This is the 40th anniversary of my travels as a missionary to Pohnpei – one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia. The FSM is located in the Caroline Island chain. It is literally out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This was my first of several ventures as a missionary and it changed my life forever. To commemorate this milestone, I'd like to relate a story of God's providence while on Pohnpei.
We had to build a gymnasium, but the ground marked for its development was a swamp. We needed some fill dirt. Somebody suggested asking the nearby Navy Seebees – the U.S. military’s construction battalion – for help. They agreed and would haul in the needed dirt.
The dump trucks began arriving and unloading the dirt, as the grader spread it out. I remember watching all this take place when the trucks suddenly stopped running and the grader shutdown mid-run.
The men had unearthed some mortar rounds left over from World War II. If you don't know what they are; think of a shell shot out of a tube and used as indirect fire support for the infantry. They weighed about a pound apiece. With a range of 2,500 meters and the capability to fire up to eight rounds a minute, these mortars have a fairly large blast radius. We were standing among deadly weapons.
With the work stopped, the Seebees started walking along the piles of dirt, moving them with their feet to see if they could find any more rounds. This went on for a while and eventually they located about two dozen rounds.
I never did learn how many rounds they found in the end, but we put the mortars in a pile and the Explosives Ordinance Disposal Squad disposed of them. Unexploded ordinances from any war are quite dangerous. They could have exploded with any significant contact from the Seebees machinery. It was only through God’s providence that one of these didn’t go off and injure or kill one of us.
(Reprinted with permission from the author)