Our Wholistic Development Center (WDC) is welcoming a new group of incoming students this month. Every two years, WDC selects twenty-eight young adults to live together on campus, study a vocation and commit to an intensive truth-centered discipleship course. These students often arrive with little education and little knowledge of God. Some come from areas where there are no Christians. Many make the decision to follow Christ while at WDC.
We spent several months this year visiting and interviewing alumni to find out how their time at WDC impacted them and what they are doing now. Here are a few of their stories. As you read them, we hope that you will pray for each of these graduates and for the class of incoming students.
Ying* graduated from WDC and went back to her home village. A few months later, a local branch of a Christian organization needed a young lady to be a house parent. A teacher from WDC contacted Ying about the opportunity. Ying took the job.
While working for that organization, Ying met her current husband who was serving at the church. Today, Ying and her family are running a ministry for vulnerable girls. They have opened up their home to girls from rural areas who come to the city to study. These girls are 13 years and older. Currently they have 10 girls living with their family. They take care of all the living arrangements for the girls and provide Bible training three days per week. Many of these girls have come from bars and brothels. They struggle with falling back into their old sins and survival skills—drugs, prostitution and lying.
Ying serves these girls with joy and patience. Her vocational classes at WDC have prepared her well for her responsibilities of cooking and managing the living arrangements of the girls.
Min was an orphan and was raised by her aunts. She was a troubled student at WDC—lying, stealing and engaging in unhealthy relationships. Yet she says her time at WDC helped her “develop into a good person.” She graduated from WDC eight years ago. Min is now married to a Christian man and, together, they have two young children. Min’s husband has a concrete post business. She has a small sewing business. Min manages her own business and helps with her husband’s business as well. They don’t have a lot extra, but they are happy and continue to walk with the Lord.
Wei grew up in a household that provided food and an education, but no warmth or love. He says that his time at WDC was the first time he experienced a sense of family. After graduating from WDC, he had the opportunity to go to a four-year Bible college in Hong Kong. Wei says that the WDC prepared him well for his future studies—he had a good foundation of biblical knowledge, and, perhaps more important, he gained confidence and “learned how to think.” Wei is newly married, and he and his wife are both ordained pastors. Their dream is to plant a church among an unreached people group in their country.
Li graduated from WDC in 2010 and is now a worship pastor and mother. She says that the worship times at WDC were what prepared her for her current ministry. Li has been through a lot, though. She nearly died in childbirth, but testifies that God miraculously saved her and her baby. Her husband has a degree in banking, but hasn’t been able to get a job in a bank because he is a Christian. His family is also very hard on them because of their commitment to Christ. And the government has taken some of their land without compensating them in any way.
Jing studied at WDC from 2007 to 2008. She received the “Servants Heart” award as a student and was growing in her faith. Jing says that her time at WDC was the highlight of her life; she misses her classmates and teachers, as well as the church she attended at the time. Jing is married with two young children (the second was soon-to-be-born when this picture was taken). Her husband in not a believer, though. He follows his family’s tribal religion. Without the support of family, Jing feels isolated, poor and helpless. She says she wishes she had stayed in the city after studying at WDC. She really needs our prayers.
Jun graduated from WDC in 2013. He now has a very good job as a hotel maintenance worker. He says he’s grateful for the opportunity to study as an electrician at WDC because, “[it] gave me the ability to have a job.” Jun is a believer. He is planning to get married next April.*All names have been changed for security reasons.