When School is Preparation for Ministry

by Kristi Van Dyk

10 years ago, when Steve and I were dating, we had numerous conversations on the topic of children - future children. We agreed in many areas without debate - similar in number, indifference to gender (not that we had any control over that, but you know ...), parenting styles and discipline all seemed to line up smoothly. We differed strongly in the areas of private vs public education - but we never discussed our preferred "language of instruction." 

Our family's journey since entering an early total one-way dual language immersion program has been life altering. Our children embrace cultural differences and explore with curiosity languages of many kinds. Thus far their English literacy is on schedule (or even accelerated), and we are able to give them the gift of bi-lingualism, which we are confident will enrich their lives from this moment forward. Each opportunity we have to interact with their developing bi-lingual friends, and to observe the effortless way they sweep in and out of their L2's, (and sometimes L3's),  validates our decision to take this "leap of faith."  

Furthermore, I can NOT help but let the tears fall afresh each time I think about the messages they will be able to communicate to the world at large. Their Christ centered education prepares them (not just in word but in deed) that the Love of Jesus knows no cultural barriers, it isn't halted by language differences, and it crosses the boundaries of vast oceans. What better way to express genuine love than by dedicating your education to the study of (not only traditional academic content but) a language outside of the one which is most comfortable.  

I can't wait to see how the Lord leads these children to unique opportunities - that alter misconceptions, break down stereotypes and help reach His loving arms across borders. I'm confident that in the process, my children will learn lessons I could never teach; they will experience worlds I will never understand, and they'll relate to a people group that is loved and cherished by the same God they grew up loving. I'm sure tonight's experiences at a Chinese restaurant - testing their ability to speak to native speakers (and to experience new foods)- are just the tip of a beautiful iceberg. 

I feel truly fortunate because this education is beyond any I could have dreamed

Anders Traver.JPG