This past week, the dormitories of Hillcrest Academy were bursting with life as we welcomed 106 new dorm students from across the state and country and as far away as Norway, Korea, and China. This transfer of parents’ most precious treasures is not taken lightly on either end and happens for many reasons. Some students come as children of alumni or HLA. They have waited all their lives to be old enough to attend the school that Mom or Dad have recounted with great affection. Others come because they are seeking a college-prep experience in a Christian setting and want to grow in their faith. Still others are looking to improve their English with hopes of getting into American colleges. Not all students come from Christian homes. But they all have one thing in common: They are stepping out of their comfort zones.

One such student arrived at the Castle from Southeast Asia in the fall of 2013 as a sophomore. She had previously spent her freshman year at a private American school working on her language skills, Bible was a subject that was taught there with the same degree of importance as any other subject and Nhi was unmoved. Her years at Hillcrest were to provide much contrast and change the trajectory of her life..

“Hillcrest became like my family,” said Nhi softly. “The other school told me about Jesus but didn’t bring me to Him.” The lifestyle of HLA’s teachers and staff, the interest they took in not only teaching her subjects but investing in her life and budding faith, were irresistible. Nhi, who grew up in a Buddhist community in Vietnam, came to faith in Jesus Christ at Hillcrest. She went from her small family of four to the burgeoning Family of God winning the love and respect of more “siblings” than she can count.

“Hiilcrest will always be my second home,” says the college freshman who will begin classes at NDSU next week.

Welcome home, Nhi. Welcome home!

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