Coco F.

I was born in northern China in the city of Shenyang near the Chinese border with North Korea.  My father is a Doctor and my mother a business woman.  They divorced when I was 7 my father remarried and I was raised in a single parent home by my mom.  My upbringing was very typical of a secular Chinese one child family.  My mom grew up in the “Communist China” which has now become a “Socialist China”.  We never talked about religion or God, so I thought I was an atheist.  I completed my first 8 grades of school in China and than came to Canada to attend Kelowna Christian School for the next two years.  My grade 10 year was very difficult, I felt home sick and experienced many challenges adjusting to life in both a new country and a new family, especially some cultural differences in my first homestay.  God must have heard my cries for help as in June of 2017, I was given the opportunity to change to a new homestay family, Aldon & Betty Loeppky, who attend KGF church.

I felt such warmth, acceptance and love from the first day I moved there.  They are Christians who simply try to live what they believe.  They invited me to call them mom & dad and Shizuki, their other Japanese homestay student became my “sister”.  They also have lots of involvement with their daughter’s family, Cory & Chris Priebe and their 4 children.  This is also an amazing home filled with so much love, laughter and can be pretty noisy, but so much fun.

The first weekend in my new homestay, they invited me to come to church with them.  I told them I was an atheist, and “mom” said, “it doesn’t matter to God if you’re an atheist, we would still like you to come with us.”  I felt something happening in my heart that first Sunday I attended church.  It was “Father’s Day” and the sermon really spoke to me about my broken relationship with my father.  I had been angry at him for a long time and I realized I needed to forgive him.  He only lives about half an hour from my mom in Shenyang, but I hadn’t seen him for a few years.  I decided the next time I would be home in China, I would make an extra effort to see him and tell him I forgave him.

I accepted Jesus into my life at the airport in Kelowna, on my way home to China for summer.  I had already gone through security and was sitting at the gate waiting to board my flight to Vancouver and then to Shenyang my home city in China.  During the 3 weeks in my new homestay, I’d had many hugs, conversations about the Bible, about God, going to church and what it meant to become a Christian especially with mom Betty.  A lot of this fit with what I had heard and seen about Christianity at KCS during my year in grade 10.  So, as I waited to board my flight, I sent my mom in China a message and asked her what she would think if I became a Christian?  My mom immediately texted back to say that she would be happy for me.  The reason she had sent me to attend KCS was because she believes that Christians have good morals and values, so to her, my interest in becoming a Christian, made sense.  There at the gate, just before I boarded my flight I prayed and asked Jesus to come live in me.  I immediately texted my Canadian mom {Betty} to tell her and she replied that she was so happy for me and looked forward to me coming to be in their home again for my grade 11 year.  I think she turned to dad as they were at home, sitting on the sundeck when she got my text and said, “yes, yes, yes”.

When I came back to Canada in September, I could feel the difference in how I was looking at life, now as a Christian.  I love going to church, growing in my walk with Jesus and learning so much about the Bible at school, in my homestay {mom is a really good teacher} and from others like my new “sister” Cory.  I also have a new homestay Japanese sister Aya.   I enjoyed attending Alpha with her and mom at KGF and wanted to get baptised before I go home to China for the summer break.

I had hoped that I could finish my grade 12 and graduate at KCS and live with my homestay family for another year.  But in February my mom decided that she wanted me to take my grade 12 in Montreal, so I could also learn French.  Many years ago, she lived in Paris and learned to love the French language and culture, so she wanted me to also experience some of that as well, while I am in attending school in Canada.  Her decision caught me by surprise and has been difficult for me to work through, as I will miss so many things I have come to love about Kelowna.  But the Bible says that God causes all things to work out for good, for those who love Him, so I have come to accept this decision and believe that something good will come out of living in Montreal, the next few years.  Mom “Betty” is already connecting me with some of her Christian friends in Montreal so I know I will have Christian support when I get there.  Now, it looks like I will finish my high school in Montreal and then attend McGill University after that.  I look forward to being back in Kelowna to visit as often as I can, to see my Canadian family and many friends.  My prayer is that hopefully it can work out that I can come back to live Kelowna sometime in the future.

Coco (Liudan) Fang