By NATHAN WOTI
(UPNG Journalism student)
AFTER graduating from the University of PNG early this year, Florida Poko faced two choices: look for a job and support her family, or throw it all away and become a missionary.
She chose the latter “even though most of my family didn’t agree with my choice”.
“Everything we see around us will end one day. So I want to invest in God’s eternal kingdom. That’s why I choose to be a missionary despite my family’s opinions. I made the right choice because working as a missionary with young people and seeing them grasping the importance of God being the centre of their lives is amazing. God calls different people to different paths in their lives. For me God called me to serve Him while I am still in my youth.”
Florida, 24, is the youngest in a family of three. The two eldest are her brothers Arnold and Ronald.
Their dad, a police officer, is from Wabag in Enga. Mum is from Sinasina-Yongomugl in Chimbu. Florida attended Tega Lutheran Secondary and Mt Hagen Park Secondary School before pursuing a degree in Journalism and Public Relations at UPNG.
“ So I want to invest in God’s eternal kingdom. That’s why I choose to be a missionary despite my family’s opinions. For me God called me to serve Him while I am still in my youth.”
At university, she understood the expectation of her family to do well and support them when she graduated and found a job. It’s common in a typical Melanesian family. The clan and tribe too have their interest in her progress and future.
So everyone was therefore happy to see her graduate at the beginning of this year, especially mum and dad. But little did they know her secret.
What happened was while studying at the university in 2017, a friend invited her to a Monday night fellowship with Student Life. It triggered something in Florida that changed her life.
“I am a Seventh-Day Adventist and growing up, I’ve heard about God. But I never really knew who God is until I joined Student Life.”
In 2017 and last year, she wanted to know more about Him “and grow in my walk with God”.
“My biggest prayer in 2018 was to let God’s will be done on my life. So before the year ended, I saw God call me to be a missionary with Student Life. At first I was terrified and I refused (because) I knew my family won’t agree.”
After completing her studies last year, she was told that she needed to look for a job quickly to meet her family expectations.
That’s what she did, even though her heart was not really in it. But try as hard as she could to ignore God’s presence in her life, she could not. She knew then her destiny had already been determined. After months of looking, she gave up. She knew that God wanted her to be a missionary.
Her dad and uncle who were her main sponsors through university were the first to know what was on her mind.
“They agreed. I was thinking about becoming a missionary.”
She signed a two-year contract with Great Commissions Movements PNG to serve as a missionary.
She is content about doing God’s work and will continue to seek God’s will after her two-year contract with Student Life is over.
She will then see where God wants to lead her.
Her advice to readers is: “Everything happens according to God’s will – both the good and the bad stuff. So despite everything you are going through, know that God allows it to happen. So choose to trust God and His greater purpose in your lives.”