The future of Christian Schooling
On Monday 6 May, several Charlton staff joined 700 others from schools across the state at Regent’s Park Christian school in Sydney. It was second of five “Town Hall” events across the country to promote faith-based schools being able to retain their right to prefer Christians in employment and so to retain the ability to build a community of faith.  Our very own Mr Alan Feeney was invited to speak and what he shared is here:

I want to share about an ex-student, Gloria.

In the early years of Charlton, I wanted my Pastoral Care class to experience an activity of service to others in the community as a Christian response to God’s generous love towards them, and so I asked the class to suggest their own ideas of what we might do (thinking that we might do something as big as a backyard blitz for a needy family).

To my great delight, one girl Elise pleaded that we go to some orphanages in Thailand which she had visited with a church group during the previous school holidays. These orphanages were run by Mercy International as a ministry to children of parents who had died from AIDS.  Many of the children had also contracted HIV.

The rest of the class jumped on board enthusiastically, and so we eventually made all the preparations to go to Thailand with a group of students from Year 9 plus two teachers and one admin assistant.

The whole class conducted numerous fund-raisers to buy arts and craft supplies and sporting equipment to give to the children in the orphanages.

The mission trip was extremely impacting for all the students, and they all yearned to return. 

I wondered though whether the impact would be sustained.

I was blown away a few years later when I received an email from one of the students named Gloria to say that she had actually completed training as an English teacher to return to help people in Thailand where we had gone on our mission trip.

 Best day of my teaching life ever!

 But the story gets even better.

 Last week, I tried to track down Gloria through Facebook to verify the details of the story and this is what she wrote back: It’s a delight to hear from you Alan. Wow! Thank you for reaching out to me and connecting.

 The mission trip to Thailand played a pivotal role in my life, especially leading up to what I am doing today. Before my return to Thailand after our mission trip, I studied at the Australasian Training Academy in Queensland and acquired my International Teacher’s License, which qualified me to teach English as a second language for Mercy International English Language School, in Northeast Thailand.

 I was there for one year, and on some weekends, I would go to the orphanage in Kohn Kaen to help out and spend time with the children.

Today, I am the Youth Outreach Advocate at an organization that helps survivors of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. My role is to educate the public, namely the youth demographic on what sexual exploitation and human trafficking is.  I teach our “Unbroken” curriculum in high schools, juvenile detention centres, youth community groups and in jails throughout the US.

Which brings me back around to my first experiences in Thailand on our mission trip when some of the youth in the orphanages shared their stories on human trafficking and how it impacted me to see them share such vulnerable parts of their life, but how the love of Christ transformed them and moved them into a safe place away from their old lives. I wanted to be more invested in walking alongside survivors.

Just one of the many stories of the impact of Christian schooling in this world.

Mr Alan Feeney / Senior School Teachers