Begin with the end in mind “…this concept has given us such patience with the work we are trying to doing here”

04 Jun

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Terry’s photo on University poster; Alvin in Shanghai; Dragon boat races and Zongzi; students who will teach us Chinese; another holiday; ‘experts’ judge two speech groups; China drought; two of Gary’s classes; eating at Pizza Hut; photo album gift from TJ’s students; parasols protect students from the sun

Begin with the end in mind “…this concept has given us such patience with the work we are doing here”

Henry Ward Beecher  said, “it is not the going out of port but the coming in that determines the success of a voyage.” And Paul told Timothy “to stay the  course” when he was discouraged in Ephesus and must have been tempted to leave.

To say the same thing differently, “begin with the end in mind.”

That is what has given us such patience with the work here. While we are pleased with our progress thus far, we know that it takes time to build relationships, and even more time to overcome a nation’s way of looking at important matters.

When these first-year students are on the same campus with us…and we have a semester behind us….and we learn more Chinese…wow. We’re already looking forward to September!

By the way, we have found two students who are going to spend 3 hours per week with us, learning Chinese during our 7-week summer vacation.

If you have not read True North by Gary Inrig, I suggest you go to Amazon and get a used copy for one cent…plus $3.99 shipping. It’s one of those books you’ll read many times over the years…his book on Forgiveness is even better. I decided that with Oprah off the air, maybe I should begin my own book club suggestions 🙂

I showed several of my junior female students the movie Fireproof, wanting them to learn the marriage values presented before they get outside of my direct influence. Their “ooh and ahh” reactions were in the right spots…they clapped heartily when it ended…so romantic. 🙂

I have enjoyed following DWade and the Miami Heat from afar…not really a Lebron James fan, even when we lived 23 miles east of Cleveland. It certainly gives me good conversation with the young men in my classes, and I particularly enjoy rooting against the Lakers 🙂

It is becoming normal to have the Best Book read in Chinese weekly in our apartment, but not yet used to listening/watching sports in the Chinese language.

We observed another holiday with Monday off from classes: The Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is a significant holiday, and the one with the longest history.

The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated by boat races in the shape of dragons. Competing teams row their boats forward to a drumbeat racing to reach the finish end first.

The boat races are traditional customs in attempts to rescue the patriotic poet Chu Yuan. Chu Yuan drowned on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in 277 B.C. Chinese citizens now throw bamboo leaves filled with cooked rice (like those below, right) into the water. Therefore the fish could eat the rice rather than the hero poet. This later on turned into the custom of eating tzungtzu and rice dumplings.

The celebration’s is a time for protection from evil and disease for the rest of the year. It is done so by different practices such as hanging healthy herbs on the front door, drinking nutritious concoctions, and displaying portraits of evil’s nemesis, Chung Kuei.

One of the events we have been asked to take part in, as mentioned earlier, is to judge speech competitions. They are in English, so we are the ‘experts’ so they feel we are  able to do the best job with the intonation and pronunciation, etc. I do not agree, but they are hard to convince otherwise. Some of the Chinese teachers are highly educated in phonetics!

One of the parts most difficult, for Terry, especially, is the expectation that we should have some ‘comments’ to the students when it is over.

Greetings from Terry: I have figured out how to handle the thick ice that forms on the back wall of our refrigerator (not freezer) every week. I just unplug it for about four hours then dry up the moisture. It doesn’t bother the food and it is a lot easier and safer than chiseling.

Saturday, May 28: We took two of Gary’s freshman, female students out to lunch then back to our apartment for a visit. It was a delight to be with them. That same evening we had the pleasure of going to dinner with the group from Harding: Jon & Amber White, Laura, Brenda and Rebecca. Then we brought them back to our apartment for a good visit. We had met Hannah previously, but she was not feeling well the night we ate with them.

Sunday, May 29: I was able to spend almost two hours with one of my students bringing her up to date in class work. She has had to miss several classes because of leg surgery.  —- Love, Terry

One student took the Best Book last week and began reading that same day. Her roommates chided her with the statement “do you want to become a daughter of the god” when they observed her actions. She told us about it the next day, but seemed resolved to continue reading.

The other night, when we were on Skype with Tonia, there were over 25.6 million online at the same time. What a service offered to those of us who are away from their family!  Here’s hoping that their being sold to Microsoft changes the service and the fact it is free! We’ve had a few glitches, but it has worked lately just fine.

Worst drought in 50 years along Yangtze: Dry spell ravages Central China

WUHAN – The worst drought in 50 years to hit provinces along the Yangtze River may continue to plague Central China. The China Meteorological Administration warned on Tuesday that little rain is expected in the coming 10 days and highs of 36 C are likely to hit the central and southern parts of China.

These regions will mostly see hot, dry weather during the coming week, the administration said, adding that local departments will activate cloud seeding when weather conditions are fit. Data indicated that rainfall in these regions is 30 to 80 percent less compared to normal years, while the provinces of Anhui, Jiangsu, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang and Shanghai municipality continue to suffer the worst drought since 1954.

Between January and April, the Yangtze River basin received 40 percent less rainfall than the average level of the past 50 years. The water area of Dongting Lake in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River was 73 percent less on May 20 than the same day last year, according to statistics from the administration.

As of Monday, the lingering drought in Hubei has affected nearly 10 million people, about one sixth of its population, and influenced 1.2 million hectares of farmland, causing direct economic losses of 7.1 billion yuan ($1.1 billion), according to the provincial civil affairs department. Since the end of last autumn, most areas of Hubei have received 50 percent less rainfall than the same period in 2010.

      The Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters asked the Three Gorges Dam to increase water discharges to up to 12,000 cubic meter per second (about 3,000 cu m per second more than the water flowing in) from May 25 to June 10, in order to raise the water level in the middle and lower reaches.The water level in more than 1,300 reservoirs in Hubei province have dropped below the allowable discharge level for irrigation, said Yuan Junguang, director of the reservoir management office of Hubei provincial water resources department. 

(We’re at Yangtze River University, Hubei province)

Devoted to Family…A happy family is but an early heaven

During a visit to the children’s Bible class, a preacher looked into their serious faces and asked, “Why do you love God?” After a moment a small voice came from the back: “I guess it just runs in the family.”

Some of us are blessed to be ‘lifers.’ It’s a phrase I first heard in Mansfield, Ohio, many years ago, used to describe a person “who has been around the church his whole life.”

What a blessed person! To have grandparents and parents who knew the value of God, Christ, the Bible, and the church! To attend worship and classes “every time the doors are opened” is a blessed way of life that benefits into eternity.

Some aren’t so fortunate, for many children don’t even feel as if they know their parents, much less the Lord. The story is told of a young boy who wanted a new suit of clothes, and he asked his mother if she would ask his father to buy it for him. The mother suggested that it might be better if the boy would ask the father himself. The response of the boy was, “Well, I would, but you know him much better than I do.”

Sadly, it’s not easy to bring about much-needed change. Herbert Prochnow tells of a little girl who wrote in an essay on Parents: “We get our parents at so late an age that it is impossible to change their habits.”

In Japan, many workers are finding themselves either too busy or too stressed to visit their parents.  An enterprising business is now offering a solution for lonely parents.  For $1,130 a day, the Japan Efficiency Headquarters company will send actors to provide “family” time.  The actors have been trained in psychology to ensure a more realistic family visit.

Lee Iacocca said, “Your job takes up enough time without having to shortchange your family. Still, I’ve seen a lot of executives who neglect their families, and it always makes me sad. You can’t let a corporation turn into a labor camp. Hard work is essential. But there’s also a time for rest and relaxation, for going to see your kid in the school play or at a swim meet. And if you don’t do these things while the kids are young, there’s no way to make it up later on. I learned about the strength you can get from a close family life. I’ve had a wonderful and successful career, but next to my family, it hasn’t really mattered at all.”

It is sad commentary on our times that families have become so fragmented and splintered some must hire a surrogate family to provide companionship.

A family is more than a collection of human beings who are blood kin.  A family is more than the sum of its parts.  It is a living, shaping, powerful unit that teaches us our most important lessons in life.  It teaches us who we are, how to act, whom to relate to, and what is important in life.

I am the second of nine children in my family.  I’m used to hearing remarks about the size of our family. Once when my father had taken four of us to the grocery store, a woman asked him, “Are these all your children?”

“Oh, no,” he innocently replied.

Seeing the look of relief on her face, Dad said with a twinkle in his eye, “The other five are at home.”

Close friends of our family used to tease Mom (a nurse) and Dad (a chemist). “You do know what causes children, don’t you?” they would ask. Their response made it crystal clear of their knowledge: “Some people put their efforts and their money into houses or vacations. We’re investing in children.”

Grandchildren are a different discussion! They bless our lives in ways we could never have imagined!

A woman had a very precocious grandchild who was visiting her.  She was about 10 or 11 years old.  She asked, “Grandma how old are you?” And grandma said, “Well, honey we don’t tell our ages, it is not polite to ask a women her age.”  “Oh, come on grandma, tell me how old you are.”  “No, honey.  I am not going to tell you how old I am.”  So, the girl disappeared.

Grandma heard something up stairs and went up and found the little girl in her purse. The little girl had found her driver’s license and she was adding up the date of birth to the present time, and she said, “Grandma you are 78 years old.”  “Now honey, you shouldn’t be in there,” grandma said.  “Plus, grandma, I see that you got an F in sex.”

There is a story about a father who became disturbed about the length of time his six year old son was taking to get home from school. The father decided he would make the trip to discover for himself how long it should take a small boy to cover the distance. The father settled on 20 minutes but his son was still taking an hour. Finally the father decided to make the trip with his son.

After the trip, the man said, “The 20 minutes I thought reasonable was right, but I failed to consider such important things as a side trip to track down a trail of ants — or an educational stop to watch a man fix a flat — or the time it took to swing around a half dozen telephone poles — or how much time it took for a boy just to get acquainted with two stray dogs and a brown cat.

“In short,” said the father, “I had forgotten what it is really like to be six years old.”

In her best-seller, What Is a Family?, Edith Schaeffer devotes her longest chapter to the idea that a family is a perpetual relay of truth.  A place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living.  Where character traits are sculptured under the watchful eyes of moms and dads.  Where steel-strong fibers are woven into the fabric of inner constitution. The relay place.  A race with a hundred batons.

  • Determination.  “Stick with it, regardless.”
  • Honesty.  “Speak and live the truth – always.”
  • Responsibility.  “Be dependable, be trustworthy.”
  • Thoughtfulness.  “Think of others before yourself.”
  • Confidentiality.  “Don’t tell secrets.  Seal your lips.”
  • Punctuality.  “Be on time.”
  • Self-control.  “When under stress, stay calm.”
  • Patience.  “Fight irritability.  Be willing to wait.”
  • Purity.  “Reject anything that lowers your standards.”
  • Compassion.  “When another hurts, feel it with him.”
  • Diligence.  “Work hard.  Tough it out.”

And how is this done?  Over the long haul, believe me.  This race is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.  There are no 50-yard dash courses on character building.  Relays require right timing and smooth handoffs – practiced around the track hour after hour when nobody is looking.

And where is this practice track? Where is this place where rough edges cannot remain hidden, must not be left untouched?  Inside your own front door.

The home is the Father’s built-in training facility.

Many couples in my generation need to learn that a happy home is not having a good paying job, a mortgage of $100,+, a brand new car every five years, trying to keep up with everyone else.  Home is really a state of mind; ideally, it is a created situation where two people who love each other are committed to one another’s well being, living in harmony, love, forbearance, and consideration.

There are at least two primary joys of a Christian home: First there  is the joy of knowing that someone cares for you. God cares for me (John 3:16) and there is not a greater self-esteem builder in the world. God created us with the desire to feel wanted, important, and necessary.  He created the home to aid in fulfilling the need to feel needed!

In the Christian home, the husband and wife have said to one another, “I care so much for you that I   selected you from all others to share my life.”  Likewise, our children should be convinced that we care for them!

Second, there is the joy of knowing that there is someone I can depend upon! A great joy to know this – standing together in good times and bad. Children need to know there is someone they can depend on when the trials of life come knocking.

Being able to depend upon someone is described in the word “commitment.” In a proper home situation there is someone to whom I am committed and who is committed to me.

A truly Christian home is a place where sinners live; but it is also a place where the members of that home admit this fact and understand the problem, know what to do about it, and as a result grow by grace.

It is important that this environment be in place so all members of the family will have a loving, graceful, safe, and warm place in which to grow. It’s vital that we treat each other in the same way Jesus treated His 12 apostles.  As they stumbled and made mistakes, he was patient with them because of one simple point: He knew they were not yet what they would become. We need to “be patient, God’s not finished with us yet! — Gary

1 Comment

Posted by on June 4, 2011 in Jingzhou


One response to “Begin with the end in mind “…this concept has given us such patience with the work we are trying to doing here”

  1. Mary McKinney

    June 4, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    We love reading these and seeing the pictures. I guess you probably heard LaNelle died April 27 at age 92. She had been in hospice a year. Rheda came to the visitation–it was so good to see her there.

    Mary & Roy McKinney



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