Yesterday our exchange student went home. Chin was from Taiwan and had been living with us since last August. Wow, an entire school year. She was with us for such a long time it made yesterday a little difficult.
Her mother and her aunt came to pick her up. Her aunt is from San Francisco. Once they left they were spending a few days in New York City and then going on to San Francisco for a week before heading home to Taiwan. It was wonderful getting to meet her family even for such a short time. But, here's the most wonderful part. Her aunt, Vivian is a Christian. We had a long conversation about her faith and how she reads her bible every day and prays every day. Chin's mother doesn't have any kind of religous faith. They both came to church with us on Sunday. Vivian was so excited to be able to go to church with us. She also told us how thankful she was that Chin was with a Christian family. She knew she was well taken care of. Vivian also reminded Chin's mother, Nancy that it was good that Chin was with a Christian family so she didn't need to worry about her while she was here. Vivian was glad that we took Chin to church with us every week while she was with us. We also made sure Chin had a bible in Chinese and English. We also gave her a cd full of worship music to take back with her.
I made a cd of pictures from her time here. We looked at them together with her family and it was fun remembering everything we had done with her while she was here. I hope she enjoyed her time with us as much as we enjoyed our time with her.
It was a very emotional weekend. We were all sad that Chin was leaving, but happy that she was going to get to be with her family again because we knew how much she missed them. Many people at church were sad to see her go also. Her mother was couldn't believe how much people at church really cared about Chin and how sad they all were that she was leaving. I don't know for sure if Chin has accepted Jesus while she was here, however I know she has heard the gospel several times and she has been reading her bible. Vivian told us that when she spoke with Chin on the phone she could tell she was really learning.
I know our family and our church family has had a lasting impact on Chin, Vivian and Nancy. I will miss her terribly now that she is gone. It was a priviledge to be able to take care of her for a year in place of her mother. Now I have the priviledge of praying for her and her family.
We haven't decided if we will host another student. My kids both loved having Chin as a big sister. They seemed to do ok when she left. They were obviously sad, but they held it together and seem to be fine now. My husband is also unsure of doing it again. While it is rewarding in some aspects, it is a huge responsibility on our part. We have learned alot and would be able to put into practice next time.
I for one, enjoyed having a teenager for a time. I got a sneak peek at what I will deal with in a few years, and it was interesting learning about another culture. It worked out well having an older child as she was very helpful around the house and fit in well with our family.
I would gladly do it again if that is what God wants for us.