. School reunions come and go for most of us, leaving our lives relatively untouched. But in 2014, a school reunion was held that changed the lives of its attendees. Deep in the jungles of the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia, graduates of a mission boarding school gathered at the school for the first time as adults. They were there to assess how their time at the school changed their lives as children and affected the adults they became. They had been sent to this distant school many from age five, by their parents, who in turn had been sent to 'save the lost' by churches and missions to which they belonged.
Some alumni regarded their years at this primary boarding school as the best years of their lives but others had been traumatised. The separation from their families had been damaging and many found their adult relationships impacted, their faith in a God for whom they were sent away, difficult. Depression and PTSD were common.
In gathering together as adults with a shared past, and telling their stories, the attendees realised they were not alone; they saw their lives mirrored in the lives of others. Their families had been ruptured in their formative years, but here, in this place, were friends whose lives had followed similar paths. This motley crowd, of mixed generations from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore and Korea, who had attended mission schools in China, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia and Philippines recognised each other. They belonged to this tribe! There was here, perhaps, a path towards healing.
These grown children have tales to tell. There is strength in truth-telling which needs no explanation. The book 'Sent' is a collection of their stories, in their own words.
There have been books about cultural confusion (Third Culture Kids). There have been books about missionary lives. This is one of the few to tell of the adult lives that followed in children Sent away to a mission boarding school from young ages, so the work of God could continue.
This is a powerful book. 42 stories have been collected. They may make you cry, they may make you think deeply about what you believe, and what sort of parent you are or will be. We hope you will see how deeply held convictions of parents can shape their children's lives in unintended ways; yet healing comes in many forms.
About the Author
Dr John Chenoweth MB, BS, FRANZCOG, FRCOG graduated from the University of Queensland in Medicine in 1976. He worked as an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and fertility expert in Brisbane Australia until he retired in 2018. He is married and has four children, with ten in the following generation. His parents took him to their mission work in Thailand at four years of age, and sent him to Chefoo boarding school in Malaysia at age five. He was there until eleven years old when he was sent home to stay with relatives in Australia for further education. The events described in this book have been of critical importance to him.
Dr. Jenny Ostini is an Australian applied social scientist working in social and policy settings on gender, literacies and understanding workplace experiences and behaviours. She credits her complicated childhood for her enduring interest in the choices people make and the impact these choices have on their lives and families.
Bernard Dainton and his wife live in Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands. After secondary education and university in England, he studied at London Bible College 1988-91, before working in an inner city church in London for nearly twenty years, at the same time as earning a living with a series of charities. He attended Chefoo Boarding School from January 1970 to June 1975.