“Is this real? Am I really doing this?” I said to myself as I sat in an airplane going from Germany all the way to Hobart, Tasmania.
Upon finishing university, I decided that I wanted to serve God as a volunteer. Having had training as a teacher, I applied for many positions and tried many different options to serve at an Adventist school, but nothing worked out. As time passed, and I got one refusal after another, I started struggling spiritually, because I couldn’t understand why God wouldn’t open any doors when I wanted to work for Him. Then I remembered Proverbs 3:5, 6, which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”* I started praying every day that God would help me to trust Him whether I understood what was going on or not. After a couple days, I realized that I wasn’t struggling anymore. I could handle the fact that God had other plans in mind for me, though I didn’t know yet what they would be. I started applying for other types of positions and could hardly believe it when I got an email inviting me to be the chaplain at an Adventist school in the south of Tasmania. At this point, I didn’t know what a school chaplain actually was because there are no chaplains in German schools and I had never met one before. Apart from that fact, everything seemed to be perfect and somehow I just knew that this opportunity hadn’t come by chance.
So as I sat in the airplane, I really didn’t know what to expect, but I knew that God was holding me. When I arrived, everyone was so friendly and welcoming. My apartment was beautiful too. With the passing of time, I realized that I loved being a school chaplain!
I have been here more than six months now, and I find that I enjoy being a school chaplain even more than teaching. In fact, I have decided to extend my assignment here. When I look back on my experiences, I can see now that I needed to go through those hard times when I received so many rejections. It was through the denials that I learned to fully trust God and to surrender everything to Him. The way in which God is using me here is just beyond what I could ever imagine. Every day, I ask Him to make me humble and to be totally led by His Holy Spirit, because it’s not really me doing all the work – it’s God. I know that I am fully dependent on Him, and He’s the One who brought me here. Proverbs 3:5, 6 is absolutely true!
I have now experienced that being God’s tool is more fulfilling and satisfying than anything else. I enjoy talking and praying with the students so much. One day, a non-Christian student approached me with shining eyes and said, “Aila, you know what? Actually, I don’t really pray, but my friend got sick, so I prayed for her, and it worked. God has answered my prayer!” In these moments I get so excited that I could just about jump for joy! Right now, I know that God wants me to be here. I have no idea what He wants me to do next, but I can surrender everything to Him and know that I just need to trust Him and He’ll make my paths straight.
*Verse taken from the New International Version
Aila Heck, originally from Germany, writes from Hobart, Tasmania, where she serves as a School Chaplain and Assistant Pastor at Hilliard Christian School. She began her service in September of 2011 and will continue to serve until the end of 2012. Aila feels that God has blessed her very much, and she would like to be a blessing to others and share God’s love with them.
The next thing I knew, the door flew open, and I was staring down at a double-barreled sawed-off shotgun.
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