I was able to rest much of Wednesday which was a blessing since my cold symptoms had returned in the morning. Peggy and Liz were gone most of the day for a business training.
At 3 pm, Helen came to my hotel. I had introduced Helen last September when I spoke to her small Bible study group. It was my favorite evening. She and her friends were so responsive to my "story of the Bible" and were excited to read through the whole book as fast as they could. After I returned to the U.S., Helen asked me to mentor her in Bible teaching. So this day was dedicated to deepening our relationship and discussing what mentoring would look like across the Pacific Ocean.
The five hours together turned out to be more than what both of us expected as we found more areas of connection. I heard more of her story and I openly shared some of mine. The bonding was fast. Especially over a lovely dinner of Bejing duck.
I had brought with me a Bible study book that offered an overview of each book of the Bible. It was written with 52 lessons to be completed in a year. I encouraged Helen to use it as a supplement to the read through of the Bible and as a training tool for the development of her teaching skills. Since several women from her group would be at the upcoming women's retreat, we agreed to find time to meet so that I could go through the first lesson with them. Furthermore I wanted to assess their comprehension level and learning styles.
Thursday was the second coaches training day in which Liz taught about goal setting and team building. I and the other women on the team had an opportunity to meet with the coaches in smaller groups in order to get them started on applying the principles of goal setting to their vision statements. I spent time with the two women who were interested in counseling. It was a blast! But it was also easy because these women had already started working on goals. These women are sharp and enthusiastic!
One of the women wanted to talk to me about homeschooling because she had heard a previous talk in which I mentioned my experience in it. Her daughter was 6 years old and about ready to graduate from Christian kindergarten (apparently illegal in China). There are no Christian schools beyond kindergarten and the public school in China has some challenges including classes that have 60 children or more! You can imagine how this affects the kids. The homeschooling movement is just beginning in China. It'll be interesting to see if it becomes a part of the educational landscape as it is in the U.S.
I also had an opportunity to ask two of the women about the dynamics of Chinese marriages. It was interesting to hear that in the current culture, women are trained to dominate over their husbands and demand submission from them. They said men are becoming more passive. Not good. But I also wanted to find out what their ideal dynamic was. Did the church teach submission of wives to husbands? They said yes, but only to balance what the wives were doing to husbands. Their ideal was mutual submission rather than a hierarchical view of authority. That was fascinating to me.
We returned to the hotel experiencing a bit of an adventure and a scare. The training was located in an area of Beijing that did not have very many regular taxis. We had to negotiate with two "private taxis" to get a fair price for the five of us. Peggy and I took a car that rattled all the way to the hotel. I could tell he needed new brakes badly. We nearly fainted when the driver made a left turn straight into the path of a bus! It didn't look like it was going to stop and neither did our driver. With both Peggy and I staring out the right side of the taxi, we passed with only a couple feet of clearance before the bus braked.
After a little rest, Peggy and I had dinner with Judy who picked us up at the hotel with her driver. I mentioned meeting her at the kindergarten. She took us to her favorite Chinese restaurant where we met a close friend named Rita who had introduced Judy to Christ. It turned out Peggy had met Rita last year on a previous trip.
It was a lovely dinner of, again, Beijing Duck. It's such a tasty dish that I did not mind having it two nights in a row. Now I will associate duck with memories of two evenings with three lovely Christian Chinese women.
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