November 5, 2005

Greetings! Summer is over, winter is coming, November already. This year's Bible verse (“(Isaiah 55:2) Why do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labor for that which does not satisfy?”) is very appropriate. The summer and fall are best described by "B" as in busy. Busy due to Baby, Book, and Bible Study.

Baby: Xiuman gave birth to a baby boy on July 20 (~ 8 days late). Due to baby jaundice, he needed to stay in the hospital for 6 days. Returning home, Xiuman was sick for about 10 days with mititous (very painful). Since then she has been breastfeeding the baby supplemented by formula. If you wish to view some more pictures of the Youen (Grace for a second time, pronounced Johann)

Books: With a Malaysia brother, have been working on a textbook dealing with computer programming. Previously, it had been released as a Malaysian only textbook, so I assumed that it was almost done with just a few minor things to fix and prepare before being printed and released internationally. I was wrong. Anyways, the final copy has now been proofed and has gone to the printer. Anyway, this is exciting-- thank God. Now am working on another book: English as a 2nd language for graduate students.

Bible Studies: August had no Bible studies or classes at university. However, it was quite busy as was preparing materials for an Investigative Study for Young adults. This has been interesting and fun with God teaching me lessons that I thought I had already learned! This fall have been leading 3 evangelistic Bible Studies (2 at different churches, and 1 at the university that was requested by graduate students) In addition, this fall am helping other lecturers in leading the course on Christianity – I will talk in a few weeks time on the history of Christianity. Xiuman is more involved in this ministry than I am, due to my other commitments. There is a feeling of excitement and expectation this year as lecturers pray and work together.

Lesson learned, unlearned & relearned: As I was thinking about this letter in July (I am slow...), I reflected that "The things that upset us are not the inconveniences that we expect, it is the unexpected denial of the conveniences when we don't expect it." For example, we do not get upset by the boss who is always angry. Rather we get upset when the coffee machine doesn't work for our morning cup of coffee! As I was thinking this, the coffee machine was grinding the beans for my morning cup of coffee -- Suddenly there was a bang and the power went out all across the university. So appropriate--I laughed! Something that upset me was quite different. When I first came to Asia, I knew that a 3:00PM meeting was not a 3:00PM meeting. I brought a book and read until 4:00PM – no problem. I had forgotten that since I have been working at a university where a 1PM meeting starts at 1PM and people complete what they promise to do. Thus, when I left a meeting at the University to rush to a 2PM church meeting to record music for a Bible study. The church pianist arrived 90 minutes later after she finished her “afternoon nap.” Unfortunately she could not play as the person who was to give her to music didn't bother she “thought that pianists don't need to prepare, they just sight read!” A few years ago I would not have been upset – but I had come to expect punctuality in this past year. Truly the things that upset us are the things we don't expect.

Other interesting things have been the chance to visit Moscow to present research results, and Hong Kong for a friend's wedding.

God bless, Jonathon