As I continue to teach my children and serve my community, God is enlarging my capacity to love.
Published on: 03-31-2022
Are You sure this is the right place for me, God?” I prayed after a hard day with my kindergarten class. I had just started a new job in a new country, and I was struggling to find my feet. When I was preparing to move to Korea to teach English, I asked God to put me not only where I was needed, but in the best place for me. I expected that that would be teaching older students. That’s where I felt most confident. Instead, God put me in an Adventist kindergarten, teaching 7-year-olds.
I had some challenging children. One day everything seemed to go wrong. One child even threw an earsplitting, screaming tantrum. I was badly shaken. After work I went home and cried, because I felt like a failure. What was I supposed to do with these children? How could I teach and nurture them? I felt out of my depth.
After a while, however, I began to suspect that this sense of helplessness was a blessing in disguise. Instead of relying completely on my own skills and experience, I had to rely on God. I had to learn new skills. I had to stretch and grow in new ways. “Keep loving your children,” I felt God say to me. “Keep being patient with them.”
Things got easier in time, although of course there were still challenges. I started to feel more settled in my new community. I also had unexpected witnessing moments in my classroom. My “problem child,” especially, seemed to soak up both affection and stories about Jesus. One day, after he had tried my patience all morning, he demanded, “Hug me, Teacher Mommy!” Then as I wrapped my arms around him, he whispered to me, “Teacher, I think Satan makes me do bad things.”
“You always have a choice,” I replied. “God can help you do good things, even if Satan tempts you to do bad things.”
Another day one of my girls came to me with tears in her eyes. “My daddy is in hospital,” she said. “I’m scared.” Instead of simply telling her that I would pray for her father, I felt the urge to pray aloud for him right then. She clung to my legs as I said a simple prayer, and gave me a big, relieved hug afterward. Such moments reminded me that God was at work in my children’s lives, and that I had a part to play.
I’ve been in Korea for eight months now. I can see that in many ways this is indeed the best place for me. Not least, as I continue to teach these children and serve my community, God is enlarging my capacity to love. God knew what He was doing when He brought me here.
God knows where the best place is for each of us. Sometimes His best comes wrapped up with challenges. On hard days I’m encouraged by this quote: “The fact that we are called upon to endure trial shows that the Lord Jesus sees in us something precious which He desires to develop. . . . God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as coworkers with Him.”*
Wherever God has placed you now, He has a beautiful plan He’s working out, no matter the difficulties you may be facing. Let’s trust God more as He continues to lead us!
*Ellen G. White, The Faith I Live By (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1958), p. 64.