Recently Lance and Donna were tagged in a photo from friends in the US that said, “We love spend- ing time with this family from East Asia”. After ten years abroad, it makes sense that they are seen as from Asia and not America. China is home. It is where they work, do life, and serve as missional professionals.
In ten years, Lance and Donna have grown into a family of four. They have been blessed with career opportunities to influence their workplace and responsibilities that contribute to society. Their house church has grown through the multiplication of cell groups. They helped develop parenting, marriage and family groups, spoke at conferences, launched children’s Sunday school, and mobilized local families to serve in orphanages. They themselves have been growing as disciples while making disciples of others.
Workplace Transformation Stories
Donna teaches in a bilingual private school. Rui was her TA four years ago. When Rui got promoted, she credited it to Donna’s mentorship. “I’m so thankful that you are not like other teachers. You not only showed me what to do, you also explained why you were doing it and how every decision in the classroom leads to building a safe space for learning.”
Furthermore, seeing in Donna’s life something more than professional excellence, Rui began her own spiritual quest. She read Mother Teresa’s biography and explored Catholicism, but did not find it satisfactory. Then she attended an Alpha course. Although she did not make a decision for Christ at the end of it, she stayed in the cell group. Slowly but surely, the Spirit worked in her heart. Last fall, Rui committed her life to Jesus, received baptism, and joined Lance and Donna on a service trip to serve orphans. Donna continues to coach Rui in the integration of faith and work while she herself is on the same journey.
Donna believes in the importance of Character Education for students, and started the initiative at her school four years ago. Initially, she was excited, envisioning how integrity, compassion and respect could be integrated into the curriculum, and how one could have real conversations between students and teachers. But when the administration offered little support, Donna became restless and cynical about the likelihood of success. Finally, she repented of her critical spirit and committed the project into God’s hands. That was when things started to happen.
The American professor with whom Donna had been in correspondence for three years was finally able to come to train at her school. High quality professional development from one of the pioneers of Character Education was a big deal.
here were initial setbacks, but in the end, the school not only funded the training, but organized a conference that included 300 educators from their city, which was among the largest in the country. God took Donna’s desire to bless one school and multiplied it to bless the entire city.
But, there was more. The school decided to create a full-time position to grow the Character Education program. Donna was the obvious candidate of choice. Her professional responsibility to coach her colleagues gives her many opportunities to discuss with them core values that impact life and learning. Donna is also introducing service projects to promote social responsibility and build a broader cross-cultural perspective among staff and students.
Then, a year ago, Donna represented her school to present a keynote address in the country’s first national conference on Character Education. Full of God’s peace and joy, she stood before 500 education leaders to share the vision for schools around the country to provide Character Educa- tion for children. “All this was possible only because God willed it,” Donna said. “His love is truly extravagant. His work is miraculous.”
All this was possible, might we add, because Donna believes it is her calling to be a change agent at work to bless her students, her colleagues, and the workplace. Then God was able to use Donna to bless her city and country as well.