Clapham School: A Gift of Blessing to Our Family
Hi! We are the Kim family.
I would like to introduce my family and share with you the blessings and gratitude we have enjoyed in the Clapham community.
As some of you know, we are a family of five, including Serin in 9th grade; Hankyeol in 8th grade, and Hayun in 5th grade. We are Koreans but we have lived as full-time missionaries in Cambodia since 2009. Serin has lived in Cambodia since she was 22 months old. Hankyeol and Hayun were born in Cambodia.
Siem Reap, where we live, is a small city located in the northwest of Cambodia, which is a famous for Angkor Wat, one of the world’s seven wonders. Seung Hoon (the children’s dad) and I (Eunjin, the children’s mom) were trained in the mission community within the Christian College we attended. I used to visit China every vacation as a member of the China Field Research (CFR) team, and Seung Hoon used to visit Cambodia with the Southeast Asia Field Research (SFR) team and did the research for the mission. This community became a mission organization called NIBCM as the graduates (including my husband and me) devoted themselves as missionaries. We are missionaries of the NIBCM.
Cambodia is predominantly Buddhist country, and most elementary, middle, and high schools are next to or within Buddhist temples. Due to this influence, Cambodian education is conducted under Buddhist values. When Seung Hoon first visited Cambodia in 2002, it was difficult to find kindergartens. The SFR team met missionaries to conduct research, and they heard that many Cambodians who accepted the gospel in middle school and high school left the church after finding their jobs. So, the mission strategy established by NIBCM was the “Jesus Village Project.” There are 100 communes in Siem Reap. The mission strategy was to establish a kindergarten in each commune and let the kindergarten serve the village as a church and community center. The first plan was for Cambodian children to receive kindergarten education based on a biblical worldview from age 3 so they could stand firmly in faith. The second plan was to reach out to the students’ families and preach the gospel to them. The third plan was to serve the village community through the kindergarten as a church and a community center.
According to the plan, our team (a total of 7 families) established kindergartens since 2005. Now we are operating 3 kindergartens, 1 elementary school, 1 institute, and 2 local churches. Among these ministries, Seung Hoon is the director of the New International Bethany Institute (NIBI), which trains Cambodian, Myanmar, Laos, and Thai youth (ages 18-25) to become disciples of Jesus and servant leaders. I train Cambodian kindergarten teachers in the Early Childhood Education Department at NIBI. In the Department of Early Childhood Education, many students from other organizations and denominations are trained as Christian kindergarten teachers. NIBI’s Department of Early Childhood Education graduates work as kindergarten teachers who share God's love with children all over the country. Graduates of NIBI's Global Leadership Training Course are serving as light and salt as pastors, teachers, and businessmen in various regions of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand.
My family has worked for 12 years and is taking a sabbatical at Wheaton because we felt the need for further development. Seung Hoon is studying for an MA in Higher Education and Student Development, helping undergraduate leaders in the World Christian Fellowship community within Wheaton College as a Graduate Assistant. I am studying for an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy and training as an intern counselor at an NGO that helps Asian American women and their children suffering from domestic violence. We will be graduating on May 6th, 2023. My family plans to go to Korea in June and return to Cambodia in early August. We will probably continue the educational ministry we have been doing before. However, we will advance student development programs to enable our students to better serve their communities and countries. We plan to apply what we have learned to NIBI's curriculum, school administration, and team ministry method for renewal. I am going to set up a parent education program with what I learned at MFT. I plan a “Family Restoration Ministry” for Cambodian families. My mission organization has plans for counseling ministry and counselor training. Since God has led us up to this point according to His goodness, we trust that He will guide us every step of our journey so that His will may be fulfilled in our future ministry.
Serin, Hankyeol, and Hayun are grateful beyond measure for Clapham School. It is the perfect gift from God we could never have imagined. My children enjoy their time at Clapham with great teachers and lovely friends. They have been attending Clapham School for the past two years and have made remarkable academic progress. Moreover, they have had the privilege of experiencing activities and lessons that they could not have learned in Cambodia. Music lessons, foreign language lessons, basketball and volleyball matches, field trips, and many other extracurricular activities have become happy memories for them. What makes Clapham School special is not the academic excellence but also the nurturing and secure environment it provides. My children have been emotionally stable, which is crucial for their overall well-being. The teachers are outstanding, and the friendships they have developed are genuine and supportive.
Unfortunately, the Missionary kids’ school my children attended in Cambodia closed in December 2022 for financial reasons. This makes our time at Clapham School even more precious to us. Serin and Hankyeol will start homeschooling and Hayun will attend a small international middle school in Cambodia from August 2023. Every moment they spend at Clapham School is a valuable foundation for their lives.
In conclusion, we would like to express our deepest gratitude and love to all of Clapham’s teachers, staff, students, and families for welcoming Korean friends from Cambodia with open arms and accepting us as part of the Clapham community. We know that our children’s time at Clapham School has been a life-changing experience they will always carry with them. We are blessed to have been a part of such a wonderful community and will always cherish the memories we have made here. We will continue to pray that Clapham School will be used as a channel of blessing to many students and families, just as it has been for my family.
Thank you! 감사합니다!
If you would like to know how best to pray for the Kim family, please click HERE!