Photo Source: Christian Jung
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The Mokilese people originated in the Mokil Atoll, a part of the Caroline Islands. These islands are found within the Federated States of Micronesia. Because of their location, hunting and fishing were staples of Mokilese culture. Mokilese, the traditional language of the Mokil Atoll, is endangered. A small number of these speakers are located in the United States. Much of the language is spoken solely within the home, with little to no fluency among younger generations.
In 1986, the Compact of Free Association granted residents of the Federal States of Micronesia rights to permanently dwell in the U.S. Since then, a number of Micronesians have immigrated to the United States. Motives for migration are primarily for education and economic opportunity.
The Mokilese culture is often overlooked. This is due to its diminishing preservation and history of colonization. However, the Mokilese preserve aspects of their heritage through folklore. Myths are passed down from parent to child, with a strong folktale influence. Another notable aspect of Mokilese culture is the sharing of meals. For this people group, sharing food is the confirmation of relationship.
Because the culture is rapidly being absorbed into surrounding influences, the daily lives of the Mokilese are difficult to distinguish from other Micronesian immigrants. Part of the “hidden minority,” Mokilese face a variety of cultural barriers upon entering the states. Economic need can also be a difficulty due to their unique situation under the Compact of Free Association. Many Micronesians are hired for entry-level jobs or serve in the U.S. military.
Today, the majority of Mokilese are Roman Catholic. Before European colonization, Micronesia lacked a unified religious influence. This variety of ethnic beliefs is reflected in Mokilese myth and folktale. Overarching themes of these traditional stories include a spirit realm, magic, supernatural power, polytheistic deities and divination.
Adaptation to a completely new culture is challenging; even conceptions of time can be cultural barriers. Cultural clashes can be a significant hurdle for immigrants seeking better opportunities within the United States.
Pray for active discipleship among the Mokilese.
Ask the Lord to call workers to his harvest who can share the gospel in a culturally relevant way.
Additionally, pray for Mokilese believers to grow in their faith, even taking the gospel to unreached peoples in Micronesia.
Pray for protection against false teachings which turn their faith away from Jesus Christ.