I went to China to teach Character First in for an English Youth Camp. Instead, Ma Shun showed me what I taught was already in the strong and humble heart of this young man and his brother.
I didn’t know what to expect until I stepped into the classroom to interact with the students. Though their English was low Intermediate they found my accent and speed too fast! But with lots of actions and Chinese translation they were able to follow along.
The principal was very positive and provided us with a bigger classroom when he saw that more space was needed for the games and skits. The English teachers joined in as well and I challenged them to continue to emphasize character when they teach.
One of the teachers felt that every school in China needs similar Character First courses. When I encouraged him to reinforce with Character First by praising his students, he hesitated because this was different from what they do in the Chinese culture.
After the camp, we visited Ma Shun, a CCI sponsored child. I had noticed he was one of the students from the camp. His father owns a grape farm but had to sell half of the farm to pay for his wife’s cancer treatment. But she passed away. Now, his father goes to nearby farms to work, leaving Ma Shun and his brother, Ma Hui 1 year younger than Ma Shun, to work at their grape farm when they are not in school.
The boys were very filial and supportive of their father through the most trying of circumstances. Even after the passing of their mother, they continued to show attentiveness, obedience and patience. Their quiet support of their family showed the strength of their character.
I was there to teach them Character First but through these informal encounters God opened my eyes to what some of these young people of Mengzi are really made of.
Story by Janet Yap and Wong Kah Wei