The following message is for interested family and friends who might care about what we’re doing in Memphis. This is not written to attain many “likes,” shares, change the world, or make a point. I’m even skipping the pictures of Floridia and my parents-in-law. Call me cold. This is the winter break update.
Classes began this week, and I’m surprisingly more excited than I was last semester (my first one). An entirely different blog entry is needed to explain why. I haven’t shared much in a while, so let’s start off slow and easy.
The best part of the winter break, first: We saw three new believers born again in Christ. All non-U.S. citizens (you know where they’re from). I really want to show a ton of photos of the baptisms, dumpling parties, and more, but will refrain for their privacy and safety. (I think I can give some stories without names and places, but it’ll take another entry at another time). Suffice it to say that if you are a follower of Christ, you have three new sisters, and that is the best news I can offer for you. If you’re not a Jesus-follower, the best news I have for you, ever, is that Christ died for you, too.
Somehow, we now have to move on to academics:
Last semester, the class results included two A’s and one B, in Advanced Theological Research, Greek I, and the Gospel according to John, respectively. I am pretty happy with the results because as much as I strove for perfect marks, having one “B” under the belt takes away some pressure. (I like to remind myself that John Piper made a C in preaching; also, I met him two weeks ago.) Honestly, I only made the A’s that I did by God’s grace and with the help of some gifted, merciful professors with high expectations. Honestly , I did work pretty hard last semester over the books. A joy, definitely, but by no means easy.
This semester, Spring 2014, we’re revving things up a notch or two: I’m adding an extra class and so is Linli–plus she’s working as a graduate assistant at University of Memphis. Thus, we’ll be even busier than last semester. Life-hint: pressure is a good thing and keeps us from procrastinating. Jesus has already been displaying his ability and willingness to sustain us.
To give you an idea of the workload, here is the school’s expectation: for every weekly three-hour class, nine hours of outside study are expected. If a class meets once weekly (the norm) and is three hours long, then that week’s classwork should take a total of 12 hours. 12 hours x 4 classes = 48 hours of studying needed, plus tutoring.
The classes this semester will be Greek II, Counseling Skills, Old Testament Survey (because I wasn’t a Bible major in undergrad), and Minor Prophets. Only Minor Prophets requires a term paper, so that helped me decide to keep the fourth class. Plus, I’ll continue tutoring in the afternoon and working on my Mandarin for Sunday mornings. (For some reason, they not only allow but ask me to read a scripture and/or pray in Mandarin). God is good.
Please pray for us to continue trusting the Lord and centering our lives around his will. We’re not sure where we’re heading (as no one is), but the difference is this: we’re pretty comfy with that. Linli added a CPA-prep course and is trying to become a CPA—think she could apply our tax codes in China? So, we might be in the States awhile, after all. Never say “I’d never . . . “, though.