Families living on foreign mission fields face special challenges in sending their kids to Christian colleges back in North America. The cost of transportation alone is daunting.
That’s what led Stanley and Harriet van Reken to establish the Christian Missionary Scholarship Foundation almost 30 years ago after seeing members of their own family struggle with that reality.
Current scholarship recipient Harry Lee grew up in the Philippines, where his parents have been missionaries since 2002. He is currently studying theology at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. “Although I have obtained Christian education since grade school, a significant desire was within me [to have] higher education through a college that is strong in doctrine and its education. Here at Dordt, I have met professors and friends who shared indispensable Reformed values and knowledge,” he said. Scholarships are what have made his college education possible.
Kirstin Strydhorst is the daughter of Rev. Albert and Carolyn Strydhorst, long-time missionaries in Nigeria working for Christian Reformed World Missions. “While we were in Nigeria, we were supported by 12 Christian Reformed churches,” she said. She is studying biology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.
“Being in college is about more than just the academic learning. It is about learning who you are and how to be independent and yet work with others at the same time. Having received the scholarship from CMSF, I am able to pay off the remainder of my tuition myself now, which has been a huge growing step for me, and which I am very grateful for,”Strydhorst said.
In the 2014/2015 academic year, the scholarship fund granted $415,000 to 118 students, representing 52 countries. Eligible students must be attending Calvin, Dordt, Hope, Kuyper, Trinity Christian, or Wheaton College. There is no restriction on field of study.