I am from South Korea and I came to Tsawwassen in August 2016 with my children for them to have meaningful life experiences in another culture. My son is an international student at South Delta Secondary (grade 8) but my daughter, who had stayed here just one year as a secondary student, went back to Korea.
I struggled to settle in a new home from the very first month until six months after arriving. There were a lot of barriers at the time. It was not easy to accept a different culture such as making eye contact, smiling to unfamiliar people, or saying hello to somebody. Most of all, English was the most significant barrier to me, and it felt like an enemy. I started learning English here as a survival measure.
While I was learning English, I received a recommendation to the ELL class and the bible study at SDBC, which was run by Cathy Horvath and Karen Corbett. It was my first steps into a church community. I was so glad when I got a chance to participate in the bible study here because I've always been interested in history and education pertaining to my studies. I was able to complete one of my life's goals on my list, which was to read the bible. Through the Sunday morning sermons and the Wednesday bible studies, I've been getting bible-based knowledge and I've begun to understand the church culture and words. Some people believe that there is a God but others believe that there is not. Much to my regret, there is still no God for me personally, but I do not deny the existence of God. According to Pastor Paul's words, I just have not reached that place of belief yet.
I sincerely appreciate the ELL bible study teachers and all the groups of bible study ladies. They've treated me very nicely and given me a big hug of welcome. Particularly, Cathy and Karen, two wonderful ladies, have been teachers and also friends to me. In addition, when I was hesitating whether I should or can serve the church in any way, Karen encouraged me and introduced me to the director of the nursery, to be a volunteer in that room. Also, when I wanted to volunteer at First Steps Preschool, Karen wrote a reference letter for me. As a result, I've been volunteering at First Steps Preschool for two years and I've volunteered in the Sunday nursery for several months. All the teachers in the preschool and the nursery have treated me as one of the staff. I've gotten special experiences from the church community and I know I've grown. It's been glorious to get volunteer jobs related to my previous career and education background, which was in Early Childhood Education.
I am leaving Tsawwassen to go back to my husband and my daughter, but my son will stay here with his homestay parents. Please continue to welcome new people without any prejudice and pray for them. It will be the start of another person's new first steps, as it was for me.