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2015 Blog

AK UAkron grad_20150510_c036r-j8Our 2015 Blog⇔ (Clicking on photos reveals the entire caption and often makes them bigger.)
   ◊  ◊  To see our 2016 Blog, click here.  ◊  ◊

December 31, 2015

We had a great time at Urbana, so I thought I should at least close the year with a few photos. If you were among the scores of people we spoke with there, we would love to hear from you! You’ll find contact information on our “About us” page.

December 24, 2015

On our way to the conference, we spent a few short days with our family in Georgia and SC. A cold and back trouble kept us from being as active as we hoped to be, but we enjoyed every minute with the family.

December 16, 2015

Sorry I’ve not posted an update for a few weeks. We’ve been busy preparing to participate in a conference in the US that starts right after Christmas. We leave in a few hours (it’s after 2 am as I write)! I also caught my first Hong Kong cold about two weeks ago, and it turned into a cough that we are still dealing with. Such is life in a crowded place like HK. Since it is late, I’ll let the photos and captions speak for themselves. We are looking forward to Christmas with family, a wonderful conference, and then a short rest with more family before we return in January. If I don’t get back to this blog before Christmas, Vivian and I hope you will have a joyful holiday. And never forget that Jesus is the “Reason for the Season”! (You’ll find two articles I wrote about Christmas on our old website: Finding Christmas and A Mary Christmas.)

Note: with the update to 4.4, WordPress can no longer be edited in Chrome, but Safari still works for now! I hope they fix this glitch soon!

 

November 24, 2015

"Welcome to Hong Kong!" We're ready for you.

“Welcome to Hong Kong!” We’re ready for you.

When this large sign greeted me at the HK airport recently, at first it seemed like an odd way to “Welcome” visitors. (Posters featured different people who serve at the airport.) But in the past few days, I’ve been very thankful that Hong Kong is a safe place. Our hearts go out to the people in Paris, Mali and other places who have lost loved ones or been crippled by the violence. I also feel for those afraid to go out in public, just because someone who shares their religion has used it to justify such destructive behavior. We live in a sick world, sorely in need of grace, forgiveness and love.

A local charity that dispenses love and practical help in many of the world’s troubled spots also gave US a big boost in “getting settled” this weekend. Crossroads collects used furniture and other goods in Hong Kong, giving them to needy people here, and shipping them worldwide. They are particularly focused on helping refugees (see photos) and needy people in Africa, as well as non-profit companies in HK (like the one I work for). There’s a long waiting list, but our appointment finally came on Friday, and we took away a used Mac computer for our office, and a bookcase and spare mattress for our apartment (to use when Associates pass through HK). And they didn’t charge us a penny! May God richly bless them for such generosity!

We had also recently received special gifts from friends who know we need a few more things for our apartment. So, once we got back from Crossroads, we headed out to buy a small oven, the frame for our new mattress, and another set of shelves for our home (to save money, the latter two had to be ordered, to arrive in 2-3 weeks). We also finally got around to adding the first “permanent” decorations to our walls–an act that really starts to make one’s apartment feel like home.

Vivian can now bake some goodies to share at Thanksgiving and Christmas parties! And soon, we’ll be able to throw out the last of our “moving” boxes and start being the “hosts” we love to be, sharing our apartment with others. What a great way to start “Thanksgiving week”!

November 4, 2015

Can you believe that it is November already? Our days remain busy with important things, including taking the chance to spend time with friends. As I write, Vivian is preparing for a flight to Chengdu to participate in a Womens’ Retreat sponsored by our Foundation, and I’m in the office late, trying to get caught up on things “set aside” during our weekend trip to Xiamen.

Former students and old friends joined us for dinner at a favorite Xiamen restaurant. It is nice being "missed" by so many!

Former students and old friends joined us for dinner at a favorite Xiamen restaurant. It is nice being “missed” by so many!

We decided to travel (rather unexpectedly) for several reasons. For one, we had to pick up another load of things from a friends house near the HK border–with those three suitcases, just about all of our stuff has finally made it to Hong Kong! Just for fun, we filled the “spaces” in our suitcases with favorite snacks that (believe it or not) we can’t buy in Hong Kong (I’m eating some now!).

That brings us to the second reason: we were getting stressed out over our tiny living space, constantly tripping over boxes we still haven’t unpacked (because there’s no where else to store anything!). A sister charity in HK has furniture and things to give away, and we had decided to wait until they could fit us in (they indicated that would be in January), but we just got word that we’ll get to visit their warehouse on Nov 20, hoping to get much-needed bookshelves, cabinet, oven, loft bed, etc.

Another reason was that our old (international) church in XM was having a one-day conference, and the guest speaker was a good friend. We knew his words would be challenging and encouraging, and we were not disappointed.

Since 1849, this church has served the people of Xiamen. The gold characters near the cross come from the Bible (John 3:16): “For God so loved the world…that He gave His only Son.”

And of course, we can’t visit our old home without giving local friends at least one chance to dine with us. The above photo shows that, even with little notice, ten people wanted to see us as much as we wanted to see them! We had a wonderful evening with these friends, as well as the friends we saw the next day at the short conference.

And as if that was not enough reasons, on Sunday morning, another dear friend was baptized at a local church–along with 57 other Chinese people! We absolutely love going to services like this, where it is impossible to hold back the tears of joy. Baptism is a very big step in anyone’s life, and it was very moving to see so many people start walking the “road of faith” that has come to bring so much peace and purpose into our own lives. We know that the same joy is in store for them, so the service was a real delight.

October 27, 2015

Hong Kong is such a popular destination and commercial hub, that friends often pass through–and we love seeing them! These friends spent a few days in HK before going to see other friends in China. They are wonderful people to spend time with, because they always seem to have the perfect thing to say to encourage us from the deep well of their wisdom and faith. Take a tip from Jim and Julie: the road to personal fulfillment is a path that focuses on loving and serving others!

We also spent Sunday to Tuesday at one of the “outlying islands” (Cheung Chau) on an annual JHF staff retreat.

October 18, 2015

How time flies! It is very hard to find time to update this blog!

I’m in Beijing, staying with a friend from my “student days” at Xiamen University in the 1980s.

Vivian and I started the week in Hong Kong. Friday we celebrated getting our Hong Kong IDs. That meant we could officially begin working. So, we worked all weekend to unpack boxes both at home and at our office. My office is starting to look and feel like a place I can get work done, now that my computer is set up, my books are on the shelves, and other materials are at hand. We have been so busy at the office and out-and-about that we’ve still got a lot to do to make our little apartment “home.”

On Tuesday we took a train to Changsha (see photos) where we visited associates who work with deaf and hearing impaired people. It was great to see their work with the children! I’m so glad that we can play a part in such amazing and worthwhile work, through our new roles at JHF. We also enjoyed lots of German pastries at the BEST bakery in Changsha: Bach’s Bakery. Our friend owns this cafe/bakery, which trains and employs deaf bakers. The next time we are in Changsha, we want to taste the best hamburgers in town, which use buns made at Bach’s.

On Thursday, Vivian returned to get work done in Hong Kong and I flew to Tianjin to chair the first Executive Team meeting for JHF since I became Executive Director. In the middle of the two-day meeting, we had dinner with other professionals and students in Tianjin. The city was very hazy, just as I remember it from my days as a teacher at the Tianjin College of Commerce in 1999 (see photo). Locals say that when they can’t see the tower, they know to wear an anti-pollution mask!

On Saturday evening, I took the high-speed rail to Beijing, and spent the night with Lei, a good friend from college days (we both studied at Xiamen University in the 1980s, and also traveled together during vacations).

Sunday morning I enjoyed a nice service at the Haidian Church in Beijing. It is said that this church is quite different from most churches in China, since it is the one foreign leaders and important guests are shown during visits to China. Chinese people are even allowed to worship, in English, with foreigners (normally not allowed in China). Maybe someday all of China’s churches can know the blessings this great church enjoys.

After church, I had lunch with other old friends, and then spent the rest of the day with Lei (and working on this update!).

Monday I fly back to Hong Kong, to prepare for our next JHF Board meeting on Tuesday evening.

So, as you see, we have wasted no time in getting into our new jobs, while doing the things we love doing: supporting foreign professionals who serve various communities in China, and maintaining relationships with friends and associates all over the country. We still have a lot to learn, and we are finding many aspects of our new jobs difficult, but when we see the precious children we help, and hear of the great things our other associates are doing, it is all worthwhile!

October 3, 2015

Just about every space in our tiny HK apartment now has boxes from our small (but much bigger) apartment in China. We gave away a lot in Xiamen, but I'm sure we'll give away even more now.

Just about every space in our tiny HK apartment now has boxes from our small (but much bigger) apartment in China. We gave away a lot in Xiamen, but I’m sure we’ll give away even more now.

Oct 2 was quite a day! (I trust you’ve read about Oct 1.) In the morning, JHF’s Personnel Director decided the staff needed a special time to pray for the things we have been waiting on: a work visa, HK ID card, our boxes to arrive, Vivian’s cold to go away…  Well, by mid-day, Vivian was feeling much better. At 3:30 we got a fax saying the visa had been granted (so we rushed over to Immigration to get through the line before 5). Then we headed back to the office to pickup where we left off–mainly to eat the sub sandwich I’d bought for a late lunch, right before the fax came.

At around 6:15, a surprise call came in, saying our boxes would be delivered within the hour! At 8:30 the driver called, quite angry that he couldn’t find a parking space on a Friday night in one of HK’s most popular night-spots. (Go figure.) So, I headed for the loading zone in front of our apartment, and as soon as a space became empty, I stood in it, waving off angry motorists who wanted to illegally park there–I had to keep the space for the truck! Again, it was a one-man show, so Vivian stayed downstairs to keep the police from ticketing the moving van, while “the guy” and I hauled boxes to the sixth floor (PTL we have an elevator!). The driver seemed amazed that we had helped so much (upstairs and curbside); he spoke a little Mandarin, so we could exchange basic communication. The truck was empty by about 9:30(?), we paid 1800HK ($230US), and then started comparing the delivery to our list. We were shocked to find about 20 boxes missing! (You may recall that they had “lost” our boxes a few days ago.) After a bit of panic and prayer, I made some calls, mainly through an friend (angel?) who had helped to make all the arrangements (what would we do without Katy!!). To make a long story short, our guy returned with a second load.  We got the rest of the boxes up to our apartment by midnight, and it now looks like nothing is missing. We are grateful.

Yes, several things were badly damaged by water (see previous posts). Due to terrible rust, we had to throw away a nice metal bookcase that Vivian had used since college! We also had to throw away a large bulletin board I’ve been using for over 20 years, due to water-rot and mildew. But both had served us well for a long time–we bid them a fond farewell, and heaved them into a dumpster! So far, white vinegar and other cleaning solutions have let us salvage most of the other damaged items, but there’s no telling what further surprises await as we continue to unpack.

My work visa is not valid until I leave China and return “under it.” Once it is validated, we can apply for an ID card, start working, get a bank account, get cheaper phone service, register for used furniture from a charity, and much more. We also need to make another trip into China to get stuff waiting at a friend’s apartment, but that trip takes all day (and he has friends in town this holiday weekend). Meanwhile, the weather forecast shows a typhoon heading around us, and thus we’ll have rain for a week. Not wanting to travel in a typhoon, we decided to cross the border this morning, have lunch in the Chinese city of Sha Tou Jiao, and then return. We got back as the rains began! Now comes the hard work of turning the chaos of boxes into an apartment! Hopefully, we’ll be able to work on this without losing electricity/water/etc because of the typhoon. The adventure continues…

October 1, 2015

Today was China’s National Day, so I took advantage of our empty office to catch up on some computer work, after another busy week. JHF’s former Director was in town, so I spent some time “at his feet” learning the ropes. We also enjoyed two nice meals with the staff; the latter was hosted by our Board, and the “key handover” shows former Board Chairman Patrick Cheng plus our Personnel Director and Office Manager looking on. The next day, I took another (solo) trip into China to hand-carry some of our more fragile belongings into HK. One of our newer suitcases got a flat tire in the moving process! We spent another enjoyable Sunday with friends; in this case a PhD student who used to be with us in Xiamen, whom we treated to lunch at Festival Walk mall. Yesterday we got home to find our toilet working (yeah!). All of the “end of the hall” apartments were mysteriously without flush water for about a week… “Welcome to Hong Kong.” [Unfortunately, the water stopped running again a few days later! Perhaps this will be a common problem…]

And today our movers told us that the holiday will delay our boxes to next week; they also sent a photo showing that at least one box didn’t have the sense to get out of the rain. A few days earlier, they called to say our boxes had gotten mixed up with a thousand others–“Please send some photos of the boxes.” Fortunately, we had lots of photos, and in about two days, they called to say they hope they had found them. If you haven’t read my new page about the adventure of moving in China, you can click here to get there. This trip is stacking up to be memorable too.

September 19, 2015

Yesterday our stuff left Xiamen. That experience has prompted me to create a new page about our “moves” in, out and around China. You can read about the newest experience here, but older “adventures” will have to wait.

Once the boxes were gone, we headed to campus to buy train tickets, only to find they had moved the ticket office. Lots of walking… Then I had to find a local branch of the hotel we want to stay in Monday night in Hui Zhou. More walking… At first, the clerk insisted that they didn’t have a branch where I said it was, but after some persistence and electronic searching, we found that I was right. So, we have train tickets in hand for Monday morning, plus a hotel room booked for Monday evening. On Friday, I also ordered some photos to be printed; when I went back Saturday (buses and lots more walking…) I found the door locked! I rushed back to another appointment, and of course had to repeat it all on Saturday (more buses and walking…).

Meanwhile, the fun part of being back in Xiamen has been seeing old friends and former students. We’ve been fortunate to catch up with about 20 friends and former students during this short trip! And we have really enjoyed our time together at favorite restaurants for great, cheap food and the laughter and joy of swapping stories.

 

We spent today helping at the Bridge–an English-corner I was active in for the past few years. SO MANY seemed happy to see us again! We had great fun singing, and talking to both old and new friends.

September 12, 2015

We have slept in our new apartment now for three nights (you can see the tiny floor plan below). I found the following wonderful photo on line, taken (by Jacob Johan) from “the peak” on Hong Kong Island, looking over Kowloon. Our office and apartment are across the harbor, and oddly enough, only about 4 of the 27 apartments we visited are even in the scope of this photo! This is a really dense city, and many people live on the other side of those mountains. But we are glad we chose a home we can walk to.

After running around all week, looking for an apartment and learning about our new roles at JHF, we are just beginning to feel settled. But next week we are returning to China, to try to get our boxes shipped to Hong Kong. Of course, we’ll see old friends (can’t wait!), but the visit will be short since we have to be back for important meetings in a few days.

 

September 3, 2015

We arrived late, but safe in Hong Kong last Thursday night, and with all our luggage. After a night in a hotel, strangers welcomed us in; they have now become friends, and we are very grateful for their hospitality. On Friday we started visiting apartments with a series of realtors (all connected to one friend or another). Yesterday, we signed a preliminary contract on the 27th apartment we visited. Some were over an hour away from the office by public transportation, but this one is just a 15-minute walk–a major selling point! It is also a short walk from a major train/bus station that will make it convenient for our associates, when they need a place to sleep while coming from or going to China. The apartment is 382 square feet (about the size of the living/dining room combo in many American homes), and we talked them down to $1806US per month. That includes a good deal of furniture, while 24 of the ones we looked at were empty (for the same price). That’s all the time I have at the moment, but here are a few photos.

August 17, 2015

Our summer in America is fast coming to a close. Next Wednesday, we fly to Hong Kong. I doubt that I’ll have much time to update this blog for a while! Our first duty will be to find an apartment; then we’ll return to Xiamen to ship our books, clothes, papers, utensils, etc., to Hong Kong. Officially, I become JHF’s General Executive Director on October 1, but everyone knows they will have to remain patient while Vivian and I get our life re-settled.

Before we leave the US, we still have a number of meetings and appointments too. But if you have been putting off a phone call or email, it’s not too late until Aug 25! See “About us” for email information.

August 11, 2015

We are back in Ohio, after a wonderful weekend at Myrtle Beach with friends and with our daughter & grandchildren (poor Chris, who always has to work while his wife and kids have fun!). I’ve got scores of photos from the summer, but no time to process them. Besides, it is too hard to choose between the good and the best photos. But here are a few you can enjoy:

August 8, 2015

After sunrise today, we’ll collect Beth and the kids, then head to Myrtle Beach. I speak there Sunday, and we wanted one more chance to get together, so they are coming with us.

Beth will keep the van (see “May 6” below), returning to Chapin Sunday; we drive a rental car to Ohio Monday. We have driven our van about 7000 miles (11,265 km) since we bought it in early May!

I’ve just spent two wonderful days at the Willow Creek Global Leadership summit, listening to world class leaders and artists. Wow! I was so busy making notes that I shot only one photo (shown here). The speaker (Sam Adeyemi) said he asked God why his organization was not successfully growing, and it was as if God replied: “You will not find the definition of success for your ministry or organization until you help the people I sent to you to succeed.” I just hope I can remember many of the helpful things I learned this week. As Bill Hybels said: “Everyone wins when a leader gets better.” A new, free app called GLSnext presents wonderful free videos from previous Willow Creek Summits! Check it out.

On the way home, I stopped to snap the above photo of our southern “home town”, Columbia, SC. Earlier this week, we got to talk about our adventures in China at the Lexington retirement home where Vivian’s sister-in-law lives (it was a nice evening!). And last week we took a few days to rest at “The Condo”–a family vacation home in GA that now belongs to Michael’s brother.

August 3, 2015

Our time in South Carolina and Georgia has been nice. We have about a week left, including one more chance to see the grandkids, and two days at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit (satellite location in Lexington).

Maybe I can add more photos later. These include a photo of the newest Krigline (my niece and her new daughter), a cute photo of my grandchildren and their cousin–waiting for the adults to finish dinner, and already “connected” at ages 3 and 4! You can also see our trip to a historical site in Ninety-Six South Carolina (Google it!). Finally, my brother must have picked up this painting on a trip to Hong Kong; it is now at The Condo (our family “retreat” on Lake Lanier, GA). I like it! Maybe I can find a similar painting after we move there next month.

And speaking of Hong Kong, I just stumbled on a short time-lapse video of Hong Kong harbor. We, of course, won’t have a view like this! But the “fragrant harbor” (that’s what “Hong Kong” means) has it’s beautiful moments. Enjoy:

http://ma.tt/2015/07/hong-kong-morning/

July 22, 2015

We will spend all day today driving from Ohio to South Carolina (11-12 hours, the way we drive). It is worthwhile, though, for we know we’ll see our grandchildren in SC (plus lots of other relatives and friends)! As I type, it’s already past midnight, and I’ve still got email to deal with, plus packing. But I wanted to post a few photos from the Yearly Meeting we participated in for the past four days. It was a wonderful time, seeing old and new friends, hearing inspiring speakers and enjoying great worship music. One of the encouraging things the last speaker said was: “Jesus doesn’t call those he has equipped, he equips those he has called.” In other words, we don’t have to be afraid to step out in faith and do what God asks us to do; if we are following His will, He will equip us to do the work. This is particularly encouraging to me, as I face the new challenges of becoming the Executive Director of JHF (see March 7 below).

July 16, 2015

Derrick returned to the DC area today (planning to return to China in about two weeks), after a “full” week in beautiful Ohio. We took him to see the Goodyear Blimp, the race track for the All American Soap Box Derby, a piece of the Ohio Erie Canal, the University of Akron, Kelly’s Island, Marblehead Lighthouse, and Thomas Edison’s birthplace. We lived at my parents’ home and Derrick said the hospitality was superb! He also got to participate in a picnic with University of Akron students and another with our church friends; he took part in a men’s breakfast and a morning small group for business people, too. We introduced him to cornbread and corndogs, sloppy joes, stripped shortbread cookies, Chick-fil-a, and more. We had dinner with our son at “Friday’s”, and spent an evening with him in Cleveland (watching Star Trek IV; he had never heard of Star Trek). As if that wasn’t enough, Derrick also traveled by bus to Toledo to spend a night with another friend. In the end, he said that America is very different from what he expected, based on what people told him in Cameroon and on what he sees in American movies. Ohio has lots of farmland, lots of friendly people, an interesting history, and many famous places to visit, but few tall buildings! I wish everyone who visits America could see as many different things as Derrick has seen this past week! Someday, I hope Derrick can show us around Cameroon.

Derrick arrives OH 7-9-15j3July 9, 2015

Our Cameroon friend Derrick (studying for his PhD in Xiamen, China) arrived in Ohio today after spending a week or so in DC (where he met Michael’s sister) and Philadelphia (where he attended a professional conference). We are looking forward to spending a week, showing him Ohio!

Grandparents again

Grandparents again! Michael’s older brother and sister-in-law welcome Darcy.

July 7, 2015

Last night, we also got the big news that Michael’s niece brought her third child into a loving family (in Georgia). We hope to get to meet young Darcy in late July!

Our first trip to Missouri certainly won’t be our last! We enjoyed every minute, meeting so many wonderful, friendly people. It was sort of sad to leave Monday morning! To save money, we chose a connecting flight in Atlanta that went WAY out of the “direct path” to Ohio, but Delta finally got us home. We had a wonderful meeting in Cortland, OH, on Wednesday night. (Sorry–no photos!) Those who came to hear us speak (for over an hour) were very interested and asked many good questions about China. Then we celebrated “Independence Day” quietly with friends and family, including our son, who came to spend the night in North Canton. Saturday, Michael’s Uncle and Aunt were visiting, on the way to their own family reunion; we had many enjoyable conversations before they left this morning. Sunday, we spoke to a very attentive, engaged group in Warren, and then were treated to a wonderful lunch with friends there.

The US Supreme Court’s ruling on June 26 got a lot of media attention, but I thought that most of the coverage presented shallow, incomplete news about this far-reaching decision. While righting unfair treatment in terms of death benefits, visitation rights, alimony, etc., this ruling created “rights” without defining or justifying them, leaving the door open for innumerable further lawsuits, especially against those who are “unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy” (Justice Alito, joined by Justices Scalia and Thomas, dissenting opinion). Here are some thoughtful articles that I found helpful:

  • Christian leaders respond – “Permanent, stable marriages with families with both a mother and a father may well make [Christians] seem freakish in 21st-century culture. We should not fear that….  Let’s embrace the sort of freakishness that saves.” Russell Moore, Ph.D.,
  • Dissenting Opinions – “Just who do we think we are?” Chief Justice John Roberts
  • The Old Bait-and-Switch – There “is some truth to the conservative claim that gay marriage is changing, not just expanding, marriage….   monogamy has never been an actual norm.” Gay activist Jay Michaelson
  • And a friend of mine’s thoughtful article was posted on TheListServer (no small feat!): We all make judgements daily–we have to. But “Let’s Judge What Is Truth, Not Each Other”

June 26, 2015

We flew to Missouri on Tuesday, and spent a wonderful day in Garden City with our friends Rick and Barb (also seen below in 2009 with us in Kunming!). On Wed we drove to Springfield for two deeply refreshing days of meetings and great meals with friends old and new who (like us) have a passion for investing their lives to work with people outside the US to meet needs and be a blessing. (We take Jesus seriously when He said: “it is more blessed to give than to receive” as you take My message of love and forgiveness “into all the world.”) One of these photos shows us with Steve and Darlene, who have mentored and supported us since before Andrew was born! Thursday night we joined hundreds in a very moving service where Pastor Rod Loy (from N Little Rock) gave a message that seemed to be written just for us! Today, we visited one of America’s favorite tourist destinations: Branson Missouri. You could spend days there, taking in live entertainment, but we only had the time and money to share a delicious salmon and salad overlooking the White River, before and after strolling around town. A few hours later, we arrived back in Garden City, where I’ll be speaking on Sunday morning.

June 16, 2015

After a week with my sister in the DC area (mainly trying to get over a tenacious cold, but also enjoying her wonderful family), we spent last weekend with relatives plus old and new friends in Mechanicsburg PA. Now we are back in Ohio, looking forward to a trip to Missouri next week, as well as a series of important meetings in Ohio in coming weeks.

My terrible cold is finally subsiding, so I’ve put together a montage of photos I didn’t have time to prepare/post while traveling. I also added a few photos from Andrew’s graduation farther below. (Click on photos if you can’t read the whole caption; this often makes them bigger too!)

June 9, 2015

We were in Philadelphia this weekend, home of Michael’s undergraduate alma mater (Eastern University), but also the US office of JHF. Vivian and I got to attend the JHF-US Board Meeting on Saturday, spending the weekend with our friends Chris (on the Board) and Naomi. In spite of the SC cold I’m still fighting, we had a wonderful weekend: listening, informing, meeting, speaking, and renewing friendships.

On the way back to Falls Church VA (near Washington DC), we had lunch at Eastern with Mary Gardner, a friend from college days who is now on staff there.

v918 reunion 6-1-15-j3

Vivian’s reunion with former City Hall co-workers

June 1, 2015

Before we moved to China, Vivian had worked for the City of Columbia for 28 years. Some of her colleagues (all retired now) like to get together for breakfast and an update when we are in town, and this time Vivian was pleasantly surprised to find that two former bosses also joined them! It was great to see everyone again, and to get caught up in each others’ lives. Tomorrow we start driving north (but we’ll be back in SC in late July); we’ll take a detour and visit North Carolina’s Outer Banks, hoping to see some famous places (see photos above).

White Oak 5-24-15_1551-j3

Annual Chinese gathering in South Carolina, 2015

May 25, 2015

Once a year, Chinese churches from several SE states join together to hear great speakers, encourage one another, and enjoy fellowship. It was a privilege to be among over 600 Chinese Believers this past weekend, including many old friends from the Chinese Christian Church of Columbia

May 22, 2015

We are grateful that Andrew has been hired as a Web Designer in Cleveland, and now has also found an apartment to move to next week! Michael has flown south to join Vivian at Michael’s brother’s house, before heading to a conference in South Carolina this weekend, followed by important meetings this coming week. We also look forward to being with Beth and her family, as well as other SC friends and relatives, during the week. Here are two more photos of the grandchildren’s visit to Ohio.

May 10, 2015

The “Big Day” finally arrived. Today, Andrew graduated Magna Cum Laude (high honors) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Honors College of the University of Akron. In salute to his parents, Andrew wore the same gown Michael wore when he got his Masters’ Degree. Along with his mom and dad, Andrew’s big sister and grandmother were also in attendance–all very proud of this young man’s hard work and achievements. (After the ceremony, we had a great BBQ lunch at Grandma’s house, and even managed to get the wonderful family photo at the top of this post, with Beth and her children.)

 

We are also grateful that due to Andrew’s great grades, scholarships, summer jobs, frugal lifestyle and generous relatives, he graduated without debt. While many students (including his dad) change majors several times between enrollment and graduation, Andrew knew he wanted to study Design from the very beginning. He also worked hard to teach himself many things, above and beyond what the teachers presented, including the “languages” needed to code websites. This drive, combined with God-given creativity and all he has learned about “working together” with others will serve him well as a Web Designer. “Jia You” Andrew! Congratulations, and may God bless your steps as you take your place in the adult world!

May 6, 2015

Town&Country 5-6-15cA few days ago, Vivian flew to SC; yesterday she bought this car; today she started driving it back to Ohio, with our daughter and grandchildren inside! We are looking forward to being together for Andrew’s graduation on Sunday. If you pray, please lift up this “precious cargo” as they drive Wed and Thur. They will drive back down to SC next week. Michael will fly to join them a week or so later.

We can’t say enough about the great help we got from Daniel Basham at CarChoice in Columbia. He really went out of his way to help us find a car that would meet our needs and budget–and got very little for himself out of the deal. We are extremely grateful!

April 24, 2015

Sr Show_4-15_10-j8For over a year, we’ve looked forward to participating in our son’s college graduation. The first aspect of this momentous occasion was Andrew’s Senior Show today. We enjoyed watching him interact with would-be employers and the “friends and family” of his classmates who, like us, came to see the Design majors’ portfolios and creative give-away items. Andrew’s “gift” is seen in the bottom corner: a black 3D-printed name card/iPhone stand, bearing his own logo. We’re remarkably proud of all he has learned at Akron U (as well as all that he has taught himself!), and we’re also really glad we bought Andrew his first Mac (in high school) and his first 3D printer (Christmas 2013). One of his teachers told me: “Andrew is fortunate because a lot of people are looking for what he does well.” Somebody out there is going to be VERY happy they hired this creative young web designer!

Cinnamon (the bear) and his "moving buddy" Noah wait with others to be put into boxes. I wonder what Denali (beaver) is whispering to his buddy Shou-O!

Cinnamon (the bear) and his “moving buddy” Noah wait with others to be put into boxes. I wonder what Denali (beaver) is whispering to his buddy Shou-O!

April 16, 2015

Our bookshelves are empty; we’re still working on the closets. This has been “packing week” once again for the Kriglines, as we prepare to move to Hong Kong. Last weekend was full of tearful goodbyes as we participated one last time at our wonderful international church (XICF), the Bridge, and the small groups we have enjoyed so much in Xiamen. Last Friday, several former students shared a meal with us on the XMU campus–exchanging more sad farewells. On Monday, we will take a train to Hong Kong, and then fly to the USA for Andrew’s graduation (and then the summer). In the meantime, I’d better get back to packing!

April 1, 2015

I have passed the “DIY Pottery” shop in Zeng Cuo An every Saturday for months (on my way to “Bridges” English Corner), and today I finally got to play in their mud! Frankly, I had a great time! The result turned out nice (Vivian took lots of nice photos), but of course it was really the master craftsman who did most of the work. He straightened out the vase when it started to wobble on the spinning wheel, he got it to be the shape I wanted, etc, often with his hands guiding mine. There is a lot of cool symbolism in pottery, as I explained in a speech and song, posted at http://www.krigline.com/treasure-in-clay.htm. [Click the photos to enlarge them.]

March 31, 2015

Sofa-bed for sale

Sofa-bed for sale

Since we will be leaving Xiamen (for good) in a few weeks, it is time to start packing, which also means it is time to start selling or giving things away. If you live in Xiamen, take a look at our new SALE page, which will probably keep changing until we leave in mid April.

JHF owns the ninth floor of this Mong Kok office tower (see the arrow); there are about 10 more floors above the photo!

Since 2003, JHF’s HQ has been the ninth floor of this Mong Kok office tower (see the arrow); there are about 10 more floors above the photo!

March 25, 2015

Vivian and I are spending a week in Hong Kong, meeting with my new job’s Board of Directors and the office staff, as well as with old friends and associates. As a little kid, growing up in a small town in Georgia, I never dreamed that I’d one day work in a noisy, bustling place like this. And even though I’ve lived in larger Chinese cities, life on a university campus is quite serene in comparison to downtown Hong Kong!

March 7, 2015

This week, we got some life-changing news. After happily teaching English at Chinese universities for almost 15 years, we will soon be moving to Hong Kong with a very different job description. I’ve been appointed to be the next Executive Director (总干事) for the Jian Hua Foundation in Hong Kong. The current Director retires this summer.

For over 35 years, JHF (www.jhf-china.org) has been supporting foreign professionals who work in mainland China. It is a non-profit company, with a Board comprised of HK-Chinese professionals. Our motto is: “Serving the communities of China with hope and love.” The foundation currently has associates from over 15 countries working in a wide variety of professional fields in China. Jian Hua’s main areas of involvement are in education, medical services, community services, and business.

GED_JHF_2015-2_27-j4JHF connected me with my first Chinese university position (Tianjin 1999), and helped connect me with some of the other esteemed institutions I’ve worked for. Vivian and I have appreciated this company for 16 years, but never dreamed that I’d be serving in this important position.

Part of my job will include trips to different parts of China as well as abroad, so here’s an incentive for all of my former students to stay in touch: maybe someday I can visit you and take you out for a cup of tea! And if your company needs a foreign expert to help in some way, please contact me! (You’ll find current contact information in the “About us” post.)

2015-2_Xu Laoshi XMU_18j3Feb 20, 2015

After two days of quiet, when most stores were closed due to the New Year holiday, we decided to venture out and visit one of Michael’s teachers from 1985-87: Xu Laoshi. She and her husband still live on the main campus of Xiamen University. Health and other reasons have kept us from seeing each other as much as I’d like, but we have been together several times since my return to China in 2000. It is always great to see them again!

Sandy wedding_2015-1__11-j8Jan 18, 2015

The time between Christmas/New Year and Chinese New Year is a great time to get married! We were grateful that Sandy and Eason, whom we met at Bridges, invited us to their beautiful wedding. The atmosphere was full of love and devotion, as friends witnessed the start of this marriage and enjoyed good food and fellowship.

The photo also shows one aspect of modern celebrations that I find it hard to get used to. In the “old days” we occasionally had to peer around the occasionally-uplifted camera; today, so many people use their phones to “video” events that sometimes it is almost impossible to see the event through the sea of continually-uplifted phones! (And yes, I took these photos with my phone–though I didn’t shoot any video!)

 


Up until 2013, we kept a sort-of-monthly blog at www.krigline.com; but in 2014 it got too difficult to update regularly from within China; I also had trouble firing up the old XP to input website changes via my website’s antique software, MS FrontPage. In 2015, I started putting our updates here. But you can still find old blog posts on our old archive pages.

©2015 Michael Krigline. For contact info, visit About Us. To make a contribution, see our Website Standards and Use Policy page (under “About Us”).

About Krigline.com

All content ©2017 Michael Krigline unless otherwise noted. This is the personal website of Michael & Vivian Krigline: building social bridges in SE Asia since 1999. We also run Krigline.com, www.krigline.com.cn, and EFLsuccess.com. {If you are looking for our son, Andrew Krigline, Click Here.} Most of our resources are available for use in a class, church, etc., if used according to our Website Standards and Use Policy, which also talks about cookies; by visiting, you agree to these policies. Thanks for stopping by!

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