In every walk of life, it is abundantly clear that often times a single phone call quite literally can change your life.
Sometimes it’s news from the doctor, or the office, or one of your precious family members.
But it can also come from a stranger, who is only a passing acquaintance in your recent past, the one asked to pass on ‘bad news’ from someone in the chain-of-command. That is the China way, we have always heard, and now know it to be true.
We received that phone call on August 17 around 4:30 p.m. Beijing time, telingl us that Terry’s Visa would not be extended due to drastic changes at her language school that would not allow any foreigners to register for the new semester, essentially closing down the school.
It seems some students were using their visa for work opportunities, rather than for school, and when it became known, the school was immediately ‘punished,’ and Terry was caught in the middle. Of course, the student’s actions were against the law. They are closing the school, effective immediately.
It meant we would have to exit/enter the country and revert back to a 30-day tourist visa, which is quite costly considering it required two airplane tickets each time, plus cost to play the waiting game in that country for the paperwork to move through the process.
Our option? We decided, after 2 1/2 years of a joyous, rewarding, and challenging time in Jingzhou and Beijing, China, we would return to the United States and pursue a full-time ministry situation again.
Due to Terry’s age, they would not guarantee her entry into the one school where he age was not an issue, and because our present visa is ‘connected’ to the school now being closed, they will not guarantee offering me a spousal visa, even if she is accepted.
So this will be the final report on our China Adventure, which included two provinces/cities and began on February 14, 2011!
Saying goodbye thus far to Family and friends has not been easy, but they will have a special place in our heart for the rest of our days…and we hope to see many of them throughout eternity as they progress down that road of faith or begin that special walk with an awesome Father!
My nature is to get busy and move forward, so upon hearing the news, I began reworking my search material, which has been used when needed for some 34 years now, for sending out to congregations looking for a minister.
I sent out over 40 that first night via the internet, and got quick responses during the night, one asking for a phone call, which brought a tryout in September in a area within 120 miles of people and places where we have lived and worked before. And I have now scheduled a second telephone interview from China, with 4 other congregations looking over the materials I sent to get back with me, which promises nothing but at least tells me they are still looking. God does work in mysterious ways, doesn’t He?
We will fly out on September 5.
Eric, Wendy, Brinson, and Aiden came through Beijing in January within two weeks of our moving here, on a teaching school break from Shiyan…and will come through on their way back for their second year the same week we were leaving. Again, we are so-o-o thankful for these special visits, and glad for Skype so we can stay in touch.
We are giving thought at this time to spending a few days in Searcy so we can attend this year’s Harding Lectureships, before heading in South Florida….if we do not find a job first, which would be a great situation. factors.
We are blessed to have Tonia, Gregory, Andrea, Colton, and Connor in South Florida, and available again for more convenient communications. 🙂
Your prayers of support and comfort have been greatly appreciated, and have sustained us in these awkward moments that bring surprise.
Greetings from TJ— Many complicated details. Long story short: no school, no visa, no stay. Such a surprise. My human side is very sad, crying hard tears at first but my spirit knows He has a plan. He is watching over us and our students.
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Everything is temporary. Make the most of your time. We have done what we could. No regrets.
Sunday we had our morning meeting (six in person, two by skype) in our apartment. Then, as planned, they stayed and ate lunch with us. The Japanese lady even brought one of her special dishes to add to the meal. It was a good time of fellowship.
The internet has been off in our apartment for large blocks of time making communication during this crucial time very difficult. Because we know time is short and we want to continue our individual studies as long as possible, we have already started packing. With our experience in moving, it will not take long. Kind of like “bugging out” on the old M*A*S*H television show. — Love you, Terry