Kyungho was 11 years old when he first came into my life. He was in fifth grade, and it was my first year teaching at HOPAC. Then I went on to be his sixth grade teacher too.
He was the class clown, and really only interested in soccer and making people laugh. But that smile was infectious and he wormed his way into my heart.
Kyungho is Korean in ethnicity and culture and passport, but born and raised in Tanzania. He attended HOPAC for all thirteen years of his education, which gave him an American accent. Truly a Third-Culture-Kid, if there ever was one.
Throughout all of high school, Gil was his Bible teacher. And basketball and soccer coach. And youth group leader and mentor.
Gil and Kyungho shared a love for Manchester United and photography. They spent a lot of time together. And sometime around 10th grade, Kyungho got serious about life. And God. And loving people. And he got really good at all of those things, including his school work.
We had the joy of seeing him graduate in 2009, and Gil had the joy of presenting him with the Christian Character award that day.
Then he went off to Wheaton College in Illinois and studied business. Most people were probably convinced that he was American, except for the couple of times he instinctively used his Tae Kwon Do and accidentally landed a couple of big football players on the ground.
Kyungho would always come and visit us in the summers. I can remember the time he sat in our living room a year or so ago and told us about this girl he liked named Shelby. We cautioned him, Make sure she's internationally-minded. Make sure she is not set on living her whole life in the States. Make sure she understands that you are part Korean and part African and all TCK.
Then he married that girl just a few weeks ago in Michigan. And just a few days after, she picked up her life and moved with him back to Tanzania. And she's learning Korean and wants to attend an African church and she loves that he is international. She is perfect.
Last weekend, we got to celebrate with them at a reception here in Dar.
Such an amazing, incredible joy, to see this young man loving God and loving people, serving Tanzania and now starting a new life with a girl who loves all of that about him.
HOPAC is a young school--only 20 years old--and it has only graduated 5 classes. So it's only now that we are starting to see our alumni, now college graduates, find their way in the world. How it satisfies our hearts to see so many find their way back here, to the country that raised them, with the goal of making it a better place!
Because there were others there that night too. One who wants to start a business to help other businesses learn customer service. One who is working for a TV station here in Dar. One who still has the goal of becoming Tanzania's president someday.
And there's this one who was there that night, but I've already told you her story.
I think of all the years we spent investing in these students, and now we have the pleasure of standing back and seeing the fruit. How great is our God.