In their own words: WWU student missionaries (part 3)

Amid high fives and secret notes MaKayla Hample finds joy in being God's hands and feet

In part three of a series of articles by WWU student missionaries, MaKayla Hample, junior elementary education major, writes about her work teaching at the Kosrae Seventh-day Adventist School in Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia, during the 2014-15 school year.

“MaKayla, you got the position you applied for as the third and fourth grade teacher in Kosrae.”

It was a sentence that brought tears to my eyes last spring. I was helping in the kitchen at the University Church for a student mission’s potluck. Could it be true? Me? The girl who is afraid of all bugs, paranoid about all germs, and who has the muscular strength of Betty Spaghetti? No way. God, what are you up to?

Roughly five months later, here I sit in my cozy little apartment in Kosrae thinking about how being a student missionary was probably the best decision I have ever made. I thought I was coming here to be the third and fourth grade teacher only. After week two, first and second grade language arts and mathematics was added to my teaching duties, as well as the PTA secretary and treasurer. Once again, God, what are you up to?

My students sure keep me on my feet. Not all of the students are where they should be, but I have made it my personal goal to help the students improve. I have a second grader who has trouble counting past the number 15. Most of my first and second graders can’t recognize the letter G from the letter P. I have a third grader who struggles with reading words that are longer than three letters, as well as one who adds and subtracts using her fingers AND toes.

The classroom rules are repeated regularly, reward stars are taken away daily, and my stern teacher voice is sometimes used more than I wish it were. Based on that alone, I find it quite strange how they continue to hug me, give me high fives, leave me secret notes, and tell me every day that they like me. I don’t even know how I can fully express how much love I have for each of my students. I have yet to dread walking down the stairs of my apartment and into my classroom. Every day is filled with surprises, laughter, discipline, and love.

Yes, I’m still afraid of most of the bugs here. Yes, I am still suffering from a small case of germophobia. Yes, I still have the strength of Betty Spaghetti. However, because I have put more effort into my relationship with God, my question, “God, what are you up to?” is becoming less of a question and more of a reassurance. It’s the reassurance that He is guiding me through this year as a student missionary and that I can rely on Him each and every step of the way. He has a purpose for me here in Kosrae. I’m here to be His hands and feet. There is no greater feeling.

Posted Sept. 14, 2015

MaKayla Hample taught elementary education in Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia.