2 February 2019
It was April 2012, and I needed a new visa. I went thrugh all the procedures and applied for another 12 months visa. When I received the visa I noticed I had only been given six months. This caused a huge amount of stress.
Of course I was aware of the fact that age was taken into account since a number of older foreigners had died in China. As they did not have insurance or other means to pay the costs, this was usually an expense the schools had to cover.
I had around A$100,000 insurance, including evacuation insurance. I must have had the false hope that I was “safe.” I should have known that when the Chinese made a rule they did not take individual circumstances into consideration.
By the time the school year finished, I had come to terms with the fact that now was the time to return to Australia. I was running after school classes in my home and loved teaching the primary school children. Having to tell them and their parents that I could no longer stay was the most difficult. Many said they wanted to intervene on my behalf, but I did not put a lot of hope in that. I had had twenty years, and maybe now was the time to finish.
What would I do with a flat full of furniture and all my teaching material as well as the library of children’s books that I had accumulated over the years? I worked out that I could sell much to other English teachers and then people who were interested to purchase furniture, a bit like Gum-Tree?
I had commenced doing this when Jesus gave me a very strong word, “Give it away. Don’t charge for it.” I had to contact those who had paid for items and repay them the money. This became exciting. I was getting used to doing things in different ways when told to do so, so I was wondering how all of this would work out.
It was just a few days later that I received an e.mail from a student from years ago with whom I had kept in touch. He wrote, “Teacher, Jesus told me to pay for your ticket to go home. Please tell me how much it costs.” I had not yet bought the ticket so told him I would have to find out. His reply was to point me to sites where there were cheap tickets. However, I had decided that I would go Economy Plus, as it was a long flight and the trauma of leaving meant I desired some comfort. He was insistant on paying even if it was dearer.
That amount of money already exceeded what I thought I could have obtained from selling all my goods. I stood there totally amazed. Really, it is true, “You can’t out-give God.” But God was not finished. A week before leaving, a very dear friend of mine, not a wealthy person, in fact a pensioner with a daughter in university, turned up and said, “Here is the money to send your un-accompanied luggage home.”
Those two gifts together were double the amount I had estimated I might raise by selling everything. The song says it so well:
‘Trust and obey, for there’s no other way,
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.’