Introduction / History Oral traditions and scientific evidence indicate Pohnpei to have been settled from areas to the east, south, and west. Archaeological evidence dates the earliest human activity at roughly the beginning of the Christian era. Of particular note is the megalithic site of Nan Madol, located just off the southeastern shore of Pohnpei. Archaeologists estimate that construction began sometime during the thirteenth century A.D. and continued for a period of approximately five centuries. Local histories speak of a line of rulers, the Saudeleurs, who attempted to dominate the island from Nan Madol. Following the fall of the Saudeleurs, there developed a more decentralized system of chieftainship. By the end of the nineteenth century, there were five chiefdoms coexisting with several smaller, autonomous regions that possessed a less stratified system of political organization. Intensified contact with the European-American world in the nineteenth century brought trade, Christianity and new diseases.
Where are they located? Most Pohnpeians (or Ponapeans) live on the island of Pohnpei which is part of the Federated States of Micronesia, though quite a few live on other Pacific Islands as well as in the United States and other countries. Pohnpei consists of one main island as well as five other inhabited coral atolls with their own distinct cultures. Pohnpei is one of four Micronesian island groups along with Yap, Chuuk and Kosrae.
What are their lives like? Pohnpeian life around the island has elements of Pohnpei's past as well as Western cultures' influence. Local governemt and political government are separate, yet intertwined. Each of the five municipalities has a Nan Mwarki (king) and Nahnken (speaking chief) as well as many other local title holders. Very important to their culture are feasts of variuos kinds. You can count on three things being present at these feasts: pwig (pigs), kehp (yams) and sakau en Pohnpei (kava). Political government for the Federated States of Micronesia operates out of Palikir and most Pohnpei State political governemt operates out of Kolonia. Many Pohnpeians are employed by the government and work in Kolonia. Fishing and agriculture are a large part of Pohnpeian life.
What are their beliefs? Most Pohnpeians would claim to be Christians. About half of the professing Christians are Catholc and half are Protestant. Spiritism is still sometimes practiced among non-Christians and even interwoven into many Christian groups.
What are their needs? Pohnpeians need revival in every area of life. Many Christians are nominal and have little evidence of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Many young people in Pohnpei are getting into trouble because of lack of things to do as well as the infiltration of Western culture. Youth focused ministry would be a great asset in Pohnpei.
Prayer Points * Pray for the leaders of the churches in Pohnpei - that God would use them to lead Pohnpeians into a personal, hand-holding relationship with Jesus Christ.
* Pray for the youth of Pohnpei - that God would raise up leaders and send missionaries to help them cultivate a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as well as create positive environments and activites for them.
* Pray that sound Biblical theology would be understood and taught in Pohnpei.