As my day of departure draws nearer, I have detected a pattern in the questions people ask when they hear my plans. I’d like to answer a few of them here for those who haven’t had the opportunity to ask or just forgot.
Q: Why Guam?
A: Why not?
Q: Wait, I thought you were going to China?
A: Good guess, but no. That was last summer.
Q: Is this another mission trip?
A: No, I am actually moving to Guam. I have a job there.
Q: What will you be doing there?
A: I will be teaching high school English at a Christian school on the island. Normally this question is followed by one about teaching ESL, and the answer to that one is that my primary responsibility will not be teaching English as a second language. I have been assured that my students will have a good grasp on the English language so I can focus on information that native speakers would learn at that age.
Q: So how did you decide on Harvest?
A: This is my favorite question!! Honestly, I did not choose; God did. He has been preparing me for this since I was born–a mind-blowing but ultimately comforting phenomenon. I’ve known I wanted to teach overseas since high school, but I wasn’t sure how or where. I got my first chance last summer when I traveled with an ESL team to southern China to teach at an English camp for five weeks. I loved working with the people over there, but through various circumstances God made it clear that I would not be returning to that organization after I graduated. I still wanted to teach overseas, though, so I kept praying and listening for any open doors. Finally last fall, one of the principals from Harvest spoke at a meeting for student teachers. I was impressed with his lecture on teaching internationally and the opportunities Harvest offered. Later, I got to speak with another representative from the school, who graciously answered all of my questions. Over the next month and a half, my family, a few close friends, and I prayed about what God would do with my life next fall and whether His plan involved Harvest. I applied in January, interviewed in February, and signed the contract in April. I am still humbled by how smoothly God opened all the doors leading to this moment, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Q: How long are you going to be there?
A: At least the next three years. After that, it’s up to God and the school.
Q: Will you be able to come home?
A: Well technically, Guam will be my home, but yes, I will be able to visit my family during the summer. I will also have the opportunity to travel to the surrounding islands, China, Japan, Korea, etc. The better question might be “Will you come home?” The answer to that one is…maybe. I have practically pinky-promised a couple of friends (you know who you are) that I would come to their weddings, so we’ll see.
Q: How will you communicate while you are over there?
A: Smoke signals and carrier pigeons. Just kidding!! I will communicate with friends and family the same way most people communicate over a long distance: phone calls, video chats, social media, email, and of course, this blog. I think that most people who ask this question are imagining me in a remote jungle somewhere with no internet access and a five-mile hike to the nearest post office. I assure you that such circumstances will not be part of my “suffering for Jesus” on a tropical island.
Q: What do they speak there?
A: English mostly. The other official language is Chamorro, but I will not have to teach in it. 🙂
Q: How do your parents feel about you going halfway around the world?
A: I silently thank God for my parents every time someone asks this question. They have been so supportive of every trip I’ve taken so far. I can’t imagine what went through their hearts and minds every time I called and asked, “So what do you think about (insert some place a few thousand miles away)?” They have ingrained in me that the happiest, safest place to be is in the center of God’s will. I’m sure it is hard for them to send me so far from home, but this is what they raised me to do, and so as they say, how could they not be proud?
Q: You know there are a lot of snakes over there, right?
A:……Yes. I do. Thank you for reminding me.
Q: When do you leave?
A: In two weeks. So much to do and so little time to do it!
Q: Are you excited?
A: Yes, and nervous and overwhelmed. But mostly excited. I get the chance to work on a tropical island, with high schoolers (freshmen no less!!), teaching my favorite subject, and all while serving the God of the universe! Who wouldn’t be excited?!
Blessings on those who made it through the entire post. If you have any more questions, just leave them in a comment, and I’ll answer as many as I can.