Abbie Rocha, Senior Early Childhood Education Major
I came into this summer not really knowing what to expect and excited for a new adventure. But as we delved more into our work on the island, I discovered that this summer was not just supposed to be an adventure. I had come to the island of Guam to serve the church and to glorify God. I fell in love with Guam from the first day that we arrived. Everything around the island is green, the people there give you all kinds of food, and the ministry of the church is so encouraging and refreshing. For the first month of the summer, we jumped into teaching summer classes. Their summer program is called Cool School. Many parents send their kids to school for the summer to make sure they do not fall behind and forget everything they learned during the school year. God has been so good to continually humble me throughout my time here. As I struggled with jetlag, I had to remember that I could not do this on my own. God showed me in Philippians that this summer I would not be successful according to Him if I tried to do it all on my own. I saw the reality of that truth every day in my classroom. The days where I focused on myself and on trying to be the best teacher were the days I struggled the most. The days I focused on glorifying God and loving my kids were the days that I really connected with them and felt God working.
Most of my students had really no concept of who God is, and most had not ever heard about God at home. During the second week of teaching Cool School, I started sharing a devotional in the morning, realizing how little they knew about God. Through this small time in the morning, I was able to have more conversations with my students about God and about who He is. Sometimes I wondered if I was even making an impact spiritually with my kids because of the language barrier, but one of our mentor teachers told me something really encouraging. She told me it isn't you that is going to make anything happen. The most important times are often the most random times where God works in their lives and allows you to have those random conversations. Even what you think is random, could be the opportunity God is using to plant seeds in their minds.
Though I did not see any of them get saved over the four weeks I had with them, I know that God’s Word never returns void. Our class theme verse has been Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Through God's strength, I was able to plant seeds in these little minds that I know will eventually sprout.
I saw the power of God work during our camps, both junior and teen week, and was reminded of the real power of the Gospel. I started off teen week disappointed that I was not counseling but determined that I would have a good attitude about it and that God had put me where He had for a reason. Instead, I was working on the flex staff, and our job was to take care of all the behind-the-scenes things that make camp happen. All week, I waited for a window of opportunity to talk to the girls about God and the Gospel. It wasn’t until Thursday that all of a sudden God opened the door. I was just sitting on the bleachers and talking with a girl about random things when I had an urge to ask her about what she had learned this week. Earlier that night, one of the leaders told me that she had run away when she tried to talk to her about spiritual things. I asked her if she had thought about the question Pastor Saunders had asked in his sermon on Wednesday. He had asked what you are trusting in for your salvation. She thought about it for a minute and then replied, “I don’t know.” So, I asked her, “If you died tonight, would you go to heaven?” She said, “No.” I started to get excited and asked her, “Well, do you want to find out how you can get saved?” She said, “Yeah.” I took her back to a back room and walked through the Gospel with her. Praise God right there in that back room she asked Christ Jesus to be her Savior. It wasn’t a grand spectacle. It wasn’t a response after a salvation message like I was anticipating. And, her response wasn’t due to my sharing such a compelling message. All I did was listen to God and share the Gospel with her. I was so overjoyed and excited to see the happiness in her face. I gave her a huge hug, and she started running around telling everyone that she had just gotten saved. She ran into the kitchen where her sister was and yelled it. Her sister gave her a weird look and asked, "What do you mean you got saved?" I asked her if she wanted to find out. She nodded yes, so I took her back with her sister to that same back room and walked her through the same thing. That same night, she also asked Jesus into her heart!
God's goodness truly amazes me. These sisters reminded me that God is always working and that His will and plan is so much better than mine. He did not need to use me to bring these girls to Him, but He graciously allowed me to have this opportunity to share the Gospel and see Him work. During junior camp, more than half of my cabin got saved! Six of my girls accepted Christ! At the beginning of the week, I could tell that many of them were confused about salvation. Many of them did not even understand what being “saved” meant. As the week went on, we walked through the Gospel during every devotional, and the more I talked with them, the more they understood what God had done for them. One by one, they accepted Christ, and it was so cool to see the power of God to bring them to Him. They were all from military families, too, so this is probably the only opportunity that they would have to come to camp.
As I left the island, I could not help but thank God for all He had done and how He had shown Himself strong. I was overwhelmed by His goodness this summer, and I already miss the island so much! I cannot wait until I get the opportunity to return!
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The CGO Blog
Written by the CGO staff, with guest posts from students and other faculty/staff at BJU to provide thought leadership for missions in a new millennium.