China

Our next trip to China will be in July of 2013.  We will be going to the city of Nanjing and doing a camp to teach English and character at the Nanjing Theological Seminary.

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In 2007, Mike DeGuzman led a team from Community Bible Church, Beaufort, SC to Beijing, China to conduct our first Vacation Language and Character School (VLCS). Since then, the door has remained open for us to return each summer! The focus of each VLS is to teach English to Chinese students, ages ten to eighteen. China is a closed country for missions and it is forbidden by law for children to be proselytized, so direct sharing of the gospel is not permitted. However, we are permitted to answer questions about God that were asked directly of us by students. Using a Bible-based curriculum provides an excellent way to open students’ minds to spiritual matters.

VLCS is made up of three rotations: English, Character and Crafts, and Exercise. Students are placed into one of three groups, indicating their level of proficiency. The day always begins and ends with an assembly, where students and leaders participate in music, skits, and testimonies.

English:

Teaching English provides the open door that allows the gospel to be shared. The strong desire of the Chinese to excel academically is powerful enough to allow unbelieving families to pay for their children to go to a church to learn English from native speakers. The possibility of future trips is in many ways contingent upon English being successfully taught.

Chinese children learn English in school, and so their grammar is usually quite good. What they lack is practice in using their knowledge coherently in conversation. Vocabulary and candid conversation are main focuses of the teaching time. Exercises aimed at improving pronunciation are important, as well.

Character and Crafts:

The character and craft lessons are a time to practice English in a less formal setting as well as expose the students to Christian values. Each day focused on a character trait, which was exemplified in a corresponding Bible verse. Craft time is when the message of the gospel is most nearly approached.
This time provided the more advanced students with a great opportunity to practice their conversational skills and also to write on the character traits and verses they were learning. Interacting with the leaders in this manner was one of the most important parts of the camp, from an evangelistic perspective.

Through the lessons, conversations, and writing assignments, students were able to grasp a better understanding of what the Christian life is about, and most importantly they gained a deeper knowledge of the nature of God and the grace He has bestowed on us through Jesus Christ.

Exercise:

The purpose of the “games and exercise time” in China was to continue to practice English through conversation, practice the memory verses, and to exercise—while having fun.

Overall the game and exercise time is an important aspect of the camp because it gives the kids a break from learning in a classroom setting, to learning in a more relaxed environment for conversation and listening.  It helped them practice verses and helped them exercise their body, not just their brain.  We trust that God uses this time with the kids during games to spiritually enrich their lives and further His kingdom.