Tonight I had my lesson with Chinese university students. I never know how many students will come. Sometimes I have three students, sometimes 10 or more! But I always enjoy the time I spend with them. I thought you might like to hear a little more about what we do.
I usually prepare one lesson ahead each week, so that students can take the next week’s lesson home and prepare. Last week was different, since we did not get through all the questions for that lesson. So the three students went home to review the rest of the questions and prepare to answer them.
In the meanwhile, I had prepared the next week’s lesson, and had no idea why I put one of the exercises in that I did, since it would need at least fiver or six students, and I had not had that many students for a couple of weeks. But it amazes me how, as I prepare the lessons, I have such peace about some of the funny questions I think of asking. This lesson was going to call for splitting into two groups, and giving the students five minutes to assign parts and act out the story in a set of verses from Esther 5.
I came to class prepared first, to review last weeks question. The faithful three were there, and 7 more students, including one from the Philipines! And NONE of the seven had been at the past few lessons, and three new ones had no familiarity with Esther. Now what?
And so I began by explaining again, why we use the Bible for the text, the importance of being able to discuss difficult topics in English, and working with unknown terminology and being able to figure it out from context, review of the book of Esther up until chapter 5, and then the verse by verse reading.
Each student reads one verse, one after the other. Then we review vocabulary, definitions, and now came the moment. The thought came to me, “it will work, you have enough people.”
You should have seen their faces when I gave the assignment. Group 1 would act out Esther appearing before the King after her fast, and group 2 would act out Haman complaining to his wife and friends about Mordecai. They would have 5 minutes to assign a part to everyone, practice, and decide what to say to act out the part. They were in shock. Then they started practicing reading the verses, and I told them all, “No, this is not reading. You have to use your own words.” They all looked at each other, “and you have to assign parts and tell each other what to do — in English.”
But what I love about working with Chinese students is this: not one thought to say no. They all buckled down and got to work with each group.
What can I tell you? You could see them working hard so quickly. I granted them an extra 3 mintues to prepare. And then, “Is everyone ready?”
The all nodded yes, and I asked group one to go first. You should have seen them. They were amazing. Each one had at least one line (of course the King had more lines), they figured out how to add characters and fit them in with the plot, and spoke clearly. Group 2 did just as well. The young man playing Haman was clearly enjoying himself!
But more importantly, they all learned what they could do when put under pressure. Now that I think about it–isn’t that how God works with us? We think we can’t do something, He puts something before us, and what do we do? How often do we really accept His path and instructions without a moan or complaint.
My students reminded me of a very important lesson tonight, and I hope I remember to share it with them next week: I must accept God’s working in my life like they accepted the assignment I gave to them, with a shocked face, but a willing spirit. Let Him do the rest. And He does!