One ‘Dipped’ in Clean Water; Mom encouraged TJ to get camera, take more pics with me in them…

10 Feb

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It is always a highlight of events when one more is “dipped in clean water.” We were part of that event, and will be following up with the family member in coming weeks/months. Good things happen in Beijing!

Each person presents their own story, but this young man has displayed long-term interest and needed to work through some teachings that greatly confused him…thankfully the Word is clear and he was willing to listen to it.

The Visa process has moved forward. We have paperwork that will prove to the language school that we are, indeed, married, and TJ plans to enroll at the end of the month. It will give us visas for the length of time her classes continue.

We put a sign up in each of our two elevators (‘lifts’) but it was removed only a few hours later, so we assumed no one had seen it and would not come on Sunday evening at 7 p.m. to the first English Corner in our building. I commented at 7:09 pm to Terry that we’d just keep trying and would find some way to reach out.

Well…at 7:10 we had our first three, and before 8:30 had come and gone, we had six adults and two children in our apartment! Needless to say, we hope to host a weekly event once the February holiday travel is over and ‘things settle down’ and are back to whatever normal is here.

The adults were smart and witty and intrigued that we were in China and wanted to help others learn English. Two had really-y-y-y-y-y good skills, but wanted their children/family to have the opportunity more than themselves. One  young man has spent many years traveling abroad, and was quite interesting. (The process also taught us a good lesson on doubt).

We had a good visit with our friend from Jingzhou and introduced him to the movie Flywheel…he has already seen Fireproof and Courageous, and “liked them very much,” he said with a big smile. It was good to catch up on what has happened to each of us in the year+ since we had last visited, and talk of important things again.

We called my mother on Skype and enjoyed a good visit, and she encouraged Terry to get the camera and take more pictures with me in them…and, to my displeasure, TJ said “ok,” so get ready to see my ugly face more. 🙂 Terry also spoke to her brother, Steve, who lives outside Los Angeles…she has been in touch with him regularly since we discovered the low cost of Skype phone calls.

We have had some LST students and enjoyed the opportunity very much, studying Luke with two and Acts with the other. It is so awesome to have seekers come with important things on their mind!

I had some help taking the gifts for the orphanage to the post office and had some interesting discoveries. In a conversation with Zoe, a young adult, she said “many of the older people in Beijing have been told they should leave the city if they want to live healthy lives.”

“How can they afford to do that?” I asked.

“It is expensive to live here, so they should sale their homes and move to a healthier city.” The younger generation has it figured out, huh?

I looked in the mirror just now and saw a mismatch of colors, fabric, and patterns…just grabbed a shirt and pair of pants when I got up since some clothes are in the wash…and had to laugh. We talked the other Sunday morning about “being all things to all people to win some” and my clothing style/choices showed it today. Sometimes our students would be dressed with some of the strangest colors and patterns and fabrics imaginable. 🙂

I think it also fair to mention that a ‘different woman’ has begun living in our Beijing apartment…she looks like TJ and works like her and cooks like her, but this one is using the internet more often to send mail to former teacher friends and students, has gone to her little-used Facebook account this week, and even said the words “I guess I will need to Google it” today when asking me about a term she had written on her always full scrap paper where she keeps all her many lists. I will keep an eye on her to see in coming days…..I like this 2013 edition of my precious TJ.

Terry and I have been on QQ instant message often with former students…who share their “pain and sorrow” over lost boyfriends, or their happiness from passing their finals and enjoying the spring break. It is so-o-o good to hear from them!

Terry continues her traditional medicine for her vitiligo and the doctor has sent medicine here for her so treatments can continue. We have also introduced him to a friend in Tennessee, and he is also treating her with similar medicines.

We have been in America during this time the past two winters, so have never seen first-hand the excitement shown as the spring festival and New Year approaches. It is like the days before Thanksgiving, I think.

We have been confronted with a new ‘scam’ leaving the Carrefore grocery store: older ladies are at the end of the checkout lines asking for each person’s cash register receipt…they will sale it to business people who have reimbursement as part of their salary…turn in a high receipt when you spent very little…we would like to do something to help the older folks but not to encourage lying and dishonesty in the business community.

The Super Bowl was on the internet so I enjoyed seeing most of the game…two local America-style restaurants (Peter’s Tex-Me Grill) offered buffet from 7-11:30 a.m. for 88 yuan,..multitude of items…did not go but had seen the advertisement earlier in the month.

We had a bigger snow on February 3 so did not meet at the hotel, and it was closed for the holidays on the 10th…on both occasions we met through Skype…amazed at the great technology that enables us to study and worship in spite of outside circumstances.

As the holiday approached, I saw lots of families with big smiles on their faces carrying plenty of red boxes filled with gifts…as they were traversing the subway system. And close to our apartment was a large temporary tent filled with fireworks of all shapes and sizes…haven’t seen that many in one place since traveling on the interstate near Chattanooga and South Pittsburg, Tennessee.

Nick and Hillarie Maynard (and three great children) came to visit for three days/two nights; Hillarie grew up in that area of Tennessee/North Alabama…small world…and Nick is the son of two good friends from Middle Tennessee State we knew in the early 1970’s.

We have had four family units spend several days each with us since arriving in our apartment on January 2. Delightful time for us all, especially since we share common ideas and interests. They have also enjoyed the American-style restaurants and food in this city.

Many of you have heard by now that Eric and Wendy (also Brinson and Aiden) have decided to submit papers and begin the process of adopting a Chinese orphaned child…knowing it will take a long process and relying on God to work it out.

The following email came from one of our older, mature students: “Happy New Year. It’s so nice to hear from you. Glad to know everything is going well in Beijing.

“I am deeply touched by the decision of your son and your daughter-in-law, so was my family. We are moved by their great love to life which has gone beyond national boundaries. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. There is an old saying in China “good men deserve good return”. God bless your family and please send my best wishes to them.”

We are always glad when they wish God’s blessing on anyone, since many times our talks with them were the first extended discussions of God they had heard…

We’ve had lots of greetings and text as the New Year unfolded from our 24th floor apartment…they were heard and seen from across all of our windows…very beautiful!

The celebration meal with family included as many as seven meats, we were told, with other large portions of favorite foods…a special, special time for those who traveled back to their hometown.

If any are interested in China travelogue programming, you can see it on the internet at

Greetings: This area spins dust bunnies faster than a State Fair spins cotton candy, probably because it is so dry.  It is shocking how much static there is. (Pun intended)

The other day we were out running errands. I had my ear muffs, scarf, gloves and blue dust mask on. My ear muffs were shuffling off my ears, my gloves made it hard to find things in my purse and my dust mask was fogging up my glasses. I finally just removed my glasses and stayed very close to Gary. It was funny and frustrating at the same time. Such are the frustrations of winter. I can wait to see what the summer brings.

We had the wonderful opportunity to be present as a person took a dip in the clean water last week. The portable used was very efficient.  It was refreshing for all present and we got to meet several more people. Last Sunday evening we held English Corner in our apartment. Eight  people came, all from our apartment. We enjoyed getting to meet them. I do hope they come back next week.

It was snowing as we headed out to get our groceries from afar by taxi. After our purchases no taxis was around so we started walking and watching for the next available.

None were to be found until we had walked about ¼ of the way home. We were thankful it was not so cold and there was no wind. Actually it was very pretty but we were thankful we didn’t have to walk and carry all the way home.

Today I went on an exploring walk near our apartment and found a hospital, restaurant and two hotels. The business cards I got and the name of the street will help if we need to find our way home from a different direction. I also met two more English speaking people from our apartments whom I quickly invited to our English corner. The toy poodle I saw wearing little pink shoes was really cute.

It is amazing that at after all these years I still get a touch of “stage fright” right before we have first time-company. I just put on my armor, praise and thank Him for the opportunity and get busy following His lead. If I make all I have available to Him He makes everything turn out fine. Isn’t He wonderful? Hupernikō! “Overwhelming victory!”

We have had a fun filled past couple of days with the Nick and Hilarie Maynard family visiting us during their break from teaching English in China. They are a sweet couple with three dear children; Charlie (7), Colson (almost 5), and Allie (3). We enjoyed their hugs, laughter, and interesting conversations.

Chinese New Year’s Eve is amazing in Beijing. We have heard fire crackers all day. Starting at dark we began seeing some pretty fireworks from our 24th floor apartment. Then around 6:30 it became continuous with six to ten at a time in the air all over the area. Many are the huge ones like at Disneyworld. It is very pretty and noisy. Actually it sounds like the city is under attack.

I am thankful there is nothing to be afraid of. — Love, Terry

China News—Railway workers prepare for peak: Railway workers across China are gearing up to handle the busiest days during the Spring Festival travel peak. More than 6.4 million trips were made on the country’s railway network on Thursday, the Ministry of Railways forecast, adding it temporarily scheduled 645 extra train trips to transport passengers flooding railway stations.

On Wednesday, passengers made more than 6.3 million trips on trains, and railway authorities operated 4,714 train trips after adding 663 temporary train trips. Chinese tradition holds that people should return home and spend Spring Festival, the most important Chinese holiday, with their families, which creates an annual travel rush that is the world’s largest recurrent human migration.

Chinese travelers made more than 235 million trips by train during the Spring Festival travel peak in 2012 — meaning nearly 6 million people took trains each day of the rush period.

The Ministry of Railways expects 220 million train trips to be made during this year’s 40-day holiday rush, from Jan 26 to March 6, averaging 5.6 million a day. A total of 54.4 million trips had already been made from Jan 26 to Monday, it said.

In Beijing, about 477,300 passengers departed from three major railway stations on Wednesday, 30,000 more than the busiest day last year.

In Beijing West Railway Station, once the biggest station in Asia before the city’s south station opened in 2008, more than 220,000 passengers took trains on Wednesday, the busiest day since this year’s rush period began.

More than 100 trains departed from the station, which has begun to operate 24 hours a day for the travel rush, from 2 pm to 10 pm. All of the station’s nearly 2,000 employees have been kept on duty to handle the flood of passengers, and more than 700 volunteers have been added. The station has also beefed up its security by mobilizing more than 1,000 police officers to patrol and crack down on theft.

The largest group of people returning home this week by train is white-collar workers. Most migrant workers and university students have already gone home, railway officials said. To transport more passengers, railway authorities even launched overnight services on the Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed rail line. From Tuesday to Friday, seven temporary trips will be made overnight each day on the Wuhan-Guangzhou section of the line.

BEIJING — Chinese welcomed the arrival of the Year of the Snake with raucous celebrations on Saturday, setting off a cacophony of firecrackers in the streets and sending fireworks blazing into the sky to bring good fortune.

Celebrations will carry on into the early hours of Sunday, officially the first day of the Lunar New Year.

Residents of Beijing braved freezing temperatures to let off brightly colored fireworks, with clouds of smoke in the air, red wrappings from firecrackers covering streets and explosions rattling windows.

A plea by the government to set off fewer fireworks to help deal with Beijing’s notorious air pollution seemed to fall on deaf ears.

“Every year we set off fireworks and this year will be no different,” said Lao Guo, 45, a convenience store worker.

Firecrackers are believed to scare off evil spirits and entice the god of wealth to people’s doorsteps once New Year’s Day arrives.

China’s cosmopolitan business hub, Shanghai, saw similar scenes, though not everyone had reason for cheer.

“Business now is very weak. It’s related to the financial crisis,” said Chen Yongliang, who used to run a street stall. Maintaining a tradition of leaders visiting ordinary folk at this time of year, Communist Party chief Xi Jinping, who takes over as president in March from Hu Jintao, met subway construction workers in Beijing ahead of the week-long holiday. “Migrant workers have been the labor force behind China’s reform and opening up … so we must look after you properly,” Xi said in comments carried on state television.

“I hope the construction firm has organized some new year entertainment for you so you can have a happy holiday,” added Xi, who has tried to cultivate an easy-going, man-of-the-people image since becoming party boss in November.

People born in the year of the snake, including Xi, are believed to be thoughtful and stylish yet complex characters. Practitioners of the ancient art of feng shui say the year ahead will see financial markets slither higher as optimism grows, though the risk of disasters and territorial disputes in Asia also looms.

The lunar new year is marked by the largest annual mass migration on earth, as hundreds of millions of migrant workers pack trains, buses, aircraft and boats to spend the festival with their families. For many Chinese people, this is their only holiday of the year. Almost half of Beijing’s population of 20 million have left the city for the holiday, according to state media.

Taboos abound over this period. Crying on New Year’s Day means you will cry for the rest of the year, and washing your hair signifies washing away good luck. Woe betide those who clean on new year’s day, for you will be sweeping away good fortune in the year ahead.

1 Comment

Posted by on February 10, 2013 in Beijing


One response to “One ‘Dipped’ in Clean Water; Mom encouraged TJ to get camera, take more pics with me in them…

  1. Steve Maynard

    February 17, 2013 at 3:16 am

    Very interesting article, Gary & Terry! So glad for your progress there in your new city, and so inspired by and appreciative of your generous hospitality and commitment to the One Who made us all. We are now regular followers of your blog. Thank you for assisting and befriending our family, and for doing the same for many others that we will never meet until reaching that city made without hands. May He continue to bless you and yours, and the work you have chosen to do.

    Steve & Robin Maynard



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