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Cherry’s Story- A Chinese girl’s story of faith

by | Jan 30, 2017 | Missions Articles

More than anything, she wanted to learn about the faith of her mother.

Cherry was born in central China, and the earliest memories of her mother involved pain. Before she was born, Cherry’s mom contracted rheumatoid arthritis. The disease robbed her of her career, the ability to care for her family and eventually her capacity to care for herself. But Cherry’s mother loved Jesus.

Her disability was crippling, but Christians would come to their home to read the bible and watch the Jesus Film. As a child there was much Cherry did not understand of the faith of her mother, yet she remembers joy. In spite of perpetual pain, her mom was always happy and positive- she never complained. This disease took her mother’s life when Cherry was in the sixth grade, and as a youth, she longed to know the God of her mother.

God answered her longing in eleventh grade when she was accepted as a high school student at Youth With A Mission’s (YWAM) Christian Heritage School (CHS) in Tyler, Texas. As an exchange student, she was welcomed into the home of her host family, the founders of the school, Dr. and Mrs. James Kilkenny.

When Dr. Kilkenny passed away suddenly on January 28, 2016 the home and school were shaken by grief. Cherry counted it a privilege to be loved and considered a member of the family.

In her own season of mourning, Mrs. Kilkenny welcomed open and honest conversations with Cherry, and through that relationship Cherry witnessed a grace that sustains the brokenhearted. Cherri said of Mrs. Barbara Kilkenny that many people see she is so elegant and kind, but she entrusted me with a secret. I learned that in life, there will be many losses, but what one treasures most will shape your character and your destiny.

Cherry’s first impression of Christian Heritage School was shock. This quaint campus in East Texas was very different from metropolitan China. With as many as a dozen nations represented in a student body of less than one hundred students, diversity and individuality is celebrated in our school. What was most shocking was the interaction of students and teachers. The teachers care about the individual student, their family and their student’s interests. In China, the students are afraid of the teachers who use harsh criticism to motivate student performance. At CHS, teachers are open and receptive to questions and motivate through words of praise. Cherry said, “Here there is liberty to enjoy learning…CHS changed my life.”

Cherry aspires to study mechanical engineering at LeTourneau University hoping to understand further the Christian values she has received from her school and host family. She cherishes the ideas that she has learned and doesn’t want to forget the value of Christian love.

By: Jeff Schapansky

If you would like to make a financial contribution to the Schapanksy family, Click Here.

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