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Five weeks, two countries, six cities, and one mission: to spread God’s love across Korea and China by meeting the needs of the people met along the way.

Dr. Kilnam Cha, professor in the College of Biblical Studies led his mission team, which was comprised of two COBA studentsKyndal Coleman, junior accounting major from San Antonio and Tóng Yíng An, senior accounting major from Taiyuan, China— along with Cannon Spears, sophomore missions major from Blue Ridge, TX.

Below is a blog entry from Kyndal Coleman, one of the students on the trip, as she explains how God moved throughout her team’s journey across Asia.

The journey began in Seoul, South Korea where we worked with local schools to bring support to English students of all ages. While visiting many different learning environments, we quickly discovered how powerful the English language truly is- it’s being taught regularly alongside Korean and Chinese classes to students as young as 3 years old. All across Asia, the English language is seen as the gateway to better job opportunities, more personal connections, and ultimately the possibility of making a name of oneself. Our job was simple: use the skills God has blessed us with as native English speakers to help each person move closer to their chance at a better life once they’ve mastered the language. Even more, we had the chance to share God’s love through encouragement; reminding each of our students how precious they are in God’s sight even without perfect English because God’s love transcends all language boundaries!

As we moved on to China, we were blessed to have Tóng Yíng available as our guide and translator, as we found the environment to be much different than that of Korea. Throughout all four cities we visited while in China, I sensed this deep longing for excellence in the people we encountered. This desire made it very easy to find students who were open and willing to work extremely hard with us to study the English language. I found that I was actually the one being encouraged by the Chinese student’s inquisitive and hard-working spirits, an unexpected shift from what I was prepared for. Isn’t it funny how God sometimes uses unexpected people and situations to teach us such valuable lessons?

Before we left for our trip, I had a hard time believing that I was prepared to travel across the world to teach a foreign language. But the truth is, I was more than prepared, for the skills I needed to spread God’s love across Asia were not complicated at all. In fact, these “skills” were things I would sometimes take for granted in the past- things like growing up in a home that speaks English fluently, my daily Bible classes at ACU, perseverance brought forth by the COBA professors who have pushed me to excel, and even just the ability to sit down and have a conversation with someone. Teaching English in Korea in China wasn’t about being the most “skilled” English teacher around; it was about using the skills and experiences God had already blessed me with to make a difference in the lives of others. God had equipped me and the rest of my team LONG before He called us to this mission field, and we were overly prepared for the work He had for us to do.

As our five-week journey came to a close, we had the chance to spend one of our final days in Beijing with the COBA Study Abroad group who had arrived in the area just days before. Again, I was unexpectedly encouraged by the sight of familiar faces all the way across the world! After working so hard for the duration of our trip, it was nice to wrap up our voyage with fellowship and an exciting adventure. We traveled together to a unique part of the Great Wall of China: an area complete with a gondola ride to the top and a toboggan slide down the mountain. Our group spent over two hours marveling at the breathtaking sights of the ancient structure. Set high in the mountainous landscapes of China, the Great wall spans further than our eyes could ever see. We were in awe of the beauty that surrounded us, and for me it was the perfect ending to a life-changing trip.

Thank you to the COBA Study Abroad group for making our last day in China so enjoyable. I will never forget those glimpses of the Great Wall, and can’t wait to proudly hang the gorgeous photos all around my apartment for all to see!