New Friends from Asia

October, 1985

I am thanking God that I am feeling so much better physically since I switched to day shift last spring. I asked the Lord how I could reach more students at the University and decided to try putting a sign up for a Bible study on the bulletin board where the international graduate students live. I taught the first class last month and was surprised that 3 men came and no women. Two of the men, Min and Park, are from Korea and getting their PhD. All three listened intently to the class as they have never had any exposure to the Bible.

At the same time, one of the elders at church began teaching a Bible class in the married students’ apartments and had three Korean women attending. So we decided it would make sense to switch classes. The women listened well as I taught them slowly and carefully in English. They are learning English so sometimes communication is challenging, but we both ask God to help us understand His precious word and are making progress. I recently read a very helpful book in understanding their culture called Korean Patterns by Paul Crane who was a missionary in Korea for many years.

The book called Korean Patterns helped me understand the Korean culture.

The book called Korean Patterns helped me understand the Korean culture.

I also now have a Bible Club for children in my new home and am delighted to discover I have many Japanese neighbors who work at the nearby new Japanese auto plant. The auto plant brings their engineers and their families from Japan to the USA for several years at a time to teach the Americans how to build Japanese cars. The wives stay at home raising the children and are very eager to have their children learn English since they are attending American public schools. They readily send their children to Bible club to help them with their English. The children are listening well as I teach them, and I pray they will receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior as well as learn English.

Colorful Origami ball one of the Japanese Bible Club children made for me!

Colorful Origami ball one of the Japanese Bible Club children made for me!

Min recently told me that after being closed to outsiders since 1949, China is once again letting a few foreigners visit in tour groups or teach English. As I was reading one of my nursing journals, I read the ad for a nursing tour of China in June, 1986 for 16 days. As I recalled all the missionary biographies I have read of Hudson Taylor, Isobel, Kuhn, and J.O. Fraser from the China Inland Mission, I asked the Lord if He wanted me to visit China on this tour? I asked my Director if I could have 3 weeks off to go on the tour? She agreed but declined to give me any educational days, so I will have to take 4 days off without pay since I don’t have quite enough vacation time. So I sent in my registration with my deposit which included trip cancellation insurance.

One of the Koreans  introduced me to a visiting linguistics professor, Mr. S. from Beijing. It was a great privilege to meet Mr. S and share the gospel with him and invite him to the main Bible class on campus. He has come for three weeks in a row and said he wants to attend every week! He also volunteered to give me private Chinese lessons at his home! He said I could learn 500-1000 phrases over the next 8 months.

December, 1985

I learned there are 4 tones in Mandarin Chinese which is what they speak in mainland China where I’m going. The word has a totally different meaning depending on the tone you use. I think my music background is helping me recognize the different tones. Mr S. said I’m making good progress, but it seems very slow to me. I’m not even attempting to learn how to read or write the characters since my time is so short before June. I’m glad they use the Pinyin system which uses the 26 English letters to write out the Chinese words like they sound.

My Chinese phrase book and 1982 cassette I listened to many times.

My Chinese phrase book and 1982 cassette I listened to many times.

Mr. S.’s wife has started attending the Korean women’s Bible class with me weekly. She doesn’t speak much English, but she is trying very hard to learn. I was so excited when she memorized John 3:16 in both Chinese and English!

I have also contacted a Christian couple who are teaching English in western China. I hope to visit them while on the tour. I received their prayer letter recently which began, “Please….do not publish, do not post, but do pray…Also, please don’t share this letter with a visiting scholar or exchange student from China. We have already seen someone punished severely for helping a foreigner to do something not sanctioned. This letter was hand-carried from China.”

Only the Lord knows how many Chinese Christians have been tortured, imprisoned, and killed since 1949. But there is some word getting out now that the believers have grown exponentially into the millions as a result of the severe persecution they have suffered under the communists who promote atheism. How I pray for the believers there to be strong in the Lord! I also pray God will let me meet some of the them and that we might encourage one another in the faith.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you. Matthew 5:44

I had Mr S. translate an English gospel tract for me to take with me. I also ordered 50 Chinese-English Gospels of John to give out as gifts. My parents gave me a beautiful book on China from the National Geographic Society that has over 400 photos. I so hope the Lord allows me to go in June! So far, all the doors seem to be open for me.

Chinese English gospel tract my Chinese teacher translated for me.

Chinese English gospel tract my Chinese teacher translated for me.

Chinese English Gospel of John I took with me.

Chinese English Gospel of John I took with me.

Reflection – 2015

Over the next posts, I will continue with my journey to China and how it was nearly cancelled. Over the years, the Lord has brought many Chinese people into my life, especially visiting students. I have had the wonderful opportunity to share the gospel with quite a few of them and have had the joy of witnessing several receive Christ as their Savior. They always are excited when I pull out my photo album from 1986 as some of them weren’t even born then! Not too many Chinese nationals had cameras in 1986, so their parents usually do not have many photos to show them from that time period.

Several of the Japanese Bible Club children also received Christ as their Savior and then returned to Japan with their parents. They are now in their late thirties. I pray they are worshiping our Savior and growing in His grace.

Min and Park both received Christ as their Savior and returned to Korea after receiving their PhD. For several years, I received Christmas cards from each of them and was delighted when each of them wrote to me and told me God had given him a Christian wife! How wonderful It will be to worship the Lord together for all eternity!

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Research on Shift Work

November, 1984 – Night Shift

After finishing my first rounds on the nurses in orientation, I paged the security guard so he could admit me to the library. I signed in on the clipboard and noticed there were several interns and residents also here, probably preparing for their next presentation. From a child, I have always loved to go to the library and check out books. It’s like going on a treasure hunt! I went over to the long row of the large red Medline books that listed all the medical and nursing journals by subject and date. I looked under “Shift Work” and began to write down the Journal title, issue, date, and page numbers of the articles. After I had written down about 10 articles, I went to the stacks and began to pull the bound journals. Because this is a large teaching hospital, we have an excellent library. I turned to the page number, scanned the article, and if it looked good, placed a book marker. Then I took my stack of journals to the copy machine and copied and stapled each article. I stuck my stack of new articles in my notebook, signed out of the library, and went back to my office to begin to read. I highlighted in yellow the best points and began to take notes. I discovered that most of the research has been done on factory workers rather than nurses.

Night shift was taking its toll on me. (photo by R. Spearrin-used with permission)

Night shift was taking its toll on me.
(photo by R. Spearrin-used with permission)

I have now been working full time night shift for over 4 years and I’m afraid it is taking its toll. It has become more and more difficult to turn my body around on the weekends during my two days off. I have been asking God to give me grace and strength to endure, or deliver me by giving me a job on day shift again with weekends off so I can sleep better and be more involved with the ministry at church. While I’m waiting, I asked my director if I could do a research project on how shift work affects nurses? She readily agreed! I’m excited about learning something new, and hopefully I’ll pick up some hints that will help me cope better.

After I finished my review of the literature, I asked my director if I could do a survey of the nurses and compose the results to present at our annual hospital research symposium? She excitedly gave me the go ahead. I contacted the hospital research review board, and they gave me a packet to complete about my project which needed to be submitted for approval before I could proceed.

At their next meeting, they said I could go ahead with a pilot survey and then submit the results to them. I typed a four page survey and gave it to five nurses on each of the three shifts to complete. I compiled the results and made a few changes to the survey. Then the review board gave me permission to go ahead with the large survey of nurses.

Every staff nurse has to either rotate shifts or work full time evening or night shift at the hospital, so I surveyed an equal number of rotators and permanent shift nurses.  The results showed that the night shift rotators had the most difficulty adjusting to the off shift compared to the permanent night shift nurses. The evening rotators did not have much difficulty at all. This makes sense since they did not need to adjust their sleep schedule as much as night shift. Based on my results, I made a one page handout to give the nurses in orientation with suggestions for adjusting to the shift change. I made a poster of the results and presented it at the annual research symposium.

April, 1985

The Lord wonderfully opened the door for me to work on day shift in Staff Development! How I thank Him for His perfect timing. It is so wonderful to start feeling normal again without the constant  headaches from lack of sleep and be free of the struggle to stay awake at work at 5 a.m. It’s also much safer as I don’t fall asleep at every red light when I drive home!

Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.

Psalm 34:19

Reflection – 2015

I no longer have my research results or the handout due to my many moves over the years, but I discovered they now call it Shift Work Disorder (SWD). http://www.webmd.com/heart/video/expert-commentary-fryhofer-shiftwork This video talks about the increased risk of heart attack, stroke, smoking, and breast cancer for those who work shifts, especially nights.

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/shift-work-sleep-disorder-topic-overview This article lists their suggestions to help people adapt to sleeping during the day such as making your room dark, quiet, and cool temperature, not drinking any caffeine 4-5 hours before sleeping, and no exercise 4-5 hours before sleep.

I thank the Lord that there are some nurses that seem to be able to sleep easily any time of day or night! But I’m not one of them.  I never have worked night shift since then.

I also am grateful that it is so much easier to review literature now with the advent of the computer. The days are gone of lugging those heavy bound journals to the copy machine! But libraries are still one of my favorite places to visit. And the best part – they are free!

Christ is Risen!

Easter, April 5, 2015

Dear Readers,

I hope you have a blessed Easter worshiping our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ! This week, I will share the precious simple good news from the Bible and a few photos from my journey to Israel in 2013. It was truly the trip of a lifetime! If you ever have an opportunity to visit Israel, by all means go. (I felt safer there than anywhere else I have visited in the world.)

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures; and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve. After that, He was seen of above 500 brethren at once. ” I Corinthians 15:3-6

“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.” John 20:31

If you are unable to attend a good Bible church this Easter Sunday, I encourage you to go to http://www.ttb.org and listen to an Easter message by Dr. J. Vernon McGee.

Six day old donkey with shepherd.

Six day old donkey with shepherd.

Cross of Jesus

Replica of the Cross where Jesus died for our sins.

An empty tomb of a wealthy family from the time of Christ

An empty tomb of a wealthy family from the time of Christ

Jerusalem Skyline

Jerusalem Skyline

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon