FC English Department
It's amazing how the Father takes the things we love and parlays them into His own glory. "Soccer has been a big part of my life this past week," Jon joked tonight during our Family Time at Hebei University, except that he wasn't really joking at all. Over the past nine days, he and I have had the honor of sharing the soccer pitch with nine students from the English Department of Hebei College of Finance. "It was so striking to me," Jon pointed out, "that all of these guys have either been in my class before or are currently students of mine."
He is right, in that each student who we played with on the team, we also shared a classroom with over the course of a year, seldom getting the opportunities to truly interact with them as real men/ boys/ whatever they are today. Tonight before going to Family Time, we shared a room with these young men where we gathered over full plates of mutton and giant green peppers, hearing each of them slowly articulate to Jon and I their Chinese names.
"Ju...Sin," Bob deliberately spoke, making sure we could clearly hear each syllable of his name. "Bob" has been a student of mine for two semesters, but I never even heard his Chinese name spoken to me, let alone committed it to memory. It was, to me, like being let into a secret world, as we often miss so much personality from these young men when we only know their English names and can't interact with them in their native tongue.
I somewhat balked at leaving the room tonight, as I know most of these relationships will fade as we do not see each other on the pitch anymore as a team. As we shared the meal tonight, I could only cherish the glory of enjoying these people exactly where they are in life and applying no more expectation on them than that they fully understand the weight of who they are. There's something pure about competing together; there's something pure about eating together in a small room, clamoring to take one last photo before we leave; there's something pure about straining to learn names, only to take those names and exalting them to the Father, that He might hear and have mercy on these young men, on their hearts and reveal himself to them in due time. Although our time is "but a short breath," which Tim spoke over the six members of our Family time tonight, and this time in China is but a gap in the lips through which the breath of life flows, might that His kingdom come through our passions, through our hearts, through our words, our relationships, and our daily walk with Him.
Uh...full-contact soccer, anyone?