International Ministries

An Amazing Place

September 30, 2001 Journal

Woodstock School, an International School, sits in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. The mountains are fantastic! At about 7,000 feet, we are often above the clouds. This is also one of the few places on earth where one can actually see the “Winter Line,” an almost horizontal “rainbow” seen around dusk during the late fall and early winter. The air often stays cool, but summer brings a hot sun and so it can get very warm. Winter is cool, probably around 30-45 degrees. It seems much colder, though, without central heating. The area was originally planned as a “hill station,” a place to visit during the hot summers of the plains of India. It’s not easy to keep the cement buildings dry and warm.

Monsoon lasts from late May through September. Basically, it is four and a half months of wind, rain, mildew and dampness. It takes around four days to “dry” laundry. Ferns grow in the upper branches of the trees during this time. We know that the season is ending when these ferns begin to die. This is probably the most beautiful season. We have so many flowers, both wild and cultivated. Rhododendron grows here in trees, and only in red. Poinsettia grows 12-14 feet high, and sometimes the leaves grow in tight balls.

What I Do

I supervise the high school girl’s dorm. After raising three sons, God has allowed me to become a “mom” to 90 girls. I’ve always enjoyed this role, only most of the time the students were college students in Baptist Campus Ministries. The difference? These girls live with me, they can’t go home on weekends.

I see many similarities between these girls and the students I have worked with in the past—peer pressure, low self-esteem and just being a teenager. The challenge comes when one realizes that the backgrounds of these girls vary tremendously.

The student population here is very diverse. Around 25 percent are the children of full-time Christian workers in Afghanistan, Turkey, Korea, Thailand and other parts of Asia. Many of the other students have parents who find it necessary to move often, and so the children are enrolled to give them a stable education. Some of the students are children of high government officials. Most Asian schools only have 10 grades. These children are hoping to attend colleges in more competitive countries and so they need the extra two years.

I sometimes wonder why I feel such a strong affirmation of my work here. Most of the missionaries I trained with work in locations more primitive, among people who speak a different language and have different customs. So, why is it important to have American Baptist Missionaries working with the students of Woodstock?

“Go ye therefore and teach all nations…” We are here to show the love of Christ. We can touch the lives of children from 30 countries, together in one location. These students, the leaders of tomorrow, need to learn about our loving God, who cares for all people. By learning of God’s compassion for others, they also learn of God’s compassion for them, and they may even take those lessons of compassion home with them, to countries where the Gospel may not be preached.