The “foreigner” is watched with much interest no matter what she does or does not do

13 Apr

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City scenes, visiting students, more seekers…and Gregory/family in California

More Seekers Found; Discussion Groups So-o-o-o Good!

We have found four more seekers and enjoying time in the Word. Three different Discussion Groups now each week…it is so-o-o-o good! Four of our learners are Chinese English teachers, so communication is excellent.

Have found one of them likes basketball, so have added that to my exercise schedule. Some are pretty good players, I have found…and I am winded after only a few minutes…should have played with the NW group in Texas when I was there with Eric.

Also spent about 20 minutes on the badminton court with another student contact and two of his friends. Again, a good beginning and reminded that it has been a long time since I have played…made several good shots and look forward to more (beginning to feel like some of my early campus leader days at MTSU many years ago, when sports was a way to spend time with the seekers).

Well, I’ve done it. I‘ve had a Chinese massage…a new experience for me on any continent! Terry and I  spent $4.61 each for a 75-minute massage. A great price and a long time for the money, for sure!

The hours of standing on concrete floors and climbing finally took its toll on me; the talented lady decided she was going to make true the idiom ‘no pain, no gain.’ It hurt more than it pleased, but my lower back felt better and maybe I can avoid other problems for a little while longer. I have had to wear my back support the past three weeks, so I hope this will move me forward a bit.

Dr. Yang took us to dinner after one of our recording sessions and wanted to introduce us to baked dove…and sent a baked chicken (with all its parts) home as leftovers with us; and, yes, it still had the feet and the head…actually took it into our house overnight…though the skeleton was in the garbage early the next morning. (we have crossed over that line, it seems).

We have had some repairs/updates on the apartment in the past two weeks. It was vacant for several months prior to our coming, and lacking in upkeep. We have found the workmen very polite, punctual, and professional in every way. One of them was walking through the study and saw Colton’s picture on my laptop screensaver…he pointed to it and then  got  Terry’s attention…and had a  huge smile on his face.

I am still somewhat amazed that complete strangers still want to say ‘hello’ to us on the street and in the shops…especially the middle-school students.    We are watched everywhere we go…doesn’t really bother us, since we are ’watched’ every day of our life by our Father. But it does take getting used to here.

Often Terry and I look at each other, as we prepare to end another week,  and say out loud “can you believe we are in China?” It has become so natural…less surprises…days very normal now….but still catches us by surprise, too.

Warmer weather has brought out an unsightly habit here…children pulling down their pants and using the restroom on the sidewalks. Where are the parents? Do they come clean it up? I do not stay around to see.

My sister, Jennifer, asked me on a Skype connection if I missed ‘doing what I used to do?’ I have just this past week realized that I have been in denial for a few months…..assuming I would be ‘teaching’ in America again, and just now realizing that it likely will not happen. I have gone through anger and bargaining…no depression… I had the steps of grief in a different order? Glad to be able to use my experience and age is a benefit here.

Greetings from Terry: After our recording session on Wednesday, April 6th Dr Yang took us to the West Campus where his wife teaches. We usually only see the small gate and two buildings at the entrance where we teach. He took us through the main gate and showed us all around. It was good for us to see this other “face” of the campus with it’s fairly new track and field area, open spaces and well kept buildings. We saw a small orange orchard and many cherry trees in bloom. There were some very large-bodied birds in the top of some tall trees. He said they feed on the small fish in the water. I would love to find out their English name. I have never seen any like them before (see photo above; where is our expert, Gene Dempsey, when we need him?).

His wife joined us after her last class and we went out to dinner at a restaurant well known for their “dove hot pot”. Our Dean and upstairs neighbor, Catherine, joined us for dinner. We thoroughly enjoyed the visit and discussions.

Thursday, April 7th– I have no classes on Thursdays so I finally got to do something I have been planning to do. I joined the women on the badminton court for their “Tai Ji” exercise class. It is made up of slow disciplined moves set to beautiful flute music. I have been observing them every morning as I wait no for the teacher bus. I was warned it is best to have an instructor so as not to hurt your self, so I just tried to follow the hand and arm motions. Needless to say, it being my first time, I was only able to match the movements in a very general sense. But I enjoyed it.

The leader turns in a complete circle as he goes through the motions so I know it must have been humorous to watch me try to look at him and do the motions at the same time. Oh well, the “foreigner” is watched with interest matter what she does or does not do.

Yippee! Four more seekers identified. We continue to have high interest in our discussion times. Many want to study the same book we do.

Saturday, April 9th– Dale and Lisa had all of the American foreign teachers over for lunch. We also got to sing in English and Gary talked about our favorite book. The fellowship was so very good. And I got to get a hug from each one! I have really been missing my family hugs.

We had another group of my students over just to visit and practice their English. This time about  25 showed up. It was great. Eight of them were young men (most of our students are females) so it was good for them to get to meet Gary. Love,  Terry.

Hungering for Hope….He that lives in hope dances without a fiddle

A woman diagnosed with a terminal illness called on her minister to plan her funeral. She had some ideas about what she hoped would happen, but she was insistent about one thing: “I want to be buried with a fork in my hand.”

Her incredulous minister demanded an explanation. “Oh, it’s quite simple,” the woman said. “In all my years of attending church socials and potlucks, I always remember that, when they clear the dishes, someone will say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It’s my favorite part, because I know something better is coming. So I want people to see me there in that coffin with a fork in my hand and know: ‘Her best is still to come.’ ”

Sometimes in spite of all the positive thinking we can generate, life is really terrible. Simple optimism will not do. Genuine hope (“confident expectation”) must go beyond positive thinking.

Genuine hope is not “Wishing for something you know isn’t going to happen.” It is not an idle wish at all. Hope is a vigorous principle; it sets the head and heart to work and animates a man to do his utmost.

I like the story about the boy and his father who were planning a fishing trip for the next day.  That evening as the father was putting his son to bed, the boy hugged his father’s neck and said, “Daddy, thank you for tomorrow.”

Our  nation was built by the power of hope. No painter ever set brush to canvas, no writer ever set pen to paper, no builder ever set brick on brick, no enterpriser ever built an enterprise without having hope that he or she could do what they were dreaming of doing. We have not begun to fathom the power of hope in creating better lives for ourselves and our children.

Hope prevents us from clinging to what we have and frees us to move away from the safe place and enter unknown and fearful territory.

Hope is grief’s best music. Hope is like the clouds: some pass by, others bring rain.

Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.

We might be like the student athlete, who was contemplating the difficult height of the bar on the high jump. “I don’t think I can make it,” he said. “Think positive!” said a friend. “All right,” the athlete said boldly, “I’m positive I can’t make it.”

Over 220 years ago, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote out prerequisites for contented living.  Whether you’re the eighth wonder of the world or not, these are the things that really matter:

1. Health enough to make work a pleasure

2. Wealth enough to support your needs

3. Strength to battle with difficulties and overcome them

4. Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them

5. Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished

6. Charity enough to see some good in your neighbor

7. Love enough to move you to be useful and helpful to others

8. Faith enough to make real the things of God

9. Hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future

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I do not stay around to see!

My sister, Jennifer, asked me on a Skype connection if I missed ‘doing what I used to do?’ I have just this past week realized that I have been in denial for a few months…..assuming I would be ‘teaching’ in America again, and just now realizing that it likely will not happen. I have gone through anger and bargaining…no depression… I had the steps of grief in a different order? Glad to be able to use my experience and age are recognized as a benefit here.

1 Comment

Posted by on April 13, 2011 in Jingzhou


One response to “The “foreigner” is watched with much interest no matter what she does or does not do

  1. Gayle Owensby Farmer

    April 13, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Hello cousin,
    I just wanted you both to know I enjoy reading about your life in China and that I speak to our Father almost every day.He loves you,even more than I do and will take care of your needs.
    I know we haven’t seen each other in years but the love is still there.I stay in contact with your Mom,Gary.
    Your cousin,



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