The Gift of Education

“Most people around me today would take it for granted, but almost every day I thank God for the ability to speak and read English and perform well at my job,” shared Ian Chang. Ian was born in Calcutta to a poor Chinese family who rented a small, two-room storage closet converted into an apartment. His parents struggled to afford education for all five of their children, let alone the luxury of education in English.

Ian’s mother and father were among the first Chinese Christians in Calcutta, and desired foremost a Christian education for their children. “God will provide,” they told their children. For two years, Ian attended a small Chinese school, and the family waited. God did provide! Mark and Huldah Buntain opened the first AG School in 1964, enrolling Ian and his brother David into their first class of students. “I will never forget the hot sunny afternoon when my dad and mom came to the Chinese school to take me to visit the brand new AG School. We took a long 30-minute taxi ride to 18 Royd Street, and there I met Mrs. G.C. Shaw and Aunty Buntain for the very first time. It was an epic event for our family. Finally I was going to English school! Wow! My mother was so happy. I could hardly sleep that night I was so excited,” Ian divulged.

Ian received a new school uniform with an AG badge on it to take home until the commencement of classes in January. He was proud of the badge. His mother went to great lengths to hide it after Ian kept bringing it out to look at it. “When do I get to wear my uniform and go to the new school?” he asked her incessantly. 

Come January 1964, Ian’s mother and father took their two sons in their brand new school uniforms to wait for the school bus. A little green van showed up at 7:30 AM to take them to the first day of school. “I still remember my mom standing on the street with tears of joy in her eyes as I waved goodbye. I thought she was crying because I was going so far away to school, but later I learned that she was crying because she was happy that God had answered her prayers,” Ian revealed.

The AG School on Royd Street continued to add to its initial enrollment of 200 students. Ian spent a total of 11 years under the care of AG teachers and staff. He became well versed in English, Math, Science, Music, Hindi, Bengali, and many other subjects. He went on to study Electrical Engineering at the National Institute of Technology in Kurukshetra, India and then Computer Science at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington. He has since worked as an Engineer, building products at companies like Boeing, Microsoft, and AOL. 

“Now grown, I have become aware of the many, many sacrifices that the Buntains had to make to come to Calcutta. The same is true for the teachers and staff at the AG School. Their humble service has brought me, and countless others like me, life-changing opportunities. My life as I know it today would not have been possible if it were not for the love and sacrifices of many faithful people,” Ian commented.