Veritas Welcomed a Chinese ESL Camp
In July, Veritas hosted a two-week ESL camp held through Mennonite Partners in China, an organization with which one of our members teaches English overseas. As the host church, Veritas provided a space for the daily classes and arranged for host families for the eight high-school students and a teacher, all from Nanchong, China in the Sichuan province. After lots of emails soliciting interest and prayer asking God to provide, nineteen Veritas members from the Short North and Tri-Village congregations opened their homes or assisted with transportation for these students and their teacher.
In the mornings the students had ESL class at Veritas, ate lunch together, and then went on excursions in the afternoons to places like the zoo, museum of art, The Ohio State University, local parks, and Easton. A number of individuals provided transportation for the students to and from Veritas each day to help make hosting possible for others, sometimes driving quite a ways out of their way. In the evenings and on the weekends students spent time with their host families. They ate meals together, played games and sports, spent time with family and friends, attended local festivals and events, and experienced life with an American family who loves and follows Jesus. At the end of the two weeks Derek Stone asked his students what they liked most and one replied, “Just hanging out with you guys.”
In those day-to-day moments the students and teacher were able to build relationships with their hosts, despite the language barriers. Not only were the students blessed by the hospitality of the Veritas members, but the host families were shown generosity and love. The teacher from China, Yiran, gave beautiful silks to her host, Kristen Miele, and braided her hair with them. Students staying with David Wituszynski generously cooked him a traditional hot pot meal. Other students made scrambled eggs with tomatoes for their hosts or shared other Chinese treats with them.
These guests were able to receive something far greater than English lessons and a fun American experience. God opened the door for host families to share and demonstrate the gospel as they lived life together. Students were introduced to prayer, invited to church, and discussed faith and spirituality. Yiran, the teacher from China, was able to watch the Jesus film in Mandarin and attended church with the Linvilles. Barbara and Scott Warner gave their girls, Qiqi and Lingwei, Chinese-English Bibles. Other hosts wrote letters sharing the gospel for students to take with them. When one of the students, Dragon, was given a Bible, he told his host Brent Miller, “Books are a very nice gift. They are full of wisdom,” and Brent agreed whole-heartedly.
God was clearly at work throughout the two weeks of the camp. For many of the volunteers’ lives that looked like gentle lessons and transformation in generosity, sacrifice, reliance on the Lord, and steps of faith to share gospel truth and love. To that end we continue to pray that the love shown to the students and teacher would remain near to their hearts and that Christ would draw them to Himself and His perfect love.