Airplanes, mini-vans, subways, buses and cars carried Curt and me on our recent trip to minister to homeschoolers in other parts of the world. God’s physical protection over so many miles is remarkable, but His active involvement in every day’s events is truly amazing. He granted success in every sense of the word.
In Budapest, Hungary we reached out to expatriate (missionary) families who came in from 20 different countries for an education conference. We were given opportunities to support and encourage old homeschool friends as well as make and inspire new ones. During the six years Curt and I have been caring for families in this setting the number of families who homeschool, either full or part time, has steady risen. It is now more than 50%!
Our sweet time of reunion with repeat families opened up fresh areas of concern. We were able to share the benefits of homeschooling right through high school as we provided them with a variety of practical information. A first-time couple who lives in Bosnia was worn out from their “homeschool” experience with a tutor. She returned to the US because she was spending six hours a day teaching their older child and couldn’t figure out how she could include the younger one. We offered practical suggestions as we shared the larger vision of home education. The couple left our meeting with a revitalized commitment to the true homeschool model.
With an additional expression of His grace, the Lord arranged for a special event at the new Budapest Christian Library. A public lecture was scheduled by Phyllis Anderson, Library Director, to accompany the placement of the Adopt-a-Library display provided by the Home School Foundation. She is enthusiastic about serving homeschoolers with their own section in the library. I presented a talk entitled Homeschooling: The Great Misnomer to a gathering of American visitors, a missionary homeschooler, a Hungarian homeschooler, and members of the public. The lively discussion that followed was enhanced by special guests Dr. Brian and Betsy Ray and Betsy’s mother, Eleanor. As you can see, our time in Hungary was one blessing after another.
At the end of our time of service in Hungary, Curt returned home and I flew on to France. God provided a place for me to stay in the home of a French homeschooling friend. My goal was to connect with as many national (French) homeschoolers as possible. This outreach turned out to be a lot more effort than one might imagine.
The first meeting drew only one homeschool mother, but it captured the interest of a free lance reporter. Michael is a 17 year old homeschool graduate of British and Belgian descent. He came to the meeting to add personal testimonies to his research for an article on the oppressive government regulation of homeschooling in France. His interviews provided me with key information about the bureaucratic nightmare that pursues caring parents. It borders on a reign of terror.
The second meeting was canceled the night before, but the third meeting brought six homeschool mothers and a variety of children from infants to teens. Snuggled into a tiny apartment on the edge of Paris, we chatted about the benefits of home education and I shared the materials HSLDA provided for this outreach. These mothers were especially interested in hearing practical input from a veteran homeschooler. It was a bit sad that a major portion of our discussion centered around the difficulty of dealing with the French ministry of education, but Michael was in attendance so he got more background for his article.
A special provision at this meeting was that the main contact between homeschoolers and the French government was present – a person I was most anxious to meet. Jennifer and I had an excellent discussion about the efforts going on to protect families, educate government personnel, and affect positive change. I learned a lot about the laws and their application, and the concerns of homeschool families. She was quite interested in the history, purpose, and work of HSLDA and commented that it might be time for such an organization in France. It was a blessed time of building relationships in the developing, worldwide homeschool community.
As if all of these blessings weren’t enough, the Lord reached down and put the cherry on the top. In a quiet time of serious conversation, my friend asked me about the basis of my worldview. We’ve had email discussions about our two cultures that included politics and church history as well as less heady topics. Her question was an opening to share my faith and I walked through with divinely empowered boldness. I cannot report that she asked the Savior into her life, but I can say that she was seriously affected by what I shared. Our relationship continues and I ask you to join me in prayer for the redemption of her soul.
On my return flight I couldn’t help but ponder the various provisions of the Lord. He gave Curt and me a blessed time of ministry in Budapest. He got me where I needed to be when I got lost in the Paris Metro. He brought me into contact with French national homeschoolers and gave me the opportunity to share my Christian testimony. Most importantly, He allowed me a glimpse of the work of His mighty hand. Without a doubt homeschooling is making a steady advance around the globe. And the Gospel of Jesus Christ is accompanying it.