Maranatha International Program Builds Bridges

Recently, Maranatha High School parent and host mom, Wendy Strong, shared how her family’s experience with their international student is building bonds of love across continents.

Strong describes how her family came to host a student by saying, “Late last year, God put it on our family’s heart to bless a family in China. We found an opportunity as we opened our home to Billy Tan, MHS International Student.” She continues, “As we waited for Billy to arrive, our family began to pray for a bridge of love with him and his parents. When Billy arrived, he immediately felt like a son and his family like our family!”

Strong testifies of the significant growth her family has seen through this experience. Since their family has grown, there is more laughing, learning, and playing. Though they have taught Billy how to snorkel and body surf, Strong feels that he has taught them so much more. Not only has Billy shared a deeper understanding of Chinese culture and the challenges and pressures that young people in China face, but his presence alone has impacted their lives tremendously.

Strong feels like her family is “better” for the experience. Her family has found that they are more aware of how they act and treat each other, and in turn, they find themselves “called more to excellence”. They have become more intentional as a family and enjoy playing basketball and ping pong together.

Strong particularly loves seeing the impact on her own children. She feels “Billy has helped the children care more for each other.” Billy respects his older “brother” and treats Strong’s daughter like the sister he always wanted. Strong’s son Caleb has even started “Jazz Band Sunday” with Billy who plays the clarinet while Caleb plays the saxophone. Both boys are in speech and debate and run cross country together at Maranatha. As an added bonus, Strong’s son Caleb is grateful for Billy’s help with his Mandarin homework.

Strong says, “As a family, we took a risk, but God is blessing us as a result. We are so thankful for this journey! It is a gift!”

The Maranatha High School International Program is always on the lookout for more Christian host families. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Maranatha’s International Student Associate Director Miss Jin at

Maranatha High School, 169 S. St. John Avenue, Pasadena, (626) 817-4000 or visit



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