Participation in the SEP is no holiday and no picnic. It is hard work, but deeply rewarding and satisfying. We have had the joy of teaching and sharing with people who were so eager to learn, and who have satisfied three weeks of their summer vacation and separation from their family in order to improve their English. It has been thrilling to see and hear the progress they have all made.

– Stephen Sidebotham, Jinan, Shandong Province

The welcoming handshakes from our hosts, shared laughter over a meal, the wide-eyed curious looks from children, our teacher-students’ eager smiles – the SEP was all of this, and more.I came to China as an ambassador for my country and for my Christian faith, to be part of the east-west bridge that is making the world smaller every day. What I found, in this most ancient and also very modern country, were some of the most gracious people I’ve met, anywhere. In short, my time in Chuzhou (Anhui) was a far richer experience than any tour guide could ever provide. I am grateful – God bless Amity!

– Claire Gibbs, Chuzhou, Anhui Province

This has been my fourth time teaching in China through the Amity SEP. I am always amazed at the amount of bonding that occurs between the Amity teachers and their “students”. This is one of the many things that compels me to return. It is truly rewarding.

– Gary Dillingham, Ma’anshan, Anhui Province

Wow! What an incredible educational and spiritual journey. Thanks Amity for a powerful, enriching experience!!

– Kerri Nutbrown (United Church of Christ, Canada)

This experience has affirmed and re-affirmed my ‘joy of teaching’. I really respect the teachers for their dedication to their students despite poor pay and poor conditions. I truly feel blessed to have met my colleagues across the ocean. Every day felt like it was the BEST POSSIBLE day — that it could not get any better — and then the next day would come along and either match or surpass the previous one!!! My face hurt from smiling and laughing so much!

–Sue Senior (Presbyterian Church, Canada. )

Jesus promised that we would have “life — life in all its fullness” and that is certainly what we experienced in Xingtang! We could not have asked for anything more of anyone. I am so sad to be leaving, and I am already planning the things that I need to bring for next year!

– Jane Coates (BMS, UK)

The spirit of gratitude among the people that we teach brings me back year after year (ninth time). It would be easier to stay at home and not sweat or work until I am bone tired, but here it seems all worthwhile. One teacher in Gansu said, “I hope every village teacher in all of China has this opportunity for teacher training.”

– Loretta Denson (Volunteers for China, USA)

I found that what I could offer through the Amity SEP meets an essential need of the people living in rural China, but I also know that I received more than I gave. As a recent college graduate, the cost was important to me. I found that Amity worked hard to keep personal expenses low while offering this eye-opening view into what life is like in many areas of China. Thanks!

–Andrew Holloway (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, USA)

I highly recommend the SEP experience and especially encourage it for teachers who love learning as much as teaching!

– Virginia Heslinga (American Baptist Church, USA)

I really did not know what to expect, but the experience has exceeded even my wildest hopes…. Chinese people are the most generous, kind and warm people I have ever met. I have visited more than 15 countries, and I have never had such hospitable hosts. There was also the added bonus of the impact of the course — 92 English teachers are returning to their classrooms with new ideas, improved skills and renewed enthusiasm for their vocation.

– Mike Burns (Presbyterian Church, Canada)

What a joy it was to be involved in the Summer English Program! I came to give and I received. I came to bless, and I was blessed. I came to teach, and I learned!

– Kathy Allen (Virginia Baptist Mission Board, USA)

As a Christian, I am very appreciative of the Amity foundation’s efforts on behalf of people who have little material wealth, but great spirit. Although the SEP is only a small segment of Amity’s work, I am proud to be associated with Amity and feel satisfied to have assisted middle school teachers with their English skills. I would consider coming back as a teacher for a future summer English program.

– Tom Bredesen, (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, USA)

I have traveled in 50 States in the US and 118 countries on all seven continents, but I can honestly say that I will rank this month with Amity in China within the top 5 of the experiences which I will remember the most often and the most pleasantly in my life. The eighty faces of those 20 to 40 year-olds who teach in the countryside of Guangxi Province with huge classes and low salaries will be etched into my mind and heart forever. They are China’s most valuable treasure and my hope is that the leaders of China will more and more recognize their value.

– W. Randall Lolley, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, USA)

This has been a very moving and rewarding experience for me. It exceeded my expectations in all respects.

– Debbie Burns, (Presbyterian Church, Canada)

It would be impossible to share what China has meant. It will continue to change me for days, months, and years to come. Being a volunteer for Amity helps build bridges!

– Amy Sara Hubble, (Virginia Baptist Mission Board, USA)

This has been a wonderful experience. I highly recommend Amity for this witness of selfless service. We were prepared for difficulties, but were amazed by the care that had been put into making sure that we had successful experience. The students were bright and eager to learn. The organization and on-site preparation were superb.

–Brook Ashfield, (Presbyterian Church, Canada)

This experience made me want to come back to China again and has whet my appetite for more cross-cultural service.

– Jerry Heslinga, (American Baptist Church, USA)

What a wonderful opportunity! To experience Chinese culture and be of service to others at the same time was very rewarding! These students were extremely motivated and so appreciative. They could not thank us enough for being “hard-working” and for wanting “to help China develop.” The flipside of this whole trip was the amount of knowledge I gained about Chinese culture and the rewards of seeing the Amity Foundation at work in China. I have a new appreciation for “Made in China” as I have come to know a little about how these people live. Thank you, Amity Foundation, for helping me to see the under-developed or developing China through Chinese eyes!

– Miriam Wallinger, (Independent Volunteer, USA)

Today I am a better person — no, a better Christian — because of new friends from the countryside around Nanning.

– Frank Mayo, (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, USA)

All the planning and hard work paid off resulting in a sense of real accomplishment. It was a very rewarding experience.

– Mabel Snyder, (Mennonite Church, USA)

This was my second SEP and it surpassed what I felt was unsurpassable (my first trip)! The experiences we shared with our students and the experiences shared with the local church were among the high points of my experience with God. I truly thank Amity for making it available and hope to soon serve again.

– Ken Muenzler, (Volunteers for China, USA)

Teaching ESL in China is an awesome experience. In 3 short weeks we see a notable change in the speaking ability of our students. We also learn as much from our students as we have taught them. The program is a wonderful cultural exchange opportunity and a vehicle for people of different countries to show their love to each other.

– Willis Stelter, (Lutheran Church of the Missouri Synod, USA)

This was my fourth year teaching in China. Each year is emotional, but this year may have topped them all. I could not believe how quickly I bonded with fifty strangers. I know that I will remember a few of the special ones for the rest of my life.

– Gary Dillingham, (Lutheran Church of the Missouri Synod, USA)

I am in awe of all that the Chinese Christian Church and Amity are accomplishing. The teachers were so appreciative that we volunteered to travel this far to teach them. They worked hard and, of course, I fell in love with them.

– Carolyn Bales, (Volunteers for China, USA)

I learned so much from the trainees and I have a great respect now for the Chinese people. The only problem is that I can not come back sooner!!!

– Benita Tomlinson, (Volunteers for China, USA)

© Jane Coates 2015