A memory I cherish from traveling in the Far East is my first visit to the Great Wall of China in 2004. I had naively assumed that the section our team planned to visit near Beijing was on level ground. After all, Beijing was level. What a shock to find that it was way up on a mountain, not a huge mountain, but a mountain, nevertheless. Our hosts took us to a less restored, but more authentic, section of the wall, and we had to CLIMB and CLIMB and CLIMB to reach the top. But what a panoramic view! Walking through the watchtowers and along the wall, I felt the wonder of being over a foundation built approximately 1300 years earlier. I pictured the enemy hordes on one side and the villagers on the other, protected by the wall’s defenders.
Visiting tourist attractions and historical landmarks wasn’t the best part about being in Beijing that summer, however. Our Dallas Baptist University team was there to instruct Chinese teachers of English from eleven provinces from all across China in methods of teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL). Sharing our lives for four weeks with our gracious new friends was far better than even the mountain-top experience on the Great Wall. This opportunity was actually the answer to my specific prayer to be able to go to Beijing “sometime before I die.” In fact, I got to go back to the area three more times to teach in English seminars, so God answered above what I could imagine.
Now that I’ve gotten a little too old to travel, I’m thankful that I still have the opportunity to teach international students at DBU. Sometimes when I get tired of grading papers and disappointed by a student’s lack of effort, I need to have my mind renewed by a spirit of thankfulness to the Lord for such an open door of ministry. Great walls crumble, but people’s lives are affected for eternity.
Maybe you would like to share a life’s highlight that you still cherish.