We have experienced the ‘patience of Job.’ Working through the four tones and lists of vocabulary words is quite stimulating; we ARE making some progress

15 Jul

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Children at play; Nice visitors, shared birthday pics; Chinese scenes

We have experienced the ‘patience of Job’

We celebrated with two friends the end of the semester at a Western-style steak place, and wonder if any of the owners have ever been to one in America before. It was like one, a little, but not really. But glad to “get it off our list” of things to try; not sure we’ll ever get to the McDonald’s, though. Except for their pancakes and sausage biscuits, I rarely have been to one of those even at home. 🙂

Found a Subway in Wuhan (3 hours away) on our only trip there, and it is almost exactly the same. Pizza Hut and KFC were closer to the “real thing.” Have found that French fries are exact and they did have pepperoni, though no one seems to know what it is. Our favorite ‘good and cheap’ restaurant off the front gate did close for the summer break, but we found other places and will be OK until August 28.

We have seen “the patience of Job” again in our life. Gillian and Jasmine are steady and full of encouragement, but understanding, as we are in the midst of learning Mandarin. Working through the four tones and list after list of vocabulary words is quite stimulating. We are making progress, which is the favorite word I use with our English students; am now applying it to myself.

Our Good Life from the Wisdom book got off to a good beginning, with ten in attendance. We’ll work toward “the conclusion of the matter” during the summer and fall…discussion was good and interest high. That discussion has already produced another weekly study on another night on related matters and some great questions.

Family we met will join our first day Assembly and we’re going to discuss lessons from James. Practical and basic seems to be the ‘order of the summer’ and there is lots of enthusiasm for our endeavor…expecting nearly a dozen.

I now have a ‘ account,’ which is the email/instant message forum for the students. They installed it for me (found English version so I could read the screen) and put their account numbers in for me. We now get instant messages from them during the day as they arrive home and say “good morning” and tell us what’s happening, now that they are at home.

They are not children, but we enjoy hearing they are home safe and doing well…and miss them. We also know  their families are glad to have them around for about 50 days. Just a few are still in the area…they have found young students they can tutor, as a part-time job. Once a person gets older, they are not so much in a hurry to go home…they have ‘made the break’ and are more independent.

One of the students come from the Hainan province, which is ‘way south’ like South Florida in the USA. She got to the bus that would take her to the train station and go south…she was allowed to get on and continue her trip. Her classmates are actually still there (one day later) waiting for the crowd to diminish and get a seat…remember there are thousands trying to leave the area now, and the bus/train system is always strained. When she arrived at her province, there was not a bus available to go to her hometown, so she is staying with a friend while she waits.

We saw a store ritual as we came home: a group of female employees gathered in front of their store (on the sidewalk) did a series of chants and cheers, singing and laughing…after joining hands in a circle, separated and went into the store to begin the day (see photo). Quite positive and enthusiastic display as their workday commenced.

Another interesting (unique) three minutes with TJ: I began telling her of a thought I had when I realized her eyes were glazed over and she was not hearing a word. I’ve learned to stop and try to figure out what might be happening: she wasn’t praying (her eyes were open)…she wasn’t reading scripture (no bible open)…and it hit me…she was doing her stretching exercises (her body parts looked like twisted or shaken spaghetti or pretzels…she looks like a praying mantis or several of the cranes when the Karate Kid stood on one leg for that special pose that won the tournament at the end of the movie). 🙂

I told her of my dilemma, and we had a good laugh. Then she told me why her mind was somewhere else and she did not know I was talking: “I was counting, and when I get confused, sometimes I can do 10 or 20 seconds too-o-o much or too-o-o little, and that’s not good.” (As the conversation continued, I learned she now can count in English, Spanish, and Chinese, which keeps it from getting boring. She can only count to six in German and is trying to remember French, but can’t remember the numbers Tonia taught her when she was studying the language. We’ll have something to work on August 8-17 when she’s here visiting). That’s my TJ :-).

We were coming back from a walk to one of the stores further from our apartment. Terry was carrying one of the bags, and I asked, “Is the bag that heavy?” “No, it’s not bad at all.” “What about the bags under your eyes?” I innocently asked. “Actually, they are not as bad as the ones in America, though that could change any day,” she said with a chuckle, not missing a beat.

Have I mentioned that I have had no need or desire to wear a suit and/or tie since February 13, 2011? There simply is no requirement or event thus far. (Could have saved some room in my suitcases when we came over…glad I only brought two).

I have discovered iTunes podcasts to catch some of the news and sports reporting that have been part of my life for many, many years. There is even a world view of sports on CCTV 5 online here.

Want to see world news in English in China? The internet allows it: Check out the China travelogues, as well.

It’s been a sad summer for Ohio State and Tennessee sports fans 😦

An interesting item  at the bank this week: we found out we will not receive August payroll until it is combined in September, since the university finance department is on vacation with the students. It could have been worst…sometimes the July is put off, too. They pay at the beginning of the month in advance, and we will see when/if July is deposited by the announced time.

With no classes, we have ‘time to think’ and it reminds me of our university ‘director days.’ I’d be up and out with the day demands by 7 a.m. and then up with students till after 9 p.m. It felt equally good then (and now) to have the break between semester classes. We’re staying busy, but it is a different kind of busy…and we are really enjoying it. Both of us are using our kindles often and daily.

Nothing is official until the classes actually begin, but I have already received my schedule for the fall. I will have 8 classes, all at 8 a.m. and 10:05 a.m. Tuesday –thru– Friday (Monday off for preparation).

I will have all of Terry’s freshman students from last fall in six classes, in addition to one of my freshman groups (seven oral English classes in all…around 365 sophomore students). I will also have one class of some 50 sophomore students for Teaching/Listening skills.  All the classes on the Central campus, a 4-minute leisurely walk from our apartment, so that is real nice…compared to three classes last semester on a different campus, one of them a 4-5:40 p.m. class.

Have I admitted ‘out loud to anyone’ that we both decided the Chinese classics we were going to read during the summer are a lot like many of the American classics…wordy and boring. I got through 213 pages and it was just t-o-o-o much of the same thing over and over…. 🙂

Greetings from Terry: The children gave me a really nice journal to record our experience in China. It is filled with quotes and scriptures. This one I like especially: “The really happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.”

There is no diagram, directory or map of this campus so my new project is to explore and gather information and then sketch one. It will be helpful to me and I can offer it to the new students in September.

Thursday, July 7 we had our first Mandarin lesson and it went pretty well. Since our two teachers have to travel so far on a hot bus to get here, we have decided to meet once instead of twice a week (for two hours). It was fun and we made progress, therefore it was successful.

We also had our first discussion/study of The Good Life with five English teachers and two other adults close to campus. It was very good. We are so glad to have the opportunity. They were all very interested. One person in particular called the next day after reading ahead in the text and had questions so she came over for additional discussion. This is our idea of a fun summer.

I have finished reading a very interesting and profitable book;  A Study of Angels by Edward P. Meyers (Gary had finished it and recommended it). He handles the text well. I appreciate his study, collection and presentation of the text in an understandable style. — Love, Terry.

Contentment: Where?

Do your circumstances bother you? Are you at that place in life where you wish nothing would change, and yet everything is changing? Are you having to adjust to new surroundings or new people?  We need to ‘learn’ what there is to learn about contentment.

It is a great mistake to build our happiness on circumstances or things, because circumstances change and things have a way of wearing out and losing their value. True internal peace cannot be based on changing external things. We need something deeper and more satisfying.

Yet, most people build their happiness on the passing, external things of this world. And, for this reason, they are never really happy.

Real contentment must come from within. You and I cannot change or control the world around us, but we can change and control the world within us. It has often been said that what life does to us depends on what life finds in us.

The word content does not mean “complacent.” Paul was anything but complacent! He felt a burden and carried good news to city after city regardless of peril or persecution.

Nor is contentment a dreamy attitude or vague feelings that lift you out of the world and make you immune to trouble and trial. Some people are always looking for new ways to be immunized against the hurts of life or protected from the bumps and scars of life. This is not contentment.

Actually, the word is best translated “contained.” It carries the idea of self-sufficiency. In other words, Paul is saying, “I don’t depend on things on the outside, because I carry my own sufficiency on the inside.”

Contentment, then, is actually containment: having the resources within to face life courageously and handle it successfully.

If you had all the props and crutches taken away from your life, would you be able to stand? Do you have that divine sufficiency and adequacy within?

We usually fall down because we want to receive inner contentment and spiritual adequacy instantly by reading a book, or saying a prayer, but that is not the way we become adequate in the inner man. We learn it by experience.
This means we must go through troubles and trials, difficulties and sacrifices, and we must face changes in our lives. If everything remains the same, then we will die of the status quo. Life will become a comfortable coffin; but who wants to be a comfortable corpse?

Resistance to change is one of the chief causes of discontent and worry. We want to keep ourselves, our children, and our lives just as they are. We fight change, and in so doing, we rob ourselves of the contentment.
There is not growth without challenge, and there is no challenge without change. If our lives are going to be isolated and insulated we will never face any challenges, but this means we will never have opportunities to mature.

For mature people, life is a battleground, but they are willing to face the battles and, by faith, win the victories.
For immature people, life is a playground; and they want to avoid battles, but this means they never have the joy of winning victories and growing.

We believe we are here for a reason: to reach out to the 18-23 year old university students in Jingzhou, sowing seeds of knowledge and understanding wherever possible. We know it will not return  to us void. We have the opportunity to teach the future leaders of China, and to be ‘stretched’ ourselves in the process. Your thoughts and support are deeply appreciated!  — Gary and Terry

News in China: China’s inflation escalated to the highest level in three years amid lingering pressure, with the consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, jumping 6.4 percent year-on-year in June, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

The June inflation rate accelerated 0.9 percentage points from May’s 5.5 percent which stood at a 34-month high, both far exceeding the government’s annual inflation control target of 4 percent. Of the 6.4-percent CPI growth in June, 3.7 percentage points were contributed by the carryover effect of price increases last year, the NBS said in a statement on its website.

After South Koreans, U.S. citizens form the second-largest national group among the nearly 600,000 foreigners living on the Chinese mainland at the end of 2010, says China’s national statistics bureau.

At a time when many Americans back home worry whether fast-rising China is out to eat their lunch, the number of Americans living on the Chinese mainland has reached a record high of 71,493, according to Chinese census bureau figures released in April.

In addition, more than 60,000 Americans live in Hong Kong, according to the U.S. State Department. A 2005 estimate of 110,000 Americans living in China included Hong Kong residents. Another 430,000 people from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau lived in China at the end of 2010, but Beijing does not count them as foreign residents.

Some Americans in China have seen decades of dramatic change, from radical Maoism to cutthroat capitalism. Today, newbies arrive daily to take up jobs or hunt them down, in what has become the world’s second-largest economy behind the USA‘s. Many work for Fortune 500 firms or U.S. agencies. Others come to teach, study, volunteer, travel, blog and party.

To boost mutual understanding in what is an often tense relationship between the nations, Washington and Beijing are ramping up people-to-people exchanges, including a drive to send 100,000 U.S. students to China over the next four years.

“There are a lot of really bright young Americans who are here in business or studying, and they are building great bridges between the USA and China,” says Thomas Skipper, minister counselor for public affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

1 Comment

Posted by on July 15, 2011 in Jingzhou


One response to “We have experienced the ‘patience of Job.’ Working through the four tones and lists of vocabulary words is quite stimulating; we ARE making some progress

  1. Gayle Owensby Farmer

    July 15, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    As usual,I enjoyed your post.I was surprised at just how many Americans are there in China.I am speaking to the Father about you both almost daily and know he listens and will provide your needs.My daughter,Robyn and I usually go each summer to the Navajo Reservation and teach and help the dene’ there,but did not get to go this year.I have really fallen in love with the dene’ and have learned a little of their language.It is a hard one to learn.The older men and women still speak Navajo and a few don’t even know or understand English.Hard to believe ,right here in America .They still live by their old customs etc.The young kids speak English most all the time and it upsets the elders .They are afraid their language is going to be lost. Oh well ,so much for us.
    Keep in touch..Hugs,Gayle (cousin)



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