I have been doing all of the work to get Brooke into college in the states. Their electronic form for domestic students didn’t allow for international addresses so everything has had to take place via internet without the luxury of receiving mail. Brooke was accepted at all 3 universities but has chosen to go to University of Nevada Reno for their nursing program. When we go back to the states in July for conference we will be dropping Brooke off to stay in Reno.
The thought of being a Christian in the university environment excites me. But, I am 50 years old. So I wasn’t sure how Laura Michelle would do and now Brooke will be at that place also. Here is part of a larger email from Laura talking about her Christian presence on an American university campus.
“So I don’t know if you read my paper, but it was a very interesting experience to present it in class. My professor is totally gung ho feminism, we’re better smarter etc. So my paper was something she probably totally disagreed with. But it was even more interesting to see how other papers treated women. (I went first) Another girl did a paper on Empress Wu (the only female Chinese ruler, ever) and totally glorified her taking the power, having male concubines, and "validating her rule" through a reign of terror. And of course this was ok because the male emperors did the same things and were oftentimes worse. And I must say that sometimes I struggle with the idea that women can’t really pursue authority, and that their ideal role is one that really is in the inner quarters. Of course God doesn’t call us to be totally secluded and really what we’re supposed to do is totally complementary to our husbands. Yet, it’s hard to hold onto the value of this when girls are all, Yay girls, go women go! It’s hard to be a dissenting voice, especially when I do take pride in the fact that I’m a woman and that we are able to achieve things just as well as men, and (it must be said) do it better than them sometimes. It’s really complicated, but sometimes when I look at our capabilities and I look at how a Christian woman voluntarily defers to a man, it makes us that much more noble, virtuous, and even powerful.
Another really interesting thing that was happening during the presentation (and I’m not sure if I’m making this up,but…) was that initially everyone seemed kind of shocked and then it seemed to develop that many of the girls got a little up tight (especially P. Kang, who was not pleased, but didn’t say anything), while the guys had a very sympathetic ear during the presentation. I don’t know, I’m interested to see the grade I’ll get in this class now. I wonder if it’ll influence anything. I do know that I did my research, and I felt like God was telling me "good job" afterwards, especially as the other girl started talking about how she wanted male concubines for herself (oh yes, she did say that during her presentation) which was met with some laughs of semi approval from the girls.
I don’t know, maybe I’m overspiritualizing the situation, but I just felt a comfortable presence of God, and hopefully He’ll be able to use it to some purpose in the minds of the people who heard the presentation.
This is all a mishmash in my mind right now, (I got 4 hours of sleep last night and probably won’t go to bed until well after 12 tonight) but that’s just what’s running through my head.
For awhile now I’ve tried to make a greater effort to "salt" my conversation and interactions with people, with God. Like on my away message (AIM) I’ll put up some cool scripture or something, small things like that. And I definitely saw a change in how unsaved people interacted with me, notably the members of the PG staff. I think they were curious and a lot more willing to engage in spiritual conversation, just more receptive in general (except for the gay guy who was pretty anomostic). One girl’s boyfriend had gotten in a motor cycle accident and when she told me about it I was like, Thank God he wasn’t killed or hurt worse. And she was like, I know.
Then a few weeks ago there was a really good sermon in church, preached by a visiting missionary from Brazil. He really challenged us to reach out to people using the name of Christ (which is the most powerful, because "God" has become a heterogenous sort of term). So, again, in small ways, I tried to bring the name of Jesus into my conversation, and even on my exams. On our last SOAN exam we were asked to give our opinion on what were the major challenges facing the American fam in the 20th century. I essentially said it was a lack of commitment and ended with saying that although most people thought these obstacles were impossible to overcome, through Jesus all things are possible. We were also asked about how our social location (gender, age, class, education, location etc) contributed to our social mobility, and in it I addressed marriage and how I hoped to become a complementary partner with my husband etc.
Well, last Thursday P.Ford (the one who comes from a very religious background and who has a born again Aunt who has obviously impacted her, as well as her mother who I think was saved as well) told me that she had something for me. Apparently she had been going through her mother’s things and had found essentially a flyer, and was reminded of me. One side of the "flyer" is a $50 bill and on the other side it talks about what money can buy, but what it can’t provide. And it ends with an invitation to salvation! She gave it to me and was like, "you know I’m not interested in this stuff, I’m not religious" (she believes in a higher power but thinks that noone really knows what/who it is). But I can’t help hoping and believing that God will "get her" when some day she stops thinking and just lets God speak to her.
I’m not trying to be uber spiritual or anything (you know I’m not!) but these are just some really wonderful experiences that have happened lately. And now I’m tearing up and need to get to a meeting.
Thank you so much for your prayers you guys. I really love you and I can’t thank you enough for being such a wonderful family. You have all taught me so much about God and He’s become real to me through you."
I’ll just let the entire message stand as is. Pray for Christians who are in universities that they can be used of God. (Laura Michelle gave me permission to add the letter to the blog)