Many Summer Visitors For Our Sunday Assemblies: They Are Just ‘Family Members We’ve Not Met Yet’

18 Jul

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I have heard the expression most of my life of “family members you have not met yet,” when thinking of Brothers and Sisters who become ‘instant friends’ when you spend a few minutes together. It is the beauty of God’s Household and the specialness of Sunday meetings together!

We have certainly had that opportunity thus far this summer, with Christians from Canada, Costa Rica, Nigeria, and the United States joining us one Sunday morning for class and worship….and that does not include those who are weekly participants on Skype. It’s difficult to say ‘goodbye’ when it is time to leave, and the singing, fellowship, and atmosphere is certainly very-y-y good! Terry has drawn a map to our meeting place, with good directions, and it helps them find us.

Carole came back through Beijing, after working for two weeks at the hospital. She did some good work while there, but since it has not opened, was doing different things than planned. She did observe that “our doors will be swinging open often” when the hospital does open, indicating increased traffic to come through our area. We enjoy and embrace the opportunity. She had a long 5-hour delay before finally leaving via Delta to Detroit and eventually Houston.

Anytime we can eat ‘America food’ in China is special, so our monthly visit to Grandma’s Kitchen was enjoyed…celebrated the special events but also met three hard-working LST teachers from Bellevue, Washington and enjoyed the visit. We have been at their assemblies on several occasions in the past, since Gregory and Andrea were stationed in their area for Coast Guard duty in the past.

We celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary (our third in China) and appreciate all the kind words expressed during the week of July 2. With our national birthday (4th) and Terry’s birthday (5th) it was a special week in many ways.

I am so thankful for cell phone and email communications and a website presence in China ( We’ve added several new documents that reflect the lessons presented on these weekly occasions.

With some of the colleagues traveling during the summer, it gives us the opportunity to ‘fill in’ with their students/groups at a time when we were ready to take on assignments for July and August. We will have three groups and nine individuals ‘in and out’ for 60-90 minute sessions during these weeks, and we love it! We picked up five new students this week alone, three in our Saturday group and two individuals from LST contacts.

The first week in our new place we found a Wal-Mart just 100 yards from our apartment…and found a Papa John’s close by, as well, the next day. We found a Burger King a few days later less than a mile from our apartment. When we need some comfort food, we will have some convenient outlets now. Life is good!

I am having 4-5 days a week when I think we could stay in China for a long time and on other days don’t know how long we can stay away from children and grandsons. I am sure that is normal after time away from the culture and work in a foreign country.

Eric, Wendy, Brinson, and Aiden will spend three days with us on their reentry to Shiyan in late August, and we’re making plans to visit them for a few days in January or February, when they are next on a break from Oral English opportunities.

Greetings — Time has raced by since my last “greetings”. During the last two weeks of my language class we had a group of high school students from a boarding school in Baltimore, MD here on an exchange program. They had studied Mandarin for two years already and were doing very well with it. It was fun to get to know them in class.

One morning on the way to school at the very crowded subway transfer station I was coming down the packed escalator when the woman in front of me fell down just before time to step off the escalator. For a split second the thought of all those people piling up on top of us was horrifying. I and one other person hopped over her and pulled her up and out of the flow of traffic before anyone was injured.

We are very thankful for our new convenient apartment. Taking every spare moment to explore the area. We have found a great big, clean open air veg/fruit market with the largest variety of high quality food we have seen in China yet. Wal-Mart and Burger King are close at hand too.

We had a great week of celebration for our 42nd wedding anniversary on July 2, our nation’s birthday July 4th and my birthday July 5th.

Now that I am out of class for the summer break I am thoroughly enjoying staying home, deep cleaning, reading and catching up from the move, no deadlines and more free time. Well…actually the free time was short lived but I love our life and work here.

We have been enriched by the ones worshipping with us while in Beijing for the summer. Also we have been blessed to have Carole Booker in our home while in transit to and from work at the future China Agape Hospital near Nanyang, Henan Province. We got to do some sightseeing before she returned to the states. She expresses herself so well I am inserting an excerpt from one of her reports: These are Carol’s words: …”We decided to leave for The Forbidden City about 8:30 Monday morning and it was already raining steadily. At first we stepped lightly over and around puddles, but were soon to find out it was futile. By the end of the day we were soaked, but so glad we had taken the effort to go. Terry had seen the entrance from the outside, but had never gone inside. We entered through the huge entrance gate with Mao’s giant portrait in the center, although he never lived in the palaces. We were both a little confused as to the layout once we were in the first gate. It was very crowded in spite of the rain and all the umbrellas made it that much harder to see your way around. After a long walk through a courtyard we found the real entrance and ticket office. It costs 100 yuan for a ticket if you also want the guided tour earphones. If you’re ever in Beijing – save the 40 yuan on the guided tour headphones, we were both disappointed with how they did/did not work. We began just sort of following our noses and realized we weren’t getting to go inside the palaces. We were just going through one gate at the side of each palace which opened up to another football field size courtyard which led to another identical palace and gate. It went on and on. Eventually we noticed some museum display rooms on the side of one courtyard which included artifacts from the Qing Dynasty – 1600’s – about Shakespeare’s time.  We kept wandering through the courtyards and gates until we figured maybe that’s all there was to it and decided to try to see Mao in Tiananmen square across the street. That’s when we began looking for the exit. All of the gates and palaces look the same and we were turned around and couldn’t find our way out. Were we lost in The Forbidden City?? Creepy stories came to mind of people long ago who went into the city and never came out. The little map they had given us was of no use since there were no distinguishing features to identify where we were. It was somewhat like being in a maze. We asked a worker which way was out and she pointed the opposite way we were headed. Surely she was wrong. We continued on thinking maybe she didn’t understand the question.

“She was right. We were in search of the front exit, but were actually going deeper and deeper into the city. However, it was a fortuitous mistake! We stumbled upon some rooms we could actually look in that appeared to be throne rooms or bed chambers. Continuing through another gate we found ourselves in the Imperial Garden. It was like discovering Shangri La. It was beautiful with old gnarly trees called scholar trees and giant porous rock formations and pagoda style gazebos and golden lions and paths meandering through all of it. We both could have stayed there all afternoon. All that was missing was a tea room where we could enjoy the view and get off our squishy feet. Looking at the map we were amazed to see the Imperial Gardens were at the far end of the city. We had gone as far as you could go in The Forbidden City. We were very proud of ourselves for getting that far. We had to do some sweet talking to get our feet to haul us all the way back out. The exit took us out the east side and along the moat that encircles the city. Then it was on to Tiananmen Square where we hoped to see Mao, but the building was closed and we now understand it is rarely open. We found some good shops on our way to the subway.” (end of Carole’s words)

Snezana asked me to lead her women’s Wednesday pm study while she is on vacation. I am enjoying getting to know them. We have begun several new studies and continue to meet new people all the time.

I have finished reading The Apothecary’s Daughter by Julie Klassen. — Love you, Terry

Beijng news: A 30-year-old man who has run an online shop selling spells for eight months is earning about 1 million yuan ($163,000) a month. About 161 different spells are for sale at prices ranging from 38 yuan to 2,000 yuan at the shop on taobao, a major online shopping service provider in China. The spells are customized for personal demand and people’s horoscopes, for such purposes as to smooth relationships or bring love.

The most popular spell is one to attract love, with 2,326 pieces sold in one month for a total of 700,000 yuan and no negative reviews received. The rising demand that enabled shop owner Luo Shun, from Loudi city, Hunan province, to earn about 1 million yuan monthly surprised even him. 
China plans to increase the number of cities that restrict vehicle purchases in a bid to fight pollution and traffic congestion, state media reported Thursday.

With more than 13 million cars sold in China last year, motor vehicles and their emissions have emerged as the chief culprit for the air pollution in large cities.

Four cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, already curb the purchase of vehicles for private use, through lotteries and auctions of a limited number of license plates.

Shi Jianhua, the deputy secretary general of the government-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, was quoted Thursday as saying that eight more cities are likely to announce similar policies. The eight include the port city Tianjin, near Beijing, the metropolis Chongqing in the southwest and industrial powerhouse Shenzhen, not far from Hong Kong.

Such restrictions might cut vehicle sales by 400,000 units, or 2 percent of total domestic sales, and have a “certain impact” on the country’s economic growth, the China Daily newspaper quoted Shi as saying.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, which consults with local governments and makes recommendations on vehicle policies, declined to offer details when called.

China’s increasingly informed and vocal citizens have successfully pushed the government to be more transparent about how bad the air in their cities is, but, as they get richer, their desire for cleaner air conflicts with their growing dependence on cars. While China is the biggest car market in the world by number of vehicles sold, there is still plenty of room for growth as the country still lags far behind developed markets in terms of the ratio of cars to people.

The number of vehicles in Beijing has increased to 5.18 million from 3.13 million in early 2008, Xinhua reported earlier this year. Since the beginning of last year, prospective buyers have had to enter a monthly draw to win a license plate. Each month, 20,000 lucky winners are chosen. The number of people in the draw had reached almost 1.53 million by last month.

Zhao Jian, a transport expert at Beijing’s Jiaotong University’s School of Economics and Management said extending restriction-on-ownership policies to other cities was unlikely to have much effect on pollution because there were already too many cars on the roads.

“The restrictions on car ownership in Beijing failed to achieve what the government wanted to see because the restrictions only slowed the growth in the number of cars. They didn’t reduce the numbers of cars,” said Zhao.
Rising number of women turning to abortions: Growing instances of disease, unwanted pregnancies and repeated abortions are the consequences of greater sexual activity among girls and young women who are paying less attention to safe sex, experts said.

About 16 percent of university students have had premarital sex, according to a study released on Thursday, World Population Day.
Increasing numbers of young women are turning to abortion, Shanghai’s Institute of Family Planning Technique Guidance revealed.

More than 30 percent of women opting for abortions in the city were unmarried. And more than 60 percent of abortions were because women did not use protection. The younger they are, the less likely they are to take precautions.

“Many young couples choose sensual pleasure over protection, and regard abortion as a contraceptive,” said Wang Xiangzhen, a gynecologist in the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Shenzhen, adding that adolescent girls coming to her include high school students and factory workers.

Experts in Beijing have seen a similar phenomenon. Gao Xiuju, a gynecologist at a publicly funded hospital in Beijing, said she sees more young women requesting abortions. And they are getting younger.

About 10 percent of the women going there for abortion are under 18, and young unmarried women account for more than 50 percent of cases, she said. “Most come here after falling pregnant for the second or third time.”
But this almost careless approach can be dangerous, she warned. Repeated abortions may lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, fallopian tube obstructions and infertility. 

“Before surgery, we inform them of the risk of abortions, things to look out for after surgery and how to have safe sex. But this advice often falls on deaf ears. Maybe they feel they are too young to have problems after abortions.”

Xu Zhenlei, an expert in adolescent sex education at Peking University Health Science Center, said the number of university students coming to him for counseling after experiencing problems, such as unwanted pregnancy, is increasing.

University students today may be more mature than before but they still are not careful enough. As students return, every September, there is a significant increase in abortions following holiday flings.

The reason, he suspects, is that many young people believe that getting pregnant is no big deal, because they can have a “painless abortion” which many hospitals are heavily advertising. But even painless surgery entails risks and can endanger the reproductive system. 

Schools lack courses on sexual health even as students are becoming more open toward sex, according to Xu. The Ministry of Education published a guide in 2012 on mental health for primary and high school students.
The guide asked schools to help adolescents learn about physical and psychological changes they may be going through and how to interact with people of the opposite gender. “However, the outline is not compulsory, and many schools don’t have such courses, fearing opposition from parents,” he said.


Posted by on July 18, 2013 in Beijing


2 responses to “Many Summer Visitors For Our Sunday Assemblies: They Are Just ‘Family Members We’ve Not Met Yet’

  1. Jean Addison

    July 18, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Happy Anniversary.  John and I celebrated our 37th yesterday July 17.  I so appreciate hearing about your work.  If not too much trouble, please continue to send them to me.  Your work there is so fascinating and I really enjoy hearing about the culture.


  2. Dave Halligan

    July 19, 2013 at 6:48 am

    Gary, thanks for sharing. Could you provide names of the people who visited last Sunday? Its always nice to have a name along with their face. All great news for you and the church family, continue to keep you in our prayers. In him, Dave



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