Partners in Learning Across Cultures (PLAC) is an organization connected to Hillside Church and founded in 2004 by John and Elaine DeJager. The mission of PLAC is to open the best ‘U.S. based Christian secondary-school level education program that enables high and middle school students from around the world to achieve their highest academic and skill-set potential.’ In this sense, the mission of PLAC is ‘to place secondary level students from around the world in high achieving Christian learning environments, preparing them for post-high school education careers and/or vocations.’
In order to accomplish this ambitious goal ‘PLAC facilitates the placement of secondary school students from around the world in Christian schools’ located in United States. In addition, PLAC ‘facilitates the placement of these students in Christian home stay environments, monitoring each placement to ensure the highest level of achievement possible.’
PLAC partnered in China with Lookworld Foundation, a recruiting agency, in running a summer education camp for prospective Chinese Christian high school students. This summer John and Elaine conducted the summer camp in Beijing, China, hoping ‘to bridge the student’s learning experiences between their China educational program and what they’ll experience in Christian high schools in the U.S.’
None of the Chinese students participating in this summer program showed any evidence of previous Christian faith, yet they appreciated the prayers offered during the daily devotions. The summer program included a four-week American history and English as a Second Language learning program. In addition, Elaine contributed to the students’ understanding of how better to adapt to a new culture. The students were interested in enrolling in a Christian high school in the U.S. in order to advance their education.
As you may guess, the Chinese secular-scientific worldview and culture places a huge trust in the human ability to accomplish anything one desires. The scientific development and discoveries are believed to provide the answers to the deepest of the human longings and desires. Education in the Christian schools of the Western World definitely is a tool that God uses to provide opportunities to the church in sharing our faith in the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, and our conviction that at the measure of all things is not the human being, but God, the Creator and sustainer of all things.
Please contact the organization if you want to learn more about this global ministry.
For this blog entry I used the information on the website and from their summer trip report in China.