By Roy S. Askins
A New Building
On Sept. 15, 2016, Concordia International School Hanoi (CISH) dedicated their new campus building. CISH, with the aid of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), opened in 2010 with 42 students enrolled. Now, six years later, 325 students, from 24 nationalities, and 37 teachers populate a newly built campus in Hanoi.
CISH Head of School Steven Winkelman noted that the new campus building was made possible by a number of partnerships. The LCMS Board of Directors and the LCMS Board for International Mission provided support as Concordia developed. The Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) provided funding for the school building along with expertise and advice with the construction, design and management of the project. Concordia International School Shanghai (CISS) also assisted the work by providing funding, guidance and support throughout the process.
CISH has a strong relationship with the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi. The U.S. Ambassador to Hanoi, Ted Osius, attended the event and brought greetings from the U.S. Embassy to those gathered for the dedication.
Plans for construction have been ongoing since early 2012. Winkelman noted that “Based upon current growth rates, Concordia expects construction on phase two (a middle school and high school building) to start in early 2019 with a completion date of August 2020.”
The growth of the campus brings both joys and challenges. The approval process for the new building proved arduous at times: “The biggest challenge is that the process to receive approval is often times unclear or opaque,” Winkelman noted. “You don’t really know the next steps until you complete the previous step. This requires a great deal of patience and a strong belief that God is in control and things will move forward in His time and not ours.”
In spite of the struggles, Winkelman finds great joy in the opportunities he has to share Christ’s love with the students in Hanoi. “The greatest joy is seeing how the new facilities have enhanced student learning and growth. The new facility has also given us the opportunity to share the message of Christ’s love with more students and families,” he said.
The Sept. 15 celebrations closed with a dedication service in which the Rev. Kevin Robson, LCMS chief mission officer, preached. CISH student choirs and band participated in the service as well.
Winkelman is grateful for the support given by CISH partners. “Concordia is blessed to have the support of the LCMS. The school is proud to be part of the important work happening all over the world each day and we look forward to continuing to pray for the development and expansion of the Church so that all may know the love that is in Christ Jesus.”
The Rev. Roy S. Askins is the director of communications for the Asia region of the Office of International Mission.