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MOST Ministries
Beyond Our Control: From Team Member to Missionary 
By Serena Derricks (Missionary in Cameroon)

There are some moments in your life that aren’t easy to forget. For me, that moment occurred while singing and praying over a little boy who was getting his rotten teeth removed by an American dentist in rural Guatemala. I had arrived in the village a few days earlier with a dental/ESL team from MOST Ministries on scholarship from a generous donor through Concordia University, Portland. I was currently in the midst of studying to become a Lutheran high school teacher and thought I would be assisting the experienced teachers on the team and gaining some experience in the classroom. God, however, had some other plans. It became apparent after the first day that the teachers had plenty of help, while the dental team was in need. So, I went upstairs and stood around by the wall and watched. I remember praying the whole time and feeling a bit confused why God had me there. I had no dental training,                    Derricks Family in Cameroon              although I’d spent a lot of time in the chair myself as a child. I could see that the dentist, who led our team, was well-equipped to do his job of serving this community that had little to no access to dental care. Suddenly, that same dentist paused his work and called my name, “Serena, come and sit with this little boy. He’s feeling scared and needs someone here to comfort him.” So I left my spot on the wall and took this little boy’s shaking hands. I should also mention at this point in the story that I didn’t know any Spanish, but as it turned out neither did most villagers. They spoke a local language and needed translation from a young boy brought in for that specific job. I called him over and asked him to tell me some useful words in their language that I scribbled down with my best guess of spelling and placed beside me. I still remember those words I wrote to this very day. My list grew as the week progressed and I spent the next 10 days singing hymns, praying, and attempting to communicate with our patients, mostly young children. I held their hands while their mouths were numbed with scary needles and rotted baby teeth were extracted to prevent infection and potentially save their lives. I saw them arrive scared, leave bandaged up, and return a few days later for a follow-up beaming with the joy of being pain free. During this time, the Lord taught me about my own lack of abilities and how, aside from prayer, I could offer comfort from just my presence. I wasn’t bringing any skills like I thought I would be in the ESL classroom,       Comforting the boy in Guatemala  I just showed up willing and God was doing the rest. It was those weeks in Guatemala that placed in me a love for ministry overseas, languages, and a deeper love for the Lord. That trip was eleven years ago. Since then, I’ve graduated from Concordia, and for the past ten years have served in Macau, China, Seoul, South Korea, and am currently living in Cameroon, Central Africa. I’m wrapping up my tenth year serving the Lord overseas - first as an ESL teacher in Asia through LCMS International and now as a literacy worker with Lutheran Bible Translators. I have a husband and two beautiful girls, and we love our life in Cameroon, working with a minority language group who wants to have a full Bible in their language. I often recall my excitement of being able to communicate to the villagers in Guatemala with my small post-it note of words in their language. My time in Guatemala with MOST Ministries showed me my passion for travel, languages, and most of all for loving people with the love of God. I thank God for all the opportunities He’s given me to serve Him! To God be the Glory, in my life and yours! Thank you, MOST Ministries, for the work you do, not only with the people you are serving, but inspiring our church body to do missions and to become missionaries!


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