29 January 2019
It was my second year in China, so still a newby. I had commenced a requirement from all students that I taught, to write at least half a page of English per week. I bought the notebooks and gave them out during the first lesson, stressing that it was my book for them to write ANYTHING they wanted, to me. I would not correct it, just read it. My emphasis was to get them to write, not to teach them writing.
This turned out to be a very good method to find out what students were thinking; things they would not say.
I was reading and was seeing the lament of a student who could not get on with her classmates. She did happen to be the class monitor. She wrote of her difficulties and finished with the words, “Perhaps I should just go to a very high mountain and live all alone.”
My heart broke. There were real problems here. I called out to Jesus for direction in what to do. I could not overlook this. What if it developed into a crisis and then there was a suicide? Such things were not uncommon among students who carried the future of their extended families on their shoulders.
I wrote a short note, that if she wanted to talk about this to ring me for an appointment and then come and see me. She did.
After listening I knew that I had neither the knowledge nor the experience to handle cases like this. I was praying all through our conversation. Then I told her about Jesus and some of the things he had done for me. Her only question was, “Can Jesus change my relationship with othr people?” I said, “Yes.” She wanted to know how and I just said, “I don’t know.”
She prayed and asked Jesus to take over her life and except for seeing her in class, and sometimes in church, the matter was not mentioned again.
When it came to Christmas, and the end of the first semester, I wanted to know how she was getting on before everyone went home for holidays. I requested her to come and see me.
When she did I asked how she was and she was very enthusiastic and positive. I asked her whether Jesus had changed her life, and she immediately said, “Yes”. Next, “Did Jesus change your relationship with other people?” Again an enthusiastic “Yes.”
So I asked her “How?” This time she replied, “I don’t know.”
We laughed with the realization that you can never understand the ‘how’ of what Jesus does, just rejoice in the fact that he cares enough to help us.
Moments like these were precious. Strictly speaking, it broke the rules. But what else could I have done? And not doing anything might have led to one more suicide which would not only have hurt me, but many more people in her life.
So, what would you have done?