The mission of Vineyard Education Association is to raise up Chinese youth to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We accomplish this by:
- Recruiting them through a program which will prepare them to gain admittance to and succeed in an American college
- Placing them in a loving Christian family which, over time, comes to feel like their home and
- Serving them and their host family as they learn to adapt to a new culture and language.
The VEA Story
VEA began in 2012 as a small ministry in the home of Chris and Hannah McGowan in Kansas City. They were asked to house a Chinese international student who was attending a local Christian school. In the summer of 2013 that first student returned with a few new students who had heard about the program.
During 2013 those students progressed dramatically, both academically and spiritually. Most of them accepted Christ within the first year. Chris and Hannah saw that God was blessing VEA and these Chinese students. When the program proved successful, they were asked to start a small agency to place Chinese students in local host families.
The following year VEA’s returning students brought even more new students, as parents began to see the changes in their children and told their friends. The Chinese parents saw their children get baptized, and then saw their children’s attitudes and behaviors change dramatically. After seeing all of this, some of the parents began going to church and attending bible studies. Soon word came back that some of these parents had been baptized!
As of spring 2016, four VEA students have graduated – two in May of 2015 who are currently attending college in Texas, and two in May of 2016. The two most recent graduates have both been accepted by multiple colleges and have both decided to attend Christian colleges. Both have received substantial scholarships. They will begin their college lives in the fall of 2016.
As of today VEA has about 20 students studying in three local Christian high schools. And VEA is actively working with two more local Christian schools.
VEA recruits students through a referral network in China composed of parents of existing and former students. Potential students and their parents complete an initial application and are interviewed live online. If the student is accepted, the parent and student jointly sign a contract which spells out the rules and expectations of the program, and the parents complete and return a notarized durable power of attorney.
VEA seeks out potential host families through various Christian sources, primarily church communities and existing host families. Potential host families complete an application, meet with VEA in their home, sign a host family agreement which spells out their role and responsibilities, and are subjected to a background check.
VEA partners with their students’ KC-area Christian schools to support them in their efforts to integrate these students into their culture and curriculum. Partnering with VEA allows the schools to transfer the legal and financial risks associated with programs such as these to an unrelated legal entity (VEA), thereby freeing them to focus their resources and attention on the mission of their school.