[pullquote cite=”Aynagul” type=”right”]He was so much greater than the box I put Him in! Since those difficult times I have been pursuing an intimacy with God. Because of the struggles, I don’t know where I would be now, had it not been for the teaching and support of staff in the Philippines.[/pullquote]
Q: What were some of the biggest challenges that you faced coming to Faith Academy?
Some of the biggest challenges I faced was dealing with the spiritual battles that comes with being a missionary in the field, finding friends and having a Christian support group. My parents lived in rural Rizal and we did not understand Tagalog so we did not have a church we could go to and fellowship with the believers. Also we had to travel two hours every day to school and two and a half to four hours home from school. We could not stay after school or go to social activities so it was really hard to make friends. My parents ran an orphanage and medical clinic in the Philippines and they were working on expanding the capacity of the orphanage by building a baby home and also trying to find doctors to run the clinic and to build a sustainable agricultural plan. Many times we got homesick, frustrated with the slow progress of expansion, my mom had major health issues that were found to be because of stress. We had issues come up at home and during the whole time. We just needed support. We thankfully found that support during our second quarter of attending FA.
Q: What were some of the things that helped you overcome those challenges?
At FA, I made friends with people in Stage Craft and Track. Some staff let me and my sisters sleepover at their house on nights there were social events. Also, the staff continuously pray for their students which has a huge effect on the students lives. I was able to go to Oasis, FA’s youth group. This was really helpful because I could fellowship and have fun with other believers and seek help from leaders. Along the same lines having chapel every Wednesday was really helpful. Staff members supported us in many ways. They helped us with car problems. One staff member even gave us her car for a day so we could go home because our car broke down. Other staff members were able to give my parents advice on some of the things they dealt with in expanding their orphanage and medical clinic. The FA community was a huge support to my family.
Q: How has living overseas changed you?
Having lived overseas has changed me. It opened me up to a whole different perspective of my faith and my worldview. I learned about spiritual warfare because my family dealt with some very hard things while in the Philippines. We had to remember that the battle was not between flesh and blood. Coming back to America it was hard because I did not feel as close to God, and I had to readjust to American culture. This led me to seek God in his word and prayer. I have now been following Professor Horner’s Bible Reading Plan and that has been a huge benefit to me. Plus I started seeking a church that I could find fellowship in and be apart of a body that would hold me accountable to my sins, and have really grown in pray. The Philippines really opened my eyes to who God really is. He was so much greater than the box I put Him in! Since those difficult times I have been pursuing an intimacy with God. Because of the struggles, I don’t know where I would be now, had it not been for the teaching and support of staff in the Philippines.
Q: What would you say to someone who is considering supporting a Faith Staff member?
Being a missionary is hard. I have many missionary friends in the Philippines, in Latin America and Africa. The battles you go through are very difficult and having a support group is so important. The staff at FA not only provides quality education and training in a Christ-centered environment for children of missionaries, giving missionaries the ability to evangelize and do the work God called them to, but also Faith Academy staff provides support through prayer, and being available to talk and helping out in any way possible.
Aynagul (on the left in the photo) is now a Senior at Petra Academy and Classical Christian School in Bozeman, MT USA. She is working on joining the Army and is hoping to go to Montana State University get a degree in Social Work.