4:01 PM

_Oriented

For months we have been blocked by the Chinese government, but now......we are back

4:41 AM

Timeless Village

It was great to be back in the countryside to teach our lively English class. This time we stayed on fifth floor for the best view of the village and surrounding mountains we've had. The class paid remarkably close attention to the story of Joshua with visual aids.
Our family divided to attend two different meetings last night. Annelisa and I found ourselves in a very modest home in the neighboring village. I was struck both while walking there and while in service by the timelessness and simplicity that marks the countryside. Beside the road a white-haired old man in peasant blue, clutches with one hand the kind of plow his ancestors have used from time immemorial as the plodding water buffalo demonstrates his skill at cultivating the field. In the meeting, the ladies in their drab clothing, simple hairstyles, and weather worn faces might be peasants of another age, another land, I thought--- nothing unique to distinguish them. Not that there was nothing special about them: there was the earnestness and the glow of the Divine, enhancing the plain faces. The speaker was announced as the service progressed and one was startled to have no time to prepare... just as well, for short and sweet was the result, as we shared on God's love in suffering: how we are privileged to help bear His Cross.

12:12 AM

First Mothers Day





Here are some pictures taken while we were in THP , one today of an embedded taxi, and two (also today) showing our newest mother with Baby Rachel, who has to be the best behaved infant I've met.
It was a first, celebrating Mothers' Day with our church group, and now they are eager for Father's Day! My most wonderful surprise was a hand-made card tastefully displaying the following poem which the parents of the author found deeply moving:

GOD KNEW
God knew that sometimes along life's way
people could get quite trying
'Twould be hard to make it through the day
without breaking down and crying.
AND SO GOD GAVE YOU PATIENCE.

God knew it was hard to understand,
when things weren't done just right;
When people shunned your every command,
then bemoaned their own sad plight.
AND SO GOD GAVE YOU WISDOM.

God knew it'd be all too easy
to walk away in despair,
While others lay sick and needy
demanding your constant care.
AND SO GOD GAVE YOU COMPASSION.

God knew it would often be tempting
to simply just give it up,
When in spite of your faithful teachings,
people remained so corrupt.
AND SO GOD GAVE YOU TENACITY.

God knew how difficult it would be
to stay so cheerful and nice,
When people wronged you so carelessly,
much more than once or twice.
AND SO GOD GAVE YOU FORGIVENESS.

God knew that every single day,
others needed your acceptance,
Though it would be easy to turn away,
Because of their defiance.
AND SO GOD GAVE YOU UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

God knew after these traits He did choose,
that what He had done was good;
And these virtues must be put to use,
like every talent should.
AND SO GOD GAVE YOU ME.
LOVINGLY, YOUR DAUGHTER

That made my day....a day partly spent in talking with some whose homes are falling apart. Recently so many homes are under intense attack, that it underlines the importance of home life according to God's pattern and by His infinite grace.

2:37 AM

Bible Lovers' Quiz

Children, I'm sorry to say this quiz is probably too hard for you, but maybe not too challenging for your parents...and it's SHORT. We have all read the Bible for years and yet some interesting details escape us. But are we all ready to check up on a few of those details? Let's see if anyone can get all the answers by the time I figure out what first prize will be! (Rub hands together) Let's go!

FAMILIES OF THE BIBLE

1. When Obededom allowed the ark to stay in his home, the Lord blessed him; what exactly was included in his blessing?

2. Who named his daughter after Sarah?

3. Who was Rahab's husband? Her son?

4. What seer had seventeen children for song?

5. To which baby did Nathan give a special name "because of the Lord"?

6. Which brother of Caleb was a posthumous baby?

7. Please name five of David's nephews.......and you're finished! PTL!

9:03 PM

TIme for (very interesting) Class

It was wondrously refreshing to be in the splendid bamboo-clad mountains of Anji County again. It was both pleasant and strange staying in the comfortable THP hotel beside Ground Zero....where not long ago stood our home of thirteen years. As I strolled along by the stream, the stream of memories came-- of walks with little children skipping beside me, or a pet at my heels; but more than that, my heart was melted with memories of gracious touches of God's love that repeatedly made a way for me where there was none. My heart was made to sing, indeed.

Our interesting English class consists of twenty-two engineers, nearly all from a company on the border with North Korea. The questionnaire about their interest in learning English yielded replies like: "Of course I am interesting" "I am very interesting." "It takes many amused memory..." "I like learning English but the results have been bad." "I revolt learning to write English." Exams? "No, very not." "Exam is insipid." Why do you want to learn English? "I wonder to be more handsome." One student in his oral introduction wished me a happy Mother's Day, quite to my surprise. The holiday is catching on in China!


Our purchasing of a fifth floor apartment with a fantastic view of Romantic Valley took some dramatic twists as competition moved in, we held back, and then the Lord gave us what had seemed lost. The quiet of the mountains away from the big city should be relaxing, when we finally get the place finished and furnished. So now you know some of what has been occupying our time during this period of silence! And yes, there was another little foundling, a baby sparrow who was very cute, but unwilling to live in our cage till his wing healed. He worried himself to death trying to get out of the cage that was his protection from hungry cats and other menaces. Like "Twete", don't I sometimes chafe at the very cage that is protecting unsuspecting me? I resolve to be more thankful for restrictions God uses!

5:29 AM

Delivered from Discontent

The great privilege of hearing anointed messages From "America's Oswald Chambers" was a gift of my youth. One of his wonderful messages-- on Psalm 23-- waits to speak to your heart, as it has to mine:
DELIVERED FROM DISCONTENT
The "wanting" nature of the carnal heart is never satisfied, for it is the very substance of discontent. Its desires are deceitful. The more it is humored, the more drastic and driving are its demands. Finally the physical body is consumed in the flame of dissatisfaction. The competition which causes one person to exceed another comes from some inner distress.
The contented sheep depends on the shepherd to supply his needs; and whether the sheep knows it or not, he should be worth his care. Does it change the thought to say, "I am the Lord's sheep"? A person might feel as if all the responsibility rested on the Lord when he says, "The Lord is my Shepherd." But if I am the Lord's sheep, I am not my own; therefore it is not for me to plan for my own comforts or to seek to evade hardships.
To lie down in green pastures is the opposite of that nature which feels that it never has enough. It would be strange for a person to say in the midst of great opportunities: "I have enough. I shall let some other person find his share." The still waters reveal the undisturbed peace of the Lord's heart. "If any man thirst let him come unto me, and drink."
Man was led to seek his own glory when he took the path of unrighteousness, and he lost his soul. Now the Lord restores our soul and leads us in the paths of righteousness which reveal the power of His name. All that is worthwhile is what He has done for us. The Apostle Paul said, "By the grace of God I am what I am."
Divine contentment never fears what is included in the path of righteousness. The contented sheep would as quickly die for the Lord as to express abounding life in worship and praise. It may seen as if we had missed the way; but the Shepherd comes in due season, even if, as in Job's case, it appears that He has forgotten us. When He says, "Here I am," the trusting heart relaxes in His care.
To find soul food where the enemy expected that you would perish, proves that you took the right way through the valley when death threatened to lay claim on you. The Shepherd knows that our poor old heads need a fresh anointing from time to time to enable us to think clearly. Those touches of His power cause the heart to run over in gratitude for His care.
I goodness and mercy are following us, we are following the Lord; for we appreciate what He has meant to us only as we learn to depend fully on Him. If all that He has been to us is increasing within us, we are on our way to fine the fullness of Redemption which shall last forever. ---E. A. Gafford

1:38 AM

Cat Tales for Children



Childhood is lacking something without animals. Yesterday's topic brought back memories from the long-ago. A tiny tot with a big imagination, I was playing in the orchard with my brothers when the family cat came toward us, her voice raised emphatically. The boys were all for getting on with the game, but as the cat persisted and insisted, I finally followed her. She would go a few steps, look back and mew at me and then repeat the sequence. Thinking she had something important on her mind, I trotted after her until we came to the cellar. She went inside, climbed the wall, and entered a hole in it. Excitedly I checked the hole....nothing there! Mystified, I went out and climbed into the sandbox where my untamed mind scurried into sand castles-- but not before noting that the cat had followed me out and was resting in the sun nearby. I wondered whether the cat was disappointed or satisfied; I was both. When the sun began to dip behind the mountain, I glanced up and blinked my eyes in disbelief. A damp little creature bobbed its head beside the cat. I jumped up for closer inspection of the youngest creature I had met. As I pranced along, the mother cat took her kitten in her mouth and carried it to the cellar. Eyes round with wonder, I saw her climb the wall and take her kitten inside the hole she had for her nest. To this day I cannot explain why that cat wanted to share such a special time with such a small child; but it made a deep impression. From then on, cats were my friends.

It also set the stage for another occasion, another cat, another year. Up early bouncing along in the dewy grass, I met our yowling cat, who looked like the lease on her ninth life was running out. When I spoke to her, she ran a short way and looked back and called to me. This time, it didn't take long for me to figure out that I should follow. The cat made a beeline for the neighbors' barn, where I hung back, reluctant to trespass. The cat insisted that this was urgent, so I braved up and followed her in amongst the hay bales. She descended into a crevasse and I heard a chorus of newborn voices demanding her attention. I was eager to report my news to the family, and point out the hideout. But as the day advanced, I realized something was very wrong: the mother cat was gone! It took till nightfall to persuade my mother of this, and get permission to bring the kittens home, but at last I succeeded. Much to our delight, there were four kittens, one for each of us children; (mine was Little Boy Blue)....but the care of all them was all mine! A doll bottle was just right to feed them, accompanied by songs for lullabies; but as fun as that was,I felt guilty that my childish forgetfulness, and frequent inability to awake for night feedings made for inadequate mothering. Happily, the kittens didn't seem to mind. Soon they could be seen riding around in toy trucks, or toddling stiff-legged with tails straight up. Best of all was the moment when I went to get the kittens for a feeding and would find the wide baby eyes of Little Boy Blue gazing up with the adoring look reserved only for a mother. Responsibility and all, I loved every minute. After a month away, the thin mother cat amazed us by reappearing, when, with lavish purring, she thanked me for rescuing her babies. I still needed to give bottles after that, and she did the rest. Then, like Little Boy Blue in the poem, "angels came to awaken" the little fellows--actually it was a rude awakening by DOGS,-- and a heartbreaking ending to my baby-fostering adventure.