When I arrive at the Chin family home, the family cat greets me at the front door with its own ‘welcome’. With the sound of “meeee-yoooows” and the sensation of Mr. Cat rubbing against my legs, I ring the doorbell. The warm greeting is continued as I’m invited into the Chin home, a continuation of the welcome already offered to me on the door stoop.
“…when I’m in their home I can see with my own eyes what the pastor talks about every Sunday at church.”–Bowen (Prep Student)
Venus and Kong Chin greet me at the door with their usual warm smiles. They are entering their second year hosting Bowen, and have two children of their own. Rachel is a sophomore in college at Blinn, and Isaac is a sophomore at Regents High School. Bowen (our PREP student) is a senior at Regents High School and has been with Premier Education for three years. We sat down around the dining room table to catch up and see how the summer went for everyone. They also allowed me to ask them a few questions that might help inspire other families who are hosting (or considering hosting) a student.
What made you want to be a host family last year?
Our family participated with Bridges International ministry and felt the calling to help students from overseas who are away from their families. We see this as an opportunity to build relationship and spread God’s gospel. Venus grew up in Hong Kong and came to United States alone many years ago. She understands what students are going through with being homesick, longing for families, cares, and friendships.
What made you want to welcome Bowen into your home again this year?
We really enjoyed Bowen with his compassion and enthusiasm of learning, taking initiative to build relationship, going out of his way to help others and opening his heart for the gospel. We want to nurture him to finish his senior year strong by providing a loving home and guiding him along the way. When asked if we wanted to continue hosting Bowen, without hesitation, we said, “yes” because we know what continuity means for him. He’s adapted, he’s on the move, and he’s being purposefully relational like engaging and taking initiative on his own. Also, knowing what “senior life” is going to become gave us the opportunity to present the next level of challenges to the student like a coach does for team players and parent for God’s children. We see this as our privilege of serving the Lord to make impact on Bowen’s life. We know God has a special plan for Bowen!
How has having Bowen changed the dynamics of your home?
We don’t really feel the change in dynamics, but Bowen is like a son to us and he lives up to his curiosity and school challenges with admiration. We would say that he has adapted well and understands fully the situations around him He takes time to process new thoughts, to ask questions, and to obtain information. We share the duties of chores and he independently works through them. We watch movies together, meet up with our relatives in neighboring Houston, and enjoy school football activities like there’s no tomorrow. Both Rachel and Isaac enjoy Bowen as their brother. They laugh, sing, share stories, and encourage each other. We are very thankful and amazed how they developed the sister and brotherhood.
This is your last year with Bowen, what is one thing you want to change or improve on as a host family with him?
This is a hard question to think about – we would venture to consider a higher level of discipleship – like how Jesus started with his twelve disciples and then narrowed the count down to a few more personal disciples (cf: Jesus prays in Gethsemane). We see this year as one of many opportunities to get really personal with Bowen and do deep dives on some theology and other topics of interest. We would like to help Bowen to grow more confidence in himself, and knowing he is beautifully made by God, so he can accept himself as not being perfect. ONLY God is perfect!
What is one thing you’d say to any family that is considering hosting a student in their home in the future?
There are no worries; there are no fears; there is a true God who will take impossibilities and make them possibilities for us to understand and be encouraged by the PREP program. There’s a lot of goodness to share and rewards to enjoy when hosting a student who is settling very far away from home but who has a strong desire to make a transformation in his/her heart. You can help a lot in that transformation. Sign-up!
A Word From Bowen
One of the sweetest moments during my time with the Chin family was when I was able to ask Bowen about his personal experience living with the Chins. The entire time I was talking to the family, Bowen sat with a huge smile on his face and would often put his hand on Kong’s shoulder as he’d share in our conversation. When referring to Venus and Kong he refers to them as “mom” and “dad” and it is very evident that he feels like a member of the family and is loved deeply.
I asked him what he’s learned through his experience living in the Chin home, and his response triggered some deep grateful emotions for all of us around the table. It took some time for him to form what he wanted to say (I believe this was because he was digging through the deep wells of emotion), and we all gave him the time and space to do that. What flowed forth was beautiful.
Bowen’s response: “Mom and dad have showed me how to handle life when unexpected things happen. They deal with things calmly and have a peace in their lives. They are an example of faithfulness to me and don’t worry about tomorrow because they trust in God. I would say that when I’m in their home, I can see with my own eyes what the pastor talks about every Sunday in church.”
Will you prayerfully consider how your family can be a vision of the church to a Chinese student in the future?
Premier Education would like to thank all our host families for loving, hosting and shepherding our students. I would like to thank the Chin family for letting me and all our readers to have an inspiring peek into your home.
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.”Matthew 18:20