Friday, November 21, 2014

The Open Doors and Open Arms of China...

Our 17 preschoolers walked like ducks in a row down the hall, and I stepped aside to watch them.
“Are you Mr. Kapanka?” asked the little girl at the end of the line.
“Yes, I am.” I replied.
“Did you really eat rattlesnake soup?”
“yewwwww!” moaned the other 4-year-olds.

I had to laugh. Who would have guessed that after two weeks in China, my first question from students would be about rattlesnake soup?

It is actually very good. So is eel, squid, roasted snake, snails and lots of other menu items I politely tried each day. (Though I must admit, after five days, I was glad to see a KFC at Tienanmen Square.) 

(Double-click on photos to enlarge.)

I have been eager to tell our CCS friends and family about a recent opportunity I had to represent CCS in China. This extensive trip came at no cost to our school….thanks to our friends at  In 14 days from October 23 to November 5, we logged 18,000 air miles, which is roughly the same as flying around the world at Chicago’s latitude. With the exception of some educational sight-seeing in Beijing, the trip was all business involving international student fairs, meetings with investors and school/local officials, and visits to various schools in Beijing, Shanghai, Zhengzhou, and Nanning, China, (as well as 3-days in Bangkok, Thailand).

I was asked to bring as many Calvary promotional items as possible, but knowing little about this fast-developing nation, I was not sure how receptive students and parents would be to our CCS materials. Imagine my surprise on day six when we pulled up to one of the largest high schools in Zhengzhou, China, and saw a large electronic sign welcoming Calvary Christian School.
As I visited with English-speaking students across China, it was clear that many of them long to experience an American education.  Since returning from the trip, our school website has been read by many Chinese guests (probably students and public officials). We welcome them to our site.

Calvary has been home to international students every year since 2002. This is our first year to have Chinese-speaking students. This recent trip represents a strategic expansion of Calvary’s international presence in that part of the world. What an honor it is to share Calvary’s perspective on education and the beginning of wisdom—if for no other reason than to help them understand that America’s greatest values are not determined by Hollywood and hip-hop music. 

Like our Chinese friends, CCS values the heritage and ideals of our ancestors and founding fathers as well as the wisdom found in ancient words. The differences are important, to be sure, but communication begins where the common ground of shared life overlaps.

One of our pending plans could provide a business opportunity to partner with a new private school in Shanghai (pending approval) that would both broaden our educational influence abroad and strengthen our footing here at home. Each year, a certain amount of international students will continue to study here at Calvary during the school year. Plans also include possible summer programs. In both cases, host families can share life and model personal hope and purpose in this ever-changing world and ever-smaller planet. We will keep you posted about these opportunities to share open doors and open arms with China.

Words cannot express the experience of seeing this vast country on the cusp of unimaginable development and new educational horizons. It was an honor to be introduced to fellow educators in this far-away land. Please take a moment to view this photo-montage showing highlights from the trip. 

If you are reading this on the CCS website and would like to read against a light background, this article may also be read at [To Begin With on Blogger.]
For some awe-inspiring professional time-lapse video footage of China CLICK HERE.

Update March, 2015: As is always true when blazing new trails, some of the details of this post have changed in the subsequent months, but opportunities in China continue to develop, and we continue to commit them to prayer as they unfold.

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