BY DR. SHIRLEY FREED, ASAP BOARD MEMBER
After almost two years of gathering information, assessing needs, writing proposals, listening to expert advice, developing an administrative team, preparing curriculum materials, setting up an office, acquiring visas, and much more; the Eternity ASAP Virtual School (EAVS) is opening with the target audience being Pakistani refugees in Thailand.
ASAP has been aware of the plight of Christian Pakistani refugees for some time. Many of these refugees do not possess valid documents for their stay in Thailand, making it almost impossible for the parents to work or the children to attend school. This is problematic for children who eventually will find themselves in a Western country and who will be substantially academically behind their age group.
So, what did it take to get a virtual school ready for operation? First, it takes an absolute trust in God’s leading. “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that will prevail” (Prov. 19:21, NIV). Second, it takes the right people at the right time working together. The team, with leadership from ASAP, encountered almost insurmountable challenges. But they kept encouraging one another, and step by step God intervened and answered prayers. Many aspects of the school were established: the mission, vision and philosophy, the school’s name and logo, the webpage set up (eavschool.org), marketing materials, school calendar, school policies, job descriptions, and applications for personnel.
We received about 40 applications and interviewed 6 individuals. Two teachers were identified as being the right fit for the school. The grades 5 – 6 teacher, Ayessa, said, “I want to be part of this mission and be an instrument of God to inspire and lead more children to our Lord Jesus.” The other teacher, Gracie (Grades 7 – 8), said, “When I saw the post for [EAVS] about hiring a teacher, I felt that was a call from God to answer my dream to become a missionary.” When we interviewed Neil Roque (pictured), we were immediately convinced that God had brought him to the school. He was coming with a strong business background as a project coordinator. He says he was “drawn to the EAVS project because it presented a different way of using the corporate experience I’ve gained through the Lord’s leading. I truly believe that the Lord showed me the way to be more fulfilled in this life by serving Him in ministry with a higher purpose than gaining more of this world’s wealth.”
While the school will start with only grades 5 – 8, the administrative team already has a vision to include more grades, other refugee groups, and Adventist expatriate children who have no real access to Christian education. This is truly a collaborative approach involving Thailand Adventist Mission, contributions from Buddhist friends, and sponsorships from various individuals.