In early 2007, Jim got a call from an American friend inviting him to visit their organization in China. Previously, he had never planned to visit China. However, in the days after their meeting, as Jim prayed and talked with trusted friends, he got the sense that God wanted him to go, though he didn't know why. That May, for two weeks, he traveled through China, getting to know its people, its culture and its traditions.
The following year, in 2008, frustrated that the ministry project he had developed wasn't going as he had hoped, Jim began to think about the option that would change his direction and revive his spirit: teach English in China at a university. Through the help of his American friend in China and a contact he made during his travels there, this option became reality when he was offered a one-year teaching contract at a private university in Harbin, in the northernmost province of China, bordered by Russia. An adventure it was, and one that turned out much better than he imagined. As Jim began to teach, God began to plant in his heart a love for Chinese students, which only strengthened during his second year, when he began teaching in the city of Qiqihar.
Now back in Syracuse for a year and growing restless, Jim began to ask God to give him a theme for the next decade of his life. Soon after, he decided to seek ways to work among the Chinese students at Syracuse University and ended up volunteering with the Slutzker Center for International Services as an English conversation group leader. And that was the beginning of CHAFA. During that year, he began building friendships with students and, eventually, formally established the organization.
Jim also wrote blogs about his experience in China. If you are interested, feel free to go to these websites: