There were a lot of things my great grandpa Albert and my great grandma Elna didn’t know when they left their small farm town in California to move to China in 1915.
Elna didn’t know just how difficult it would be to raise five kids in a foreign land thousands of miles from family. She also didn’t know just how beautiful the sunset on the Yangtze River would be. Albert didn’t know how frustrating and dangerous it would be to work and serve in a culture so different from his own. He also didn’t know just how delicious the noodles would taste in the village restaurant on the road to Shiangyang.
Albert & Elna didn’t know the homesickness their son Norman would face in boarding school in the mountains. They also didn’t know that Norman would make memories and friendships there that would last his whole life. They didn’t know he would develop a heart for Chinese people which would lead him and his wife Martha to spend 37 years in Taiwan.
Albert & Elna didn’t know that their grandson Paul would get to reap the benefits of growing up at an international school in Taiwan. They didn’t know that Paul would return to Taiwan as a teacher and fall in love with Colleen, a teacher and TCK from Lebanon. They also didn’t know that Paul and Colleen would have children and bring them to Taiwan for life-shaping, international experiences.
Albert & Elna didn’t know that their great granddaughter Sara would teach and live in China. They didn’t know that she would feel the tug to work with TCKs and their families. They couldn’t have known that she would be writing this reflection as 2015 approaches.
As they stepped on to the deck of that steamship, Albert & Elna didn’t know that the choice they made would leave a generational legacy for their family.
There are many things they didn’t know, but they didn’t let the unknowns prevent them from stepping out.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (KJV)
Albert & Elna
Norman and Paul