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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Why is Chloe going to school in Taiwan?

That question is likely the most often asked question this year, so let me take this opportunity, while I am sitting in Taichung, Taiwan to give you the answer.
When we moved from Canada to Alpharetta, Georgia Chloe was in 4th grade (or Grade 4 as we say in Canada).  She attended Kings Ridge Christian School for the rest of her Primary School years until she graduated and moved to Milton High School for 9th grade.  It was during that year that we decided to move to Swaziland, Africa at the end of May 2012. Spencer would have finished High School and would move on to Florida State University and Chloe would attend a private High School in Swaziland called Waterford Kamhlaba. 

Only five days after we landed at our new, almost finished home, at the top of a remote mountain in Swaziland, Chloe entered the middle of her 10th grade year (or Form 4 as we say in Swaziland).  She would be required to cram a full year of school in to half a year, while adjusting to a new continent and way of life.  The move was difficult, school was intense, internet communication was almost impossible and it was a bumpy landing for all of us (except for Spencer who moved to a new state in to his first apartment at the age of 18 – yes, you sense a touch of  “Mother’s guilt”).

Chloe was not happy. She had a 90 minute commute to and from school each day, had a huge workload, a totally new way of teaching/learning and was missing her friends back at “home”.  Even knowing where “home” was, was a challenge.  Ian and I would say that Canada was “home”, but both our children would say that Georgia was “home”. Now some of us lived in Swaziland and one in Florida. Where was home really?  The first six months in Swaziland were really, really hard and we knew soon enough that Waterford was not the place for Chloe.  But if not Waterford, where?  I have no ability to teach Home School. We didn’t believe that Georgia (or the US) was right for her because we don’t have family there, and Canada seemed like a life-time away from where we were then.  It was time to pray and pray fervently because it seemed like there was no solution, or not one that we could see.

Chloe with Ralph's dog Elmer
InOctober 2012 I had the privilege of being invited to Taiwan for the annual Walk For Water event hosted by my dear friend Lewis Lu.  Lewis and his High School students host an International Youth Conference every year in Taiwan and for the past few years they have had a Walk-a-thon to raise money to help us at Heart for Africa Swaziland.  We are so thankful for their continued involvement and support.

During my visit in 2012 I was also invited to speak at a private school called the Morrison Academy (MA).  I had been invited to speak there in 2011 through one of our past Heart for Africa trip volunteers named Cynthia Lim.  Cynthia works at MA and arranged for me to share at their weekly Chapel Service and I was thrilled to be invited back again in 2012.

When I got back to Swaziland I was telling Chloe and Ian about my trip.  I love Taiwan and consider it a second (third? Fourth?) home.  I was also telling them about this really cool school that I had spoken at (MA).  Chloe looked at me and after a while said, “I think that is the school I am supposed to go to”.  Ha.  Not a chance.  First of all, it is in TAIWAN, which just happens to be a MILLION miles in the opposite direction of where Spencer lives and both countries that we had moved from.

After several attempts at discussing this option with us Chloe said, “Why don’t you pray about it?”

Well, I didn’t need to pray about it. The thought was absurd AND besides, she wouldn't qualify for the school because it was designed for children of Missionaries who were serving in Taiwan and other parts of Asia, NOT AFRICA.

Seaweed flavored Lay's Potato Chips?
But when your 16-year old reminds you to “ask God” what He thinks, rather than leaning on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6) you kind of have to do it.  And so we did.  And that is the beginning and the end of the story. What seemed impossible became possible.  Obstacles were easily overcome and Ian, Chloe and I all had total peace.  After a visit to Taiwan (and Japan) in January we knew that Chloe was to finish up her High School in Taiwan and became increasingly excited about this new opportunity.

Chloe’s application was accepted, we found a wonderful host family whom she will live with, she worked diligently to complete Geometry and World History on line to get ahead of the game before starting school and now she starts 11th Grade on Monday morning at Morrison Academy in Taichung, Taiwan.

I am in awe of a God who sees everything and whose plans for us are beyond our wildest imagination. If Lewis Lu hadn’t come to serve in Swaziland, I never would have met Cynthia. If Cynthia had not invited me to speak at Morrison, Chloe would not be attending this new school. If Chloe had not attended Morrison Academy in TAIWAN for the last two years of her High School life, then … what? 

It is unfathomable to think of how the entire trajectory of her life has just changed. We thought that happened when she moved to Swaziland, but now what?  Who knows?  God knows. And for that we give thanks and rest in peace that His plans ARE in fact perfect.

Live from Taiwan … it’s Saturday afternoon.


PS – What is Chloe thinking about all this right now?  You can read for yourself on her blog from last week. I encourage you to take the time – you will be inspired:

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