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AsiaEducation (MK)

Graduating in 2020 – A Reflective Journey

Graduating in 2020
The graduating class of 2020 at Faith Academy in Manila, Philippines (picture taken in December before the pandemic).

No one knew at the beginning of the 2020 school semester that it would be one for the history books. Students of all ages made plans for learning, plays, sports, proms, graduations, etc. Suddenly, all those plans changed. Of course, OC’s third culture kids (TCKs) around the world experienced those same losses and challenges.

One TCK’s Story

Graduating in 2020

One such TCK is Asher, who graduated from Faith Academy in Manila, Philippines at the end of May. His graduation ended just his second year at the international school. As a junior, Asher embraced the great challenge of leaving all his childhood friends in Colorado Springs to transition to a totally new environment at Faith Academy. His parents, Jess and Tracie, had answered God’s call to serve as new dorm parents for children of mission workers serving throughout Asia.

Graduating in 2020
Asher speaking at high school chapel at Faith Academy.

Asher adjusted well and was chosen for a student council responsibility for his senior year. He embraced the leadership role and loved the first semester, fully entered into campus life and looked forward to a great finish to high school.

With the outbreak of COVID-19 and the ensuing closure of the school, Asher ended his senior year feeling a great sense of loss. As an extrovert, it has been especially tough being unable to say goodbye to all the amazing people he came to know in the Faith Academy community.

Asher’s Outlook

Instead of harboring hurt and anger, Asher made a choice. “I think there are two ways to look at this virus. One can either curse it and get angry at the Lord, or one can realize this is an opportunity,” he says. “The Lord has given all of us an excess of free time, so don’t waste it. Take time to connect with God, and make sure your relationship with him is great. But also, take time to pursue hobbies and hone skills you didn’t have enough time or energy to pursue before.”

Graduating in 2020
Asher is an avid runner and an important part of the Faith Academy cross country team.

Another choice Asher made in a hard and unexpected situation was to continue to encourage his classmates and other high school students through his leadership role. “Initially my role was primarily coordinating ministry events that involved large groups of people, which was no longer possible. So, I moved to a weekly podcast, and encouraged the students who were no longer gathered on campus,” he says. “I also ‘message’ students asking for prayer requests, and then I pray for them. The podcast gives me a chance to do something fun and humorous and gives the student body an opportunity to laugh.”

Graduating in 2020
The senior class had a dramatic end to its senior trip. This final group miraculously caught a plane back to Manila just hours before the city shutdown due to COVID-19.

Many of the children and young adults in our lives are dealing with grief, loss, anger, anxiety, and uncertainty. Through it all, we still have a decision. A choice to acknowledge the loss, grieve, developing coping skills, and look to see God at work in difficult situations.

Pray with One Challenge

  • Pray for the OC TCK graduates, like Asher, who have had an unexpected end of their schooling and now move into an uncertain time of transition.
  • Pray for parents to have wisdom in how to listen to their children’s hearts in this challenging time around the world.
  • Pray for those in your life who are grieving the unexpected losses that COVID-19 brought into their lives.

Education One Challenge is an international mission sending agency empowering local church ministry in more than 100 countries around the world. One Challenge seeks to educate on all levels in order to equip the next generation of leaders … English as a second language, global workers’ children in international schools, university and seminary students.

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