Marshall Islands Majuro Mission
Mission Home Address:
, Majuro MH 96960
Marshall Islands Majuro Mission,
PO Box 3350
, Majuro MH 96960
MARSHALL ISLANDSThe Marshall Islands are a republic made up of two atoll chains in the South Pacific.
Majuro Elders William Wardel and Steven Cooper arrived in Majuro Feb. 3, 1977, and they baptized Misao Lokeijak, who had been introduced to the Church in Hawaii. By the end of 1977, there were 27 converts on the island. The Laura Branch (a small congregation) was created May 11, 1978, with Misao Lokeijak as president. By the end of 1979, there were 177 members. Church buildings for the Laura and Rita branches were started in September 1984 and dedicated Jan. 13 and 14, 1986, respectively. By 1987, Majuro had a district with five branches, and by 1990, Majuro had 1,100 members.
In May 1992, Brigham Young University and the Republic of Marshall Islands agreed to have BYU provide special training for government administrators and teachers.
Kwajalein/Ebeye The Kwajalein Island Branch in the Marshall Islands was organized in 1978, made up entirely of United States citizens serving in the military or as civil service personnel. Missionaries opened the island of Ebeye on May 16, 1989, and Elders Kepiloni Foliaki and Michael Steele baptized Mary Kekuhuna on June 11, 1989. Recently I heard from a missionary who served in 1977-79. Elder Tima spent a few months on Ebeye in 1978 with his companion before aiding the missionary effort on Majuro.
Arno and Mili Arno and Mili, located at the eastern end of Micronesia, some 2,200 miles west of Hawaii, are part of the 28-island Marshall group. In 1994, the Church had four branches in the Marshall Islands and three Church-owned buildings.
KIRIBATI (a.k.a. Gilbert Islands)
Made up of 36 Micronesian islands in the mid-Pacific where the equator and international dateline meet, Kiribati is a republic which became independent in 1979. The island's population speaks Gilbertese and English. About half of the population is Protestant and half Roman Catholic.
The Church was introduced to Kiribati when Waitea Abiuta, a school teacher and headmaster of a school, asked to have graduates from his school attend Liahona High School in Tonga. Fijian mission president Eb L. Davis visited Kiribati in September 1972 and approved 12 students to come to the Church school. Students were converted at the high school and they began serving as missionaries in Kiribati on Oct. 19, 1975.
Among those who joined the Church were Waitea Abiuta and several of the staff and students of the school. However, when opposition to the Church arose, enrollment at the school declined. In August 1976, Grant and Pat Howlett, Church educators at Liahona High, were called to teach at the Kiribati school. Through their efforts, enrollment increased and government relations improved. Later, the Church purchased the school, renamed it Moroni Community School, and other teachers arrived from Tonga as enrollment continued to increase.
In 1982, a new Church building was completed, and Buren Ratieta, Gilbertese branch (a small congregation) president, held services in February of that year. Among the 250 who attended the dedicatory services was the president of the Kiribati Republic, Ieremia T. Tabai. He said government leaders at first feared the Church would divide the people, but when he saw the great social contribution the Church made, he became happy to cooperate with the Church. Since that time, missionary work has expanded to more distant islands in Kiribati.
In the fall of 1993, a group of first-time basketball players from Moroni High School, the age of United States high school sophomores and juniors, won the championship of Kiribati in their division. They also defeated the 20-30-year-olds division champions. In 1994, Teatao Teanaki, president of the Republic, was the main speaker at the graduation ceremony at Moroni High School.
On Aug. 11, 1996, Elder L. Tom Perry created the Tarawa Kiribati Stake (diocese), the first stake in the country.