children’s story at church changed the trajectory of my life. I was 12 years old, sitting beside my grandmother, listening intently as a young woman shared her experiences as a student missionary (SM). Her passion for spreading God’s love stuck with me through the years, inspiring me to become a SM myself one day.

In high school, my teachers realized I was good at mathematics. They encouraged me to study engineering; however, my grandmother had unwittingly influenced me toward a different career path. She was a teacher, and I saw her impact on people’s lives. Former students often approached her, reminiscing how she had helped them grow closer to God. I wanted to influence people’s lives like that, so when I went to college, I jumped at the opportunity to be a missionary teacher. I applied for several positions and was accepted to serve as a second-grade teacher on the island of Yap in Micronesia.

I faced many challenges throughout my school year teaching abroad, challenges I would have felt overwhelmed by if God hadn’t shown me that He was positively impacting my students’ lives through me.

I learned at a parent-teacher conference that one of my students had been changing her family. Her father, who teaches high school, had been surprised by the material we were covering in our elementary class because these were topics he was teaching his students. He began to take more notice of his daughter’s studies, including her Bible class.

The girl’s mother shared how their daughter had brought the entire family closer together and closer to God. She had been asking deep questions about the Bible, so the entire family had started studying God’s Word. She was only seven, yet she made a huge difference in her home because of what she learned at school.

Amber hanging from the monkey bars
Charity catching frogs during recess
Phidelis with a gift he created for Mother’s Day
Lyla reading a Bible that Brook gave her

I had a quiet, shy, scared new student at the beginning of the school year. She was six years old and should have been happy and carefree. But she had been through some terrible things. As a result, she had been sent to the Adventist school, where she remained curled up in her little cocoon. She refused to speak to or even look at anyone.

However, one of her classmates was willing to be her friend. It took several months, but the quiet girl blossomed into an amazing person. Instead of avoiding people, she went out of her way to help them. She went from being unwilling to make a sound to saying a special prayer for upset classmates. Only God could create such a change in such a short amount of time!

By the end of the school term, you could see and hear the love of God in my students. They were excited to learn from the Bible and eager to sing and talk about their Savior.

Guam-Micronesia Mission’s “Go, Give, Grow” theme is the only way to describe my experience on Yap. I went to an unfamiliar place by following God’s guidance, and I gave everything to Him and the kids. In return, we grew individually, with each other, and with our God!

The story’s original version, “Planted by the Water,” is featured on the Guam-Micronesia Mission website and adapted with permission.


Would you like to help make a positive impact in the lives of others? If so, please consider volunteering through Adventist Volunteer Service, which facilitates church members’ volunteer service worldwide. Volunteers age 18 to 80 may serve as pastors, teachers, medical professionals, computer technicians, orphanage workers, farmers, and more. To learn more, visit AdventistVolunteers.org.


A service of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, VividFaith connects people with mission opportunities. It’s the central place to find opportunities to serve and to share your faith. Use it to advertise mission openings, find qualified applicants, share urgent needs, tell your amazing stories, and stay connected with missionaries. vividfaith.com.

Brook Danelson is an elementary education major at Walla Walla University in Washington, United States. She wrote this story while serving as the second-grade teacher at the Yap Seventh-day Adventist School in the Federated States of Micronesia.