It kind of came out of nowhere—the call. It was “out of nowhere” because I wasn’t looking for it, and it wasn’t part of the plan. Yet the Lord had set this call in motion months before I would ever think of it. It all began with a short visit to the AFM booth at ASI last August. There, I met some career missionaries who were on furlough from Turkey. They had been in that country for seven years and had seen how the Lord provided. After our conversation, they convince me to sign up for emails containing call lists. They assured me that if the Lord called me, He would provide the means for me to go. So I wrote down my name as a courtesy and promptly forgot about the encounter.
Months later, I was sitting in my school’s library doing homework for the next day when I felt impressed to check my email. I opened my browser and pulled up my email list. There were only five new emails, four of which were spam. I read the description of the one that wasn’t, clicking on it when I realized it was from AFM. Attached was a list of calls for short and long-term mission opportunities. “Well, it can’t hurt to take a look,” I thought. So I clicked on the Word document containing the short-term calls and began to scroll. I skimmed through the call numbers and project destinations, but nothing seemed to grab my attention. Suddenly I saw it— a call to Pnong needing a Music/English teacher. I had seen calls before needing English teachers or music teachers, but seeing both of those fields together caught my attention. I am currently studying both music and English, yet I know they are seemingly unrelated fields. Therefore, seeing a call to teach the two things I was studying piqued my interest. I shook my head at the notion. “No, Dailyn. Taking a year off school is not part of the plan.” So I closed the email, but a small seed had been watered in my mind and would soon begin to germinate.
Over the next few days, I mentioned the idea to some of my friends, but I always presented it in a “nice wish” sort of way. Then the weekend came. We were having closing Sabbath vespers, and to finish the service we were paired up to pray with the people in our birthday month. There was only one other person born in August. He was a visitor to our campus whom I had not yet met, so we introduced ourselves and exchanged prayer requests. When it was my turn, I mentioned how I was debating taking a year off to do mission work. He excitedly began to tell me about his cousin and her husband who were career missionaries in Turkey for seven years. He mentioned they were with AFM and were currently in the States for furlough. My heart began beating quickly. I could not believe my ears! They were the same couple I had met at ASI and had convinced me to sign up for the emails!
The experience was enough to nudge me into making some initial inquiries, but I was not yet convinced this was something God was calling me to do. After all, it could all be a neat coincidence. I began to email an AFM representative for the next week. He congratulated me on my interest and told me he had also served as a student missionary in the past. When I asked him where he had served I was shocked to hear the answer. He had served in the exact same school I was looking to apply for! He encouraged me to pray about it and sent me some information and pictures from the project. However, the whole notion was still very confusing. So I decided to take a trip to SWAU in Texas and visit some friends for the weekend. On my way there, I prayed that God would show me what I had to do soon.
When I entered the church for Friday night vespers, I was intrigued by the theme of the service. It was mission emphasis night! “Huh! That’s kind of neat,” I thought with a smile to myself. When the service began, they introduced the mission panel for the night. But when the last panelist was introduced, my mouth dropped. It was the same person I had been emailing all week! “Well, I guess he lives in Texas and works remotely for the Michigan office,” I rationalized. But when the service ended, I decided I had to introduce myself and ask him more about the Cambodia project.
After the presentation, I approached him and told him who I was. He was quite surprised to see me. “I thought you lived in Arkansas,” he said with a quizzical look. “I do!” I quickly replied. “I just decided to come here last minute to visit some friends and get some clarity.” He began to get excited. “No way! I was not supposed to be speaking here tonight either. I live in Michigan, and my coming here was last minute too! Earlier this week, I was asked to cover for the other panelist who couldn’t make it. So I was impressed to come and speak of my experience!” By this point, we were both wide-eyed and smiling. “Well . . . The Lord sure seems to be coordinating a lot of things here. But I have seen Him work enough to know that all of this is not a mere coincidence. He must really want me to do this!” I said dizzily. When I told him what had happened so far, he agreed that the experiences I had been having were not random. The Lord was calling me. So part of the plan or not, I was ready to say, “Here I am, Lord. Send me!” I began the application process that same week, and four months later I got the final response. I was going to Cambodia to teach!
I praise the Lord because when He calls us, He never asks us to follow Him blindly. Either through Bible stories or our own experiences, He provides evidence for our faith. So when times get tough and doubts assail us, we can look back to those moments and claim the promise of Deuteronomy 31:6. We can trust that He will never leave us nor forsake us.