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How a Dream About the Savior Helped This Seminary Teacher Teach English in Fiji

by | Dec. 09, 2019

Mormon Life

Craig almost couldn't believe what he was hearing. 

Just six months before, he had been assigned to work as a seminary teacher for the Church in Ogden, Utah. Now administrators from the seminaries and institutes of the Church were asking if he would be willing to pack up his small family and move nearly 6,000 miles away to Fiji to teach English. If that wasn't enough, they needed to know what the answer would be within just 24 hours. 

"I decided whatever the Lord asked me to do—discipleship was very important in my life—and the Lord's hand would be in it," Craig says. "Others were inspired, we took time to pray about it, talk to our parents, they all said, 'Don't go.' And I turned to my wife and I said, 'The hand of the Lord is in this. We are to go.'"

Craig's wife agreed, and two months later Craig and his family went from the arid desert of Utah to the humid and tropical Suva, Fiji. 

This drastic change in climate alone proved difficult for Craig and his family. His children suffered from heat rash from the sudden heat. Then there was the difference in language, currency, and even the liveliness of the food.

In Fiji, livestock is purchased "on the hoof,” or live instead of butchered. This presented a problem, since neither Craig nor his wife had never bought their dinner while it was still breathing. But determined, Craig's wife made the trip to the market where she purchased a chicken for Craig to butcher later. 

"And the truth of the matter is, is what happened is the chicken got loose on the bus and was sort of flying around," Craig says. "A Fijian lady grabs the chicken by the neck and ringed it and killed it right on the bus. And she came home and the chicken was dead. And she says, 'I'm sorry the chicken lost its life on the bus.' And that was our first experience having our meal. And I plucked the chicken, cleaned the chicken, and we had chicken."

Then, not long after they arrived, Craig and his family all contracted dengue fever, also known as breakbone fever for its painful muscle and joint aches. 

Knowing that Craig and his family would experience these challenges, the Church had left the family a round trip ticket home in case they decided to leave, an option that was becoming more tempting by the day.

On top of these unexpected adjustments and illnesses, Craig felt discouraged about his new job teaching English as a second language, a profession in which he had no previous experience. Though the school he taught at was formally known as the LDS Technical College, it was more commonly referred to as the "low-down school" because of the students' low test scores. 

"My biggest fear was whether I would succeed, because if you don't have 80 percent or above, you have failed and mom and dad will take them out and just put them on the plantation," Craig says. "And their life is pretty much, you know, that's what it's going to be the rest of their life."

But while Craig and his family were seriously reconsidering their choice to move to Fiji, Craig had a dream. In the dream, Craig says he was teaching English in front of his class when the students began to point to something behind him.

"And I turned around and there was someone standing in the air, and he was dressed in white and immense light," Craig says. "And no words were spoken, and I could see his feet, and I could see the wounds in his feet. Now at that point, everything in the classroom had just dissolved. The students who were there, they weren't part of the dream anymore. But I remember seeing His feet and I bathed His feet in my tears. And I held them close. And I recall, He lifted me up to Him. And He then encircled me in His arms, His ever-loving arms, and He pulled me close. And He said to me, 'You can do this.'"

Then Craig woke up, stunned at what he had just dreamed. The experience was so sacred that Craig says for a while, he was unable to record it, but he knew that he and his family had to stay in Fiji. 

Though Craig's wife had noticed a change in her husband, she hadn't experienced pivotal change-of-heart moment. She still struggled with the many challenges because of the move, and Craig knew that he had to share his dream with his wife. 

"And I said Jesus said, 'We can do this.'" Craig says. "'We can do this.' And she says, 'I knew something had happened to you. You've changed over the last couple of weeks.' She says, 'That makes all the difference to me, because if you can do this, then I can too.' And it changed our lives forever."

And it did, Craig and his family stayed in Fiji for three years. During the first year, Craig's students' scores went from the 50-60 percentile to 86 percent. The next year, his students' scores rose to the 90 percentile. And by Craig's last year, his student's scores rose to 94 percent. 

"It comes back to the dream," Craig says. "'You can do this.' Not just Fiji, but it meant anything the Lord would ask me to do. I learned that God knew my thoughts and the intents of my heart that I wanted to be a disciple, but it was hard at that time. He knew my thoughts. I believe the Lord knew how to succor me and how to give me that answer. And for me, it was in a dream."

Listen to the full episode, "Dream A Little Dream,” below or click here for the episode show notes and transcript. 

Lead image courtesy of Craig

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