Greeting for brothers and sisters in Christ! This is Tim’s (Mu-tien) third prayer letter. Our mid-term was finished lately. A self-reexamination reveals the deficiencies I need to work on in order to have a better performance.
The very next day after I sent forth the second letter (on Septemper), I decided to drop the homiletics class. There was a ten-page paper due on the day, and I was not able to finish. I have been sitting up overnight several times in this semester, for various classes and various reasons. But this time I was too exhausted and was complete drained of inspirations for papers.
A little bit more pulpit experience might have been helpful— I was just guessing since I have never preached before. That’s why I feel it’s so hard to incorporate cognitive ideas gained from books and class lectures with real life matters. And that’s what I honestly told Prof. Scharf after that class. He was very kind and did not mind allowing extra days for me to complete the paper work. I didn’t accept it though, worrying that other courses I am talking might be subsequently affected. So I was actually a poignant decision. Fortunately when I shared this with my roommates, they all prayed and supported me in the body of Christ.
My other course work did not come out with satisfactory results, neither. I make mistakes in grammars, and the expression sometimes lacks clarity. There are structural flaws as well. Had I revised them some time earlier with the help of a native speaker, the results might have been much better. I know I should be more dauntless in crying for help and stop being anxious.
The styles of learning in seminaries are quietly different from those in graduate schools. Whether Asian or American, the seminary life tends to be more communal and holistic than graduate schools. This community lifestyle consists of church involvement, campus chapel, formation group, prayer meeting, conversations, and other extracurricular activities. I am grateful for the opportunities that I am able to participate. It also helps me to adapt myself to the culture of a foreign continent.
Campus chapels are scheduled on each Tuesday and Thursday, from 11 to noon. It is not mandatory, but strong pulpit attracts people to come hearing the message of God. Besides weekly expositions of Scripture by our distinguished faculties, such as Dr. Donald Carson, worldly renowned speakers will also be invited to address on occasion. Worship team, usually led by senior students, also makes an integral part of this chapel with an addition of young spirit.
This Thursday I was invited to the church choir rehearsal. For oversea student like me, Chinese church is really like a second home. I can feel that people here are showing real concern for me; their zeal for God is also expressed in a concrete way. Presumably I will be assuming a more important role in the service of this church, but currently I still need to battle against transportation and weather issues, as well as personal time management if I am going to assisting Sunday schools and weekday small groups.
One thing thankful and intriguing to be mentioned: my cell phone was lost in last month but the lost was immediately compensated by a long-desired Giant bike that a congregant in my church gave me. Actually I have learned a lot on how to take money issue less seriously on these days. When I dropped 2 credit-hour preaching class, I know it was also a $1350 USD financial lost. And at that time, Paul’s word in Philippians 4:12 encourages and comforts me: “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. (NLT)”
Our school stops for three days in mid October. It is a time to reenergize ourselves. Fortunately I have friends coming far away to see me. They are my former classmates from CES, Taiwan. Not only did we go around some local attraction, but we also celebrated the Lord’s Day at NSCCC, having a great release of body, mind, and soul. The persons in picture above, taken while we visited Chicago Botanic Garden, are James, Sydney, Mu-tien, and I-jun.
This letter is becoming so long, though there is still no way that this can be a comprehensive account of God’s great mercy wonder to me. I have received some warm replies from my last prayer letter sent; let’s say I really appreciate a lot! This third letter has taken me two entire days to finish; I hope to let you know that I have always been remembering you in my prayers and studies, since we are all one body in Christ.
平安喜樂Peace & Joy
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