Category Archives: Beijing

Goodbye to dear Family and friends! After 2 1/2 years of joyous, rewarding, and challenging time, we will return to the US, pursue full-time ministry situation

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


Posted by on August 23, 2013 in Beijing


A new Sister …all is well! The seed works! God gives the increase…we are pleased for ‘just one more!’

Life has been slower this summer, with some of our students not available as often for groups or personal studies, but Sundays have been really-y-y-y exciting. We have had visitors most every week, from the United States, Costa Rica, Japan, Nigeria, Canada, South Africa, and different parts of China.

We also enjoyed lunch with four young Let’s Start Talking team members from Grapevine church of Christ. They spent nearly two weeks in our city reading with many of our students to help improve their English using the Bible. Of course, they were impressed with the interest and understanding…and their willingness to travel 1-2 hours by subway or bus to meet with them!

We are giving prayerful thought of moving to a Holiday Inn Express location here in Wangjing for our Sunday assemblies, since there are many more foreigners in this area. It  is also my thought that the ‘brand name’ might also attract visitors who might be interested in joining us.

If insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” it makes sense to try something different. It will be equally convenient to the subway system, is much closer for us, and the weekly rental cost will be cheaper, too. 🙂

I saw my first three lawnmowers in China today…all three being used on the tall grass outside our apartment. In Jingzhou and other parts of Beijing, we have only seen weed-eaters, even when the space to be cleared was a large football-size field. It was good to see that modern tools are known here for yard work.

Terry will say more later, but we are pleased to announce one new Sister…just proof that the seed still works, that God gives the increase, and we can continue to believe that our part is ‘just one more.’ We love planting and watering the seed of God’s word.

One of our former students was involved in and lost money in a pyramid scheme, which involved more than 100 million yuan ($16 million) and nearly 7,000 members across 28 provinces and municipalities on the Chinese mainland…it has recently been cracked. Police found Shanghai Chengshangcheng Co suspected of pyramid selling in the name of promoting cosmetics and health products in March.

The country is also seeing the value of vocational training, compared to three or four-year university degrees. There are now about seven million graduates looking for work this year, the highest number ever.

Greetings from Terry: I have recently finished reading , Sum It Up  by Pat Summitt and Sally Jenkins.

A young woman who came to talk to Gary about depression is doing much better as she works to change her way of thinking. She also helped me get a new lining put into my gray winter coat.  I am very thankful for her help.

We have had many beautiful days of cleaner air this month. Recently Gary and I watched the old movie, I Remember Mama and Les Miserables.

I love this poem by Bob Perks:  I Wish You Enough — I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more; enough happiness to keep your spirit alive; enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger; enough gain to satisfy your wanting; enough loss to appreciate all that you possess; enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Good bye”.

Here in Beijing we have “enough” and it is good.

Today I finished working the new puzzle I purchased while in Florida at the time Connor was born. The title of the picture is “Picnic by the bridge” by Charlotte Joan Sternberg. It is a beautiful scene. I can feel the breeze, smell the clean air, hear the children’s laughter, feel the cushy  grass and soft , silty dirt in the path where the children walk barefoot. I have thoroughly enjoyed the mini vacation it gave me.

I have begun to ask my students when they first heard about our Father and when did they first see the most important book. The answers are very interesting and I hope to get to share some of them with you when I next see you in person.

We have now ridden our first city bus in Beijing. The bus stop is near our apartment. We rode to Burger King for lunch then did some shopping in the mall. It only  cost 2 yuan for  both of us round trip instead of  13 yuan for a taxi one way.  On my latest “exploring” walk I found the B Gate of our neighborhood which has a diagram/map of our area on the wall near it. I think I will take a photo of it. It will make it a lot easier to find our way around and explain things to newcomers.

I finished reading The Enchanted Barn by Grace Livingston Hill. I really like the character of the hero and heroine. It was like another mini vacation. Life’s simple pleasures are the best.

We rejoice to say as of 2:00 p.m. August 11 Amanda is our newest sister.

Please make frequent petitions for Cherry and Amanda. Both are new to The Way and are being harshly treated by angry relatives. Amanda has been coming over for encouragement and learning ways to improve her thought patterns and self talk. She is hungry to learn. Last night she got off work early and was able to eat dinner with us. She and I had time to read our favorite book together and have a very pleasant visit. I  told her my friends would be making requests on her behalf and she was really touched by it. — Love you, Terry

Terry is counseling a student under immense pressure by parents to marry a young man “she does not love or even like” her family has chosen…telling her she needs to do ‘this for the good of the family.

Many young ladies have gone on countless blind dates and to numerous match-making events in search of a husband.

Couples celebrate the “Qixi” festival on August 13, the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Day, and millions of women face stark choices as long-held ideas about matrimonial hierarchy run up against economic and social changes sweeping the world’s most populous country.

The term “shengnu” – directly translated as “leftover women” – was coined to refer to professional women who have not married by their late 20s.

Chinese authorities are considering providing solemnization services at marriage registration offices, an official with the Ministry of Civil Affairs has revealed.

Instead of a brief process of form filling, approval and certificate issuance that typically can be finished within a minute, the ministry is mulling whether to provide a certificate-presenting ceremony at more registration offices in China, Xu Liyang said on Monday.

With the couple’s consent, a registrar and presenter will act as a marriage witness and lead the new bride and groom to utter their wedding vows in a special ritual hall, and the couple will be informed of their rights and obligations as a wife or husband.

It is hoped that through such solemnization procedures, the newlyweds will get an understanding of their responsibilities and commitments in marriage.

A free ceremony for marriage registration is now available in registries in Shanghai, Shandong, Hubei and Beijing, and the ministry is considering expanding the program to more places in China.

It is common for a couple to get their marriage certificate, which officially marries them…and then wait weeks or even months for an official ‘public ceremony’ to be enjoyed by family and friends. Sometimes they will have these ‘public ceremonies’ in the hometowns of both the couple, if they are from different provinces.

Terry has always been a great housekeeper…make no mistake about it! Health officials have warned that bed bugs, which were mostly eradicated in Beijing decades ago, have reappeared in the capital, it was reported in the Beijing Times reported this week.

Zeng Xiaopeng, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the center’s staff have investigated a dozen houses where family members reported being bitten by the insects Feeding on the blood of human and other warm-blooded animals, bed bugs are one of the most widespread human parasites, which prefer to hide in mattresses, wall cracks and ceilings during the day and come out at night, Zeng said

Bed bugs can cause skin rashes on humans, which can last for several days. Zeng reminded residents that they should keep a clean environment at home. Experts said the capital’s recent high temperatures and rainy weather may have contributed to the rise of bed bugs.

We are seeing reports in the US news that China, one of the most visited countries in the world, has seen sharply fewer tourists this year – with worsening air pollution partly to blame.

That trend has affected our Sunday numbers for nearly three years, now, and the economy gets much of the blame, as US companies pulled their staff out.

But tourists have also been put off by news about smog and other problems. The number of people booking trips to China through one German  company has fallen 16 percent this year, for instance. That China’s air and water are badly polluted following three decades of breakneck growth is not news. But January’s record-setting bout of smog got worldwide news coverage and was so bad some longtime foreign residents left the country. We were here for those weeks, and it was not a pretty sight 😦

From January to June, the total number of foreign visitors, including business travelers and residents, entering China declined by 5 percent to just under 13 million compared with the same period last year, according to the China National Tourism Administration. Overall, visitors from Asia, Australia, Europe and the Americas all declined.

In Beijing, with major attractions including the Great Wall and the Imperial Palace, the drop is even more striking. The number of foreign tourists visiting the Chinese capital fell by 15 percent in the first six months of the year to 1.9 million, according to the Beijing Tourism Administration.

Beijing’s official air quality reports show improvement over recent years. But Steven Andrews, an environmental and legal consultant, said other data show a decline.

An analysis of U.S. Embassy readings of smaller, more harmful airborne particles, show this year’s pollution is significantly worse than in the past three years, Andrews said.

Beijing’s city government only started publicly releasing air quality data in January 2012 that measured PM2.5, or fine particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. They can enter deep into the lungs and can cause more damage. They are considered a more accurate reflection of air quality than other pollutants.

According to Andrews’ calculations, the average PM2.5 reading in the first half of 2013 was about 118 micrograms per cubic meter, compared with 95 last year and 89 in 2011. “In other words, so far this year the air pollution is about 25 percent worse than the first half of last year,” he said.

Total numbers of foreigners to Beijing rose in January by 13 percent compared with a year earlier. But following news reports of January’s smog, they dropped in February by 37 percent compared with February 2012.

In June, the number of foreigners to the Chinese capital was down by about 19 percent from a year ago, according to the Beijing Tourism Administration.

Beijing News —- The numbers of foreign visitors have declined following January’s “Airpocalypse,” when already eye-searing levels of smog soared to new highs. “You are reading about smog. You are reading about political things,” said Ilic. “All the news which is coming from China concerning the non-touristic things are bad, frankly speaking,”

China is the world’s No. 3 destination for international travel after France and the United States. Weakness in visitor numbers could hurt government efforts to reduce reliance on trade-driven manufacturing by promoting cleaner service industries such as tourism. Foreign visitors are outnumbered by Chinese tourists but spend more.

The decline could be long-term if Beijing fails to make visible progress in combating pollution, experts say.

The China National Tourism Administration acknowledges a decline in foreign tourists to China as a whole, and in cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen, a prosperous port city in the southeast.

It blames the global economic slowdown and a stronger Chinese currency and says China’s tourism image has been hurt by the emergence of H7N9 bird flu, air pollution and dead pigs found floating in Shanghai’s main river.

The city of Awara in central Japan canceled a student exchange trip due to bad air. Eighteen Japanese students were due to visit the eastern coastal city of Shaoxing under an annual exchange program that goes back 30 years.

The biggest drop was among Japanese visitors – 55 percent fewer came to the capital in the first six months. The number of Americans, the biggest single group of foreign visitors, declined 4 percent to just under 370,000.

How long the tourist decline lasts is linked to how quickly the smog clears, economists suggest.

Air and water pollution from factories and cars is the outcome of successful economic development and “difficult to control because it is difficult or politically infeasible to identify responsible parties”.

“Thus the air pollution trends in China will be difficult to reverse and their impacts will be significantly negative on the tourism industry,” he said. These impacts could be reversed if “the government can make significant improvements in air quality and enthusiastically convey these improvements to international travelers.” Other economists in the U.S. are studying data from 18 Chinese provinces from 1999 to 2010 that suggest air pollution hurts levels of foreign visitors.

A master’s degree thesis by Chinese student Cong Huang at the University of San Francisco was the starting point. She estimated that a 1 percent rise in air pollution will lower the number of foreign tourist arrivals by about 1.2 percent.

The Chinese government has announced ambitious new anti-pollution measures but people whose jobs depend on foreign tourists aren’t hopeful. The sales manager of the Cuiming Garden Hotel, near Tiananmen Square in central Beijing, said guest numbers are down. She said the next three months usually are a busy period but if the slump continues, the hotel might cut prices.

“We’re still not very much confident about having many inbound tourists next year,” said the manager, who would give only her surname, Wang.

Comments Off on A new Sister …all is well! The seed works! God gives the increase…we are pleased for ‘just one more!’

Posted by on August 14, 2013 in Beijing


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

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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


We have moved to the Wangjing area of Beijing…found Wal-Mart and Papa John’s 100 yards away

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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

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Posted by on July 5, 2013 in Beijing


Connor Davenport born on May 19…75 pounds of chewable children’s vitamins are collected!

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We were able to collect over 75 pounds of children’s chewable vitamins for distribution at Chinese Agape hospital in China…Connor Edward, our fourth grandson, was born May 19 and weighed in at  nine pounds, five ounces and 22 1/2 inches long.

We were so blessed to have time with both our mothers (in Tennessee and Colorado) and brothers and sisters as we entered the States, and were there to help out prior to the delivery and some 2.5 weeks following his healthy arrival. We were also able to get off the plane for a 34-hour visit with Dale and Anne outside of Seattle, while giving us a chance to cut the trip to Beijing by a few hours.

I have a renewed appreciation for Delta airlines, and especially their ‘buddy pass’ system, which lets employees share tickets with friends and family. We left Beijing as scheduled and had business/first class accommodations, which meant more room for the 12+ hour trip to Detroit, with a connection to Denver (TJ) and Nashville (me).

Did I mention we had more room? Watched a few movies, had a comfortable space for sleeping, and plenty of friendly service in the sky for a couple excited to be seeing family and friends after 15 long months in Jingzhou and Beijing. I had steak for dinner and Terry had Sea Bass…we actually had too much food offered and had to say no to some of the sweet things…what a nice problem!

The Griffin Road and West Broward congregations in South Florida did a great job on short notice in collecting over 75 pounds of children’s chewable vitamins, to be distributed through Chinese Agape in their hospital. We were able to fill one box with 48 pounds and then distribute the rest throughout other luggage to get them back at one time. We were also able to deliver seven books to Kenneth Retzer, which was also a blessing.

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Posted by on June 7, 2013 in Beijing


God provides…again…why should we be surprised?

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…so far I am getting A’s on my writing homework (it is kind of like art to me) and dictation tests but speaking is a whole new ballgame and I’m not so good at ballgames…

It happened again, and why did it surprise me for even one second?

I had accidentally stepped on my glasses on Saturday night, having laid them on the floor beside the bed as I was reading and rolled over for a short rest. With three teaching/preaching opportunities the next day, I knew I had to do something to get the screw to hold the right lens in place just to get through the day…since I cannot see without the glasses.

With some clear tape and strong tread and a needle, we had everything in place…and all went well. As I got off the subway on line 15 to speak to one of our Family Groups for the first time, I looked across the street where we were being met by a Sister…and saw a Lenscrafters store. The answer to our prayers! Within 10-12 minutes, I walked out with a repaired frame that lets me get to the nearest Walmart in Tennessee or Florida…God provides just what I need..again! 😉

We had 5-7” of snow on March 19, just four days after all the free indoor heat in Beijing had been turned off by the government. We have an adequate heater in our main room and put an extra blanket on the bed and are doing just fine. It was absolutely beautiful, and did bring out some of the human ‘snow removers.’

Remember, the snow removal system here is sending out 253,000+ humans to remove it from the streets. On the area below our window, I watched them open the manholes in the middle of the streets and push the snow in them…guess it is OK since it is only water, huh?

We have missed our Life Discussion group on Fridays in Jingzhou and tried to get a group together here, but it just is not going to develop…different age group and schedule in a large city compared to a university campus. 😦

Our effort at a Sunday night English Corner has let us meet 10-11 of our neighbors, but it did not ‘make it’ as a weekly event…so we have decided to offer an evening Bible study, even though we already have a full day. Our first session had three believers with lots of interest, so we will see how the next few weeks advance. 😉

We met Maggie and Jane for the first time, and they are such a delight! They are Sisters, and talk of wonder, doubt, and belief when discussing their Story. They are nearly 1.5 hours away from us by subway, so we will not see them often, which is a great shame for us!

We traveled to their Sunday meeting place and were pleased with the time there and well received. We plan to go back on a monthly basis to offer instruction and encouragement, though it is just under an hour on the subway to their place.

We had some visitors from Shanghai and Iowa on Sunday morning (see photo left), and the singing outstanding! It is always ‘from the heart’ and God is pleased, but it was great to have 12 singers! “What an encouragement we were to each other,” they said when it was time to leave.

We had our teeth cleaned for only the second time in China…cost was 129 yuan more in Beijing than Jingzhou…both were very professional and used nice equipment to do the work instead of people-power…little or no blood when I would be asked to spit every 3-4 minutes (too much information, huh?)

Spring has finally arrived, and I heard hearty laughter and friendly teasing daily on the streets here….all ages seem to enjoy each other’s company and it is a delight to see such friendships across age barriers.

I watched a craftsman at work today…after running some errands I saw a young man in a small shop with the sign “Shoe Washing.” My shoes are always in need of washing…have never enjoyed ‘shining’ my shoes. As he gave them a quick look, it was clear that they needed more than a washing…as he touched the sole and showed me that it was separated from the shoe itself and proceeded to show me (remember we could not use words) how he could replace the soles for me.

I watched him go to work, for the next 40 minutes, with the greatest care. He checked and rechecked and then checked again to make sure everything was secure, and then ‘washed’ the shoes…brand new and good for a few more month’s wear…I got them at a Goodwill store in 2010 and brought them back with me to China after our first year…hard to get new shoes since they are not ‘broken in’ …this is a perfect alternative! He used a glue similar to super glue, but it took less than five seconds to become very secure, though he made certain by using a hot-air hair dryer. This young man was very, very professional and I ended up taking two other pairs in for ‘minor’ repairs and a washing.:-)

I ended up taking him other shoes in need of his ‘super glue’ and he did another great job for us…in one case rebuilding the heel on TJ’s heavy-duty winter walking boots.

Greetings: We ate dinner in the home of Ken and Wei Retzer the other day. We enjoyed a relaxing visit with stimulating conversation and delicious food. It was a joy to spend time with them.

We have met seven new people in the last two weeks. The LST studies are going very well. We are thankful for the opportunity to meet and study with these dear people who are hungry and thirsty for the truth.

My class is still fun to me. We had our first dictation test and I did alright. It still amazes me that I am actually learning to read and write Chinese characters, as well as speak it.

We woke up to snow the other morning. The snow was damp and there was no wind so it piled up on every possible edge and surface; so beautiful.  As I was slipping and sliding my way to the subway station, many people were out taking pictures.

Today I saw my first blossom covered tree of the spring season in Beijing. I like seeing the city come alive with new growth.  It will look so different in green.

The other day when I arrived home Gary surprised me with fresh blueberries and a chocolate cupcake from the market and bakery.  So delicious! He makes life fun. It is always good to get home to him. We talk a mile a minute exchanging the details of our morning and catching each other up on what is going on.

After a brief nap its study time, LST appointments and preparation for the next day. It is a good life. We marvel at how good this stage of our life is right now.

I finished reading The Obsession of Victoria by Grace Livingston Hill. I really enjoyed it.

Sunday morning worship was so good! We had more visitors than usual so we had plenty of all four parts for the singing. We took the opportunity to sing several songs we had not been able to sing in a long time. We all gained a lot from the good lesson and went on our way rejoicing and strengthened for the coming week.

Monday we got our teeth cleaned at the China Japan Friendship Hospital. They do a good job. The hard part for me is that they use an electric machine that whirs like a drill instead of hand instruments to clean the teeth.

First of all, with my genetically soft teeth I had a lot drilling done in my childhood and the sound alone almost makes my stomach hurt. Second, I hear high pitched sounds very well and the hose of the machine was near my ear along with the loud suction tube.

I had to really concentrate on my Chinese characters and vocabulary to get through it. At least it didn’t hurt physically. Next time I must take my music player. We got right in without an appointment. I felt a bit overwhelmed in class today; so much information, so fast, all spoken in Chinese, all writing on board in characters except when I ask a specific question. I have to remind myself nothing major is depending on my grade. I just have to remain in class and learn as much as I can.

So far I am getting A’s on my writing homework (it is kind of like art to me) and dictation tests but speaking is a whole new ballgame and I’m not so good at ballgames.

I pack a small lunch to eat during the break between classes since I do not get home till after 1:00. It fits nicely into the plastic heart shaped box that my favorite candy comes in…Ferrero Rocher. Gary buys them for me and they are delicious. I am reminded of his love for me every time I eat my lunch. — Love, Terry

BEIJING – With a smile on her face, dressed in a simple black peacoat and carrying an elegant unbranded bag, China’s new first lady, Peng Liyuan, stepped into the international limelight and became an instant internet sensation back home.

Stepping off the aircraft in Moscow – the first stop of President Xi Jinping’s maiden foreign trip since assuming office – Peng’s glamorous appearance and obvious affection for her portly husband caused Chinese microbloggers to swoon.

“So beautiful, Peng Liyuan, so beautiful! How composed, how magnanimous,” wrote one user on China’s popular Twitter-like service Sina Weibo.

“Who could not love such a lady as this and be insanely happy with her?” wrote another.

Taobao, an online shopping site similar to eBay and Amazon, quickly began offering for sale coats in the same style of Peng’s, advertising it as “the same style as the first lady’s”.

Others wondered what brand her bag and shoes were.

“Her shoes are really classic, and who designed her bag?” wrote a third Weibo user.

Peng is best known in China as a singer, and for many years was arguably better known and certainly more popular than her husband.

People who have met her and know her say that Peng is vivacious and fun to be around, though she was ordered to take a back seat after Xi became vice president in 2008 as he was being groomed for state power.
But she is expected to be given high-profile events of her own to attend on Xi’s sweep through Russia, Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of Congo on a week-long trip, as the government tries to soften the image of China abroad.

Peng has won praise for her advocacy for pet causes, most notably for children living with HIV/AIDS, and may visit charities related to this while abroad.

Unlike the baby-kissing politicians of the West, China’s Communist Party works hard to keep its top leaders from appearing too human – to the point that for many, even their official birthdates and the names of their children are regarded as a state secret.

Xi and Peng are different. Their romance has been the subject of dozens of glowing reports and pictorials in state media.

“When he comes home, I’ve never thought of it as though there’s some leader in the house. In my eyes, he’s just my husband,” Peng gushed in an interview with a state-run magazine in 2007, describing Xi as frugal, hardworking and down-to-earth. Peng is Xi’s second wife, and the two have a daughter studying at Harvard under an assumed name.

Chinese first wives have traditionally kept a low profile over the past few decades, because of the experience of Jiang Qing, the widow of the founder of Communist China, Mao Zedong. Jiang was the leader of the “Gang of Four” that wielded supreme power during the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution. She was given a suspended death sentence in 1981 for the deaths of tens of thousands during that period of chaos.

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Posted by on April 1, 2013 in Beijing


Nine-year-old ‘angel’ enters our life; We now have 10 individuals coming to apartment for studies

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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.

Here are two websites, if you want to see further information: Agape:; China Mission:

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.


Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Beijing


It’s Now Official! We Have Our Long-term Visas!

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We are so-o-o fortunate with the blessings of fellowship with those who have passed through Beijing and gathered for worship/study…with others to join us in coming weeks and months.

We laughed, cried, and just shared so much with Edwin and Mary in the time we had with them. We have so much in common through our life experiences, Harding, his twin brother, Edward, etc. After our Sunday activities, we had one of TJ’s home cooked American-style meals (pulled pork, corn bread, lima beans or green beans, cole slaw, diet coke or decaf tea, etc.). We made Mary’s day when giving her a bag of Fritos to take home with her. 🙂

We enjoy our worship opportunities, though the numbers have been down due to the holiday. Poor economic conditions in America that pulled many out of the business environment here have put us in a ‘rebuilding mode’ for the past months, but God is reliable in “giving the increase” and we will strive daily to find those who are seeking Him…that is my morning and evening (and all the time in between) prayer to the One in control of such things.

We have Family coming through soon from both Australia (for a long-term intern program) and South Africa (week business trip). They represent ‘family we haven’t met yet.”

Terry and I went on a date to celebrate our third Valentine’s Day in China… and during our meal we both acknowledged the difference in Beijing “of walking down the road and not seeing one single person we know or recognize.” Quite different than Jingzhou, where we saw and visited with many teachers and even more students any time we left our apartment. We look forward to the holiday ending so we can have more into our apartment and have time to talk about Important Things!

In 2011 we had just arrived after a trip of some 26-hours and did not know what day it was for at least three of them, and last year we had already begun our heavy teaching load…so this year we had time to relax, eat a good American-style meal, “look deep into each other’s eyes” and say how much we loved each other, and reflect on our 41+ years together. Terry fixed us French toast with bacon for breakfast.

We have spent a lot of time these past few days in instant message discussions with several students…one lost her grandfather…two not enjoying being home with angry parents…another sees the need to “marry a rich man” because her father has a gambling problem and the family “needs the money”…a few asking for advise as they deal with a poor job market…typical ‘stuff’ from college age young people. We really miss the young people and the daily conversations, but do NOT miss the cold classrooms and the work associated with teaching over 650+ students.

One of our teacher friends shared how they are moving into their house, finally, after waiting many months for the paint fumes to leave the premises.

We have begun follow-up with our new Family member….meeting once in person each week and once on Skype, since he lives nearly two hours away on the subway.

We have had Eric and Wendy, our students and teachers (especially those new) in our thoughts and prayers this weekend, since classes began February 24. We’re also very curious to know who has been hired/reassigned to replace us.

We are also beginning to look ahead and make tentative plans for our visit to America. TJ wants to visit her Mom and other family on the way into the country (I also plan to do something similar) before getting to South Florida to meet our new grandson and visit with Tonia and Gregory, Andrea, and Colton (it will be over 16 months since we have visited with Colton in person, so he has changed a lot…so-o-o thankful for Skype!).

We received word that our marriage certificate has been authenticated by the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. and was hand-delivered via our American Airlines contacts…registration went OK without a hitch and Terry is now enrolled in the language school for the rest of the year (with a vacation and summer break), which also gives us a student visa and spousal visa for that identical…allowing us to ‘relax and get to work’ now that we are secure in our residency.

We have made two trips to the local police station to register (not a scary procedure since we have done nothing wrong, right?) and saw something interesting there: a free condom dispenser for the locals. It was explained to us that since the one-child rule is a national law, it makes sense to help the population to exercise this control.

Phillip is also meeting with us again, now that the Spring Festival is over. He is one of the Let’s Start Talking contacts mentioned earlier…very energetic in his desire to learn English and listens intently to the Important Lessons being taught. We are seeking to follow-up with other students at this time who were ‘signed up’ in the past from groups in this area…waiting to see who will become available to come to our apartment.

Phillip finishes furnishing a new house (apartment) soon and also will await his son’s taking of the national exam that determines where they will attend college. Of course, they hope he does well enough to qualify to enter one of the Beijing universities, where the top students study. Phillip travels once a month to be with his son and wife, since he works here because of the better job opportunity.

Barry has become such a good friend and a big help in getting our Visa extended the second time and getting  other items written down in Chinese for us, as we make our way in the neighborhood. We see him most Sundays, so it is a special treat in many ways.

I put on shorts while in the apartment for the first time today…it was 40 degrees outside but was over 79 in the apartment, and since the air quality was very poor, we did not want to open the windows to cool it down…might be a record for me in any country to consider wearing shorts in late February.

The Spring Festival was certainly something to hear firsthand. Fireworks were a major part of the event, the first night lasting in excess of six hours…but also 3-4 hours each night for the rest of the week. After a while, they became just noise, especially when 10 p.m. came along and they were still all around our apartment!

There were times when we could see as many as 11 different areas of the city outside our window with bright colors and ‘flash.’ They finally ended on Thursday evening, and we noticed many family units on the Friday subway with their luggage, making their return home.

Greetings — This week when we were out I realized how much I miss seeing people I recognize. I really miss our friends in Jingzhou.  It won’t be long before we know more people here.

We were blessed to have some dear friends worship and eat lunch with us Sunday on their way back into China from the States. It was so good to visit with them. We also had a young man from South Africa who lives in this area join us for worship. We hope to get to know him better.

I have started regular night-time, Skype reading sessions with my grandsons in Shiyan. We are reading Once Upon  a Summer by Janette Oke. It is the first in the Seasons of the Heart series. It is one that Eric and I read together when he was young.

Finished reading  A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter. It is one of Mother’s favorite books;  very enjoyable.

Each day we discover new things in our neighborhood: market, bakery, underground parking, etc. Today I sketched a simple map so our visitors can find our apartment and our Sunday meeting place from the subway station nearby.

Whenever we take the subway it is a hassle to take my dark glasses off and on while getting my subway card in and out of my purse. To solve the problem I sewed two pockets to the inside of my coat.  Now both are readily available and out of the way. Threading my needle has been a pain lately.  But when I dampen the eye of the needle as well as the tip of the thread it goes through without trouble. It must have something to do with the static.

We have had many opportunities to encourage our former students by text and instant messaging as they meet new trials in their lives and head back to school for another semester. — Love, Terry.

The Year of the Snake is everywhere here, so it seemed useful to inform as to some of the news related to this creature, at least from the Chinese point of view.

Every snake part is useful — Every part of a snake is useful. Using snakes as medicine has a long history in China and is recorded in detail in many ancient classics of Chinese traditional medicine, including Compendium of Materia Medica by Li Shizhen. The book narrated 17 kinds of snake medicines, most of which about the flesh of a snake.

Fresh snake flesh has a better potency than dried. The flesh of snakes, such as cobras, kraits, vipers, Ptyas korros, Zaocys, etc., can effectively cure rheumatic arthritis, leprosy, ringworm, diabetes, acute poliomyelitis and its sequela, heat rash and so on.

Snake village in China—Zisiqiao, a once impoverished village in Zhejiang province where people used to fish to make a living, has now become the number one snake-breeding industry town in China. A step into the homes of any of the farming families here brings visitors eye-to-eye with thousands of some of the world’s most feared creatures -snakes, many of them poisonous.

Beijing adds 390k vehicles in two year, a big drop—Over the past two years, only 390,000 motor vehicles have been registered in Beijing, less than half of those in 2010, according to statistics from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport.

The slowdown in car registrations followed the launch of the license plate lottery system in 2011. Beijing will continue implementing the license plate lottery policy, maintaining the current quota, People’s Daily reported Friday, citing vice-chairman of the commission Li Xiaosong.

More diversified ways of distributing plates are expected to be issued soon. The lottery system reduced new car registrations to 240,000 in both 2011 and 2012, 20,000 per month, 88 percent of which belong to private car owners. The increase in motor cars in 2011 amounted to 173,000, 610,000 less than that in 2010.

In the past, motor vehicles in Beijing increased rapidly, rising from 2.58 million in 2005 to 4.81 million in 2010. The year 2010 alone saw 790,000 more units. By the end of 2012, the total number reached 5.2 million, 216,000 more than that in 2011, a 4.3 percent increase.

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Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Beijing


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

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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.

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Posted by on February 10, 2013 in Beijing


‘Record Crowds’ Due to Family and Friends Visiting

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I have said for many years that God’s design for worship makes it possible in the most simple or complex circumstances….and it is special no matter how many are in attendance. We have enjoyed ‘record crowds’ these past two weeks since we have hosted family and friends from other areas of China as they enjoy our city while on the extended winter break from teaching. Others who live here are also traveling, so February will be a little lonely….but give us a chance to “catch our breath” from the move.

Whether we like it or not, we will have a honeymoon period for a couple of weeks, as the whole nation celebrates their Spring Festival (how can February be called spring?) with travel to their hometowns to be with family. The whole country seems to close down in many ways.

When Eric and family were making plans to return to Shiyan, they were encouraged to “get home before the first week of February” or the trains and buses would all be full and you will be stranded…it sounded pretty good to us to have them with us for 2-3 more weeks but what could we do?. 🙂

We said it often on a three-day trip to Hong Kong to change our visa status so we could stay in China: “we’re not in Kansas any more.” As modern and large as our new home city is, it is nothing compared to what we saw to our Southeast.

Besides a modern train shuttle system (north-to-south), we found jewelry on every block and literally a multitude of polite men trying to sell us “copy Rolex watches and copy handbags,” (their exact words). And there were also plenty who offered 24-hour service on tailoring of all items of silk clothing. It does not make sense that the many authentic Rolex stores do not send someone out each day to arrest the racketeers…

The streets are mostly two lanes and the side walks very wide….saw many double-decker buses, and everyone drives very fast on the left side of the road.

One very appreciated part of the trip? An Outback restaurant meal that was perfect and also lunch at TGIF’s (why are our best times often fixed around eating American-style food? Do we miss it that-t-t much?)

Because we have some ‘import’ foods here that are not in other cities, those who have visited thus far are taking several of the items back with them.

I have begun adding some pdf lesson and sermon files to our website, under the ‘contact us’ icon on the front page, so go online and use whatever you can where you are. The site has many limitations, but slowly I am able to improve it with more information to enable the work.

We will entertain another family of five in early February, and we just learned of a group from Washington that might be with us for a few days in June…we have provided travel relief/fellowship all our life and glad to have this opportunity!

We heard from our students that we will like Beijing, but ‘it is a dry city.” What does that mean? Cold weather dries out the skin, we learned living twice in Ohio. They do not get an abundance of rain, it seems, and the reason is that the area was originally a desert. Development hides that fact, but summer sand storms are frequent and the fact there are no natural water sources requires its delivery from such places of Shiyan, where Eric lives over 1,400 miles away.

We have come to really appreciate the Beijing subway system, and we have a stop about 200 yards from our apartment…cost two Yuan for any trip one makes….that connects us to the city in a hurry.

We were greeted with a medium dusting of snow on our fourth Sunday morning.

Put retired ACU professor Ken Retzer in your prayers, as he is still recovering from back surgery and traveling the next few weeks to see family and his doctors in Texas (he has lived in China for many years and has been a good friend already).

Another brother, Rey, is also traveling the next five weeks back to the Philippines. He wants to train to become a minister, and has been denied twice for Visa admission to America to study at one of the preacher schools. Ken and I are going to consider how we can begin working with him more specifically to advance his knowledge and skills.

We made headway today toward getting a one-year student Visa. We need to get the Chinese embassy in America to stamp/verify that we are married (sending marriage certificate to those who can help) and TJ also has gone to a distant hospital for a physical…when we pay the tuition fees, she will study 9-Noon Monday-thru-Friday…but still be allowed to return to Florida for birth of 4th grandson. She will enroll in spring and fall classes each year. We are very excited; she wants to learn the language and it allows us to stay without so much ‘fuss’ over this Visa issue…Lord willing!

We met a couple with a small child while getting the physical from Chattanooga (my home town) who are from Tennessee Temple College. The wife/mother teaches four year olds and the father is a stay-at-home dad (her words). We invited them to our Sunday morning worship…they are here doing similar things as us. It is a small world! We saw some new territory and met a nice guard who was directing many people into a business park…kind and helpful to us in getting a taxi that knew where the hospital was located.

Several Let’s Start Talking (LST) teams are in-and-out of this city annually, and often there is a need for follow-up with students who are available when they leave. We have begun weekly sessions with two of them…Terry has a young lady who has already worked through Luke and I have an older man still working through that book. We have enjoyed the time spent with them thus far.

We are often called upon to help with supplies for China Agape homes. We had such an experience this week, forwarding gifts to children delivered by American Airlines pilot Sam McLean (see photo page two). It is the first of several in coming weeks, to include medical equipment for a new site to open this year, Lord willing. (Go to our website to get information on the good work being done here).

Greetings from Terry: It has been so long since I have communicated with you. Things are going very well here in Beijing.

It has been very busy with moving, getting organized and having family and friends here to visit. But now we have about two weeks till the next family comes. We have found a little vegetable market at our back gate which is very convenient. The two grocery/department stores are not too far away and are well stocked. When we arrived our apartment only had furniture so we made many trips by taxi to purchase household goods. Buying only as much as we could each carry at a time and what would fit into a taxi. We felt like little ants. We have found a good barber, also close to our back gate. One of our visiting friends helped translate for us on our first visit so we could get the cut we wanted. He did very well and we are pleased and thankful.

A sister told us told us of the language school she attends that takes students no matter what their age is and will give me a student visa and Gary a spousal visa. We are now in the process of trying to get all the documents and papers in order before the Chinese New Year which begins February 9. All of the government offices close for three weeks and nothing will be processed during that time.

If this school takes me and we get our visas then I will have my job description all figured out: to study hard to earn our visas (Mon – Fri. 9-12 am), keep the “Davenport Hotel” up and running so as to encourage and refresh the Saints as they come to and fro in our area, and help with the discussions and studies.

I am sure you have heard about the bad air quality we have had. It is very common to wear a dust mask out and about here. During the night a hard wind blew and cleared out the sky. The next morning we could see two small mountain ranges in the distance. It is very pretty when it is clear. We are told in other times of the year the wind will bring sand storms from the near dessert. Oh goodie, new experiences. Actually, I have already experienced sand storms in Arizona and Texas, thank you very much. (smile)

We have some new opportunities coming in the next few weeks. Thank you for remembering us in your requests. It really helps. 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. — Love, Terry

China News: The Beijing Subway line 1 broke ground on July 1st 1965 and started formally operation on October 1st 1969. By the end of 2010, Beijing subway network has 14 lines, 198 stations and 336 kilometers of tracks in operation. By paying the ticket fare of Renminbi 2 Yuan, passengers can transfer among almost all subway lines except for the airport express line. Ticket fare for airport express line is RMB 25 Yuan.

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Posted by on January 26, 2013 in Beijing

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