Over 26 years ago, a small team asked God how they could help the children of Hong Kong. The Lord replied with Psalm 78:6-7. "So the next generation would know God, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they will put their trust in God and will not forget his deeds but will keep his commands." Psalm 78:6-7
In August 2009 my family came to Hong Kong to join a small but growing ministry of a 180-student kindergarten, help them reach more people, and see Christian education ministries expand in Asia’s world city. Small World Christian Kindergarten (set up in 1986) had just started to take steps to accept an offer of becoming the Sponsoring Body of an existing small K-6 school on the other side of Hong Kong. In April 2010 the Norwegian International (English speaking) School formally joined the Small World family. In January 2011 the Sponsoring Body’s name changed to Generations Christian Education, the motto ‘Loving for Today, Learning for Tomorrow and Living for Eternity’ was adopted and a Development Office was established to help bring alive the dream of a Christian school actually opening on Hong Kong Island. At the same time God was opening doors that led us to a small number of old school sites across Hong Kong Island that were owned by well-established groups who might be interested in renting one to us.
Space is so precious and expensive on the Island (and the rest of Hong Kong) that even the existing and established international schools with very healthy balance sheets (many with HK$1M+ debentures; that’s just to get one seat available in the school for your child!), let alone schools that haven’t even started yet, nearly all give up on trying to find permanent or even available lease space. Instead, they move off the Island and across the water to the Hong Kong mainland. Even if they could afford the HK$XXX million dollar price tag of a school building on the Island, there is just no space available, let alone Government permission or local community acceptance.
How was God going to make a Christian School open on Hong Kong Island, one that was not priced to the moon like many other International Schools – let alone one that was close enough for Small World Christian Kindergarten graduates to ‘feed’ into it? In April 2011, representatives from the Chinese YMCA, established for well over 100 years, were presented with the concept of an international Christian school operating in a 50+ year old school building that was a part of their facilities.
Well, after many meetings, financial modelling, staff recruiting, building renovations, more meetings, prayer, faith, and first hand experience of Hong Kong Government Agency bureaucracy (that led to very late 11th hour moments!) Wednesday, August 22, 2012, was the day Island Christian Academy first opened its doors.
Terri Appel (Director of Business Development), Craig Harvey (Business Manager), Sonia Lee (Board Chair) and husband Jong, Gail Maidment (Principal, Executive Director and one of the first team members)
Without any advertising or borrowing of money from any external lenders or even parents, students across five classes (Years 1-3) started in a beautifully refreshed building. Another new chapter in God’s amazing story of Christian Education has officially begun. What a privilege to have personally witnessed this amazing journey and seen many loyal, faithful, and God-honouring servants contribute tirelessly and to help make this happen! With now over 500 students enrolled across our schools, I hope that many more children like Toby (below) can walk through the doors of a Generations member school and experience Loving for Today, Learning for Tomorrow and Living for Eternity.