May 2005 Update

“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
To the ends of the earth, surely that’s where we were going! At least that’s what it appeared as we flew over towering snow-capped barren mountains, vast deserts and arid plains on the final leg of our trip to Urumqi. Then out of nowhere — a city appears. We have arrived!

We are greeted by someone carrying a sign that says, “Welcome Rolf and Sherri Ronstadt” How great is that after almost 2 days of traveling. Unbeknownst to us arrangements had been made for us to be picked up at the airport. We are whisked to the hotel and quickly checked in because we were late for a special dinner hosted by the hotel manager. We then are ushered into this beautiful room with an elegantly set huge table where we joined the team we would be working with, the hotel manager and some of his staff for a wonderful evening and dinner.

The dinner was to welcome us and to show appreciation for the fact that we had all come to help teach the hotel staff oral English. Even in “the middle of nowhere” they know the necessity of learning the global business language of English. We each would be working with a different part of the staff at various hours during the day.

It was truly a rewarding time. Our students were delightful and eager to learn. Our lessons included not just vocabulary and pronunciation but stories designed so that we could reach out to them and concluded with discussions of American holidays which gave us the opportunity to tell them especially about Christmas and Easter and how and why we celebrate.

We also made visits to some schools. We would enter a jammed packed classroom where we were greeted with cheers like we were some celebrity sports team or famous rock band! After wanting to hear from us, they entertained us for hours with narratives in English, songs, dances – some in English, some in their Uyghur language and some with their native costumes and instruments. After we went outside where there were many, many photos — the local TV station was even there. And the young students just wanted to talk and ask questions and practice their English. One young girl told Sherri she had never talked to a foreigner before. They were absolutely precious and a complete joy to be with. We thank God and YOU for the privilege to spend time with these beautiful people!

The time went by much too quickly and it was sadly time to leave. PRAY with us God will produce fruit from the seeds planted. We flew back to Shanghai and spent a few days there. Our Chinese friend, Helen, invited us to her home and we spent an enjoyable time visiting with her and her family. She still has many questions about the Christian faith. Please keep praying for her.

We were also able to spend some time with our friend, Daisy. Although she tells us she does spend some time reading the Bible we gave her, she is young (23 years) and is more interested in doing well in her job and in spending time with her friends. PRAY God would touch her heart and draw her to Himself.

“Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all people.” (Psalm 96:2-3)

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