Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Misinformed is Costly.

Written by: on March 26, 2023

“Why We’re Wrong About Nearly Everything: A Theory of Human Misunderstanding,” by Bobby Duffy, reminded us how much we needed to look to each other for guidance and at the same time to be vigilant about seeking what matter most. And not only that but the truth may never be the common knowledge or what the public opinion is [1].

In probably all of the Pacific Islands’ cultures, traditions, values and history were handed down to generations through storytelling. I know for sure in Micronesian Islands, that is where I was raised, this is how we learned our history, our traditions and our values. When we were growing up, we listen as our grandmothers tell stories that taught us to love and to protect our families. As we become teenagers, we the young men gathered around the elders and listened as they impart on us pointers on fishing and farming. In the earlier days, the elders also taught the younger men the art of navigation by using the stars at night and the waves by day. They taught them about each of the essential stars and their locations with respect to our Islands, so we could know our bearing. Not only that but the waves and the current as well with respect to their location around our islands. This practice of handing down cultural values through seemed to disappear as our interests shifted to outside cultures.

It was in the 1980s that the border of the United States of America is opened to the Micronesian citizens. There was an agreement between the United States of America and the Federated States of Micronesia that is called, “the Compact of Free Association [2.],” which allows the Micronesian citizens the privilege of coming to the U.S. to reside, to work, and to enroll in U.S. schools. In exchange for this, the United States Military is given the authority and responsibility in the security and defense relations, which is in the section three of this agreement, the Compact of Free Association.

As the migration of the Micronesian citizens started until today, there are probably several thousands of them living within the jurisdictions and border of the United States of America. This dispersion of Micronesian citizens increased as they came to seek “better lives” to finding better jobs, better healthcare, and better schools for themselves and their children. They scattered from U.S. Territories of the Marianas Islands to the State of Hawaii and now to the rest of the states in the mainland U.S.

And today, these people of the Micronesia are facing challenges and issues as they tried to assimilate into or fit into this new culture and learn the practices that is acceptable to be able to become part of these communities that they are now residing within. As the come into these new cultures, they brought their culture from their Islands with them as well. The greatest among their challenges now how they can make it into one, their native culture and the new culture that they are now become part of it.

So these days, one of the other issues that they are currently facing is managing this information that they are bombarded with every day, or shall I say every minute through the media, or just everywhere you look. Almost every minute, we receive ad or news on cell phones. They are either text to us or send to us to our email, sometimes, we even get calls. This new culture is so saturated with information unlike their previous culture in which the only information given are the ones that are necessary for basic living. For example, during the beginning of the COVID-19, there are many Micronesians that refused to take the vaccination because they read and heard from the media that the vaccination is from the anti-christ. The said that the media said it is the mark of the beast [2.].

The last time I ask my mother to get the vaccination, she replied, “I would rather die and be with Jesus, than take the vaccination, and live, and be with the anti-christ.” She was a devoted Christian. She passed on to be with the Lord one week before her 76th birthday. This is one of the challenges, the leaders of our Micronesian community are faced with. How do we educated our people that not all the information that are given are accurate. Moreover, how do we filter the information so we only accept those that are necessary as guidance for daily living and to filter out those that would lead us down the wrong path.



[1.] Duffy, Bobby. “Why We’re Wrong About Nearly Everything: A Theory of Human Misunderstanding,”

[2.] The Compact of Free Association between the United Stats and the Federated States of Micronesia. https://www.doi.gov/oia/compacts-of-free-association.

[3.] Some say COVID-19 vaccine is the ‘mark of the beast.’ Is there a connection to the Bible? https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/09/26/covid-vaccine-mark-beast-what-book-revelation-says/8255268002/

About the Author

Noel Liemam

14 responses to “Misinformed is Costly.”

  1. Jenny Dooley says:

    Noel, Thank you for sharing your story and experiences. I am so sorry to hear of the death of your mother. So much of what you wrote saddens my heart, especially the impact of the overwhelming amounts of information and misinformation that Micronesians must manage as they establish themselves in this country. The culture of Micronesia is so beautiful and your tradition of story-telling and teaching passed down through the generations seems to connect your people together in meaningful ways. I hope those traditions continue. You wrote about the integration of both cultures, “The greatest among their challenges now how they can make it into one, their native culture and the new culture that they are now become part of it.” How do you keep your culture and stories alive personally? What advice do you give to new immigrants coming to the US?

    • Noel Liemam says:

      Thank you, Ms. Dooley, for your comments. You are right about the challenges that we, the Micronesians are facing as we migrate into this country. United States is so huge and rich in cultural diversification, unlike Micronesia which is so small with basic ways of life. That is the reason why our people are so gullible. Whatever information they come across; they take as gospel.

      The advice that we shared with each other is that “pick the good part of both cultures and keep it as a new culture that will be beneficial for living in the U.S.” For example, the 40hrs work week is a foreign culture to the Micronesian. In the Islands, the workday or work week consist of going to the farm (a “taro patch” in the Island) and/or go out in the ocean to fish for the day’s or week’s meal. And this does not take eight hours per day for five days. This practice works in the Islands, but not in the United States. So, living here, we encouraged our people to learn and adapt to the 40hrs work week. And one of our cultural values that we encourage our people to practice is the economy of sharing. With whatever little we have, we always share. For example, if a family has birthday party or weeding party, we donated. Especially funeral, we always work together to meet the costs. It is very hard and expensive, but it is a practice that is very common among the Micronesians. So, these are just two of the examples that we need to address in our Micronesian community and to find a workable way.

  2. Kally Elliott says:

    Noel, thank you for bringing to my attention the struggle probably many immigrants face upon moving to a new country. How to manage new information with what they already know and how they already think. With this post you remind me to be more open to others and the gifts they bring with them and how my own thinking might be expanded.

    You write, “How do we educated our people that not all the information that are given are accurate. Moreover, how do we filter the information so we only accept those that are necessary as guidance for daily living and to filter out those that would lead us down the wrong path.” This must be incredibly difficult. I imagine immigrants to the USA for whom English is not their first language are simply trying to learn the language and get accustomed to the practices and culture in their new country. To try to discern and manage misinformation versus good information would be confusing and frustrating. With all the information coming at us – I am not sure how you educate about discernment without also imposing your own opinions about the information. This is difficult!

  3. Noel Liemam says:

    Thank you, Ms. Elliot, for your comment. You are right on the spot about the issue of how we obtain the useful information and not to impose our own opinion. Because there are a lot of opinions out there that is already been shared in our communities of Micronesian.

    However, as we are settling in, the main issues are still dealing with moving in and getting settled. My hope and prayer is that our LORD will help us cross those other bridges as we get there. Thank you.

  4. Adam Harris says:

    Wow Noel, looks like we have some things in common when it comes to Christian worldviews and fear around the end of the world. I can relate with your Mom’s fear of vaccination. Of course it was pre-Covid, but our church discussed current events and found all kinds of creative ways to attach them to the end of the world creating all kinds of unnecessary fear and resistance to “new things” out of loyalty to God. I’m with you, we need continual education and discernment as our world changes.

    • Noel Liemam says:

      Thank you, Mr. Harris. Yes, during that time there were many of my friends and family members that were Christians were thinking about the same thing. They shared with each other what they saw or read on the media which it said that the vaccination is the mark of the beast. As a result, they refused to get vaccinated.

  5. Thanks for your post Noel. In Canada, our indigenous population in Canada also has a rich tradition of passing stories down through generations by way of song and storytelling. In particular, it is the matriarch in the family that is often tasked as being a keeper of stories.

    I’m looking forward to both Canada and Micronesia learning how these important stories can be preserved.

    • Noel Liemam says:

      Thank you, Mr. Yuill. I wish there was a way we could record this storytelling in writings so we could come back to it and read. I know that has it passed down, some contents might have been lost or edited. The worst part is the passing down stopped. For example, the passing down of the navigational knowledge on my Island stopped because some thought it is irrelevant.

  6. mm Dinka Utomo says:

    Thank you for your post, Mr. Liemam.
    We are currently living in the midst of rapid digital technology advancements. One of the consequences is the strengthening of the post-truth phenomenon that makes extensive use of social media. In your opinion, what is the role of the church or Christianity in educating its people to be wise in sorting news that is received almost constantly through digital technology devices?

  7. Noel Liemam says:

    Thank you, Mr. Dinka. I personally would think that the Church would continue to teach the truths so it would be easier for the members to identify the counterfeit truth or the fake truths. Thanks again.

  8. mm Russell Chun says:

    Hi Noel,

    My grandfather’s listed profession was “taro farmer.” In 1959 (the year I was born), there were many taro farms, plus the sugar cane and pineapple fields.

    So much has changed. Which includes me joining the Army, marrying a Texan,and the boy from Hawaii is almost unrecognizable.

    I just attended a wedding in Texas that was over the top! Chandeliers, candles, main course and deserts.

    In Hawaii we had the luau for celebrating special events. It was a major family event and it took a week to prepare. The young boys went fishing and climbed coconut trees. The men (with a fair amount of beer), prepared the pig with banana leaves, ti leaves and hot lava stones. The women took all that was brought in and transformed them into Hawaiian delights.

    Life was simpler then.

    I agree with you about the deluge of information. My life without the internet was fine.

    Hawaiians also were an oral tradition…and dance.

    E hīmeni, hele mai e hula (Come sing, come dance).

  9. Noel Liemam says:

    Thank you, Mr. Chun for your comments. My stomach felt empty just reading about that luau. My doctor keeps telling to stay away from roosted pig, but it is hard to pass. Just like they said, “you can take the island boy from the island, but not the island out of the island boy,” hehe.

    Well, you may be far from the island, but you still got the island in you; it is embedded in your DNA if I may add. That is what these Micronesians are facing these days, settling in the United States and bringing the island style with them. I am not saying that we have to abandon our ways, but we must find the balance as we moved into a new culture. I believe that it is our responsibility to learn these foreign cultures and to educate others of ours as well. Cultural context is the way to understand communicate well and to understand others.

    Thanks again, Russ!

  10. Hello Noel, I always love reading your posts. I have an easy question. what did your culture/tradition teach you that was NOT biblical but very helpful in life?

    • Noel Liemam says:

      Good morning, Mr. Henely, and thank you taking the time to read my post. Well, to answer your question, I would say that there several of them. But one of them is the rite of passage in which the young men and the young women participated in a fishing ritual. In this is ritual the young men confined themselves into groups depending on their clans (father’s clan). While in these groups, they are taught and prepared to become adult (provider basically). In this process, they honored the deaths by bringing gifts and foods on the reefs that belongs to that clan. It is sort of like worshipping the death. And at the end the ceremony or ritual which could lasted for three months, the young men went out and brought in their catch while the young ladies waited on shore with already prepared pounded breadfruit to exchange it with fish with the men that they would like to be engaged to. It is used take place during the summer those days, nowadays it is fading away.

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