We have moved to the Wangjing area of Beijing, so Terry can be closer to her language school. While there are some downsides, saving her over 90 minutes of travel every day in the fall is just too good to pass up….and the apartment is 1,000 yuan less per month. We are still in the Chaoyang district (actually closer to the airport by taxi), so it will be convenient to those passing through, but not as close to some of the tourist destinations. Since we are still at one of the subway stations, it will be very manageable.
Our good friend, Victor, helped us with the process and we’re actually in the same building, and will also be in the same ‘neighborhood’ as two Sisters, as well. Barry has been his usual ‘big help’ in finding us a truck and two men to manage the move…we will miss him when he leaves our area for a year on a hospital-exchange program.
We will work in July and August to find a new barber, grocery store, bakery, etc. which is always fun, right?
When we returned on June 8, we found a hot apartment at 2:40 a.m. with no electricity (thus no internet) for over 30 hours…later finding out that four other apartments in our 24-story building were having similar problems.
I have ‘noticed China’ upon this return, and was surprised to feel that way. The difficult first two days contributed to the situation, but four weeks in America were especially pleasurable…and with a move less than three weeks after our return, we are literally ‘starting over’ in our adjustment period in Beijing.
We have had some special family worship with us on Sundays: Josh and his parents, from Costa Rica, were in attendance recently, along with Khaya, from South Africa. And Will, a university of Florida student, was also with us for the first time. All three of the young men are studying Mandarin, so they had a lot to share with Terry. The fact that Josh’s parents will be here for three more weeks, and Will here for the summer, made it an even better day!
The next week, Jeff (from Arkansas) worshipped with us and offered some great insight into our study Falling in love…again…with Jesus from the gospel of John.
Since our apartment is close to our meeting place, we invited all of them over for lunch, . Terry was the perfect host (of course) for most of the bunch (Will had other plans), having prepared spaghetti, salad, and bread for lunch, since we knew ahead of time that they would be here. Because we have a website, and can list information about our meeting times and location, we usually have contact prior to seeing them walk into our room.
An interesting thing occurred, since Jeff speaks fluent Spanish and Gilbert and Jeannette are from Costa Rica. When we began communion, Jeff asked if he should speak in both English and Spanish…and you should have seen the smiles when he concluded each part! We offered, on that day, at least, three languages!
We began studying from John this summer, looking more specifically at the Person of Jesus. While we certainly look at the verses themselves, we’re wanting to see who, what, when, where, how….they responded to Jesus and His response to Him.
We have seven who join us on Skype each Sunday for our bible class and two are able to stay online for worship. I am thankful that it works most of the time and am grateful technology does not ‘get between us and God.’ (We just studied John 2 when Jesus cleared the temple area of the money changers, and I think that is the main lesson…they were cheating the people with the exchange of money and kept many of them from offering a sacrifice to God, after traveling so far to attend this special Feast).
We are expecting visitors from America, South Africa, England, and Australia later this summer, some just traveling through the area but two of them coming for a few weeks to do internship work to begin teaching Oral English.
We are hearing from many of our Jingzhou students, who are finishing their school work and heading home or to part-time jobs for the summer. Have also received some graduation pictures, which we had asked for…good to see them again and know they have concluded this most important phase of their adult lives.
One of our closest students said she wants to “visit Beijing in two years when she graduates” and asked us “to wait for her.”
As summer arrives, we will find our students less available, since it is a time for finals and also the beginning of their break from school. We will have some studies weekly, but fewer than our 14 (each 90-120 minutes long) in March and April. We anticipate commencing a new Friday group and have some new acquaintances in mind…and also will conduct a Wednesday night group (TJ will lead for women only) and a Saturday group during the summer while two Sisters enjoy time away…one of them from Bosnia. We have also just taken on five new LST students, but just for a month. We’ve had some typical June-like swings in temperatures…from 93 for two days back to 74 degrees….also some light rain showers, that help clean out the polluted air, which is bad for 2-3 days and then OK again.
Anyone out there want to come to Beijing and work in establishing a privately-run primary school as an English teacher? I can give you a contact for full details, but it would include a monthly salary, a provided apartment, and the promise of a business visa. It was hard to be unhappy with a NBA game 7 between the Heat and Spurs…and enjoyed my three children’s divided interest in the buildup while we were home. …Eric lived in San Antonio and Gregory and Tonia are just 20 miles from the Heat arena and the Coast Guard base is in Miami Beach area.
Terry told a touching story to our friends here that I had not witnessed. When our grandson, Colton, went for the first time to visit his mother and younger brother, he went up to Andrea, looked her in the eyes, and reached out his hand to her arm. He said, “Mom, I need to touch you. I want to touch you.” Needless to say, Andrea (and Gregory) have a great relationship with that young fellow! :-))
Our move went forward with only a few surprises…we had to get a form completed before the truck could leave the ‘compound’ of building with our belongings. It took less than 23 minutes to park the truck and completely load it with our things, since we had everything ready and waiting for the 1.5 hour late arrival of the three workers. One of the air conditioners needed coolant, and the landlord came to take care of it the next day, only to find out that it could not be fixed and needed to be replaced.
We had to buy a microwave and a shower curtain…and we were ready for our first guest the next day and our first studies (Saturday night group) three days later. We like staying busy with important things so did not take any time off to unpack, etc., knowing we would gradually get it all done ‘in good time’ (we had the first five trunks/pieces of luggage/boxes put away within three hours of our arrival).
Carole Booker was our first guest and blessed our home the day after we moved to Wangjing. On her way to Nan Yang to work in the hospital, built by Chinese Agape, she was a delight for us to know. It is her third trip to China, all by herself since plans to travel with medical mission groups have not worked out in the past. We gave her many words of praise and encouragement and sent her on her way after two nights. Her internet connections are not consistent, but she is adjusting to the conditions there now and will be back here for a day in July as she returns to Houston. We anticipate hosting several others in coming months as they come and go to work with orphans or in the hospital.
Just outside the gate closest to our new apartment is a major intersection…and guess what is diagonally across from that gate? A double-floor Wal-Mart, which had most of the things we have found in other Beijing spots. We also found a Papa John’s in the same mall the next day. It IS a good day!
Dear Ones: Our trip to America was everything I needed and wanted it to be; precious visits and hugs with family and friends, fresh air, clean landscaped neighborhoods to walk in, delicious food, driving ourselves around town, worship and fellowship with our American brethren and the birth of our fourth grandson.
As you may have already heard, Connor weighed in at nine pounds five ounces, 22 1/4 inches long.
Thank you to the ones making the buddy passes available for our international flights. Being able to stretch out in first class makes the long flight sooo much more bearable.
My first couple of days were spent visiting with my mother, sister, brother, and their spouses, plus a nephew. I was able to visit and worship with one of my LCC classmates, Kathy Schoentag.
Gary’s first few days were spent visiting his mother and all of his brothers and sister (eight in all). I really missed getting to see his family on this trip.
The next and longest part of our stay was in the Fort Lauderdale area with Tonia, Gregory and his family. Baby Connor arrived four days early. Gregory, Tonia and I were on the birthing team for encouragement. She did great and we know afresh why they call it “labor. It was such a joy to be a part of their daily lives for a short time. Big brother Colton and I had plenty of time for discovery walks, reading books, working puzzles and generally getting reacquainted. Connor grew right before our eyes.
He won’t remember us being there but we sure will. We were sooo thankful to be a part of his first two weeks of life. It was great to worship with the saints.
Gary was asked to lead singing for the AM worship at West Broward church of Christ and to speak and share our China experience and work with the Griffin Road church of Christ at their PM worship. Both of which he was very happy to do.
We were able to spend the night with my other sister and her husband in Issaquah, WA on our way back to China.
It felt good to be home in Beijing, even though the very bad air quality made it not look so good. The jet lag coming back to China was harder on me this time.
Gary was a trooper. He walked to get the groceries, walked to get the vegetables and then when we discovered we had no grape juice for Sunday he walked to the store again. Bless him. I could not have made it to the first store. And he did it all with a great attitude. And that on top of not having internet access or electricity when we first got home.
Eric and sons spent the night with us on their way to the U.S. Wendy will follow later when the semester is over. I love it when they get to pop in on their trips.
We were blessed with several visitors Sunday AM. We invited them all home for spaghetti and salad. It was a fun time of fellowship. Now we know and love a brother and sister in Costa Rico. I realized just the other day that it is the “table fellowship” that I really miss. It is sometimes difficult with our new Chinese friends to find food that we both like.
Saturday we spent the day looking for an apartment closer to my school. We had asked God to go before us and He did. We found a very good one in the same building as one of our LST readers and very close to some brothers and sisters. Now, to pack and clean while finishing my semester of school. Busy, busy, busy. — Love you, Terry