Spending a Summer in China

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While many people spend part of the summer taking in a vacation or two, 11 members of the Christian Reformed Church elected to teach English to students halfway around the world.

Front row (left to right): Jan Klompmaker, Marilyn VanDriesen, Jennifer Rupke, Patty Wilshire, Helen Westra Back row: John Klompmaker, Carrie Peterson, Larry Peterson, Ron Bouwkamp, Marlene Bouwkamp, Barbara Carvill

For nearly six weeks, this group of teachers representing several CRCs worked with Chinese students in class or mass culture sessions, and then in one-on-one meetings. For some it was an inaugural trip, but others have participated in summer or winter programs anywhere from five to 23 times. It was the fifth trip for John Klompmaker, a member of New Hope CRC (Lansing, Ill.).

“Teaching in China is amazing, interesting, exciting, exhausting, and exhilarating,” said Klompmaker. “The five weeks begin with joy, anxiety, anticipation, and always end with tears of joy, anxiety, and anticipation. We prepare for the unknown, eager to share our knowledge of English, our understanding of North American culture, and our hope as found in 1 Peter 3:15.”

Requirements for teaching in China as part of the non-denominational organization (that must remain unnamed) are a college degree and the ability to speak English. Volunteers are tasked with teaching English to Chinese teachers as well as to university students who are studying information technology; secondarily, they also share about North American culture, provide business training, develop teaching skills, and build relationships.

“The [CRCNA] members participate as Christ has called them to serve,” Klompmaker said. “In the CRC we have learned to serve, being served by so many, being taught from the Word about serving. The call to selfless service is met in sacrificing resources, time, and energy for a summer in China. We return to North America reinvigorated to serve at home, being able to understand more clearly what Christ meant when he called us all fishers of men.”

Anyone interested in joining this adventure should contact John Klompmaker.

About the Author

Melissa Holtrop

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