been assigned to the Birmingham Ward to work specifically with the Pohnpeian group and will be living in Tarrant where the Pohnpeian Group meets.”

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