Xitong (Rebecca) Chen
I am Xitong (Rebecca) Chen, from Shanghai, China. I just graduated from WIU (Dec. 2016) with the honors of Summa Cum Laude, Journalism Department Scholar, and student marshal. I spent three of my four and a half years living in the CSC house while studying abroad. To me, CSC means home, the place where all the blessings start from. I have been blessed by participating in various activities and making American friends at CSC. Most importantly, I have been blessed by the teaching from CSC which has helped me to grow spiritually.
When I first came to the United States, I was 17 and knew only text-book English and few living experiences. My mom kept reminding me to find a church right after I got into this entirely new country. With this message in my mind, I met Rebekah Byrnes during the International Orientation Week who later became my CSC roommate. Rebekah, as a servant leader by that time, who shared the same name with me, brought me to the Sunday Worship as well as introduced me to the CSC group. Although I was baptized in China and went to church regularly, I did not realize how much I need from Him and how much He loves me until I studied abroad. With the leading of the Holy Spirit and friendly welcome from the CSCers, I attended weekly bible studies, small groups, discipleship courses, and Sunday worship. I went to the mission trips in Juarez, Mexico building houses for families who need them. I got nominated to be a leadership team member and became the servant leader of the Proclaiming the Gospel team in 2015. And I learned to play drums then served in the worship band.
I’ve also been blessed by the teaching from CSC which has helped me to grow spiritually. The first lesson my Lord gave me was to put my pride down. I was always a leader in school and among my friends back in China who told others what to do and “judged” their work. At the time I arrived in America, everything needed to be started over – No one knew me here; my parents could not help me out; I had a hard time explaining myself to people in English… I needed to be told what to do because I had no idea at that point. Our God used His own way to teach me to be humble step by step. He sent me to a foreign country with language barriers as well as culture shocks so that I knew what fear was. He then let people from CSC help me out to get through each of these challenges so that I know what love was. With knowing that He is my creator and my provider, I gradually got the habit of reading the Bible and praying every day. The amazing thing was that God even changed my personality. My city-girl poker face no longer existed but instead, people always saw smiles from me. I learned how to love each other with the perfect love He has shown me through CSC.
Without CSC, I would never have made all those good friends or got involved in these memorable activities. Without CSC, I would never grow to someone like this today. CSC is truly my home, and people in CSC are truly my family. I still cannot believe that I have already been with CSC in Macomb for more than four years. Congratulations to myself for getting through the easiest part of my life! What’s next would be way more challenging – preparing for the GRE test, getting a master degree in Education Leadership, finding a job, applying for visa, and building my family (before I get too old, hopefully). I am sure God will be with me no matter what situations are in any stage of my life. And another thing that I am sure about is that I will always remember CSC, the place where all the blessings start from.