by Tim Van Schooten, GH board member
It was the summer of 1968. My parents, missionaries with The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Japan, were facing the difficult decision of where should they send their children to school. For years the mission had run a “hostel” for the missionary children to live in while attending an International Academy in Kobe, Japan. However, my parents preference was to send their children to a Christian School in Tokyo.
My parents had contacted the mission about the possibility of doing this and were given permission to do so but at their own expense. The expense was greater than most people realize, as it involved not only the tuition, but also the housing expenses for the children. The allowance given for the children didn’t come close to covering the overall cost.
My mom and dad became convinced that sending their children to the Christian school was what was best. Arrangements were made to send us to the Christian School even though, financially it seemed an impossibility.
As the mail was opened one day it included a letter from a South African missionary couple. We had occasionally seen them when we were vacationing at Takayama, a retreat by the sea. In the letter was a check with just about the amount of money that my parents needed for the tuition at the school. The letter accompanying the check explained that the Lord had strongly impressed upon them to send the money even though they had no idea why. My parents wrote them a letter of thanks filled with prayerful gratitude explaining their dilemma and how they were trusting the Lord to help supply the need they had for the tuition. It was humbling to accept the money from another missionary couple, but difficult not to, knowing that God had intervened in a undeniable way.
It was February 2003. As a Gatehouse board member and as an MK myself, I well understood David & Janet Kronbach’s vision for assisting MKs during their college years. At one of the “get-togethers” that David & Janet host, there were about thirty MKs packed into Gatehouse for a meal. I introduced myself to the one of the students who was sitting near me. As the evening progressed I learned that Jesse’s parents were missionaries in Japan. I asked more questions about where they worked. He informed me that his father was a second generation missionary in Japan from South Africa. A burst of adrenaline shot through me as I recalled our summer vacations at Takayama. I remembered a family who loved to play tennis and spoke with an English accent. I recalled a young boy who, we determined, was Jesse’s father.
When I phoned to tell my mother that I had met the grandson of the South African missionary couple, she instantly knew who I was talking about. She then explained the story of how the Verweys, Jesse’s grandparents, had sent money to help with my schooling so many years before – a story that I had known nothing about until then.
As my eyes filled with tears, I was filled with wonder at how God weaves together the tapestries of our lives. God had brought events around full circle, giving me the opportunity to influence the life of Jesse, the grandchild of someone who, unbeknownst to me, had influenced my life significantly many years ago in assisting with my schooling. Now, through Gatehouse I could help support the schooling of one of their loved ones in return.