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We had our first student drop-ins

20 Sep

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We have experienced our first student drop-ins. Since they were off for the Mid-Autumn Festival, and had a free weekend, four of our students dropped by after our Sunday Assembly.

They stayed just over two hours, and it was just delightful….lots of good conversation with questions from all sides. It is difficult not feeling special indeed that they would want to spend time with us ‘old folks.’

We have had over 170 students into our apartment since February 15, but they were always invited and here for something specific…these four have now had both of as their teachers, and they were not on our campus until two weeks ago.

Just spent nearly 30 minutes on Skype with a dear friend, Polly Cline, who makes us feel so special when we talk….always speaks to us as Precious Ones. She and Danny were very encouraging to us when we went into this business over 33 years ago! 🙂

We attended two of the class parties the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival…received more mooncakes and also sang two songs for the groups: Light the Fire and Ching, Ching, Ting (all Chinese words of I’m Listening Assembly song we learned before we came).

Greetings from Terry: As we looked at the glass in our bathroom window we realized it was held in place with slanted nails from the outside like the glass on a cheap picture frame, not even set in a grove. So we winterized it by lining it with bubble wrap and stuffing the openings with plastic bags.

Our new floor fan is already showing small rust spots so I covered each spot with clear nail polish.

I feel like I am nearing the end of a three month pregnancy while preparing and making plans for my new students: carrying them in prayer all summer, wondering what they will be like, what their names will be, how we will relate to each other. I can’t wait to meet them. Then like an overdue baby having to wait for an extra three weeks for my classes to begin.

But today (Thursday, 9/15) I finally got my schedule. Looks like God has a lot more confidence in me than I do. I have eight classes in all, but five are afternoon classes at 2:00 and 4:05 p.m. (most of which are on the fourth floor); three other classes are in the mornings on the third floor.

I will get to ride the teacher bus to the West campus all but two times and catch the city bus for those classes. I will have Fridays off. I have complete confidence in God to get me up the stairs. “If He brings you to it He will get you through it.” To Him, be the glory. — Love, Terry (Late bulletin: Sunday afternoon TJ found out her classes will not begin until 26th, giving her four-week break after the start of most classes…over 2,000 freshmen enrolled this semester, and the pronunciation classes are the only ones that begin on the 5th of the 17-week session).

More from Gary: It’s the normal process to have Oral English students introduce themselves on the first day of class, letting us get to know them and also hear their English level. One student, asked what she did during the summer, “I didn’t go anywhere most of the summer, since I was praying for my grandfather, who passed away.

Our Sunday Assembly keeps growing! We had four new people attend last night, and three were absent due to schedule conflicts and rainy, wet conditions. Many of them attend at least two Gatherings per Sunday, too.

The heater ran for the first time in the apartment this morning…was 53 degrees outside.

Finding Purpose In Life
Life without purpose is really wasted existence. There can be little more tragic than to come to the close of life, or even long before such a point is reached, and not feel we’ve accomplished something for ourselves and for others.

Finding purpose in life – and basing our life upon that discovery of purpose – is, for many, a difficult task. But, it need not be so.

There are certain searching questions that just about everyone asks, of themselves or others, at some point in their lives. “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “How did I get here?” “Where am I going?’

Even as children, these types of questions, maybe more a reflection of curiosity than deep philosophical thought, often come to mind and we ask someone to give us answers.

As we mature, we come to more of an understanding of how we feel these questions can, and should, be answered.
How the great questions of life are addressed depends upon our developed point of view regarding man, the universe, eternity.

One view is distinctly materialistic. Man is a “mere collection of atoms,” as late Bertrand Russell concluded.
The other view sees man as God-made.

Since people are responsible beings, we must decide which view we accept and upon which we base our life.

The Spiritual Realm: Dr. Vannevar Bush, once one of this nation’s top scientists, wrote a book entitled “Science Is Not Enough.” In a world where some are inclined to believe that science can answer every question, Dr. Bush responds: “Science has come a long way in delineating the probable nature of the universe that surrounds us, of the physical world in which we live, of our own structure, our physical and chemical nature. It even enters into the mechanism by which the brain operates. Then it comes to the question of consciousness and free will-and there it stops. No longer can science prove, or even bear evidence.. .He who follows science blindly, and who follows it alone, comes to a barrier beyond which he cannot see.. and on the essential and central core of faith, science will of necessity be silent.. But its silence wilt be the silence of humility, not the silence of disdain.. Young men who will formulate the deep thought of the next generation, should lean on science, for it can teach much and it can inspire. But they should not lean where it does not apply.”

As a noted scientist, Bush openly declares that, as great as the achievements of science have been, and are, it can still not answer the deeper questions of life and death, questions of a spiritual nature, about the spiritual realm.

Certain questions the material, scientific approach cannot answer: “How much does love weigh?’1 “How long is honesty?” “What is the color and consistency of peace?” Some things just cannot be weighed, measured, or calculated in physical terms.

This is not to reflect badly upon science, which has provided so many good things for the improvement of the quality of life. But, while science may answer questions in the material universe, it does not deal with the ethical, moral, or spiritual realm.

Unfortunately, as mankind has discovered more about the physical universe, it has become, seemingly, less concerned about guidance God.

Here, for example, is the philosopher Bertrand Russell’s rather pessimistic view of life: “That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of the human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system and that the temple of man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of the universe in ruins-all of these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand.”

For all of this brilliance, Russell failed to understand the deeper purpose of all lives. This left him only with a futile, depressing conclusion to draw.

To recognize there is a spiritual realm, is to realize that behind the physical elements of existence there is a deeper meaning, a higher purpose.

We must be willing to examine our faith – what we believe and why we believe it. We must be deeply concerned with what is true, not just what pleases or satisfies us, or eases our mind.

Life can only become truly meaningful when we recognize, and begin to understand, the deeper purpose behind it. we can only understand this when we come to know Him.

God is the ultimate Authority over everyone and everything. Events can have an overriding, divine purpose, often unknown to those who are a part of the events.

Paul believed confidently that God’s purpose had shaped the events of his life.

Life is more than accidental, unplanned, unguided events. The hand of God can be seen in all of history – when we recognize the deeper purpose of life. The hand of God can be seen in our own lives, when we yield to His Will.
While not minimizing trials and difficulties, we can find more in life, get more out of life, by relying on His strength and by allowing Him to work in our lives and through us.

To the questions raised earlier, there are always two diverse answers:
“Who am I?” Or, more broadly stated, “What is man?” Man is a physical mechanism, or entity, controlled by certain physical needs. Man is an animal evolved from other life forms.

Man is a created physical being with a spiritual nature…the crowning glory of the creative work, made to be His children.

“Why am I here?”
Some believe man emerged only after millennia of evolutionary processes. Then, we live, we die, and return to a state of non-existence. Life consists of what we may experience here on the Earth.
Others know that man was placed on Earth by his Creator with a higher purpose in mind. Man was made to live forever with God. But, this is conditional upon our loving God, glorifying Him, and obeying and serving Him.
‘Where am I going?”

The skeptic has no clear answer for this question.

The believer can answer with confidence. Apart from God, life has no real meaning, or purpose, other than a difficult, often tragic, struggle to survive. God has revealed to us why we are here, where we originated, and where we are destined to go.

We must choose whether we will find, and fulfill, the deeper purpose of life, now and forever.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2011 in Jingzhou

 

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