My newly-wed husband and I bought a van that we honeymooned in, travelling around New Zealand before we finally arrived in our new town. We expected it to be easy to find a place to stay but we couldn't have been more wrong. We lived in the van for a while and through prayer, God worked many miracles in our lives that helped us know that He wanted us right where we were.
Being a first-year teacher, there were a few meetings I had to attend. I sat with a group of girls, two of whom would be part of God's plan for us. I got chatting, and told the story of moving from Australia and how we were living in a van. One of the girls said, "My mother-inlaw has a flat that maybe you can use." It turned out she didn't want anyone living there but agreed to have us anyway.
We kept searching for another place, then the principal sent me an email showing a place five minutes from school. We let the landlord know we were interested, along with so many other people. We prayed and God did the rest. The landlord was persuaded that we were the best choice, as I was working in a Christian school that was known for its special character.
After six months, our van decided to give up and we were left without transport. That's where Kel--the second girl from my teachers' meetings--came into the picture. Kel and her husband, Pete, came over one evening and, after a bit of small talk, they said, "We've been inspired to give you guys a car as we have two."
We were blown away. They had the papers and keys to the car ready to hand over. They insisted this was God's will and all we could do was accept their humble gift. It was amazing how He kept performing miracles for us.
A couple of years later, we decided it was time to buy a house and we could only afford to buy in a rough area. But knowing God was on our side, we went ahead and bought the house. After six months, our house was broken into while we were at church. It was a terrible violation but through it all, we felt even closer to God.
A few more months passed and early one Sabbath morning, our car was stolen from our driveway. A neighbour ran over to tell us what had just happened. This hit me hard and I just started to think, Why is this happening to us?
But God hadn't deserted us. At that moment, I got a phone call from a friend asking me to bring her cookbook to church. I explained to her what had happened and hung up. Not long after, she rang back saying that they spotted our car on their way to church. If she hadn't called about the cookbook, she wouldn't have known our car was gone and wouldn't have seen it. Again, we praised God for returning our car safely and watching over us.
There is nothing easy about venturing into a job you've never done before in a foreign country but there's nothing more beautiful than watching God take you under His wing and show you His loving care and protection.
God has helped me see that teaching is not just a job, it's an opportunity to share Jesus with His precious children. It has been a huge learning curve and continues to be, for in this job you never really stop learning. I have been blessed with Christlike people, who stood beside me and uplifted me when I felt like I was doing everything wrong. I had wonderful support as a beginner teacher and, now as a registered teacher, I continue receiving the support I need.
Worship and serve him with your whole heart and with a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and understands and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. 1 Chronicles 28:9.
Melissa Petersen is a primary school teacher who teaches Grades 1 to 3 at Parkside Christian School in Napier, New Zealand.