I recently received a phone call alerting me to a ministry need in our state. The caller has become friends with Chinese teachers who are here in Kentucky in a type of exchange program where they come to spend a school year working in an American school. The caller was brokenhearted because she had just learned that many of the friends of the Chinese teachers that she has befriended have no one who has welcomed them.
The caller sent me an email which I share here :
As I told you over the telephone, this all began with giving a ride in the rain and then on to Walmart. We include the girls (which is what we call them affectionately and consider them our daughters-hand picked by God) in our life. We take them shopping, to church, events we think might interest them and local activities. They have become good friends with people outside the school district and have experienced our culture first hand. They have no choice but to judge us by our movies which they quickly learn is not accurate. We are not wealthy people and cannot take them to expensive tourist destinations but they are very happy to experience American culture any way they can. We include them in our holidays. Most of them cry and say they were hoping to see what a real Christmas in an American family would be like. They help me decorate for Christmas and this gives me opportunity to teach what each thing symbolizes and how it relates to the true Christmas story.
We celebrate their Chinese New Year with them and they love to cook for us. They are happy to experience our food outside the school cafeteria and are always surprised how different home cooking is. Its the little things that make our culture what it is and they leave with an accurate appreciation of the people who make up America. Our friends consider them our daughters too and invite them to weddings, birthdays, and even funerals. Everything is a teaching moment and they are very curious, just like we would be in China.
Some have left behind husbands and children for this American experience and it is so sad when our girls tell us how lonely some of the other teachers are. Often when I meet teachers from other counties, they will hug me and say “I wish I worked in your county so I would have an American mom who cares about me.” That breaks my heart! Not because I am anybody but because I know there are plenty of Christians out there who are praying for an opportunity to show Jesus love to someone but they don’t know where that someone is. Maybe in their own town, but they are not with the school system or they assume the school system is keeping that teacher busy. American teachers are usually too busy for their own family and are not able to take in another person.
Actually my family is in the perfect position for this because my kids are grown, no grandkids to keep me hopping, I work in the school system as a paraeducator so I’m not as busy as a classroom teacher, and we have a van. There are four teachers in my county so the van is very important!
We have learned so much from them about Chinese people and culture. I was able to teach for a month in China which I thoroughly enjoyed. It definitely gave me first hand insight into their culture. We have been blessed to be able to lead five of our daughters to Christ. They are active in their churches in China and one has led her parents to Christ. The other ten daughters have not yet committed to Christ but we know seeds have been planted and they periodically contact us with questions about the Bible or about salvation. We make sure each one returns home with a Bible that is easy for them to read and understand.
The daughter I left out, V, was already a Christian and her time here helped make her a leader at home. China only allows one church in every city so if it is not your “flavor” you stay home. V does not want to attend [the state approved] church and her house church leaders disappeared 10 years ago so her family has been hungry for Christian fellowship and discipleship. She brought her husband and child here last summer and spent 3 weeks with us. It was the first time her husband and child had ever been in a church that was different than the one at home. It really makes me appreciate our freedom of religion here. Her husband is working on starting a church but trying to figure out how to do it safely.
This email has been very long and I apologize. I just wanted to give you a sense of what we are doing and how simple it is so you can help us minister to the Chinese teachers that God is sending to Ky. Who knows how long this opportunity will be available?
If you would like to befriend a Chinese teacher, we are aware of teachers in the following school districts at this time: Adair, Barren, Butler, Cloverport Independent, Daviess, Hardin, Logan, Meade, Metcalf, Muhlenberg, Oldham, Simpson, Todd, Warren.
Please contact me for specific schools in these counties/districts. We have direct contact information for only a few of the teachers but are aware of nearly 40 schools with Chinese teachers. You may work in one of the schools or have other contacts. For more information, please email: [email protected]