Beginning to say goodbye to some of our older graduate students, who will be leaving our area very soon

24 May

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Scenes from China; goodies from home; student outdoor performance; very interesting bin Laden and Obama masks; inside the women’s dorm…and our grandson Colton’s 1st birthday (who can blame a granddaddy?)

We’ve been trying to get in some foundational studies that will be with them in coming months and years

The weather has been erratic lately, getting as high as 95 degrees and the next day it was 69. Was low of 55, high of 59 same week as the mid-90’s. It is really nice when it’s lower, especially for our students, who have no air conditioning in their dormitory rooms.

We were told the temperatures are similar to that of Tennessee, and we’ve found that to be the case many days. I doubt it’s been 55 as a low anytime lately, though.

I remember many August days when my dad wanted to go sailing…no wind, and very hot and humid. We do not look forward to those times, though Tonia, Wendy, and Aiden will be here for 10 days to bring greater joy to our life! It IS hot everywhere we’ve ever lived during that month.

I continue to marvel at these youngsters. They deal with the difficult temperatures in such a positive way!  They are not sleeping well at night, when it’s over 90 degrees, and some are having trouble staying awake at the end of the second 50-minute session of our weekly classes. We have had them on our mind and in our hearts!

We were told “foreign teachers” tend to grade easier than the Chinese instructors, and I tend to agree. Most of my students will get A’s and B’s, with only a few C’s and maybe 1-2 who are close to a D. If they are in class and participate, hard to see why there should be any F’s.

I think we put ourselves in their shoes and reward them with appreciation and encouragement, and we certainly identify with the difficulty of learning a new language. 🙂

We’ve been treating several to lunch, in anticipation of the summer break, when most will not be around. Life on a college campus speeds up the last month; it becomes quite hectic due to the pressure of finishing work and finals. Those who live in the area have volunteered to be ‘tour guides’ when family comes in August.

We have several older students who will  likely not be in our area next fall. Two are completing graduate ‘papers’ in early June.

We’ve been trying to get in some foundational studies that will  be with them in coming months and years. I am also thankful for email, so we can engage in questions, answers, and encouragement from a distance. Have found Hindu backgrounds coming to the forefront in recent ‘count the cost’ discussions.

I am reminded daily that those who have planted in previous years paved the way for the watering that is taking place right now. We anticipate a harvest in due time. For certain, “good news” is being received with earnestness…will not return to us void. 🙂

Harding group delivered some items yesterday…received some new 33” waist jeans/pants/shorts and also a cornbread pan. Now I have to find some corn meal…have missed eating cornbread here with pinto and white lima beans, slaw, cheddar/jalapeno cheese and stewed tomatoes. Jennifer also sent a new bottle of hot sauce, also good with dried beans.

We saw a black & white copy of Terry’s Little Yellow Duck children’s story and were pleased (it has been self-published on Family members who have seen it were positive (what did we expect, huh!). It is now in English and Spanish, with plans to translate it into Chinese soon.

Terry and I have received three textbooks to help us learn more Chinese during our summer break. We’re in the process now of finding one of our better students, who will be in our area during that time, to help us.

I bought a new shelf for our kitchen this week, giving us much-needed storage space. I bartered the salesperson down 100 yuan from the asking price…Batsell would have been proud.

Received only my second haircut in China today…might give you an idea how much was cut off the last time. Asked for less and received a more reasonable cut this time. I was a 60’s teenager so I like my hair longer than most. 🙂

Terry and I were two of six judges of a speech contest. The system was a little unorganized for our liking, but the participants did great…and two of her students were in the top three. It is something we will likely be asked to again and again, since we’re ’the experts’ on English.

Greetings from Terry: Saturday, May 14: we had the American foreign teachers over to our apartment for a devo and lunch. Thirteen people in all. It was a lively time of singing, petitioning, reading, eating and visiting. And a good time was had by all. That evening we discovered a kind of student play being put on outside in the badminton court; complete with costumes, back drop, loud speakers and music.

Sunday, May 15: I enjoyed the luxury of sleeping until 7:30. The electricity was off when we woke and it did not come back on until 7:20 pm at which time we gave a cheer of joy, raided the refrigerator and had a hot meal.

Sunday, May 22: This has been a very good week. I am reading The Harvester by Gene Stratton-Porter. Now I know where my Mother may have gotten her love and understanding of plants. It is a very good, old book.

With only five weeks left in this semester I am realizing there is so much more I want to share with my dear students. Hopefully we will be able to keep up the friendship when they are on the Central campus next year.

Wednesday we took one of our study groups out to lunch and really enjoyed our time together.

On Friday only one person was able to come to the 3 pm study but it was a very profitable time spent in Matthew 7. Knowing some of the graduate students will be leaving soon makes it urgent for us to get the most important things before them for their own contemplation. If we whet their appetites and teach them to feed themselves they can go on to maturity with help and guidance from the one who makes it all possible.

Saturday we took two of my students out to lunch and then back to the apartment for a visit. A dear couple with strength of character and firm ideas of what they want in the future.

It will be interesting to see what plans He has for their life. As they left our apartment, each carried our favorite book, the first time they had owned their very own copy 🙂

The same evening we took a taxi to the East campus and met Jon and Amber White, here for six weeks from  Harding University. They were kind enough to bring some much needed medicine and miscellaneous supplies to us from Gary’s sister, Jennifer. It was good to meet them. Even though they will be busy on another campus, maybe we can spend some time with them while they are here.

It is raining and quite cool this weekend, a welcome and refreshing change. As always, we thoroughly enjoy each time we get to Skype with our sweet families back in the States. It is “strength to our bones” to see their smiling faces and to see how they are working and living to His service.

Gary bought a small metal cabinet off the street that is just perfect for our kitchen. It is clean, light weight and just fits in the space for it. I enjoyed working the puzzle to decide what all could be stored inside. It makes our small space easier to manage. “Good eye!” Gary.

Monday, May 23: During the twenty minutes between my two morning classes some of the girls were talking about how they decorated their dorm room. I asked them to take pictures so I could see it and they excitedly said they could take me right then to see it.

So we walked very quickly to the fifth floor of the next building. I was happy to see it was a new, clean and spacious. As  you  walk  into  the room there is a desk and storage unit of pine wood with a black metal bunk bed directly above it for each girl, two on each side of the room. The ceiling is very high so the girls are not at all cramped in their bunks.

Just beyond the beds was the large white tiled washroom with the bathroom off to the side. That end of the room had high uncovered windows that let in plenty of light. The girls had taped colored paper loosely over the light fixtures and hung different colored streamers from the ceiling. They had decorated the walls with different colored paper cut outs, pictures and sayings. There were streamers of artificial willow leaves in the doorway dividing the bedroom and the washroom. It was a very clean, neat, pleasant, uplifting living space. I took pictures (see page 3), but it was hard to capture it. The girls were so excited that I had wanted to see it.

We are finding all sorts  of  good  fresh vegetables at the market and in the (cont. on page 5)restaurant: egg plant, cucumber, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, smaller green and red sweet (as in not hot) peppers and potatoes, several kinds of lettuce and greens. At first there was broccoli and celery, but I have not seen it for a few weeks now.

Love to all who read this. Thank you for your petitions on our behalf. They help make it possible for this shy woman who would rather stay in the background can even contemplate standing in front of 281 university students. Have a good week. — Love, Terry

More from Gary: I watch with amazement each day of the task the grandparents have in this society, that of raising grandchildren so the parents can work and earn a living for all. As much as I adore my grandsons, it is not best for anyone that they would be raised by the older generation. For one, we simply do not have the energy! 🙂 Yet, here, it is the expected and normal situation. A question was raised last week  in  English  Corner:  “Should grandparents be paid?” Since they are provided housing with utilities and food, I suppose you could say they already being compensated.

I found the ‘new apple in town’ cartoon very interesting (see photo page 3). Printed in the May 13 China Daily, it depicts a main message about America’s Apple Corporation and Benjamin Franklin and Sir Isaac Newton…and what appears to be Adam and Eve on the left of the picture with a serpent in the Garden of Eden tree. Someone is making progress in this country! 🙂

I do not plan to ever “grow accustomed” to the desire on the part of the Chinese to eat their food fresh…especially chicken! When we walk off campus around supper time, we both have permission to say firmly “eyes straight” and realize that someone is holding a live chicken to our right and left land we do not want to see or think about what they are about to do. Yes, it IS the “preacher’s bird” but I don’t mind leftovers. 🙂

My speech classes are presenting the lessons they learned from The Ultimate Gifts film from three weeks ago. One student talked of the gift of Family and broke down three times in tears as she spoke of the lessons she learned from her father, prior to his death a few years back…a very moving circumstances for the entire class.

Another spoke of befriending someone in middle school, only to find out later they had intended to take their life, until she had offered her a friend she’d never had before.

As we near the close of the semester, we’re getting ready for most of our present students being on the same campus with us next fall. We think it will open doors for personal relationships and more discussions.

I found the ‘new apple in town’ cartoon very interesting (see photo: look carefully). Printed in the May 13 China Daily, it depicts a main message about America’s Apple Corporation and Benjamin Franklin and Sir Isaac Newton…and what appears to be Adam and Eve on the left of the picture with a serpent in the Garden of Eden tree. Someone is making progress in this country! 🙂

Thought you might be interested: Shanghai has some 132,000 individuals with a personal wealth of 10 million yuan ($1.54 million) or more. The figures show that the city is home to the second-largest number of wealthy people in China, after Beijing.

The “pig-feed king” Liu Yongxing, chairman of East Hope Group topped the list of Shanghai’s Top Ten wealthy people, with a personal fortune of about $5 billion. Second to Liu is the property tycoon Xu Rongmao, the chairman of Shanghai Shimao Group, with personal wealth of $4,900 million. Zhou Chengjian, the president of the Shanghai-based textile company Metersbonwe Group ranked third.

Therefore, the Hurun Report further concluded that Ye Lipei, the chairman of the property company Super Ocean Group is the richest Shanghainese mentioned in the report. The 30-year-old basketball star Yao Ming is the youngest local billionaire.

The report also found that the city is home to 7,800 super-rich people, those with personal wealth of 100 million yuan. That’s a rise of around 7 percent from last year. In total, China has 60,000 super-rich people who are worth 100 million yuan or more, up about 10 percent on last year’s figure.

“Shanghai’s rapid economic development and exploding real estate market has created a situation where 1 in every 175 people in Shanghai is a millionaire,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, the chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun Report.

The data indicate that the average age of the super-rich is 43, and that there has been a surge of interest in fine wines and collecting art, especially classic Chinese art.

Being a Blessing…There is no plant  in the ground but is full of His virtue. There is  no form in the strand  but is full of His blessing

It is not enough to possess “things”; we must also possess the kind of character that enables us to use “things” wisely and enjoy them properly.

It is related that during the Civil War a Confederate soldier who was placed far out in a lonely wood to watch suddenly felt a strange dread and fear come over him. The moon was shining dimly in the deeply wooded place. And while it seemed strange and unwise, he felt constrained to sing softly the old song, “Jesus, Lover of my soul let me to Thy bosom fly,” and the stanza, “Other refuge have I none.” This he did, and immediately felt relieved of his fear.

A few years later, when the war was over, he was at a meeting and sang the same song. After the song, a stranger came up to him and said, “I never saw you before, but I have heard that voice before.” Then he asked him if he sang that song one night during the war.  Then he related to him how he and some of his men, who were Union soldiers, were hidden behind trees and had their guns turned on him and were ready to fire! “But,” said he, “as we heard that song, ‘Jesus, Lover of my soul,’ and, ‘Other refuge have I none,’ I said to my men, Don’t shoot that man,’ and we slipped away and left you. I shall never forget the voice I heard that night.”

It’s similar to the story of an only survivor of a wreck who was thrown on an uninhabited island. After a while he managed to build himself a hut, in which he placed the little all that he had saved from the ship. He prayed for deliverance and anxiously scanned the horizon each day to hail any passing ship. One day on returning from a hunt for food, he was horrified to find his hut in flames. All he had was going up in smoke! The worst had happened, it appeared; but that which seemed to have happened for the worst was in reality for the best. To the man’s limited vision it was the worst. To The Father’s infinite wisdom it was the best, for which he had prayed. The next day a ship arrived. “We saw your smoke signal,” the captain said.

I remember reading a story not long ago about the “elevated” in Chicago–a train that when it comes into the downtown, it’s on a high track. A young man was riding that train day after day as a commuter. And as the train slowed up for the station where he got off, he could look through an open curtain into a room of a building and see a woman lying in a bed.

She was there day after day, for a long time, obviously quite ill. He began to get interested in her since he saw her every day. Finally he determined to find out her name. He discovered her address, and he wrote her a card, assuring her that he was praying for her recovery. He signed it: “The young man on the elevated.”

A few weeks later, he pulled into the station, and he looked through that window and the bed was empty. Instead there was a great huge sign: THE FATHER BLESS YOU, MY FRIEND ON THE ELEVATED!

It sounds rather trite to say it, but it is a fact that the everyday blessings of life are so basic that we often take them for granted.

When spring came to England after the devastating bombing raids of 1941 by Nazi Germany, a strange thing occurred. It brought a beautiful, botanical resurrection. The explosions brought to the surface seeds of plants which were thought to be extinct. Some 95 different flowers and shrubs were found suddenly growing and blooming in the bomb-pocked landscape of England. Likewise, adversity, in life often turns up unexpected and undeveloped parts of our lives. The bombs of adversity and suffering often resurrect long-dormant flowers.

It doesn’t say enough , but what it does say is good.  I’m referring to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s reflection on success.

How do you measure success?  To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;  To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;  To appreciate beauty;  To find the best in other;  To leave the world a bit better whether by a wealthy child, a redeemed social condition, or a job well done; To know even one other life has breathed because you lived, this is to have succeeded.”

We had better bear our troubles bravely than try to escape them. Indeed, sometimes The Father will place certain obstacles to prevent sin or harm.  However, if we try to remove these obstacles, we will ultimately come to regret it.

We must remember that no matter how difficult our tribulations may seem to us, there are always others who are in a worse situation than us! — Gary

1 Comment

Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Jingzhou


One response to “Beginning to say goodbye to some of our older graduate students, who will be leaving our area very soon

  1. Gayle Owensby Farmer

    May 24, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Terry and Gary,I have so enjoyed reading your messages.You are both doing such great work.Want you to know, I speak to the Father every morning,almost without fail. Is there anything you want or need that I might possibly be able to send to you?
    As for the weather being much like Tennessee and Georgia; last week be had lows in the 40s and the next day or two had highs of 80-90s. The weather is very strange in the states now. There have been lots os tornadoes in places that don’t usually have them.Ringgold was demolished,literally about two or three weeks ago ,along with Tuscalusca (misspelled?) Alabama and other places. Time is growing near I think and we better get ready and like you,help others to be ready also.
    Just know I keep you both in my heart and thoughts.
    Your Cuz,



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