Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Tonight was the eighth anniversary of my arrival in Beijing. The 10th of January is also Bulu's birthday, so I decided to make a party of it. I managed to get in touch with Eric Wu, and he invited Lily and Courtney. Bulu also brought another student I had not seen since a bunch of us had dinner together in Yokohama, already five years ago now.

Click for larger image.
I see Bulu every once in awhile, but I hadn't seen Eric for a number of years. He hasn't changed a bit since the day I first met him. Lily and Courtney were both at the party the Software College had for me the night I landed in Beijing eight years ago. Back then they were young graduate students full of hopes. Now they are both mothers, transferring those hopes and dreams to their little ones. Oh, how swiftly go the years!

I remember before I left Arizona, someone asked me, "Do you have any friends in Beijing?" I said, "No, but I will pretty soon." I wasn't mistaken. It's interesting to me that the Streams in the Desert devotional for January 10th is about God's prohibitions. Closed doors. Interesting because when I came to China, it was very clear to me that this was God's open door. The scripture is in Revelation 3, verse 8:Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I didn't really understand why I had come to China, but I knew that I knew that I knew that I was here because of God's specific direction. That's a good feeling. But God's direction often comes as the result of our willingness to give up something else that we thought might be His will. In my case, I had thought for many years, at least since the early eighties, that I would eventually be going to the Middle East.

God very clearly changed my direction. I didn't understand it, but I accepted it. A call is a call. After 40 years of waiting, I was ready to take anything. But I almost didn't come to Beijing. When I first got the email from Beihang University, I ignored it. I thought I should go to Western China, because that's where the poorest people are. Fortunately for me, a week later they sent me another email. This time I felt a little guilty because I knew that I was getting this email because of having sent out my resume, so I dashed off a quick email to soothe my conscience. I got a reply immediately asking me how soon I could come, and the rest is history.

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