Sunday July 3, 2005

Wow, I guess 15 days has passed since the last entry. I will try and record all the events as best I can. Before we went to Beijing two Thursdays ago, I don’t think there were any truly significant conversations or events, except for our meal before we left. We met with other missionary, who worked in the city. Some were with the IMB, some were not, but they certainly blessed us by sharing about their lives and how God was using their talents, abilities, and resources. In particular, I met a man named Eddie, who really encouraged me to have a vision and not to just waste my time/life. It was so good to hear his advice/wisdom. This trip, as a whole, has made me rethink my engineering degree completely. Now, I really want to ace out, so I can eventually become a consultant and work on my own. It seems like such a perfect idea, and I can’t wait to go home and talk with Renee about it.

That night we left for Beijing on a sleeper train. We left at 9:30pm and arrived at 7:30am. Once we were there the tensions began mounting as we searched for the hotel. Everything boiled down to miscommunication, like so many other problems. People have no idea they are being offensive to someone or people making decisions with the wrong information. These things happen often, very often. The other problem came in the area of money. It is of absolutely no surprise that these two issues are also the two biggest struggles in marriage – no life in general. So some compromise has to be reached. What a gift to have the mind’s eye of a good compromiser. He understands first of all there is a conflict before it hits the fan. Not only can he see both sides, but can make concessions to both sides and mediate Oh that I might be a better compromiser.

Back to Beijing. The trip was very good and even the conflicts turned out for the best. The highlight of the trip, obviously, was the Great Wall. I wrote a lengthy e-mail in an update so I spare the details. The Summer Palace was so magnificent, so grandiose that my eyes could not take it all in with one glance, maybe not even a full day of glancing and gazing could. Plus, we ended the trip and I found some sweet fake REI shorts! I’m so glad to find some inexpensive shorts here.

Returning to Shenyang did not solve every problem, but again that is fine. Conflict can be the best thing when handled well, and I trust that will be the case with our team tonight as we ‘pow-wow’ about money and the likes. My only ‘regret’ might be that we did not do this sooner, especially since Tom pulled Brad aside to talk about money. It would have been much better if Ema kept this in-house, and if it got bad, then do something about it. What’s awful is that in some ways I am responsible for the way it took place. Ema asked me if I thought Brad had been causing problems and I agreed, never thinking she would leave the house about this. I thoroughly disagree with the way she handles disagreements. The first being the whole incident with Brad driving David and I crazy for various reasons. It could have been handled better. It all will work itself out, but my head could have been hung if Brad were more socially aware. Anyway, off that negative, accusing subject to its opposite.

Lord teach me to be less defensive. May I not feel the urge to justify my behavior at every given moment. Grant me wisdom to see a situation where I would want to be defensive and the obedience to to quiet my tongue. The beginning of this week saw lots of rain, but now that the rain has given way to sunshine, we have had more opportunities to share with our friends. And how refreshing it is. A day may seem completely wasted, and then you have one conversation and have a guy even laugh at you, but you still told him the truth.

Speaking of refreshing, Rebecca arrived on Thursday, and it has been soooo wonderful. It is so nice to have another Aggie out here. She is a dear friend and she has brought lots of good news from Aggieland. I must say that I long to go home to begin preparations for our loft, our house, our Bible study, our partnership, our freshmen, and the studies. It’s tough putting so many things on hold, but I am so encouraged to go back home. I don’t even realize how nurturing all this has been and will continue to be when I return. Praise God, who has gripped my heart and lead me down a path that is pleasing to Him. To you alone am I indebted, and may I serve you alone all of my days.