Why Go Back?
For many college students, an opportunity to serve as a missionary is something they can’t pass up. It isn’t too much of a sacrifice, they say, to give one year of service. As they go to far away places, or serve in the States, they find the difficulties missionaries face are many: A roommate who doesn’t know the definition of quiet. Students who just won’t learn. An administrator who simply does not understand what is expected, or a significant other back home who breaks off the relationship. Most returning missionaries remember having more than their fair share of problems.

Why then would someone choose to do it all over again? I could also ask why someone would not choose to serve another year? During my first year of mission service, I learned to trust God more and trust myself less. I had to begin making decisions on my own and become a responsible adult. That year of service became a year of growth and exploration. Of course, I realize that for many missionaries who are in college, the road ahead is long and they don’t have the time to serve a second year. Others point out that they feel that their mission service abroad helped them grow, but would seem stifling or weird to do again. Still others say that they do not feel called to serve again...

Let me take you back in time to March, 1999, to a small island called Pohnpei in the middle of the equatorial pacific. My first year of service as a high school teacher was going splendidly and I didn’t want it to end. I felt a call to return to Pohnpei the next year. I did not take this lightly, and responded with a serious look at what I felt God wanted me to do. I prayed a lot about it and decided to sign up for another year of service. However, since the calls for Pohnpei 1999-2000 were already full, I promised myself that I would come back the following year instead. That fall, back at Walla Walla College, I again was reminded of my promise. I still felt God’s call, so I went to the missions office and signed up to go back by the end of October. Just like before, everything fell into place and I was able to return for this, my second year at Pohnpei SDA School.

People ask me all the time, “What was the real reason you came back?” I have to tell them that I don’t know yet. Of course I mention that I like it here and that there were many things that I missed when I was back home, but there’s more to it than that. I know that God has some bigger plan for me coming back than just to have the same experience for the second time. One of my favorite texts states, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11) How am I to know fully what God’s plans are for me this year? Another text holds the answer. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5,6)
It has been a test of faith for me to come back out here this year. I have already had times of doubt and questions, especially when leaving Portland airport again! But I know that Someone is on my side who knows all the answers. All I have to do is follow His leading.

By: Daniel Moor

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