Hello! My name is Courtney and I’m currently serving in Dongguan, China as a School Counselor. Dongguan is located in the mid-south of China in the Guangdong Province. I have been serving overseas for 5 years and if you would have asked me 10 years ago what I saw myself doing I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have been living in China or working overseas. As I take a moment to reflect over my life, I love seeing the Lords hand over every season of life and how in coming to China was his perfect plan for me.
I learned during that season of my life the importance of trusting in the Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6 paints a beautiful picture of this, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths”.
Five years ago I attended an education fair at my college that had over 75 different schools around the country who were looking to hire teachers for the upcoming school year. Before the fair I spent time researching the schools that would be there and narrowed down 25 that I would love to work at. The day of the fair I arrived early and had one mission in mind and that was meeting face to face with my top 25 schools. It took me about an hour to get around to each of the schools and I was hopeful that just one of them might be a potential job for me. As I was packing up to leave I saw a booth that said international school and I looked closely and it said in China. I immediately laughed to myself and remember saying I would never ever go and teach in China. As I prepared to leave, something kept nudging at my heart to go over and talk to the young lady. I now know that was the Holy Spirit. I went over and she just began talking to me about the school, the vision, and the ministry that was happening there. After talking with her she told me she thought I would be a great fit for the school. Although the school seemed amazing, I knew that China just wasn’t in my plan of where I saw my life going. I kindly handed her my resume and said goodbye. The following weeks after the fair I hadn’t heard back from any of the schools I had met with during the education fair. I began to panic and worry. At this time, I only had 2 more months of school left and in my mind that meant I needed to already have a job lined up. I remember going on one interview and the lady saying that I seemed great, but that I didn’t have any experience. I remember just being so frustrated and sad because it seemed like nothing was happening the way I had planned it. When I look back now to that time I truly wished that I would have stopped and just asked the Lord to guide me and trusted that he had something great in store for me–far greater than I could have ever imagined. Two weeks after the fair I received an email from the international school to apply. I was a little skeptical at first but excited that someone finally was giving me a chance. I remember being so nervous the minutes leading up to the interview but when I began to talk to the Principal it was just a peace that I can’t explain that overcame me. That night I was offered a job to teach 6thgrade! I was so surprised but explained that before I could accept the position I needed to pray and make sure this is where the Lord wanted me to go. After praying, I knew that China was where the Lord was leading me and I had such a certainty in my heart that everything was going to be okay. It’s crazy the places that the Lord will take you and the things the Lord will have you do when you just trust him.
The first few weeks in China I was scared and I even began to doubt that the Lord had called me here. I remember the night before school praying and asking the Lord for peace but more importantly that he would prepare my heart and mind for the students who would enter in it. Everything changed for me after the first week of school began with my students. I knew that this was where the Lord wanted me to be. This wasn’t just a job for me, but ministry. The Lord had brought me all the way to China so that I could minister to these young children who didn’t know him. Ministry is all about serving and sharing Jesus to those around you who are lost and loving on them like Christ did so many times. Today, when I think about my students, my heart explodes with love and my eyes begin to fill with tears with just how thankful I am for the ministry that I get to do here at school. I love loving on our students and I love walking through life with them, being a shoulder to cry on, and more importantly showing them Christ. Five years in and I’m still amazed at all the Lord has been able to accomplish through ministry at school. John 13:34-35 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
My hope and pray is that in my time serving these students and their families is that they were able to see Christ and experience his love and more importantly one day come to know Him as Savior and Lord. I would be lying if I told you that everyday has been easy and that I’m always doing a great job of showing love and being faithful in my ministry here, but I’m thankful for the Lords grace and the women he has placed in my life who walk alongside me, encourage me, and point me back to Christ.
I want to end by saying that the Lord has truly been so good to me even when I didn’t deserve it. He knows what’s best for me and I’m 100% confident that no matter where I go next, it’s where the Lord wants me and I will continue my ministry of serving students, sharing the love of Christ, and pointing them back to Christ. What I have learned in my time here is the importance of time spent in the Word. Apart from Christ I can do nothing and time in the word allows me to know his heart beat and makes me more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and what he wants me to do. I have learned that we serve God by serving others, that its good to surround yourself with Christian women who are constantly pointing you to Christ, and that no effective ministry is possible without intimate time in prayer with the Lord.
So whatever ministry the Lord has called you to whether that’s being a wife and taking care of your family, a school teacher, or serving in the church do all to the glory of God.
I love you and I’m so thankful for what you are doing in the hearts and minds of these women. Help us today to surrender our wills and desires to you and trust that you have a great plan in store for us. Help us to be obedient and faithful in our ministries and help us to love like you have loved us. It’s in your name that we pray,