Student Missionaries Serve in Paradise

Take a closer look at student missionaries that take a year serving the Lord in paradise.

Google the word “Micronesia” and you will be awestruck by the images. Brilliant blue waves. Mounds of green palm trees. White sandy shores. But look closer, or you will miss the most beautiful part: the people. The vast ocean region of Guam-Micronesia Mission (GMM) covers an area roughly the size of the continental U.S. and contains thousands of islands with a combined land mass the size of Jacksonville, Florida. Dispersed among the 92 inhabited islands are numerous languages, cultures, and values. That is the challenge met by the many missionaries who have come here to share God’s message of love with His Micronesian children. GMM missionaries serve at Seventh-Day Adventist churches, clinics, and are especially visible at the schools.

The eleven schools across Micronesia depend heavily on student missionaries, or SMs, who volunteer to live for ten months in an island community. SMs play a key part in building relationships with the children and their families through education and local outreach. Week of prayers, community service, and school gardens are just a few of the opportunities to reveal a bigger picture of God’s love. As they prepare students holistically, SDA schools have established a reputation for being among the best in their community, with alumni including  prominent political and business leaders.

Most SMs are university students who learned of the different position needs through their Adventist university Missions Coordinator. One of those students answered the call to teach and committed to serve on a 30-mile long strip of land in the Marshall Islands called Majuro. Trading arctic blasts for ocean breezes, Libby from Palmer, Alaska paused her Mechanical Engineering program at Walla Walla University to teach 1st Grade. The scene during recess is bright, not only because of the tropical sun, but brightened by rambunctious students as they laugh infectiously, bouncing between each other and “Miss Libby”.

If you look to the island of Kosrae, you will find that there are other missionaries like Caleb, who completed his higher education in IT at a public college before choosing to venture across the Pacific. His sense of adventure was even greater than the ocean he crossed to reach Kosrae.  He had not traveled beyond the three states bordering his Washington home until he flew to this lush island known as the “Jewel of Micronesia”. Ready to share God with his middle-school students, Caleb’s adventure had just begun.

Libby with a few of her students

For some volunteers, serving as a student missionary has fulfilled a childhood dream. Cameron was elementary age when his father became an administrator at the GMM headquarters in Guam. At the age of twelve, Cameron accompanied his father on a visit to the Marshallese island of Ebeye. The tiny 80-acre island made a huge impression on him. It was during that trip that Cameron decided to one day return as a student missionary.

Towering over his 6th Grade class, he now influences children of the same impressionable age that he was when he made that life-changing decision.

The stunning beauty of Micronesia may be what draws many missionaries to this part of the world. Yet it is the welcoming faces and hearts of the Micronesian people that compel missionaries to return and to inspire their friends back home to serve as well. Look closer at the pictures. Look deeper into your own heart. Then prayerfully ask the Lord to show you where and how He wants you to serve and support His work.  

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