代禱信三:赴美第三個月

三一神學院的第一學期(邱慕天代禱信三) 2007/10/29

 

Prayer request from Mu-tien: First semester in TEDS (III)     04-01-08_1159

各位主內長輩弟兄姊妹平安!這是慕天的第三封代禱信。­

前日終於正式結束的期中考,感謝主我在很多方面看到自己的不足,也知道要如何漸漸調整自己進入狀況。

上一封代禱信寫完的隔天,我就退選了兩學分講道學。之前我曾為了其他科的兩篇期初報告分別通宵、熬夜奮戰,在那天寫完代禱信後我再次感到講道學期中報告將「開天窗」。

那是份十頁的講道神學初探,從來沒有講台經驗的我,即使課堂一個月下來努力讀了七、八百頁著作,還是有種疏離、無法將作者經驗消化的感覺。雖然隔天和老師溝通,他願意給我延長時限,但鑑於將破壞各科預備時間的均衡,以及對接下來的英文講道實習的潛在焦慮,我還是跟該門教授Dr. Scharf表示了抱歉。那晚我在寢室禱告會上跟室友分享難處,他們都為我禱告。

另外兩篇發回的報告分別只得到差強人意的B和C。完稿後沒有再度校正,留下了錯誤的文法和不完整的結構是最大的敗筆。由於我英文寫作速度遠不及美國同學,且無法第一時間就做出完全清晰、達意的書面表達,目前需要加緊學習的是:減少焦慮、多多禱告,並勇於求助。

神學院和研究所的學習一點相當的不同,是團體生活的重要性。這個區分我想東西皆然。教會參與、校園禮拜、小組、禱告會、運動、課外休閒與交談,都是神學院團體生活的一部份。我很感謝有這些安排,積極參與也加速讓我融入這個英語文化環境。

三一的校園禮拜在每週二、四的中午前一小時,雖非強制,卻很值得參加。首先是講台實力堅強,排定的彼得前書逐段解經,由Dr. Carson等資深新約師資擔綱;另時常有特別講座,專請遠道而來的國際級講者;由學生組成的專業敬拜團展現年輕人大器、積極的一面。

這禮拜四(城北華人基督)教會Frank弟兄邀請了我去教會詩班,為週日的崇拜獻詩「你真配得」和感恩節詩歌練唱。人在遠洋,華人教會給了我一部份如家的感受。弟兄姊妹親切、也看到許多有心追求的人。在教會接下來我有望成為主日學的助手,或許也擔任崇拜硬體的服事。若交通工具(目前沒車)、天氣(將至的五大湖嚴冬)、時間安排(神學院課業)等負面條件克服,還希望能固定支援週間家庭小組。

近期還有許多感恩。不得不說之前中秋節我掉了手機,一個月來沒有找著;而就日前在教會一位弟兄給了我一台腳踏車,還是台灣的捷安特,失喪的情緒一下就被抵銷了!當然我向來把物欲壓得很低,因此事實上也沒那麼失喪。對金錢得失的看淡是來美很大的學習(畢竟單退選那門兩學分的課就相當四萬多台幣的損失了),或許正在朝向保羅腓立比書4:12所說的:「我知道怎樣處卑賤,也知道怎樣處豐富;或飽足,或飢餓;或有餘,或缺乏,隨事隨在,我都得了秘訣。」

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)”

十月中旬學校短暫放了三天假,提供同學趕報告、預備期中考、抒解身心。很幸運地在台灣華神時的同學一行也途經造訪,幫我從家人處捎來問候及日用品,且出外時多有照顧。我們兩天內去了芝加哥數個著名景點,主日則在城北華人教會聚會,分享美好的交通。(上圖攝於芝加哥植物園,人物左至右依序為境鱗、心怡、慕天、怡君。)

拉拉雜雜寫了這麼多,仍覺無法訴盡對神奧妙作為的領略和對祂大憐厚恩的感謝。上一封代禱信寄出後得到諸多回響,惜沒有時間一一回復。這封信花了兩天時間完成,只盼也能同樣訴說與你們交流的心,讓各位知道我時常在禱告與學習當中紀念大家。

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.

    祝 

平安喜樂Peace & Joy

慕天

與爸媽(文福、意玲)敬上

 

備註:如果您願意與慕天有信箋或物件的往來,慕天在美國的實體郵箱位址是:2065, Half Day Rd. D-160, Deerfield, IL 60015我也期待繼續得到您們的祝福!

P.S. my mail address here is: 2065, Half Day Rd. D-160, Deerfield, IL 60015, please feel free to contact me, since all your support and prayer are a blessing to me!

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