News Release

Even I Can Change!

A testimony about a man who has learned the importance of staying on the covenant path and the blessings that follow.

Simram 2024
Simram 2024
Francisco and Tasi Simram© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Francisco Simram is from the island of Pohnpei located in the Federated States of Micronesia.  He grew up in the Sokehs village of Pohnpei.  (His father was from Sokehs and his mother was from the island of Kapingamarangi.)  When he was younger, his father was a medic/registered nurse.  His father once saw missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the hospital when he was delivering patients there. He visited with them, and they began coming to the hospital to teach him about the gospel.   His father was baptized into the Church but never told his family about it.  The missionaries never came to their home to meet him.  It was always at the hospital.  His Dad was one of the original members of Pohnpei.  When he felt like the time was right, he sent the missionaries to teach his family.  Francisco was in high school at this time. He and his brothers moved away from home to attend high school in another village. It was at this time that his father sent the missionaries to them.  He had grown up in the Protestant church where his dad was very active in that church.  He was young and not really interested in what the missionaries were teaching until the missionaries started talking about how people can change and make it into heaven.  He thought to himself: “Even me? You mean even I can change and still go to heaven?” At that time, he was not making the best choices in his life.  He assumed that because of those choices, he would not be able to change and go to heaven.  The thought of him being able to change for the better really touched his heart.  From then on, he looked forward to the missionary lessons.  He made sure he was always home when they came.  Unbeknownst to him, the missionaries were sent to teach his mother and other siblings living at home in Sokehs.  They all finished taking the lessons about the same time and were all baptized together!  His father, who he found out then was a member already, baptized him.  The family started attending church together. 

After graduation, he decided that he wanted to go on a mission.  On the missionary application, there was a place that asked where you wanted to serve.  He wrote down: Pohnpei or Chuuk.  He had family in both places and wanted to be able to share the gospel with them.  A senior missionary couple in Pohnpei brought him his mission call. He asked them to open it for him.  They insisted that he take it home and open the envelope with his family.  He refused and ended up opening the envelope right then.  As he read his letter, he came to the part where it said where he was being called to serve.  It said that he had been called to serve in the Salt Lake City Utah South mission!  He shook his head and said: “No! I’m not going!”  The senior couple asked him why and he said: “Because I specifically wrote down Pohnpei and Chuuk!  I don’t know where Utah is!  I can’t go there!  I don’t have family there and I don’t know anyone there!”  He put his mission call letter on a small table by the lamp and turned it over.  He didn’t want to read it any more or even see it.  He left his hut with it turned over.  When he returned, it was turned over so he could read it.  He thought that was strange and turned it face down again.  This continued for a while.  Soon, all he remembers seeing was the signature at the bottom of the letter.  It was President Spencer W. Kimball’s signature, the prophet of the Lord.  He would stare at the signature and shake his head saying: “No!” Then he would turn the paper face down again.  He didn’t want to see it.  By now it was one month before he was supposed to leave for his mission. He kept telling the missionary couple that he didn’t want to go.  He told them what was happening with the mission letter; he’d leave with it face down only to return and find it face up.  He remembered that the letter seemed to be blurred out except for the signature.  He could tell by the signature that it was an old man’s writing because it was a shaky signature.  Looking at it one more time he finally said: “If this prophet really is a prophet, and he’s an old man, and in my testimony, I say that I believe that President Spencer W. Kimball is a true prophet, he must really want me to go!” By now his departure date was one week away.  Feeling the Spirit press upon him, he decided to go and serve his mission in Salt Lake City Utah.  He became the first missionary to serve outside of Pohnpei. 

The senior couple helped him to get ready quickly.  They gave him several white shirts and ties.  They put him on the plane and sent him on his way.  He had never traveled before.  All he could think of when he flew to Hawaii was that he had flown over the ocean, and it was all right.  Then he flew to Los Angeles California! Fortunately, he was able to make his connecting flight to Utah. His flight was at night and as he flew over Salt Lake, all he could see was a lot of lights.  He thought to himself: “Man, that’s a lot of ships down there!”  As the plane started to land, he thought that they were going to land on one of those ships!  As he walked off the plane, he became a little nervous as he thought: “Okay, what am I going to do?  I don’t know anyone here!”  The couple missionaries in Pohnpei had written Elder Durham, who was the missionary that baptized Brother Simram.  As he walked out of the terminal, he heard a familiar sound: “Kaselehlie Sisco! (which was a nickname). He said: “What a relief it was to hear that!”  He felt more at ease as he embraced Elder Durham, his special missionary friend. Elder Durham helped load up his luggage and drove him to the MTC (mission training center). Francisco served a faithful mission for twenty-six months.  At that time, the young men were called to serve for eighteen months with the option to extend to twenty-four months.  He extended twenty-four months and then asked his mission president if he could extend two more.  He had applied to go to BYU-Hawaii and got accepted.  His mission would end in May, but school started in July.  He didn’t have the financial means to return once he went back to Pohnpei.  His mission president allowed him to extend a second time making it possible to attend college.  He said: “By serving the Lord for over two years, I was blessed with the opportunity to get his education.” 

While attending BYU-H, he met a beautiful woman named Tasi from Kiribati.  She eventually became his eternal companion. They now have four wonderful children together.  He learned a lot on his mission such as how to communicate better with others and improving his English.  This helped him in his schooling and getting a job.  He began working at American Airlines and joined the Army National Guard.  Being in the military helped him finish his education. While attending BYU-Hawaii and serving in the military, he and his wife had a lot of opportunities to invite many others in the military to come to church with them.  Some of them met the missionaries at church and began taking the lessons.  Several of them were baptized into the Church because of the Simram’s good examples and friendship. 

 After eight years in Hawaii, he had a strong impression that he needed to return to Pohnpei.  He listened, followed the prompting of the Spirit and he and his family moved to Pohnpei.  At that time, he did not have a job, or a place to live, but he trusted the Lord.  He found a job in the electronic field.  From there, he went into teaching special education, and then became a counselor at the College of Micronesia.  He worked as a counselor there for twenty years before running for the office of state senate.   

He is currently a bishop in the Panasang Ward.  He finds joy in helping and serving in the Church.  He felt like it was time to expand his service by helping people in his community and the state of Pohnpei.  His love of serving others led him to run for the office of state senator.  As he learned more about what laws were being made in the legislature, he felt like being a senator would be a good way to help people. He wanted to be a good example and also represent the Church on a government level. There was a time in Pohnpei were there was a lot of animosity toward the people of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Because of the many donations that the Church has made over the years to the hospital, schools, and other organizations, people are seeing that the Church is good.  It is a Church that has good people wanting to help others just like Jesus.  Bishop Simram won the election and is now serving his first four-year term as a state senator. 

Bishop Simram shared his testimony saying: “Without the Church in my life, I don’t know where I’d be today.  I have learned the importance of relying on the Lord and staying focused on Him.  There are so many things happening in the world today that’s hard to understand sometimes.  There are many temptations to overcome.  I know that if you stick to the Church and the commandments, you don’t have to worry.  If you’re right in the Church, you don’t need to worry about those other things.  Everything that is Right, is Always Right!  Stay on the covenant path and You Will Always Be Right!  That has served me a lot because I don’t make my decisions on my own.  The Spirit is always guiding me. I am not perfect.  I make mistakes.  I base my decisions on what the Spirit is telling me.  I know that by following the Spirit, the path I take is always right.  I would like to tell others to just be themselves and follow the covenant path.  It is the right path, and you will never go wrong.”

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