Grace College recently announced that Ben Miles would be leading international recruitment efforts for the school from a base in Thailand. (See Grace College Expands International Recruitment Efforts.) Here’s the back story of Ben and his wife, Asia, who is the daughter of Encompass World Partners staff members, Jason and Doni Weimer, who serve in Bangkok, Thailand. This first appeared on the news blog at grace.edu.
How Ben and Asia Miles circled back to Asia and are making a way for International Students to come to Grace
Isn’t it interesting how we only see our story as we experience it? Each day unfolds, one after the other. We walk forward in a linear pattern and we often forget to look back. But when we do, we find that our path was made of circles all along: circles that connect our relationships, circumstances, and locations. Ben and Asia Miles look back and agree–our stories are much more circular than they appear in the moment, and when the Lord brings us back to something from the past, he has plans to redeem it.
Let’s look at Ben and Asia’s story from the beginning.
Meet Ben: the kindest and most competent guy that you can’t help but like. (Seriously, ask around campus!) Born in Jerusalem, Ben’s parents lived in the middle east to do faith-based medical relief work. Throughout his childhood, Ben lived in Israel, Egypt, the Gaza Strip, and Jordan. In 2011, Ben came to Grace College to obtain a B.S. in Information Systems and a minor in Intercultural Studies. After graduating in 2015, Ben stepped into a role with Grace’s IT department and continued his education at Grace.
Meet Asia: the cool creative with a fiery passion for people. Asia Weimer was born in Iowa. Her family moved around Asia for missions: from the Philippines, back to Iowa, to Northeast Thailand, and landed in Bangkok for Asia’s high school years where she attended an International School. Following in her parents’ footsteps, Asia came back to the U.S. to attend Grace College in 2015. She pursued a double major in Elementary Education and Illustration and was CDI (Council for Diversity and Inclusion) Director on campus.
Asia and Ben were introduced on one of Asia’s first days on campus. Her father, a good friend of Ben’s boss, stopped by the IT office. Asia was immediately intrigued by this man who had a childhood marked by parents who were eager to serve the Lord and frequent moves internationally–a story she knew well.
Six months later, Ben received an email from Asia’s father, asking if he would drop Asia off at the airport for her flight home to Thailand for Christmas break. Too nice to consider “no” an option, Ben obliged. The two enjoyed the conversation on the drive to Chicago and once Christmas break was over, the two gravitated towards each other. It only took two months before they walked around campus as an official dating couple.
A year and a half later, on a trip to visit Asia’s parents in Bangkok, Ben got down on one knee and popped the big question. June of 2018, Ben and Asia got married.
Asia’s final semester rolled around, and she hit the job search hard. Her dream since freshman year was to be an art teacher. She started talking to a recruiter about a school in Northern Thailand connected to International Community School (the private Christian high school she graduated from in Bangkok). Asia and Ben toyed with the idea of moving to Thailand a year down the road. But in the meantime, they were going to stay stateside.
After a joking remark to the recruiter about opening positions for the coming fall, Asia received an email from the principal at International Community School asking her to apply for a middle school art position. As a result, Asia was hired for her dream job.
This exciting news left Ben unsure of what he would do for work in Thailand. But the uncertainty did not last long. Two days later, a Grace College contact reached out regarding a job as an International Admissions Counselor. The recruiter had one concern for Ben–the job would require him to be stationed in Bangkok.
Ben knew at that moment that God was drawing this circle back to Thailand.
Ben looks forward to his new role where he will get to usher international students into a Grace experience. “Being able to authentically say that Grace is a good place to come and holistically grow as a person, is core to making this whole thing work, it makes this an easy thing to talk to students about,” Ben exclaimed.
“It’s exciting to cheer Ben on!” Asia exclaimed. Asia’s family presence in Thailand and her network with International schools will be helpful as Ben starts his job–trekking fresh paths for Grace College.
“Some of the best parts of ourselves are because of diverse relationships,” stated Asia. Now, the pair are in Bangkok, starting their new jobs, and embracing diverse relationships once more.
After telling her story, Asia reflected, “I think it’s interesting to look back and see how God is writing your story. When I first moved here I was an angsty 13-year-old, and I had a really hard time being in Thailand. To think that I would come back here by my own choice is really amazing to see. God has changed my heart because this is my favorite place ever. I love the culture, the people and everything about it.”
In her rumination, she also recognized Grace College’s huge role in where the couple is today: “Grace equipped us and sent us out successfully into the fields we wanted to pursue. Ben was able to get his undergraduate and graduate degree and now Grace employs him. I’m able to do my dream job because of the support and preparation that Grace was able to provide.”
Looking back on the way Asia and Ben got back to Bangkok is a path of many circles. Asia and Ben circled back to the US for college. Asia circled back to teach at the very school she attended as a high-schooler. Ben circled back to using the obscure Intercultural Studies minor he pursued years ago. And they both circled back to Bangkok, Thailand–the backdrop of their engagement.
Their circle taking is just the start. Now, the couple is concentrating their efforts on making a way for international students to come to Grace and perhaps launching those students into a circular journey of their own.