We all have different seasons in our life. Over the course of the next year I’m going to share with you a season of my life, a year that impacted me like no other. It happened ten years ago but it still affects me today. I don’t know if I’m feeling nostalgic about that time because it has been ten years but it’s been on my mind lately, in a good way. There are very happy memories. I’m very content with my current season of life and where I am now but this one year of my life has a special place in my heart.
So you might be wondering, what’s so special that happened ten years ago? Well, ten years ago I graduated college and was so excited to be finished with school. I was done and if I never took another test or wrote another paper, that was fine with me. I had a new adventure in front of me and I was excited, nervous, anxious and at peace all at the same time. I was moving to China to teach English as a Second Language.
I was accepted into a Teaching Fellowship that had a 1 year commitment. I was going to be placed on a team and we would most likely be teaching English to kids in k-12. It all depended on what school we went too. There was a mentoring component to the program and support in teaching. There were 70 of us in the program, all college graduates up to age 27.
A lot of people thought it was commendable that I would do this or that it made me special in some way. Those lines of thinking made me uncomfortable then as they do now. I had prayed long and hard about what I should do after college. Teaching in China was the answer I received. I was simply following what God was telling me to do. I was being obedient. There is nothing special about that. Even today, when people find out that I lived in Asia for 3 years they are surprised. That surprises me. In my world, packing up and moving half way around the world is normal. I know lots of people who have done it. I guess comparatively we make up a small portion of the population. But I am not abnormal is doing this.
In fact the organization I went to Asia with has been working in China for 3o years. I did go with a Christian organization that send Christians to teach ESL. They are still sending teachers to China as well as other countries. Every year they send teachers to serve for the year and in the summer they send teams to teach English camps. The need is still great and there are still hearts searching for Truth in Asia. I’m thankful that I was used in a small way to make a difference. I went, and teachers still go because eternity matters. Ten years later and I still pray for my students and colleagues. Not everyday but God does bring them to mind pretty often. I also pray for my teammates that are still in China (and Viet Nam) and for those who came after me.
So I’m writing this series partly for me, to have a place to reminisce and to have a place to record some of the memories that have stuck with me. I’m writing it partly for you, as a follower of Many Waters, to fill you in on some background on who I am and what I’ve done. And maybe I’m writing it for those still to come, those who are being called to go. Even though it’s been ten year and a lot as changed, a lot remains the same. For whatever the reason, I feel the need to write it down, to share it, to get it out.
*If you want to know more about the organization I taught with, please leave a comment and I’ll email you with information. It’s not that I can’t share that info on the web, I just chose not too. The work being done is too important to be placed in jeopardy by a blog post/comment. Just consider it the OSPEC of working in Asia!