Tuesday, January 27, 2009

27 Jan 09 Birthdays for Zion and Adam and the Terry Fireside

I got a birthday card off in the mail today for Adam, who will be 25 on Saturday the 31st. Only yesterday did we receive a call from Ruth saying that Zion has received her card last Saturday, which was almost a full week late since she was 1-year-old on the 19th. Thank goodness as a one-year-old the tardiness didn’t bother her. Hopefully the mail service into the big city of Las Vegas (estimated population of the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which is the entirety of Clark County, is almost 2 million) is much better than small Pahrump at about 38,000.
I had a rigorous Sunday. I took two sisters to church, two saints home, five sisters to and from Choir practice, and three saints to the fireside presented by David and Linda Terry. And I squeezed in my Activity Committee meeting between church and choir. “She also serves, who only sits and steers?”
You may recall that brother Terry was our stake president before Leonard Anderson. Their three daughters and six sons are now away from home. They learned about the BYU Kennedy Center’s program for sending English-as-a-second-language teachers to China and now are on the break in the semester break of their first year. They are loving the people so well that they have already committed to a second year. NO. It is not a mission. They would be and will be booted out of the country if they try to preach in any way. They may not answer questions about the church or give out any information. Sister Terry’s children had bets that she would be sent home within the first week. She said she had learned to bit her tongue. Brother Terry said he slipped, ‘BYU’ into his presentations and conversation as often as possible hoping these bright young students might google BYU. Since the program’s inception in 1989, almost 1,000 teachers have taught more than 175,000 students at over 40 fine universities in China. Sister Terry said they teach the gospel without teaching it by radiating their love for the people of China. Another teacher told them that at the end of one year he assigned students to write an essay on something they had lost. One student replied that he had lost his hatred of America.
Those of you have Internet access may be interested in looking up a talk by Spencer W. Kimball “The Uttermost Parts of the Earth” Ensign Jul 1979 page 2. It is from an address delivered at the Regional Representatives seminar, 29 September 1978. Dallin Oaks was a regional rep. at the time as well as the President of BYU. He went back a got to work doing what he could do. In 1980 the BYU Young Ambassadors toured Mainland China. In May of 1981 BYU performing groups visited Yugoslavia, Romania, and Russia. It took a while to establish the program the Terry’s are in but other avenues for reaching into China keep being accessed.
Daddy B.J. was a delegate to a Mock UN held in San Francisco while I was dating him. Last November one of Brother Terry ‘s students told him that he was in an international Mock UN being held at their university and that there was to be a BYU team participating. Brother Terry asked the student if he had noticed his and Sister Terry’s not drinking tea or coffee nor using bad language. The student said he had noticed. [It makes the Terrys stick out, since everyone in China drinks tea. In their English classes they carefully instructed students that certain words were improper.] Brother Terry assigned the student to watch the BYU kids and report to him if they drank tea or coffee or used bad language. The student returned and reported that none of the BYU delegates did those things. From an article at the BYU Newsnet website I quote. “BYU's Model United Nations (MUN) team once again showed their impressive knowledge of global issues. The team participated in their first international conference in Xi'an China in November and came away with an "outstanding delegation" award, the conference's highest possible recognition.”
Sister Terry said she loves the students and the people. China has laws limiting the number of children born in families. Sister Terry amazed her students as she initially introduced herself with a power point presentation and showed family picture after picture with one more child added till in the end all nine were lined up with their parents, according to height. Linda is six feet and David is taller so their children are tall too. However there are a lot of tall Chinese. What makes the people stare at them every time they go out is their skin, eye, and hair color. Well probably their features too, I suppose. By the way you can peek at some of their doings. Their blog spot is http://terrysinchina.blogspot.com/ and I keep it in my favorites with the blogs by Jenn, Mindie, Ruth, Kathryn, and B.J.’s sister Linda. The Terrys threw the time open to questions at the end and someone asked how they liked the food. They both shuddered and shook their heads vigorously. Linda motioned with her hands to the left and said they had been offered fish heads. Then she motioned with her hands to the right and said they had been offered fish tails. Then she held her hands far apart and said, “but never have we been offered what is in between.” We all roared with laughter. They have found some small places that sell western food and they eat a lot of peanut butter.
Brother Terry said they saw poverty and had a little money set aside that they wanted to put to go use, so they asked a few students. The students know about graft and officials who skim money so they directed them to an orphanage a couple of hours away. It is not a true orphanage but is for children whose parent(s) are in prison. They went there to see for themselves. Brother Terry said though they couldn’t talk to the children, they enjoyed playing with them. They played Frisbee with toys plainly marked “Made in China”, but they do not have Frisbees in China so it was a novel treat. They felt good about making donations there.
Teaching religion is so illegal and our church is so cautious about our presence in China that leaders studiously avoid any mention of how many members may be in mainland China. But there is a temple in Hong Kong, which is a free city and not a part of the People's Republic of China and the Terrys are in a small branch with seventeen members.
Well I suppose you can tell how much the Terry fireside impressed me. They are a very lively couple so there was lots of laughter as well as many touching moments. I drove Daddy B.J. to a service call insurance appointment in Port Hadlock last night and I told him all about it on the way. He starts so early on Sunday mornings and doing all he does is so draining that he collapses into bed as soon as he can in the evenings. I went to the fireside anyway because I love the Terrys and I was lucky enough to find passengers so I didn’t have to make the trip alone.

PS I looked up the word ‘google’ on my Internet dictionary and it actually has a listed definition - To search the Web using the Google search engine. I did a lot of googling to find the references in this letter, so the word it a new part of my vocabulary but the activity is also a new part of my life.


Linda said...

It sounds like a very interesting fireside and thing to do. We had a couple in our CA ward who had been to China teaching English. They loved it and had lots of good things to say about it.

Ruth Sutton said...

The fireside sounded wonderful! I'm so glad we have you to share it with us. What an example in studious note taking! It felt as if I was sitting right alongside you at the gathering. Miss you much but love you more.

Kathryn said...

Sister Terry was so kind to me when we lived there. What a neat experience. Thanks for sharing. We enjoyed having your hubby down here for awhile. Makayla informed me that she would like to live with Grandpa Gent when she moves away from home.(she likes the idea of the lake in the backyard) Love ya!