Monday, May 18, 2009

Finishing the Teach year!

This weekend, all of the teachers from IECS met in Beijing with Newt
Hetrick for the last time this school year. This wasn't our goal
coming into the weekend, as we had originally had planned to have an
English Week begin in Tianjin, one of the three cities where IECS has
placed teachers this year. English Week is a time when 10-15 foreign
teachers/ believers come to visit and teach for one week, traveling
and forming meaningful relationships with students as a part of
outreach on the campus of our schools. However, due to the increased
threat of the Swine Flu and the risk of allowing it to spread in our
communities, the schools decided to implement a mandatory quarantine
of 7 days on any visitors, which caused us to eventually cancel all
three trips. Thus, we found ourselves together on Saturday night and
Sunday morning instead of beginning these English Week trips.

At one point Saturday night, I sat with Jon, Tim, Wil Corder, and
Peter Lucas-Roberts. We talked of the circumstances of three canceled
English Weeks that are such a huge part of the vision for the project
we are here to carry out.

"When do we stop asking, 'Father, we want this thing to happen,' and
start saying, 'Okay, Father, you're doing this another way...'" Jon
asked us.
"I think when you start asking for things like you're 'supposed to'
ask, it becomes you setting yourself up for failure. He's going to do
what He's going to do and sometimes asking is His way of getting us up
for it," Wil answered.
"Maybe, then," Jon went on,"when we start asking the way we're
'supposed to ask' instead of from the heart, it ceases to be a
relationship and becomes a distorted view of what's happening."
I thought for a moment and finally said, "I love watching Him teach
the twelve disciples in Matt. 6 and how he begins his asking in the
spiritual realm."
"Yeah, like a praise," Peter interjected.
"Right, and with that he goes on to teach to ask for daily bread and
needs for life: forgiveness, leadership, deliverance."
Wil perked up and added, "And you're asking for His kingdom to come
and His will to be done. Really, you're asking Him for the eyes to see
the circumstances of your life from eternal perspective."

That's really what we were there to do these past two days: keeping
our words simple in encouraging each other after the disappointment of
losing three English weeks. "It's not even so much us," Peter said at
one point,"as it is these students and the teachers who have a desire
to come here and experience this. They're just disappointed. It's hard
to keep getting up for something that keeps letting you down." For
Peter and the team of five from Langfang Teacher's College in
Langfang, China, this is the second straight year that they've lost
their scheduled English Week, as last year's was canceled due to the
earthquake in Southwestern China. Still, we're learning to take our
eyes off of what we're doing and give attention and thanks to the One.
Our time together was rich in mercy and represented a great finish to
a year of teaching and growth together.

Please continue lifting us up:
* For personal relationships with the Father: Tim, Jon, Amelia, Emily,
and myself, along with the teams in Langfang and Tianjin
* For our perseverance through the last month of teaching (our classes
end a week before our return date of June 22, 2009)
* For our English Night at my school, which will take place this
Tuesday. Emily will be speaking about Joy.
* For our common bond and common vision to be the Father, even during
the Summer months ahead.