Ivana Gomez – Yap, Micronesia

Every morning while doing devotions I keep asking God, “Why are You so good to me?” I just don’t understand it. I feel like I say it all the time but it’s something that I can’t entirely describe. How selfish to think that school was way more important than taking a year off to be a missionary. I’m so glad that I listened to God’s calling. He REALLY knows what’s best for me. It’s easy to say but something completely different when you actually experience it. Wow, God you are AWESOME!

This past week was Week of Prayer, and the students enjoyed it. I was honored to speak to them and tell them my entire story. I was blessed to have students come up to me and say things such as, “Wow, God can really do that for me too?” “I’m so glad God called you here.” “I’m inspired, God can do great things.” etc. We had lots of laughs as well! Overall, Week of Pray was a blessing.

Teaching is still going really good. I haven’t gotten sick of it yet. Can you believe it? ūüėČ How could I ever get sick of hanging out with these kids. I just have to say that when I have eight, nine, or however many students in my classroom after school, we have such a great time. We get lots of work done and are really getting to know each other super well.

We also had testing this week. I’m talking about those standardized tests. It was so weird to be on the other end for once. Reading all those repetitive directions for each test . . .! It was pretty fun though. I talked with a lot of enthusiasm, for once, so the kids would listen well and not get bored of my voice! I was told that I sounded like a flight attendant. Regardless of what I sounded like, the kids where angels. I was so proud of them so I baked them a cake for tomorrow. Just a small surprise “thank you” for the excellent behavior.

I was especially blessed by one of my students this week who came up to me and said, “Thank you so much for being my homeroom teacher. I know you care a lot and you’re helping me become a good kid.” Wow that comment took me back for a second. One of my little trouble makers has seen THE LIGHT!!! Here’s another good story to share. I had a student in detention with me this Friday and usually I have them sweep and mop my classroom but I decided that cleaning can be kind of fun sometimes. Since when is detention fun? I thought sitting in silence, listening to me lecture about how his behavior needs to change, and writing me a four page paper would be a better punishment. So he’s sitting there and I had a lot to say but I started off by saying, “Listen, I need to tell you something before I tell you something else. You need know that I love you, as a student, and care for you a lot. There’s nothing that you can do to make me appreciate/love you more Sometimes it might be hard for you to see that since I have to discipline you quite often.” Immediately tears ran down his face. It was shocking. It’s like he never knew that someone cared so much for him. I continued by saying, “If I don’t discipline you and if there were no consequences, I would be a terrible teacher. That would mean that I don’t care if you are unsuccessful or disrespectful. I believe that you can completely change. ¬†I know you can get good grades and YOU WILL BE SUCCESSFUL in my classroom. ” I proceeded to tell him that I even moved him from the front row of the classroom because I believe he can behave himself. (He HATES sitting in the front!) With tear filled eyes he replied, “No one has ever believed in me like that. I promise I will try my best and we are going to have a better week.” Well, I didn’t make him write me a paper and we just had a great heart-to-heart conversation. These kids just need someone to love them and believe in them.

Saturday was great. Sabbaths in Yap are always awesome, but we had communion and two of my students really wanted to participate but they had never done it before. They understood what everything signified and meant but I was so blessed to participate in foot washing with them. They thought it was so wonderful! Students are seeing Jesus. He is becoming so real to them. I also love watching my kids participate in church and help lead out in Sabbath school.

The Bible verse that reads, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Acts 20:35 is so true. I’m constantly blessed beyond words.

View from Yap SDA School

View from Yap SDA School

*This was originally posted on Ivana Gomez’s blog¬†on September 28, 2014. ¬†Ivana¬†is a student missionary from Andrews¬†University (through Adventist Volunteer Service), serving as a high school Math teacher on the island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia. ¬†This has been re-posted with her¬†permission.

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