Moving halfway around the world the summer after her sophomore year of high school was not something Brittney Miller had planned, but in August 2008 she found herself on a plane headed to Daejeon, South Korea with her family. Following God’s leading, Brittney’s parents, David and Laurie (Sanders) Miller (’88) accepted teaching positions at Taejon Christian International School (TCIS). Stepping off the plane into the humid South Korean weather, Brittney knew she was in for a life-changing experience.
With China to the west and Japan to the east, South Korea serves as a doorway for many missionaries called to the 10-40 window. TCIS hosts over 500 students on its property, many of whom are children of missionaries and many of whom are Korean students and military children. Dr. Ryan Roberts (’88 and ’05), TCIS’ assistant head of school commented, “About 50 percent of the student body at TCIS ascribe to the Christian faith.” Those working at Taejon “not only serve to further the work of missions throughout Asia, but also the work of evangelical missions on the campus [of TCIS].”
In 2003, George and Heidi (Hagood) Zickefoose (’87) were living in Boise, Idaho, when they discerned God leading them to TCIS. George currently serves as the elementary school principal while Heidi teaches theater and drama in the high school. In 2006, Ryan and Dina (Cuffe) Roberts (’88) followed God’s prompting to TCIS, where they serve as the assistant head of the school and a kindergarten teacher respectively. More NNU alumni arrived in 2008, and by 2010, 10 NNU graduates were serving as administrators, teachers and staff at TCIS.
Also in 2010, Brittney Miller graduated from Taejon Christian and began attending NNU. Brittney reflects, “My time at Taejon taught me how to be myself and be different yet be completely okay with it. I’m much more enthused about the world and the diversity around me than before [living in South Korea], and I want more than anything to find ways I can serve within those contexts.”
"I’m much more enthused about the world and the diversity around me than before [living in South Korea], and I want more than anything to find ways I can serve within those contexts."
Brittney quickly adjusted to NNU and found her niche in student leadership. She has served as a resident assistant and was elected social vice president for the 2012-13 school year. During the summer of 2012, Brittney continued to serve NNU by traveling to Nazarene churches and youth camps with Covenant, one of NNU’s summer ministry teams.
Brittney isn’t the only person from Taejon Christian to come to NNU in the past few years. Her brother Levi also chose NNU and is now a sophomore studying sports management. Becca Roberts, daughter of Ryan and Dina, is a sophomore studying elementary education and a third sophomore, In Seong (Zach) Kim, is the first Korean student to graduate from TCIS and attend NNU. Two more individuals from TCIS joined NNU fall semester 2013: Alexandra, daughter of the Zickefooses, is a freshman exploring language and culture, and Dr. Jennifer Hill (’99) is a new faculty member in the Department
Jennifer and her husband Cary (’96) and their two children had packed their bags and moved to Daejeon in August 2010. Cary taught math at TCIS, and Jennifer served as the college and career counselor. “One of my favorite parts of working at TCIS was getting to know the children of missionaries who are stationed all over the world,” shares Jennifer. “They are outstanding people who will make a true impact on the world. They touched my life in countless ways.”
“Because of this relationship between NNU and TCIS, an overseas student teaching opportunity has been established,” describes Ryan Roberts. This opportunity allows education majors to spend a semester abroad in South Korea, completing the student teaching requirement for their degree in education . Since 2010, three education majors (Stacey Nilsen (’10), Derek Cole (’10) and Alicia Bland (’13)) have completed their student teaching experience at Taejon Christian. Two current students, Samantha Field and Serena Howard, will be traveling to TCIS for spring semester 2014.
Now in her last year at NNU, Brittney Miller is completing a degree in elementary education. “After this, I hope to get a job as an elementary teacher. Where that will be, I have no idea. Maybe a few miles from NNU, maybe thousands! Either way, I’m excited to see where my Savior will lead me.” Her sentiment reflects the influence of two schools that share a common mission.
As NNU enters its second century, graduates will continue to go and do. In going, relationships like the one with Taejon Christian International School, will organically develop as alumni follow God’s call to serve around the world. While doing, those alumni impact their communities, and those communities shape individuals. A few of these individuals, like Brittney Miller, find their way to NNU, and others, like Jennifer Hill, find their way back again to continue shaping NNU students into the creative and redemptive agents we are called to be.