Want to meet the president of a nation? One plausible way to do so is to enroll in a Discipleship Training School and join an outreach to the Marshall Islands. That nation’s president, Christopher Loeak, was anxious to meet a group of 10 young short-term missionaries this month when he discovered that they were sent there by a YWAM discipleship school.
Allie Martin, of Wyoming, was a student on the team, which was part of the Engage Discipleship Training School in Kona, Hawaii. She said the meeting with President Loeak was unexpectedly requested while the team was in Majuro resting and recapping the outreach.
“During our debrief time, we got a call in our hotel room. It was the president’s daughter and she said ‘Can we meet with you tomorrow morning at 11? We would really like to talk to you guys and see what you’ve been doing on the island and welcome you.’ Then we got dressed up and ready and met him” the next day, Martin, 19, said.
Lisa Salvesen, who co-led the team, said the president is a staunch supporter of YWAM’s activities in the Pacific.
“He loves YWAM and he just really showed his appreciation and he was interested in what we were doing and what (YWAM) Ships had been doing,” said Salvesen, 21, of Norway. “He knew a lot about what had been going on with Ships.”
Salvesen said Loeak was well aware of the ministry initiatives of YWAM Ships.
“He knew about everything going on with Ships,” Salvesen said. “He was really showing appreciation that YWAM and especially YWAM Ships, took the time to come and help out and show that we care about this place and that they are not forgotten.”
Victoria Ellis, a student from California, said the team had been hoping to meet Loeak, but was taken by surprise by his invitation.
“It just happened out of nowhere,” Ellis, 22, said. “We had been praying that we would meet him before we left and someone called us and said ‘Hey, do you want to meet him tomorrow morning?’ We were like ‘Yeah, we do!’”
Martin said the president would like to have participated in ministry with the team.
“He was really glad that we were working with churches and building relationships and serving.”
Salvesen said the president’s warm welcome was just one example of the kindness her team received from the Marshallese people.
“I really want to brag about the people on the Marshall Islands. They are incredible. They are so loving and so humble and so welcoming and I’ve never experienced that kind of hospitality before in my life,” Salvesen said. “The way they took us in and the way they loved us, it felt like family. Every girl on the team had a family that adopted them. It showed how much they were committed to us too.”
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