Being a Missionary is Not for an Island Girl

A reluctant missionary testifies how God never gave up calling her to serve

Being a missionary was not for this island girl. First of all, growing up in Palau, I always saw people from the United States, Europe, and Africa coming to my island to serve as missionaries. Never once did I see any islander as a “missionary.” Secondly, when I was young, I saw how teachers had a hard time with the students so I did not want to be a teacher. My dream was to be flight attendant so I could travel around the world. Thirdly, my family was not Christian so I did not know God very well. I only knew that we went to church on Christmas and New Year’s. This is why I did not want to be missionary nor a teacher.

In 2011, I attended church in Guam at the Happy Family Seventh-day Adventist Church and learned the truth about observing the true Sabbath day of the Lord. I began Bible studies with Pastor Willy and his wife Aunty Hatsumi and learned more about this church. I decided that I wanted to be baptized and serve God fully. Many things came up that delayed my baptism, but on April 2012, I attended Camp Meeting and was finally baptized. It was the happiest day of my life!

While I was attending Happy Family Church, Mr. and Mrs. Quaile came to Guam to work as Education Director and Education Secretary at the Guam-Micronesia Mission. Mr. Quaile became our Youth Sabbath School teacher, while Mrs. Quaile taught the Adult English class. During their time on Guam, we grew close as I worked beside them as a church youth leader. They became my Christian parents. One day they asked me if I wanted to be a missionary, but I told them that being a missionary is not for me, and that I do not like teaching. They did not ask me again, but every year they would tell me that there were openings in Micronesia and they really needed teachers. The Quailes said they believed I could be a good missionary, and that with my leadership skills, I could be a great teacher. I laughed and told them that I was not interested since I was in my third year at the University of Guam and wanted to finish my studies in Social Work. Then, God closed the door to school when I had to stop and earn enough money for tuition and rent. I could no longer live at the dorm and did not have family to live with. God provided me a job at Guam Adventist Academy as a teacher’s assistant. It would take five years, but God was convincing me to be a missionary.

Memola instructing Third Grade students in Yap

The only reason I decided to accept the job was because I would be an assistant and did not have to teach. I worked with Mrs. Larrew who was both the principal and the part-time teacher for the Third and Fourth Grade class because their teacher was stuck in the States. One day I found myself in class needing to help teach! At first I thought, “What am I going to do?” I did not know how to teach, but I knew God was with me. I realized later that God intended to put me on the spot because He knew that if the school had asked me to apply as a teacher, I would have run away. I really enjoyed teaching and became so close to my students. When their teacher arrived, I had to move into the office, yet my heart and mind were in the classroom. When I received my paycheck, I went straight to the university to pay half of my tuition. To my surprise, the woman told me my balance was zero.That was impossible because I knew I owed over $2000. God had either sent someone to pay for it or He performed a miracle. But why did He do it in the middle of the semester when it was too late to register for class? Did God want me to become a missionary? I went straight to Mr. and Mrs. Quaile and told them that I was ready to serve as a missionary, but only if I could in the States. I applied through the AVS website to be a dorm dean in three different places in the U.S. Each call denied me. I was so upset. Mrs. Quaile said to me, “I think God wants you to be a missionary in the islands.” Still upset, I told her that I would try one more time, because maybe God wanted me to go to Austria. I applied for Austria and again my application was denied. Mrs. Quaile repeated, “I think God is clear where He wants you to go.” I finally surrendered the location, but I was only willing to serve in the islands if there was an opening for Third Grade. Mrs. Quaile said Yap SDA School had needed a Third Grade teacher for three months. While preparing to go to Yap, I became sick for a month and angry with God. I had finally agreed to be a missionary, and now was so weak because I could not move or eat. It was later that I realized the devil knew that my service would be a huge blessing to the kids in the islands and he tried to discourage me.

Arriving in Yap, I was greeted by the elderly local woman called Mom Carmen, who although retired, had been helping Third Grade. She was so happy to see that someone had finally answered the call. God had been calling me, but I was deaf to hear Him because I did not want to be a missionary to the islands. I taught Third Grade for three months, then moved to Kindergarten for two weeks, then another time to Sixth Grade to finish the school year. I was really meant to be there in the islands. My students loved me so much; they followed me closer than any other teacher. As an islander, I understand them and we share almost the same culture. I met kids who come from broken homes, and I myself come from a broken home. I went to sleep one night crying, thanking God for bringing me to help an innocent child by letting them know that if there is no one to help them, God is always there, no matter what. I shared the love of God with them, prayed with them, and assured them not to worry because God will take care of them. I finished the school year and wanted to do more. I applied to teach summer school at Pohnpei SDA School. I taught Pre-K and Kindergarten for five weeks before returning to Guam. I still wanted to continue as a missionary teacher. Ebeye SDA School desperately needed teachers otherwise, the school would close. I asked my Christian parents and they were happy to help. I am currently on Ebeye. I taught Fourth Grade last year and this year I moved up with my students to Fifth Grade. The reason I stayed longer here on Ebeye is because the people here are very kind and loving and they treat me as if I am one of them. The staff say I am the most spoiled teacher because parents and students treat me like a queen and my local family treats me as if I am one of their own.

I praise God for bringing me here to the island. I have learned to be content with less. I have learned that a hug is the best reward you can have and, here, you will get hugs from the kids 24/7. I do not want to stop serving or to ever leave this place. I have learned to be patient. That is one thing that I experience being a teacher. And while you are teaching, you are also learning. I have learned a lot. I still need to finish college, but whatever God decides for me, I am willing and able to go wherever He sends me. It took me five years to hear and obey His call and I thank God that He never quit asking me. He could have chosen someone else, but He kept coming back to me. God is indeed good and all to Him I owe. He closed the door for school, paid my tuition balance, and closed the door for all three places in the U.S and one from Austria, even when I was not willing to serve in the islands. He did all this for me so I can enjoy serving Him in Micronesia.This experience has truly changed my life. Being a missionary teacher is the best thing that ever happened to me and I would not want anything else. Now I can say that being a missionary is for anyone who loves Jesus and is willing to serve Him anywhere. Today, I call myself a Missionary Island girl for Christ.

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