Have you ever wondered what it’s like to grow up around the world? Two Godwin seniors have first-hand experience with just that. 

Caleb Lyles has traveled across the globe with his family. His parents are part of the International Mission Board (IMB) as missionaries. They travel around the world to expand the Christian faith.

Lyles was born in the United Arab Emirates, but moved to Ethiopia soon after.

 “[Ethiopia] is very special to me. 10 and a half years of my life were spent growing up in Ethiopia. My first childhood memories were made there, and I made so many different connections with local people as well as people from across the world at the international school I attended,” said Lyles. 

After a childhood spent in Ethiopia, Lyles moved up the African continent into Egypt. Along with living around the world, Lyles learned many languages as well. 

“While living in Ethiopia and Egypt, I learned the countries’ respective languages while I was there. Amharic [the language in Ethiopia], I learned all through my young age, and in school. [In Egypt I learned] Arabic in school for five years,” said Lyles. 

“I still remember a little bit of both languages, but I have forgotten a lot of it since I’ve been in America for four years now,” said Lyles.

Though his language knowledge is spotty, Lyles has many fond memories of both countries, especially Egypt. 

“I honestly don’t have a favorite [country]. But because of my age, I gained the most memories from Egypt. After school my friends and I would walk around the city and eat together every day,” said Lyles. 

Lyles comments on how much he’s learned over the years by living in different countries, and also shares how he adjusted to moving to different countries over a short period of time. 

“I learned a lot about humility. Living overseas, I have grown up learning that not everyone has an easy opportunity for some main essentials of life such as free public education, food, and water,” said Lyles.

Lyles speaks on his thoughts and comparisons of Godwin to the other schools that he has attended. 

“I enjoy Godwin a lot. Compared to other schools overseas, it is a lot bigger. My school in Ethiopia was a K-12, and only had around three hundred people in total. My school in Egypt was a K-8 and only had about seventy kids,” said Lyles.

He closes with his thoughts about Godwin’s diverse opportunities, pride, and what his future looks like. 

“Even though the student body at Godwin is a lot bigger, I still feel like the student body has a lot of school pride and community,” said Lyles.

Another senior, Reid Warner, is also familiar with countries of the African continent. When he was born, Warner’s father was a youth minister in a town called Brinkley, located in Benton, Arkansas. Today, he works as a Mission Logistics Coordinator who oversees the Continent of Africa and a large part of Southern America. 

The first foreign country Warner lived in was one of his favorites, and he explains a big reason why. 

“Two years ago, I lived in Kenya. My favorite country that I’ve lived in so far. There, I established a life-long relationship and was able to live more independently in the city,” said Warner.

Warner also notes that, even though he is not able to speak another language from the countries that he has lived in fluently, he’s learned many valuable lessons, and has had some life-changing experiences. 

“I’ve been forced to learn many lessons from various experiences during my time outside of the country. Most notably, thankfulness for the basic resources we take for granted. When I was living in Botswana, there was a severe drought that lasted many years. It was normal to have no water and often no power as well. South Africa exported water via pipe way. While this seems like an efficient solution, there were frequent problems with the system.” said Warner. 

He also speaks of the difficulties of hopping from country to country over a short period, and all the important things he leaves behind. 

“The most difficult part of moving is the uncertainty and the short-notice. I learned that I would be leaving Kenya in the late summer of 2019. I was told it was only for a semester, but here I am now graduating Godwin as a senior. Despite having lived here for over two years, I am torn daily. There are days when I would simply like to return home. I’ve kept in touch with my friends in Kenya and we were able to close the distance a few times last year,” said Warner.

Warner also notes what he has learned, how he has changed here in Virginia, and how different it is compared to schools that he has previously attended. 

“I have grown a lot as an individual during my time here [at Godwin]. I have met great people and continue to meet great students and faculty,” said Warner.

American culture was something that Warner had to adjust to when he moved back to the states from Kenya. 

“Godwin is very similar to what I’ve seen in movies that involve America: one big building, loads of narrow hallways, lockers, etc. American culture was definitely a big change,” said Warner. 

Warner closes with his future plans and offers some advice for the graduating seniors. 

“My dream is to work overseas in the future. I’m not sure [that I will] continue my father’s work. I’ve seen enough to know that I’m not inclined to that field.” said Warner. 

“To the upperclassmen: I highly recommend traveling. Many of us are able to work and make money, so save some and go on holiday with your friends. You’ll enjoy it,” said Warner.

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