A precious nine-year-old ‘angel’ entered our life Sunday, May 3 at 2 a.m. We picked up Liang Zehong at the Beijing airport and safely delivered her back that same afternoon for her flight home some four hours away in another province in Central China. She had been to America through the ministry of Children’s Medical Missions for a second plastic surgery.
I watched and listened as Terry tried to sing and then read and just ‘ached’ to fully talk with this young person…though they fully communicated in ways that are most meaningful. As I grew slightly concerned with her frustration, I heard both of them laugh out loud and Liang began skipping across the den floor…everything was good in our world! Terry sang some children’s songs that Liang clearly had heard before (the tunes were unmistakable).
Richard Detweiler escorted her from the States and she flew home in China as an “unaccompanied child.” She proved friendly, energetic (though her time zones had to be messed up) and after a short time was laughing as she and Terry looked at Mandarin and she actually taught TJ some of the words. (Don’t judge the pictures too harshly…Richard and Liang had been flying for 27+ hours and we had been waiting in the cool airport nearly four hours…we were all very tired).
What began as a wonderful day at 2 am continued with class and worship (it was Sunday) and we had two college-age students come for a study at 2 p.m. and then eight come at 7 pm for English Corner…we slept well that night. :-)…and Terry began language school with a 6 a.m. alarm on Monday and I finally got some medical supplies from America mailed to a new hospital being built through China Agape.
We now have 10 individuals who are coming to our apartment for study of Important Things….two are Brothers and one is a Sister….three of them come at least twice a week….one is coming three times a week since she is limited in the weeks she has left before leaving our area. The 14 weekly lessons are between 60-90 minutes, with some additional “get to know you” time.
We are using Let’s Start Talking material to improve their English while we study the book of Luke…and eventually Acts and John. Except for two, they are coming one-at-a-time, so we have lots of individual time with each of them. They are willing participants in all discussions and making steady improvement in all the studies. They are all a bit older than our Hubei Province students, but all have great/good/sufficient English so we have no issues with that phase of the process.
(I have to say that our newest student, Chen Ming, who will do graduate work in England in September…with a Forestry major…has the best English skills of ANY of our students in our 26 months here, and equally good understanding of words and phrases…go read Luke 1 and see how it might read for the first time and you will see what I mean). 🙂
We have enjoyed visitors to Sunday class/assembly recently, from both America and South Africa, with other ex-pats from different parts of China. It is a blessing to meet with them and enjoy the fellowship possible when Family are together!
When we moved here, we were curious about the costs for apartment utilities…got our first water bill…$5.83 (USD) for two months…not bad since we paid over $80 a month in Elk Grove…both places where there is little rain annually.
I experienced my first dust storm this weekend, something TJ did often in Lubbock many year ago. The Meteorological Station had forecast that strengthening winds would bring strong breezes to gales with dust, causing temperatures to drop 7 to 9 degree. This is the second bout of dusty weather to hit this year, following the first on Feb 28. It looked a lot like the poor air quality days, just more brown 🙂
I deeply appreciate the good work Sam McLean does in bringing items to the different orphanages in China, but he has also hand-delivered some packages to me that are useful in our ministry. I have also asked some of our traveling Americans to take some letters, etc., back for mailing in the states.
We enjoyed a great time of fellowship with Ken and Wei —- good visiting and great food! Ken and I Skype weekly, in addition to our Sunday contact via our Bible study and worship time. We’ve had two of our Sunday group over for a meal…they enjoyed Terry’s great cooking and it offered a chance for us to get to know each other better.
The temperatures are in the 35-65 degree range now, but we noticed the apartment beginning to get in the 69-72 degree range this week….discovered the government had turned off the heat in our area (three days before it was turned off for the entire city on March 15). We have heat/AC unit in our den area that can keep it comfortable, but only AC in the two bedrooms. We had to put some heavy cover back on the bed for a few days, but it was workable and much, much, much better than Jingzhou apartment. 🙂
We are making our travel plans for the spring/summer. We will leave Beijing on May 10 and return on June 7. We will visit our mothers as we enter the country (also some brothers/sisters) in Colorado (TJ) and Tennessee (me). Our fourth grandson is scheduled for a May 23 entry, but Andrea predicts an earlier delivery. Terry is planning to be there for a few days prior to delivery to help out with three-year-old Colton.
Good news! Tonia decided to make a job change and had a new opportunity within two weeks, but enjoyed several days off before continuing her marketing career in Fort Lauderdale/Davie, Florida area. The new company know they are fortunate to have her. 🙂
As the warmer weather approaches, I decided we needed to make certain the air conditioner filters were cleaned and all was ‘ready to go.’ I immediately realized the remote did not work, so I called our realty guy and he came by the next day. At the end of four days we had not only received a new remote, but he and three friends expressed an interest in our English Corner and plan to attend whenever able…we also invited Tony (around 28 years old with very good English) to a new group Life Discussion group we are beginning each Friday evening.
Greetings from TJ — The place where we got our last hair cut finally opened back up after the holiday. It is always pretty scary breaking in a new barber but we both got pretty good haircuts this time.
I allowed myself plenty of time to get to the opening ceremony at my language school: anticipating large crowds and a possible mistake in subway transfer on my part. What took Gary and me 50 minutes yesterday to get to where I catch the school bus only took me 30 minutes this morning; which means I arrived one hour early. Would you call that “overkill”?
It is a good thing I had this dry run before the actual classes start to adjust my timing. Adrenaline must be good for my joints because everything was working together mighty fine for me to make that kind of time. I take the subway north three stops, make a long walking transfer, go one more stop, exit and cross the street, then catch the school bus for about a ten minute ride o school. The school is now linked up with Language Institute of Texas (Houston) and Robert Parks (director?) was at the opening ceremony.
On the way home the wind had picked up. The powerful gusts kicked up dust devils around many corners and made it hard to walk at times. It reminded me of Lubbock, TX.
This has been a great busy weekend. We were blessed to have a young girl spend the night with us on her way home from surgery in the US. It was fun to fix up the spare room with a few things I thought might interest her. She was understandably quiet and shy at first, since we could not speak each other’s language, but before long we were all comfortable with our few shared words and body language. In such a short time it was hard to say good bye and let her go onto the plane with the attendant. We got the text that said she had arrived safely. She is a brave and spunky little girl.
Our dear friend and former graduate student at Jingzhou, Wilson Shu (top photo), came by for a visit. He now teaches seventh grade in Tianjin and really likes it. It was so good to see him again. He has matured handsomely in body and soul.
We had our second English Corner with eight people in attendance. Not the same eight that were here before; three family units, all from our building.
Two young ladies came for English reading and are planning to come every week; both pleasant, easy to talk to and eager to ask questions and learn. It is so much fun to meet new people. — Love, Terry
China to face labor shortage — The coastal province of Guangdong in South China owes much of its economic success to the manufacturing industry. But in recent years, the region has suffered a shortage of labor. After Spring Festival, millions of people arrived at Guangzhou’s railway station to return to the cities they work in, all over Guangdong province.
Chen Leyi, a migrant worker, said, “My family is in my hometown. Two of my children are still in school. We have some farmland, and raise some pigs, but that is far from enough. So most of the income of my family still comes from me.”
Lin Lijun, manager of Huike Inc, said, “In recent years, what the factories urgently need is skilled workers. Many companies are offering better salaries and benefits to attract these workers, like our company. For some other companies that need a large number of ordinary workers on the assembly line, they suffer the worst from the shortage of labor.”
In nearby towns, the same situation can be seen on the human resource markets. The government has increased minimum wages from 1300 yuan to around 1500, but the wages for skilled workers is already much higher than that. And for ordinary workers, it is not that attractive either, because they can find jobs with similar wages near their hometown. It’s been really difficult to hire workers this year. The companies are already facing challenges from rises in material costs, logistics costs and rent, and can spare little money to improve wages. The manufacturing industry has left the impression of being labor intensive, and having low added value. With the tide of economic development, maybe the time has come for this image to change.
Torch passes to a new generation– A handshake signaled the passing of the baton and start of a new era for the world’s most populous country. The people of China saw their new head of state elected on Thursday, carrying the dreams and aspirations of about 20 percent of the world’s population on his shoulders.
Xi Jinping, leader of the Communist Party of China, was elected president by nearly 3,000 deputies to the National People’s Congress at a plenary meeting in Beijing. After the election result was announced, Xi stood up, acknowledged the thunderous applause and bowed to the deputies in the Great Hall of the People.
Villagers draw inspiration from Xi — On a sunny afternoon, Zhang Qiang took a walk along the dirt road leading to the home of a villager who lives in a cave-house scooped out of the yellow hills of Liangjiahe village in Shaanxi province. “Xi Jinping probably walked along this same road when he was Party chief here,” said Zhang, referring to the newly elected president, who took the reins of power.
The village of just 360 residents gained national fame when Xi was appointed leader of the Communist Party of China last year. China’s new president first arrived in Liangjiahe, which lies in a narrow 1.7-km-long valley surrounded by yellow cliffs, in 1969 as a 16-year-old “educated youth”, one of the millions of young Chinese who followed Chairman Mao’s call for them to live in the countryside and learn from the farmers. Later, Xi was elected village Party chief, an experience Vice-Premier Li Keqiang shared as a village leader in Anhui province.
“By working as a village official here, I’m following in Xi’s footsteps, which puts a lot of pressure on me,” Zhang admitted. Although he comes from a hamlet near Liangjiahe, Zhang sat the exam for village officials in Shaanxi province in 2009, following his graduation from Shaanxi Vocational Police Institute with a law degree.
Hard facts — “Officials need to learn the hard facts about rural China so they can formulate practical policies. I was shocked when some officials who came to visit didn’t even recognize corn,” said the 28-year-old, who signed a second three-year-contract as assistant to the village Party chief late last year. “Villagers need a firm leader like Xi, and so does China. Zhang is too nice and a bit soft when dealing with village affairs,” said Liang Yongcheng.
Aged 54, Liang vividly remembers working with Xi when he was just 14. Many of the village’s more-mature residents also worked alongside China’s new President. “Xi asked us to stick to the jobs we’d been assigned. He didn’t like us to pick and choose,” said Liang.