What Am I Doing Here?

"I trust that You will make it clear in Your time"

"What am I doing here? I am failing as a teacher! I can't do this! I don't know how to help them learn!" I sat at my desk, head in my hands, with mounds of homework to grade piled on my desk like an insurmountable mountain. I blankly stared at my empty classroom. "God, why on earth am I here?" I more accused than questioned. "I'm a complete failure. I'm not qualified to teach. I can't teach these kids!"


My mind drifted back to when this all started – early spring of 2022. I was at my job at Andrews University in Michigan, USA, and it had been a long stressful day. During a lull in the workload, I was checking my computer to see when my assignments were due, when an email popped up from Andrews University's Student Missions Office. They said that some man in charge of schools in the Pacific Islands and his wife had come and would be giving a talk about serving as student missionaries (SM), and we could ask them any questions.

Ruthann at her desk at Pohnpei SDA School

"Oh, that looks interesting," I thought, even though I had absolutely zero interest ingoing to the Pacific Islands as an SM. "I'd love to check it out," I thought, as I checked the time. Then I realized it couldn't work as the meeting ended at the same time that I would get off work. "Oh well, guess I can't go,” I thought to myself as I resumed working. “It's okay because it's not likeI don't have a ton of assignments due tonight."

Some hours later, as I finished my shift and packed my things up, the thought came, "What about that meeting at the Student Missions Office?"

I glanced at the time. "Nah, it would have just finished," I argued. "I'll just start walking home. Got to get to those papers that are due."

Again, the thought came, "Why not just walk over there and check it out? Maybe the couple are still chatting with people, and you could still talk to them…."

"But it's all the way across campus, and I really should get going," I argued with myself. Then realizing that my excuses were lame, I relented and decided that it couldn't hurt anything, and the worst case scenario would just be getting more exercise.

When I got to the office, I was reluctant to enter as it appeared that the meeting was still in progress. And if I entered, the bells on the door would jingle, and people would turn and see me, and there is nothing I hate more than being late. No, I didn't want to go,I decided as I turned away to leave. But a stronger impression than before seemed to urge me to enter. So, I did.


I sat in the back and discovered that the meeting had begun not long before my arrival. The couple was Mr. Churchill Edward and Mrs. Nancy Edward from the Guam-Micronesia Mission of Seventh-day Adventists. As they described the great need for SM teachers and shared stories, I found myself catching interest. At this point, I had already been interested in student missions for some time since I am a missionary kid. But I had never wanted to go to the Pacific Islands. Two of my main reasons were that it is hot and it is a popular place for SMs to go. Now to understand where Iwas coming from, you need to know that I grew up in the cold climates of northern Asia in somewhat closed countries that are not friendly to Christianity.

Nevertheless, I was somewhat hooked, despite being a bit skeptical. The price for flights and other costs were high, and I didn't have the funds. I decided to lay out a fleece as Gideon did in the book of Judges.

Some of Ruthann's students at the Long Table Thanksgiving event

"God, if You want me to go, if You are calling me – You will have to help out here with the funding. Because I'm just a gal trying to work her way through college. IF You work it all out, then I'll go," I bargained. But immediately after, I told myself, Don't get your hopes up. It's not like I'm that good at anything, and I'm not sure they would want me anyway. And my application might even get rejected.

So better to not get your hopes up, I berated myself.


Fast forward, the deadline for fundraising was like a month away, and to be honest, at this point, I was beginning to wonder if those really were impressions from God or if I had been imagining things or acting on a whim. But then I received a call from someone I knew well. They said they had been saving up money for the past several years in case this other person and I ever decided to go for student missions. The amount they wanted to donate was enough to cover the cost of plane tickets. I couldn't believe my ears! God had impressed this individual to start setting aside funds for me some years before I was even interested in student missions.

"Wow! God, I guess You really must want me to go then," I thought. That was the first in a series of miracles (if I can call them such, as I don't believe such things could have happened by coincidence).


I successfully arrived at Pohnpei Seventh-day Adventist School and started teaching. I really enjoyed it, even with all of its ups and downs. This brings us back to where we started at the beginning of this story – where I was in a low spot questioning God. To be completely honest, this is not only based on a singular incidence. There have been many times so far this year where I've been in a low spot questioning Him, then there are the highs where I can clearly see Him working. It is a normal part of life.

When we are in low times, we need to recall how God has led us and how He has worked things out for us. As a well-known quote by Mrs. Ellen White says, "We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history" (Selected Messages, Book 3, 162.3).

Ruthann with the stage curtain crew for the school Christmas play “A Wonderful Christmas”

"Okay, God, I can see that You did bring me here for a reason, even though I might not see or understand Your reasons right now. I trust that You will make it clear in Your time. BUT I still feel like I am failing as a teacher, and I can't do this!" I protested.

But then this quote came to mind: "God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called". This served as a (healthy) reminder to myself. I am not a trained professional, and even if I was, it is okay if I don't know what I am doing all the time. I am human – and I make mistakes. And I learn from my mistakes. I am just a college student who made a crazy decision to ask God to lead.


Now, this is not just a reminder for me. In our weakness, God can manifest His strength. When we are at our lowest points, our darkest times – it is then when God is the strongest and shines the brightest. And we can rely on Him the most. He says to each of us, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." Thus, as did Paul the apostle in 2 Corinthians, we can say, "Therefore, will I boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weakness. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

We must only turn our eyes off our own weaknesses and deficiencies and rely wholly on God. He will carry us. He will qualify us. He will make us strong.

Ruthann joins the members of the Pohnpei Seventh-day Adventist School staff
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