Wayland student tests her training on summer mission trip to Samoa

Marianne Broome still has a few years of school left before she heads into the classroom as a teacher. But her studies thus far proved helpful this summer as she spent 10 weeks on mission in Samoa.

Broome, a junior elementary education major at Wayland Baptist University, took the journey to Samoa through Go Now Missions of the Baptist Student Ministries, a division of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

While in Samoa - an island nation south of Hawaii and near Australia and Guam - Broome taught first- and second-graders in summer school for five weeks. She then helped with Vacation Bible Schools for the children in the village of Tafuna.

Though she'd done mission work before in the United States, she had never been overseas. When she learned the assignment involved teaching, she felt God had truly led her and prepared her for the trip to Samoa. Since she'd grown up in Utah, she also was familiar with the heavily Mormon culture on the island.

"It was a real life-changing experience. I got to see God work in many different ways," said Broome, a native of Estes Park, Colo. "They're open to the gospel, especially from white people. They think America sends only their best overseas."

Though Broome said the Samoans were open to the gospel, she admits they weren't always easy to approach. She relied mainly on witnessing through her work and with the children, whom she said were far more open to strangers and outsiders.

One particular experience illustrated that and remains vividly in her memory.

"We did a half-hour of Bible every morning in my class and one day I shared a story and someone asked about being a Christian," she recalled. "On my break, a girl named Trixie came to ask more and a few days later, I felt led to share the salvation bracelet with her. She accepted Christ that day.

"When I asked her how she felt, she said, in her broken English, 'I have Jesus in my heart.' It was neat."