Some of you may have recently heard Forman Christian College mentioned on the popular television show Fixer Upper. We hope the telling of our return to Texas will be a valuable opportunity to show a national audience a few glimpses of the beautiful city of Lahore and of our beloved college. We are the Ramsey family, (Charles, Brooke, and our children Jonah, Sophia, Norah, Judah, and Clara) and we had the wonderful privilege of serving at FCC for five years between 2012 and 2017. It was a great experience, and we are so thankful to Dr. James Tebbe and the university community – the students, faculty, and staff – and also to the many supporters who work together to make Forman one of the most important centers of learning on the planet.

If you saw the show, you learned that we recently transitioned from Forman to Baylor University in Texas and this has opened a way to tell many about our adventures and experiences in Pakistan. I taught Religion and Peace Studies, Brooke home-schooled our children and participated in the life of the college through many student activities, and our children delighted in the grounds, park, and swimming – taking turns serving as the “mayor” of faculty housing. These are remembered as fabulous years for our family. As we reminisce about what made this time so valuable, what inevitably comes to mind are the many relationships we developed with coworkers, but particularly with students.

I think of Waqas Mirza, for example, a young man from Southern Punjab which is an area of poverty that has also become a hotbed of militancy. Waqas started a pre-med program in Karachi, but after a few months he correctly discerned that his heart was in the Social Sciences. He was in my World Religions class and became fascinated with the Sufi poetry indigenous to his region. This gave him language to process many of the ideas he learned from a liberal arts education and he was able to share them with his family. Waqas is now finishing his MA in London, writing a thesis that explores and translates one of the most important poets from his region. His dream is to complete a doctorate and teach somewhere like FCC, perhaps even closer to home.

We also remember a close friendship with Naseer John, a Christian student who recently completed his master’s degree at the FCC Center for Public Policy and Governance. He is from a lovely village surrounded by expansive rice fields about 2 hours from Lahore. Unfortunately, this village is one that has experienced first-hand the complex issues of poverty and religious discrimination. Through this friendship, Brooke and I were able to interact with people whose lives are being improved through the education Naseer received. They are growing in their ability to organize, advocate, and express views with greater confidence. By teaching at FCC, we were directly involved in supporting and equipping future leaders who are increasingly able to address the complex issues such as economic development and minority rights that are of the greatest importance in Pakistan and beyond.

But life at FCC was not all about work. We also regularly recall how much we enjoyed celebrating the holidays with our host friends and family in Lahore. The Tebbes hosted wonderful Thanksgiving dinners, and we will never forget the annual Dubash family Christmas feast! Students came by singing Christmas carols, and we will always cherish the warmth and friendship we experienced, even as we missed being away from our loved ones in the US.

As we settle back into life in America, we do so with a profound gratitude for the opportunity to experience life in Pakistan and with the Forman family. We continue in our respective careers, teaching school and university, with an enriched perspective, and also with a lasting commitment to share these memories and to champion the many purposes that are uniquely brought together in this “good old college.” 

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