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Faith of a Child
Photo: Ilya Postnikov
The year I spent as a student missionary on the tiny little horseshoe-shaped island Majuro,  was the year I learned about simple faith from a seventh-grade Marshallese boy.

I had been teaching a roomful of 27 fifth to eighth graders about the formation of their coral island home. With great enthusiasm I described how little coral polyps had formed reefs on top of underwater volcanic mountains. From this beginning, islands, more properly referred to as coral atolls, like Majuro, were formed.

It wasn’t long before I realized the students were becoming visibly agitated. Finally, curly headed Kurban could hold it in no longer and blurted, “Have you seen that mountain we on?”

“No,” I admitted, “I have not.”

“Then how you know we on top of mountain?”

“Scientists have special equipment they use to measure how deep the ocean is…”

“You lie,” muttered Kurban loudly."

We Not on Top of Mountain

“We not on top of mountain. We all know God made island. Not coral plops. You bad teacher,” muttered Yosen. “Maybe you go back to North Dakota. You teach foolish."

“We on one small island, not on mountain,” added Maryland.

“True, we are on an island but the island is the top of a mountain poking its coral head up through the wa…”

“We not on mountain,” argued Kurban. “This island he be flat. He not be no mountain.”

In exasperation I finally asked, “Then what keeps this island from floating around on the water?”

Without hesitation Kurban answered emphatically, “God hold it in His hand.”

With those simple words this island boy yanked my rug of knowledge out from under me. Who could argue with faith like that? I smiled slowly as I spoke, “You’re right, Kurban, you are so right.”

Lesson done.

My memories floated back in time. I had grown up with a fear of water. It had taken me three years to pass beginner’s swimming because of that fear! Then, as a sophomore at college I’d been chosen not to go to South America where I had wanted to go—but to  the Marshall Islands in the middle of the Pacific, where I would have to fly 6000 miles by jet above an endless expanse of ocean! Talk about fear! My former math teacher had helped me by telling me to simply visualize God holding the plane in His hands.

Now, my student had hit that same lesson home to me and it was a home run.

Wherever you go, wherever you are, remember, God holds you in His hands. “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

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By Sharon Messer. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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