When Yangfan Mo ’14 arrived in Iowa from her home in Beijing, China, she experienced a change in her life that extended far beyond geography and culture.
Mo had the expectations many foreign exchange students coming to the United States have: to enhance their English skills, to experience Western culture, and to broaden their educational experience. What Mo also found was salvation.
The accounting major who said she is “good with numbers” was inspired to come to America knowing her cousin had a good experience as an exchange student here. Mo had studied English since the third grade and knew studying in the States would help her to perfect her language skills and learn the math that is universal to all. She knows these skills will give her an advantage when she graduates and chooses a career path.
Her path to God and to Trinity, however, began with her host family, the Willoughbys of Clinton, Iowa. They enrolled the new member of their family in Unity Christian High School in Fulton, Illinois, just across the river from their hometown. Mo completed her senior year at Unity and attended church each week with the Willoughbys. One day she decided she wanted to know the God they worshipped.
“I wish I would have known about Christ sooner,” said Mo, recalling the day she accepted Christ as her savior.
She visited her parents in Beijing last summer, and they were surprised by the difference they saw in their daughter. Mo, who said she was nervous at first, shared her faith with her mother and father and explained the change in her previously rebellious attitude toward them.
“I would argue with my parents, but I learned in the Bible to obey my parents,” said Mo. “God has led me to do good things, and a deeper relationship with him will make me a better person.”
When it was time to decide on the next step in her education in the States, Mo said she chose Trinity, a place where she felt she could grow in her new faith. She attends various campus Bible studies, including one for the women who live on the same floor of her residence hall. Mo is also taking a theology course to gain more biblical knowledge and appreciates the open forum it provides students for sharing their faith, asking questions, and discussing religion. She especially enjoys Outcry, the weekly student-led chapel service.
“It is the most amazing thing I like here. The students lead worship. Some students kneel, and all are praying and praising,” she explained. “I have never experienced anything like that.”
As far as her educational and social life at Trinity, Mo often appreciates the guidance of her mentor Dr. Robert Rice, professor of history, and the company of the many friends she has made through her classes, Bible studies, and participation in campus organizations such as the History Club and the Asian American Alliance.