News Release

Guam Opens Her Arms

New Taiwan Mission President and Companion Arrive on Guam

President Karl J. Fields and Melanie A. Fields
President Karl J. Fields and Melanie A. Fields
Taiwan Taichung Mission President and Companion© 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Hafa Adai! Guam opens her arms to welcome President Karl J. Fields and Companion Melanie A. Fields.

Parents of four children, home was Gig Harbor, Washington in the Purdy Branch of the Gig Harbor Washington Stake before coming to Guam.

President Fields was born in Gooding, Idaho to Wesley David Fields and Doris Fields. As a young missionary President Fields served in the Taiwan Taipei Mission in northern Taiwan. He recalls how when he was released from his mission his president told him “Once a Taiwan missionary always a Taiwan missionary.” He served as branch president, former stake president, bishop, elders quorum president and seminary teacher.

Sister Fields was born in San Jose, California to Paul Kent Merrill and Rae Ann Merrill. She has served as branch Relief Society president and former Stake temple and Family History consultant, ward Primary president, Relief Society compassionate service coordinator, Primary teacher and Seminary teacher.

Mission presidents and their companions typically serve for three consecutive years. They supervise and train young missionaries. They will work with several hundred missionaries during their three years of service. The supervising couples oversee the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of these missionaries. They also instruct them regarding how to effectively teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In January President Fields was called to be the Taiwan Taichung Mission President. He began his mission presidency in July of this year. He tells of how he got a call from Elder Gerrit W. Gong asking for a visit. It was not disclosed why he wanted to chat with them only that they may or may not hear back. Later Elder Dallin H. Oaks called them in for an interview. This is when they knew something was up. When he called them to the Taiwan Taichung Mission, the Fields said they were not too surprised. They knew they eventually would be involved with a calling which would involve the Mandarin Chinese language but had not expected being called as mission president.

Their travel arrangements to Taiwan were set in June. No sooner had they been set apart and their flight tickets purchased when Taiwan closed its border. What to do! Two of their daughters were living together and offered to come stay with them. The Fields joined them in their townhome "working at their kitchen table, keeping crazy hours and staying up late" they recall. Then the church got them set up in their own apartment. Knowing the benefit of working within the same time zone, within two weeks the church transitioned them to Guam, making a fifteen-hour time difference only a two-hour difference with Taiwan, making it much easier for them to fulfill their calling. Sister Fields tells how “It was a dream to come to Guam as it opened up so many hours of the day."

Eighty missionaries are under their supervision as well as two senior missionary couples. The Fields expressed how “the senior couples do everything that needs to be done in the office along with the knowledge of what is going on. They are such tremendous help to us.”  Pres. Fields comments that missions don’t always have sufficient senior missionaries. “We could not be functioning now if we did not have those two senior couples. They are highly competent, supportive and the young missionaries love them.” President Fields continues. He could not express enough how important it is that missions have senior missionaries.

President Fields's biggest challenge is the lack of intimacy, that personal touch of not being able to be there in person. “It’s selfish on my part how I feel unable to give them priesthood blessings or look them in the eye. It just doesn’t make it on a computer screen.” Sister Fields expresses the same challenges in addition to not knowing the language.

In President Fields final comments, he states that “We have been told in our training we would feel the spirit in more profound ways and more frequently than we ever have before.” He reinforces how his mentor told how "this is not your mission and it’s not the missionaries' mission, it’s the Saviors mission and He will make sure that things are managed in the way that they need to be. I have the confidence the Lord will get done what he needs to get done and will step in when needed.” He tells how he has felt inspiration in the past but with this calling he expresses how “Inspiration more easily flows, and heaven is closer.”

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