I had wondered often about Abraham. How did he do it? How did he just leave everything and everyone
he knew and go to a foreign land where God called him to go?
Published on: 06-28-2021
It was November 2016, and I was invited to speak at the American Samoa youth camp meeting in December. I was living in Sacramento, California, at the time. I was excited about the prospect of an evangelism/vacation trip and was looking forward to winning souls for Jesus. I had been traveling throughout that year conducting revival meetings, and this was my last trip of the year. Winter was coming, so I was looking forward to some tropical, South Pacific weather. My expectations for this trip were simply to accomplish the mission for Jesus, engage in some relaxation, and then head back home to plan for the new year. But God had other plans for me. After conducting my speaking engagements for the camp meeting alongside three of my brothers in ministry and seeing 60-plus souls won for Jesus, I was also asked if I could be the main speaker of the 10 Days of Prayer series for the biggest Adventist church in American Samoa. I accepted and was prayerfully preaching each night to win more souls.
On the third night of speaking, the district director was in attendance. He had attended the first two nights as well. After the meeting I was approached by the director and asked if I would consider moving to American Samoa to help with the work there. Immediately in my mind I said an emphatic “No,” but my face stayed composed and polite. I was a little thrown back by the question. I didn’t reply. He continued, “Why don’t you think and pray about it? I will get back to you to see what your answer will be.” I politely agreed and left. When I got back to my room, I had already made up my mind that I would decline. After all, I was Samoan by ethnicity, but felt completely American. I didn’t think I would fit in. I would be out of place and would have to endure significant culture change. There was no way I was going to leave home in California and come to this tiny dot on the map.
God had many ministers here already; why would I be needed? I was positive I was going to decline. But by the time the meetings were over, after praying the Holy Spirit would work on my heart, I accepted. It would mean leaving the United States to come to an island thousands of miles away, knowing nobody, because God had called. I did.
So on September 22, 2017, I moved to American Samoa. In my first year I felt miserable, but kept a straight face. I hated it. I was homesick and was tempted many times to go back. But I kept praying and working in faith for my feelings to change. I stayed busy with preaching and teaching, but all that was on my mind afterward was “I just want to go home.” I had wondered often about Abraham. How did he do it? How did he just leave everything and everyone he knew and go to a foreign land where God called him to go? Abraham became my source of inspiration, and God strengthened me through his experience. I’m going on four years now, and my feelings have completely changed. I love it here. God knew I would grow into loving it and appreciate His foreknowledge of calling me so I could continue to grow in His grace. There are still a lot of challenges that I face, and I still think often about home, but God has shown me that home is where He calls me to go.