Delilah Drew (center) and her students. Photo courtesy Delilah Drew
I was intrigued by the student missions vespers, their stories, struggles, their growth, and a high school mission trip to Mexico was a good experience. Since I was debating between a medical or teaching career, serving in one of those roles seemed perfect for getting clarity on whether God wanted me to do this or not.
In the summer of 2021, I became the kindergarten and first-grade teacher at the Yap SDA School. Yap is a tiny island, about 39 square miles, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. They have a rich heritage that is carefully preserved, and they are very proud of it. Amidst the lush tropical flora, friendly dogs lounge about and joyful children greet everyone with smiles. My class was packed with 15 energetic little ones, and I was responsible for transitioning them from unstructured play into reading and math. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. When I came home from the first day of school, I was completely discouraged. My kids hadn’t listened at all, they had been jumping all over the chairs and tables, chasing and playfully spanking each other, the classroom was left a total mess, and I hardly got through any of the lessons that I had worked so hard to plan. I worried that things weren’t going to get any better and that I would just struggle my way through the rest of the year, barely hanging on. But God had things to teach me.
More experienced teachers surrounded me, encouraged me, shared their skills of classroom management, and invited me for a warm meal to cheer me up. I returned to the classroom the next day with renewed determination and, bluffing confidence, I was able to get the children in order and start teaching in earnest. Their sweet and eager-to-please characters came out. Three kids in particular were way behind the others. One of those was Silas, a kid needing extra love and attention. His loving grandmother and I prayed together for him, and I gave him tons of extra support and tutoring during recess and lunch. Little by little, in uneven steps, there was some headway. We kept at it. We kept praying. By the end of the year, he was fully caught up and as excited about school as the rest. Through God’s help and many prayers, Silas became a learning miracle I’ll never forget.
Although I genuinely enjoyed my teaching experience, I think I want to meld teaching with medicine for my personal future. I want to revisit Yap and create a clinic there. In addition to healing, I could teach preventive health and community hygiene. Being a student missionary helped me to see my God-given life purpose. I do not have to choose one thing or another; I can integrate all that God has given me to serve others.
Delilah Drew, Medical Laboratory Science major, Andrews University
Delilah received a $150 scholarship for this article. If you’re a youth or young adult interested in submitting an article for consideration, please contact: email@example.com.