Preparing to Live in China (1986)

Teaching English listening and speaking skills in China circa 1986

I was 23 and selling everything I had.

About this time, 31 years ago, I was preparing to live and teach in China. I really didn’t know exactly where, yet, just somewhere in the Mainland.

But, I almost didn’t go.

I got scared.

Midway into the interviewing process, I found out I would be teaching adults.

Most likely it would be professors at a university. Say whaaaaa?!!!

Yeah, I started re-thinking this E N T I R E thing.

A lot of unique things happened up to this point, and I really felt I was to go to China, but then I heard this little tidbit. 🙂

Not only was I going to a third world country, didn’t know a bit of Chinese, nor any Asians, at all, but now felt this was really stretching it for me.

I had just graduated with an elementary education degree and knew nothing of teaching adults. Much less professors…YIKES!

But, I believed God had called me to do this.

That’s part of the fascinating, unfolding story I will probably share later.

So, I had to trust that He knew what he was doing.

I had always believed the saying, “Where He calls, He will equip.”

And now was my time to step out into the deep and

“DO IT AFRAID”.

Let faith be bigger than your fear vignette.

TO BE CONTINUED…
PS Oh, and I might add, my boyfriend at the time had just proposed to me…
but I would be gone for a YEAR!

Read about our long distance courtship here:

 https://thentherestwo.com/2016/10/23/29-years-ago-i-married/

Do it afraid poster

Saddened by the Disrespect Shown to Another, Young Soldier

uncle-terry-recent

After recently visiting my Uncle’s grave, I was upset to hear, once again, about another young man who lost his precious life.

Another son had died.

In a foreign, far away place.

He fell as a soldier wearing the United States uniform, and now, his parents were bringing him home.

And the reactions of the plane’s passengers made me sick.

VERY SICK and VERY ANGRY!

The article describing the incident here.  

I wanted to cry. I felt horrified to think other human beings could be so calloused. Americans, at that!

I couldn’t even fathom this lack of respect, nor comprehend such a show of self-centeredness or whatever they thought they were trying to achieve.

What causes a person/people to treat a grieving family with such disdain?

What has happened to our America?

I tried to place myself in that family’s shoes; that frozen moment in time they will NEVER forget…

My heart was heavy for them.

But how can my heart be SO different from those that were on that plane?


My family is also familiar with this pain. They could tell you of profound grief.

We, too, lost a young soldier in Vietnam many years ago.

vietnam-wall

He was escorted home, finally.

It just happened to be decades after being listed as Missing in Action. (MIA)


It was the 60s and the Vietnam War was raging. My Uncle Terry had volunteered just as his two older brothers had.

Marine family of uncles, dad, and brother

He was part of a helicopter crew, rescuing the wounded when his helicopter was shot down.

Some of the men were thrown from the fiery crash, but Terry was never found.

We always wondered what the full story was.

terry

Then, in 1993, some Vietnamese farmers came forth with items from a crash. And the story began to unfold.

Forensics were then confirmed in Honolulu, and my brother–then a young Marine himself– escorted Terry’s remains home.

Terry could’ve been buried at Arlington. However,  the family thought it best to teach a community (and the younger generations) a valuable lesson.

A lesson we feared was being lost, not really taught in schools much anymore.

Teach about the cost of freedom flag poster.

Not just one lesson, but many:

That war was cruel.

Kids were still dying to this day.

That we should be there to support families, help where needed, invite a military family over for the holidays.

(You know, just be a good human.)

That this could have been anyone’s son or daughter.

And there were other countries losing their people, DAILY, due to lack of freedom.  Many picking up rifles to enter war as children.

Most importantly,

that freedom had a price. Always has, always will.

A HUGE price.


So, on that hot and humid July 4th, Terry’s high school gym was packed out.

He was remembered for his talented football skills, and his kind, gentle ways.

terry-in-high-school

His ultimate sacrifice recognized.

Our family, once again, was left with distant memories.  Terry’s parents (my grandparents) had wounds reopened all over again.

hoffman-kids

People lined the streets, kids waved flags, and many a biker rode in from the surrounding states to finally return their MIA bracelets.

It was a memorable sight to see them piled high, on the floor, near my grandparents’ feet. It had to be so hard for them.

The news crews were there to capture it all.

The flag-draped coffin.

The thunderous flyover that moved you to your core.

The caisson; a solemn reminder as it passed through town to the beat of a sole drum.

COMPLETE RESPECT was shown that day.

Tragically, for this other family on the plane…

that didn’t happen.

There wasn’t much, if any, shown.


My Uncle Terry didn’t get to finish college.

hoffman-kids-older

And I sometimes wonder what his life might have looked like.

What would’ve been his hobby to tinker with?

Who would he have married? How many kids would he have?

He wasn’t able to marry, have kids or enjoy a weekend with family.

(Just to have another day to show his own thankfulness.)

No, he CHOSE to leave a comfortable life to help in a far away land.

He wanted to show his loyalty.

He wanted to make sure we were ALL afforded continued freedom.

Simply put…HIS MOTIVES were PURE.

USMC, Marine soldier's gravestone


If I had been on that plane, I can tell you…

I could NOT have sat there silently!

I KNOW that I would’ve stood to speak for that family.

I KNOW, I would’ve cried with that family.

I KNOW I would’ve tried to apologize to that family.

AND, I would’ve thanked them and made it clear that this is not the totality of America, that my Uncle, nor their son, gave their lives for!!


Find a military family to reach out to.

Reach out to a grieving widow, a cop, a neighbor…your community.

Invite someone over for the holidays. Say a prayer for others.

Show some thankfulness.

Bridge the gap(s).

Teach your kids.

Show honor and respect.

I know my Uncle Terry would have,

if he could.

Written in honor of Terry who would have turned 72 on Feb. 4th.

Show some thankfulness this Thanksgiving poster.



For Terry’s military documented story:

http://www.vhpa.org/KIA/incident/68081999KIA.HTM

The United States Marine Corps