Wishing all of you the very best during this holiday season. We are blessed to have time to spend until February 8 with family/friends in Texas, Florida, Tennessee and California
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with fellow Christians on the South campus, and the environment has been cheerful and holidayish every since. Students really get into the Christmas holiday time, and are excited to also be finishing the semester and going home to see family and celebrate their New Years and month-long Spring Holiday.
I was able to watch some of the NFL games on Thanksgiving, and even some of the college games, via this site: http://www.myp2p.pe/. For those who do not have NFL network on your cable plan, you can see games there, too, I would think. Am looking forward to seeing some bowl games now that we’re back in the good ole USA 🙂
The weather has turned brutal at times…lows in the 20’s degrees at night….highs around 32 at the end of the month. We have a heat pump in each of our two bedrooms, but they struggle to keep temperatures at 62 in the half of the apartment with no heat. We’ve covered the windows with more plastic to stop the ‘breeze’ that occasionally blows there.
The students are texting us to make sure we are “taking care of ourselves,” and we offer daily prayers for their health….and we remember there is no heat in the dorms and teaching buildings and become very grateful.
There is a picture of Tonia, Eric and Wendy, with Brinson and Aiden, on a recent trip to Tennessee. We are pleased to announce that Eric and the family will be coming to China next August to teach Oral English. The site is to be determined, but wherever they are in our province, it’s closer than Texas 🙂
Greetings from Terry: Did you hear the shout for joy in the middle of your night when we opened the Thanksgiving box from Griffin Road? (Tonia’s home congregation). There were so many good things. Thanks for it all, especially the pimientos, Velveeta cheese and corn meal. We will be able to feast on the goodies for quite a while.
Today one of my classes gave me a small note pad on which each student had written a note with kind words and wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving. Here are just a few:
“Dear Mrs. Davenport, I’m very happy to write something to you because you are the first foreigner I meet in my life. In my opinion, I think you are very beautiful and young, because you always like to smile and you are very kind to us even you feel not well. Robert”
“Hello! Teacher Terry! Tomorrow is the most important Thanksgiving Day! I wish you could be happy in my country although you could not spend it with your children. You own the students. You can regard us as your children, what a good day! We wish you have good time! Dustin”
“Dear Terry: Happy Thanksgiving Day! Time goes by silently and you did leave a good impression on me! I hope that someday we can be friends not just teacher and student! It’s getting cold. Remember to keep yourself warm!” Yours, Eileen” These students make the time and effort well worth it.
We had a very good Thanksgiving. We got to sleep a little later and have a relaxed morning as we prepared to go the South Campus for a 1:00PM feast. We had a delicious American Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings; KFC chicken and a couple of fried turkey legs from the Da Ren Fa market. There are some good cooks in our group. The visiting and fellowship was fun. Robert Hooker, another American that is on the East Campus was invited to join us for the meal and it was good to meet and get to know him. He has been teaching English in China some five years now.
Hope for those with Vitiligo! Vitiligo is a loss of skin pigment. It shows up as white spots on the skin. I myself have had it for several years. After seeing a specialist in America and being told there is not cure I resigned myself to go on with life. It is not painful, contagious or a threat to my health. It will not kill me and does not separate me from God. I am still the same lady I was before only now I am a spotted lady :-).
Since being in China, two different strangers at different times have tried to tell me by gestures (not knowing English) that they can cure the spots on my neck. Finally, with the help of several people I have been able to get the information they so desperately wanted to give me. Friday, November 25, a teacher/sister friend and I traveled 3 ½ hours by bus to Xiangyang. We were able to see Dr. Li Gang at the Chinese Hospital of Traditional Medicine. He is one of the four, and most famous of the doctors there who have specialized in the treatment of vitiligo for the past twenty years.
I talked to a patient that had the spots ten years before being treated by the doctor. His spots were cured but against the doctor’s warning the patient had gone back to drinking alcohol and the (cont. page 3) spots returned. I know of two others that have been helped by this medicine. Patients come from many other provinces to be treated. There were all ages waiting to see him. He told me (through my friend) it is a hard problem to cure. He took blood work to check my levels, particularly the liver function. After three months of medicine he will check me again. I am very hopeful. However it turns out, “to Him be the glory”. He can use me any way he sees fit. I will let you know how it turns out. — Love, Terry
More from Gary: As we finished this past week, I sent the following email to the teachers, who have been part of our weekly study: “As we make plans to leave China for a few weeks, Terry and I want to express our gratitude for your warmth and kindness to us. You have made our first two semesters a positive adventure, which we will always treasure.
“We have missed our family and friends in America, but we will also miss you during the next six weeks. I hope your holiday time is as good and refreshing for you as ours will be for us.
“Travel safely in the coming weeks as you finish your semester. Gary and Terry Davenport “
First email that came back: “Thank you for the beautiful letter. I love it. Enjoy spending time with your family, I know you miss them so much. Merry Christmas and travel safely because it is a long trip back to America and we will miss you. We have a nice time with you. Through the good life study every Sunday, we know life is hard, life is full of pain or sorrow or bad things, but life is still the most precious gift from God! Enjoy the vacation!”
Another one: “I’m also very glad to meet you two. It’s really fun to have learned so much from you. Wish you and your family a Merry Christmas. Wish you a pleasant journey.”
Another one: “Merry Christmas! Wish you have a nice trip and a nice vacation! Give my wishes to your family.
“Thank you very much for helping us read the Bible. Without your help I can not understand it well. You made the Good Life study easy and interesting.”
Other emails from students: “Thanks for your patient teaching. We all enjoy those time we spend together. You and Terry are just like our own grandparents, patient and loving. Hope you and Terry can have a gorgeous vacation, and see you next semester!
“Hi Gary and Terry, I read your email and I feel happy that you tell me about your travel to home, you two are good and nice people, what impress me most is that you two are example of good, compatible ,harmony couples, I seldom see couples love and respect each other so much like you two .best wishes ,enjoy the travel and the love from the family. Thank you for your kindness.”
I showed my junior English class It’s a Wonderful Life and asked them to speak five minutes on the importance of helping others, the meaning of life, and to talk of one who has meant the most in their life. They did their usual wonderful job! 🙂
Great news for Davenport family sports fans: Pat Summitt was honored as Sports Illustrated Sportswoman of the Year and Ron Santo finally elected to the baseball Hall of Fame.
Difficult for me to celebrate Duke coach being honored, since my dad got one of his degrees from North Carolina, though brother Bo is a Coach K fan 🙂
We gained a new student as we were closing our final Saturday morning study for the semester. Two junior non-English majors, Seven and Spring brought a friend, who was able to read and understand much of what was said from Luke 24 about the resurrection of Jesus. Cai Fang Min also plans to be part of our study next February, when we begin again. Like Spring, Cai has been read the Bible by a grandmother and is very interested.
We also gained two new students in our teacher’s group at our last study of the semester. We studied Jesus’s instructions about loving God and loving our neighbor, and they are going to get an English-Chinese Bible before we begin anew in February.
Next semester, we anticipate studies on Friday and Saturday night, Saturday and Sunday morning, and our Sunday evening worship…the best five hours of our otherwise very busy week 🙂
There were over 24.7 million folks connected to Skype the other night. We’ve not had great connections lately, but at least we could see family for a few minutes and could continue talking for 20-30 minutes.
Missed seeing the Army-Navy game on the TV for the first time in many years. This habit began in my early teens…enjoying watching the game with my Navy-alumni dad.
Some of my training manuals have sold recently, at Lulu.com. I am glad they are an encouragement and helpful to others. All of these newsletters are also available there, in black and white only.
Because we left on December 26, we missed the New Year school events, when some of our students performed(see pics on above) ….so we went to see them tryout their routines in hopes of being chosen for the special occasion. We enjoyed seeing their laughter and happiness during the tryouts, in spite of the pressure they felt.
As we finish this last newsletter for 2011, we have realized just how much we are going to miss our students and the Christians here each Sunday. It has become clear to Terry and me that we are going to ‘visit’ family in America and then will come ‘home’ to China.
God is so-o-o-o-o good!
Feeding China and the World
— China’s autumn harvest surpassed expectations this year, despite a constant battle with droughts, floods and pests. China Daily agriculture reporter Jin Zhu looks at how the world’s most populous country makes sure it has enough to eat, and enough to help feed the world.
China’s total output for grain this year hit a record high of 571 million tons, making it the eighth consecutive year production has exceeded forecast. More than 70 percent of this increase is expected to come from Northeast China, due to unusually favorable weather conditions, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. But agricultural experts are warning that the fat years may not continue, especially if grain production is too concentrated in the northern arable lands.
“Good weather does not occur every year. When and if natural disasters hit these major crop-producing areas, the impact will be great,” Lu Bu, a researcher in agricultural resources and regional planning at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) told China Daily.
Even as China battles more frequent floods, droughts and pestilence brought about by climate change, the world’s attention is focused on how this vast country manages to stay self-sufficient in grain. And it has succeeded, despite the doomsayers, and despite the natural disadvantages.
For instance, by August, prolonged drought had affected more than 4.5 million hectares of crops, of which 71 percent were concentrated in Guizhou, Hunan, Yunnan and Inner Mongolia autonomous region, ministry statistics show.
Li Maosong, a CAAS researcher on disaster reduction, tells China Daily that drought is responsible for more grain loss than any other natural disaster.
“Nearly 60 percent of grain loss is caused by drought. The other main causes are floods, plant diseases and insects,” he says.
Another area of growing concern is the serious increase in pests in recent years. According to the Ministry, total arable land hit by diseases and insects is expected to reach 402 million hectares, a result of global warming and the catastrophic drought this year.
Plant diseases and insects are more serious this year compared to the average annual affected areas of 268 million hectares in previous years,” Li says. Red wheat mites and aphids attacked most of the country’s wheat-producing areas this year and the situation is worsening, according to the ministry. Li notes that around 15 percent of the grain harvest is lost to plant diseases and insects every year.
“But the impact is still limited for the country as a whole.” The curtailed impact is the result of precise monitoring, and timely intervention, and better management translates to better harvests.
Despite frequent extreme weather and the shrinking of arable land, China’s annual grain production has remained above 500 million tons since 2007. Much of it is due to the silent teams of researchers who work tirelessly to improve crop yields and reduce pestilence.
In 2010, the total grain-producing area in China was boosted to 109.5 million hectares, a year-on-year increase of 470,000 hectares, official figures show.
Scientific research on crops goes on in tandem with the constant search and supply of good seeds and the continuing education of China’s farmers in advanced cultivation methods.
According to ministry projections, the country’s total grain demand will reach 572.5 million tons by 2020, an increase of 47.5 million tons compared to 2010. To make sure the target is met, more scientific research will strengthen China’s ability to feed itself. That is why China is looking abroad for cooperation, exchanges and assistance.
In April, a joint laboratory for agricultural research was launched in Beijing with an agenda to study genetic resources, animal husbandry, veterinary science, agro-ecology, and environmental science. It was the first agricultural lab set up between China and Brazil.
A twin cooperative center is to be built next year in Rio de Janeiro, which will be the first agricultural program by China off-site. Beijing plans to set up nine other such joint laboratories with more countries, including the US, Canada, Germany and Russia.
In 2010, more than 900 million people worldwide suffered from malnutrition and hunger, up from 800 million in 1995, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. It is not just through food aid that China is helping to feed the world. The world needs to increase its food production by 70 percent by the year 2050 in order to feed a projected population of 9.3 billion, Vilsack said.
“Both China and US have the responsibility to ensure the world’s future food safety, by relying on their scientific researches, such as developing disaster-tolerant seeds and advanced planting method,” he said.