BYNG — Ruth Ann Taylor is at home now after 10 days spent on the other side of the world, and though she’s glad to be back in Oklahoma, she declares that her visit was “humbling and unforgettable.”

Taylor was a participant in International Commission’s project with LINKS International which takes people to China for short-term services as teachers of conversational English.  No special training was required, and many of the participants, unlike Ruth Ann, were not former teachers.

She says the lessons were simple and participants were aided in preparing them.  Goal of the participants was that of sharing their faith in Jesus Christ with the teachers and administrators with whom they worked.

In China visitors are forbidden to openly share their faith publicly, but LINKS says that many teachers have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as a result of one-on-one contact with the visiting Americans.

The group flew from Chicago on Thursday, Oct. 5 and landed in Beijing late Friday.  On Saturday, they took a sleeper train to Chifeng in Inner Mongolia about 250 miles north of Beijing.  Chifeng, population about 400,000, is off the tourist route and is seldom visited by foreigners.

“We were treated like royalty,” Taylor said.  “They appreciated so much our coming to their city and school.  We shared our life in America, sang songs, and answered questions in three classrooms each day.

“The experience in the Middle School was wonderful, and we were so well received.  It was unbelievable how the students and teachers wanted to honor us with special meals, both in homes and restaurants, gifts, a special program presentation and even an invitation to a wedding.  

“I treasure the one-on-one time with some of the teachers, for I had a chance to share Christ, but I longed for more time with them.  I plan to stay in contact by e-mail.

“My most memorable moment was our visit to an orphanage near Chifeng.  Every child in the orphanage has a physical or a mental handicap.

“I held several babies; then I sat down on the floor and two little three-year-olds sat on my lap.  I’ll never forget those sweet, precious little ones and how I felt as I held them close and sang ‘Jesus loves the little children of the world.’”

The group spent a week of service in the Middle School, and each day they were guests at lunch and dinner hosted by the teachers, administrators, and families of some of the students.  All the homes we visited were apartments, usually located on the sixth floor.  None of the apartments had elevators, so Ruth Ann says she got lots of stair climbing exercise.  The Americans returned to Beijing on Saturday, Oct. 14, for sightseeing and for worship in a Chinese Christian church.

There are eight registered churches in Beijing.  Ruth Ann says their group was thankful that they were able to attend an early morning service.  The church was packed with extra seating placed in the aisles.  Some of the visitors, including Ruth Ann, had ear phones and, by means of a translator, heard a heart-warming sermon.  She was familiar with three of the congregational hymns and was pleased that the hymnal displayed both English and Chinese words to the songs.

“We were fortunate to include some sight-seeing in our trip. We visited the Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, which at one time was open only to royalty, and the Great Wall.  The city of Beijing was obviously gearing up for the 2008 Olympics.”

“I got back to Byng about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, October 17, and I was very glad to be home, but I realized anew how very fortunate, though spoiled, our way of life is compared to that of so many other parts of the world,” Taylor said.

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Homer and Aren Howell had as their guests last week her son, David Houck and his friend, Pam, from Garden City, Mich., a suburb of Detroit.

He was formerly an engineer with Damlier-Chrysler and Pam is a comunications supervisor working in Detroit.

David has started his own company, Hot Rod Dave’s.  He is maker of the “Davestix,” an anchoring device for small boats.  (The Howells own one of these Davestix and give it a “Thumbsup.”

The guests drove his pickup to Oklahoma in order to transport his Harley cycle in the back.  While here, they used the bike to tour the area and were very pleased with the warm weather and the low traffic.  They also enjoyed dressing Aren in motorcycle attire (helmet, vest, chains and gloves) and giving her a trial run on the Harley.  They assure Aren that she has a future as a Motorcyle Mama.

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We were saddened this week by the death of George’s sister, Thelma Moody, in Clinton, Pa.  She had undergone colon surgery and subsequently suffered a massive stroke from which she never gained full consciousness.  Because of George’s illness, we were unable to be with the family during this time.

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Retha Robbins and I attended a surprise birthday party at Polo’s last Saturday to honor the 18th birthday of Leona Holland.  I think there must have been at least 80 guests present, most of them from the Stonewall area.  If she wasn’t completely and utterly surprised, Leona deserves an Oscar for “Best Actress of All Times.”  Charlotte Gregory was the facilitator for this event.

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