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Time to ‘reach out’ and hope we can ‘reach up’ with more students soon…it was crowded, warm, but lots of fun

27 Apr

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English corner; campus scenes ‘up high;’ book finished; students ‘meet and greet,’ two beautiful gifts, and a trip to a local orphange

Teaching about the ‘Ultimate Gift’

I am in a four-week class project with all my Speaking Skills students, which began with the viewing of the film The Ultimate Gift. If you have not seen it, I strongly suggest you buy it and watch as a family. (I also recommend not getting the book. I made that mistake, ordering it on my kindle…the movie is much better!).

The students are asked to begin keeping a journal, after watching the film, on the process involved in two of the gifts they are seeking to learn (gift of work, value of money, gift of family, laughter, dreams, A day, love etc.). They will speak to their classmates at the close of the project (for a grade, of course…using English) of the lessons they learned, the difficulties involved, and the final result on their personal character. They will also hand in their journal. I look forward to hearing (and seeing) the results, and feel it will open some doors wide for further discussions.

I took an A1C blood glucose test and found the exercise and different diet here is doing great things for my type-2 diabetes! The test showed 6.0, the best it has been for several years. I have had 6.6 to 6.8 for a long time…finally got it really low now. Not sure I can do much better…glad to know the changes are good for me. I have ordered a size 33-waist on a pair of blue jeans, to be delivered in May by a visiting Harding professor and students coming for work on this campus. All of my pants are loose, so I will need to do some shopping in the states in January when we visit family and friends during our winter break from school.

We had a special celebration one Saturday afternoon with one of the Discussion groups. They had finished a big test that morning and were great students, talking about ‘listening to and obeying our conscience.’ Had some special snacks; they also presented us with a boy and girl plaster doll (see photo), which we will cherish for many years to come!

We had some 43 students in for another ‘get to know you’ time earlier in the afternoon. A great time to reach out and hope we can begin ‘reaching up’ with more of them. They brought us two flower arrangements, which were absolutely gorgeous .

We have mentioned Dale and Lisa Taylor (sons Seth and Caleb) several times in our newsletters. They are such earnest workers for the Father and great help to us on soo-o-o-o many occasions. I finally realized they have a blog that some might want to read: http://votefordale.chattablogs.com (and see pics, etc.). Dale grew up in Chattanooga, and Lisa in Monteagle…we had to move to China to meet Family members who grew up in the same state as me 🙂 (a really small world).

We mentioned we had finished recording the audio for the English speaking book for Dr. Yang. He called tonight and said there was some background sounds on some of the recordings, and we’d probably need to redo some of them…..hoping it is not a lot, but willing to do whatever is necessary.

Greetings from Terry: Spring has arrived with many people sweeping and cleaning around the campus here. We really appreciate it. The trees have put on their new green lace dresses and we noticed some miniature purple iris opening up yesterday as we walked to class; such a pretty and uplifting sight. (smiles from Father).

I have asked many of my Chinese colleagues about Tai Chi and they all say it used to be linked to Taoism many years ago but now everybody just sees it as good exercise. It is especially favored by the mature set, because of its slower pace.

We were able to go out to eat with our American friends from the East campus the other night at one of the “Good and Cheap” restaurants across from our campus. They brought with them another couple they have met recently who are from the UK and needed a bit of encouragement. They are teaching English at a middle school. (I am sooo thankful for the classes that have been assigned to me.)

This past Saturday we had another “visitation” time at our apartment. This time I had passed the signup sheet with 30 spaces on it explaining that we can’t invite everyone all at the same time because of lack of space. When I got the sheet back after class 30 more people had added spaces and filled in their names. (Something was lost in the translation, you think?) So, we had standing room only come Saturday come 2:30. It was crowded and warm, but fun.

Thank goodness we had bought extra treats for the study group that was expected later that day. With the two groups we had somewhere around 53 students in our apartment in one day (we’ve had around 95 students in the past month).

Two different groups brought us arrangements of carnations and another brought us a gift of two ceramic banks made to look like a Chinese boy and girl. They are cute and will be great reminders of the friends we make here.

So far I don’t know of anyone who mails or sends letters or cards here. They don’t have a postal delivery system per say because no one sends mail, they just text or email. Saturday, while we were out we discovered a mail box on the sidewalk in front of the main gate that we had failed to see before. Of course we don’t have any stamps but it is a good thing because Monday we were told they don’t use that mailbox anymore! I am sooo thankful we did not put our one necessary piece of mail in that box. It never would have been found. Instead, we gave  up trying to mail it and gave it to Keven to take care of for us.

Friday and Saturday Brad and Kelly Kelley spent the night with us while they visit and have meetings with people on the south campus. They are Freed-Hardeman alumni. It was good to meet them.

Saturday we had the last of my class visitations in our apartment, with 22 girls showing up. We enjoyed them very much.  Later that day we went to watch a men’s club basketball game here on our campus. One from our study group was on the team.

Sunday, I went with Lisa and others to the orphanage in Shashi. It was about a 25 minute bus ride then a 7 minute walk. We played with the children and helped them dye Easter eggs before having an egg hunt. Then they ate the eggs by first dipping them in a bowl of granulated sugar.

The girls from one of our studies this weekend brought us three stems of beautiful pink Easter lilies. They are filling our apartment with their delicate sweet scent. It’s not too much, just right: better than candles or spray.

Every night Gary volunteers to dry the dishes to help me get out of the kitchen faster. I really appreciate it, but he is getting banged up doing it. Our kitchen is narrow and the cabinets on both sides are so low I just barely fit under them. When the doors are open while he puts away the dishes he is forever banging his head on one of them. He’s a trooper. He makes my life a joy in many ways.

Yea! I finally found the post office. One of my sweet students took time out of her busy schedule to accompany me on the bus to find it. It was a five minute bus ride, five minute walk, up some stairs and at the back of a cell phone store.

The campus is wrapped in a delicate sweet scent from the trees and flowers that is carried on a light breeze; a very welcome change. The beautiful roses are now in full bloom. There are several different kinds near our apartment. I appreciate someone’s green thumb.

The days are getting much warmer and the sun is very direct. Pretty light pastel parasols and umbrellas are popping out everywhere, like spring flowers, as a protection from the sun.

That’s life in the big city of Jingzhou. — Love, Terry

From Gary: I have 146 ‘Speaking Skills’ students and their midterm was a 4-6 minute speech on the topic of their choice. The first speaker introduced us to her ‘best friend,’ and proceeded to put together a clarinet, with full instructions, and eventually played two of her first instructional pieces she was taught as a beginner and then an inspiring 30-45 second piece as a close. Wow! Needless to say, she got a high mark.

Another spoke of the ‘most important part of the body.’ After convincing us of the importance of the eye, she moved to the thumb, and proceeded to show us a long scar on her left thumb, describing a childhood injury when she almost lost use of it. But neither was the final choice.

But the ‘most important part’, in the end, was ‘the shoulder,’ and not to hold the head or the brain…but because it is the place where we can offer encouragement and support…or a place for tears by our friends. Needless to say, she got a very high grade, too!

One student told us of the agony and joy of having some teeth pulled ‘last week’ and having braces installed…with full details of needed adjustments…and ended with a big smile. (These examples came from the first day and the first 15 presenters…a great beginning). 🙂  Other noteworthy speech topics: “Marry for love, not for money” and “Money is not the most important thing.”

I received an interesting email from an Ohio friend…talking about unique calendar month of July, 2011. This year, July has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. This happens once every 823 years. This is called money bags. So, forward this to your friends and money will arrive within four days. It is based on Chinese Feng Shui thought. The one who does not forward…..will be without money. I forwarded it and am waiting…wonder what will happen?

Weibo to Reshape Internet behavior in China in a few years (this article was on chinadaily.com Sunday, April 24)

It is the new kid on the block and growing leaps and bounds. Soon it may tower like a goliath over other better known peers in the Web world as suitors from the government, public and corporate sector jostle for attention on its platform. Weibo, or micro blog, the sending of brief text, audio or video to select groups, is making rapid strides in China and reshaping the way information flows with their multiple sources and diversified, authentic content. It is also becoming an attractive platform for companies to showcase their products and reach out to more consumers.

Unlike Twitter, micro blog is relatively new to China and just two years old. Despite being a late entrant, the weibo has already started to reshape people’s lives in China, thereby indicating its growing prowess. A typical weibo starts with an “@” before the user’s nickname, and like Twitter, has a word limit of 140 words. There is, however, one exception. Internet company Tom.com has set the weibo limit at 163 words to match with its parent company name 163.com. Unlike Twitter, a weibo can also be a picture, a voice message, a song and a video.

In February this year, Beijing rock singer He Yong posted a short message on his micro blog styled, “Weibo the Almighty, please save my child!” It was a request for help to cure his 30-month-old daughter as she refused to take any food or water for five days in a row. In the same month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs saved over 900 stranded Chinese workers in Libya as they were able to locate them through their weibo messages for help.

Pursuing Peace“No sleep can be tranquil unless the mind is at rest.”

“Because we lack a Divine Center, our need for security has led us into an insane attachment to things. We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy. ‘We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like.’ … We are made to feel ashamed to wear clothes or drive cars until they are worn out. The mass media have convinced us that to be out of step with fashion is to be out of step with reality. It is time we awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick.” — Richard Foster.

Peace is rare: Less than 8 percent of the time since the beginning of recorded time has the world been entirely at peace. In a total of 3,535+ years, 286 have been warless. Eight thousand treaties have been broken in this time. But we don’t always want to be so grandeur in our thinking. After all, I don’t start wars and I certainly can’t halt them.

We might rather dwell on this little piece of real estate that can be called ‘mine’ and leave it at that…to work on the attainable, casting aside the greater ideals.

Media mogul Ted Turner wanted to see if anybody had a real vision of a future world at peace and in harmony with the environment. He said his quest ended in disappointment. Turner told an Atlanta gathering of contributors to his Cable News Network’s World Report a few years back that he funded a competition to find a book that gave a workable plan for a world of peace.

“With 10,000 manuscripts, we did not have one plausible treatise on how we could get to a sustainable, peaceful future,” Turner told the gathering. The board chairman of Turner Broadcasting System Inc. said that, without a feasible plan, the prospects of creating peace are grim. “You’ve got to have a vision,” Turner said. “We can achieve it.”  It’s too bad that Ted didn’t read the manuscript about the Prince of Peace.

I’m reminded of the Peanuts cartoon with Lucy saying to Charlie Brown, “I hate everything. I hate everybody. I hate the whole wide world!”  Charlie says, “But I thought you had inner peace.”  Lucy replies, “I do have inner peace. But I still have outer obnoxiousness”

We might ask daily these questions:

1. Do I strive to live in harmony with others?

2. Do I strive to be sympathetic to the feelings of others?

3. Do I give the benefit to others I would give to myself?

4. Do I tend to insult or bless?

5. Do I spread goodwill with my conversation?

6. Do I pray for people to be in harmony with the Father and others?

Herbert Hoover said, “Peace is not made at the council tables, or by treaties, but in the hearts of men.”

Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice. The bottom line?  Peace is the deliberate adjustment of my life to the will of the Father. —Gary

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“We believe we are here for a reason: to reach out to the 18-20 year old university students in Jingzhou…to sow seeds of knowledge and understanding wherever possible. We know it will not return  to us void. We have the opportunity to reach the future leaders of China, and to be ‘stretched’ ourselves in the process. Your prayers and support are deeply appreciated!”  — Gary and Terry Davenport  

Another China website: http://www.wix.com/ged850/chinaman

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2011 in Jingzhou

 

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