Update from Jen Blandin

Jennifer Blandin, UB missionary in Macau, calls her monthly newsletter the “Macau Sports Report,” and always draws creative analogies between athletics and the work in Macau. In her July edition, she mentioned that she’ll be going to Beijing for the Olympics, which she describes as “a sports dream of mine.”
Follow the link to read portions of her July newsletter, which focus around the Olympics.

July was a month of several pre-Olympic activities, one of which was a four-team women’s volleyball tournament. It was fun to watch some quality play and to see how different countries adapt the game to their abilities. China was a strong and tall team. Brazil and Dominican Republic had a lot of excitement and energy. Japan was a team that would sacrifice their bodies to get to a ball and seemed light on their feet. All the teams could jump, and that made watching them spike the ball even more amazing.

Other international teams and athletes made Macau their pre-Olympic training home or pit stop. The most famous group of athletes to pass through has been the USA men’s basketball team. They easily handled their competition and seemed to be on track to hopefully win the gold medal. Other countries that have come through Macau include: England, Portugal, Mozambique, and Brazil. Sports action is definitely at an all-time high!

What is one phrase that causes many people to cringe? That’s right “work-out.” For some reason this 7-letter phrase causes more fear, dread, panic, and several other not-so-pleasant adjectives than any other English phrase. (Maybe “Clean your room” might come in a close second.) It could be the sore muscles the day after, getting sweaty, or taking the time out of a day to go and do it. For whatever the reason, working out is not the most enjoyable thing humans do, but it can be quite beneficial.

During July, there were several opportunities for me to “work-out.” One such workout focused on my hands. The workout started out with cutting up food without cutting off my fingers! It then moved to testing the agility of my fingers while working on my “Guitar Hero” eye-hand skills. This workout was made possible by some friends who opened their home, patiently taught me how to cook some Chinese food, and then allowed for some friendly video game competition.

Another “work-out” included a combination of leg and brain training. Morning is usually the time I head out for my daily walk. Since I usually stick to the same walking path, there are a few people I regularly see and greet. One such person is a Chinese man who is retired and has children who live in England. Each year my friend and his wife go to England to visit them. He knows some English, but would like to know more. When our paths cross each morning, a five-minute English and Cantonese lesson takes place. This has been a big help in getting my brain some exercise, because mornings are not my peak times! Thankfully the lessons usually fall within my understanding of Cantonese, but every once in a while my brain needs to work a bit harder! This “work-out” has also been a neat way to see a friendship develop.

The final “work-out” I would like to share involves my “letting go” skills. Due to changes in my job responsibilities, I have needed to let go of some things. There were some responsibilities I have been happy to give up, but there have been some that have not been so easy to give up because I enjoyed doing them. Yet, in order to be at the top of my game for what I do now, letting go has been important.

While most of July was spent in hard workouts in this area, it was also a month of receiving some neat encouragement. One such case took place the Sunday I preached. Before the service started, some new faces walked in. One of the faces looked familiar to me, but I could not place how I knew her. After the service, I started up a conversation with the new people, and come to find out, the familiar face used to be a student of mine when I taught in a local high school in Macau several years ago! After she graduated from high school, she attended college in the States, where she began her relationship with Jesus! It was encouraging to be reminded that while I might need to let go of some relationships and things, God had not, and does not, let go!

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