Some of you know about my good friend, Lisa. She was my class monitor last year for my self-sponsored class and asked if we could study the book out of class because she wanted to “learn stories.”
I’ve been thinking about her and have also been asking many of you to keep her in her thoughts also, as she has been on the fence for a long time about her beliefs and seems to be seeking out a greater truth. She had a bad experience in her past involving FG cults and had been struggling to accept any sort of belief system, but was still seeking, albeit not actively.
Last week, she came to my house for my first study group and admitted to me afterward that she didn’t like the group setting and that she would prefer for us to meet one-on-one “just to have dinner, and not to always study” because she had a hard time opening up to new people. This is a big part of Chinese culture and “guanxi”– Chinese people take their relationships very seriously and it takes a lot to build guanxi with new people. I told her that I was glad that we had developed guanxi with each other I looked forward to deepening our friendship, but I was also sad that it seemed like she wasn’t as interested in learning more.
This week, she didn’t come to our study, so I shared with my other Chinese friends, Pearl and Bernadette (who’s also my Chinese teacher) about my concerns about Lisa and how I had been hoping Dad would really speak to her heart. We all lifted her up, but when I saw Lisa this morning in class, she seemed more aloof and distant than ever before. I was so sad that I could be losing an important and valuable friendship… but Dad works in amazing ways!
Today, Lisa called me and asked me to meet her downstairs for a moment. I had no idea what for, but when I came down, she smiled and said (in a very cute, Chinese type of way), “Look at my hair!” She’d just gotten back from a hair salon where she cut and permed her hair. Lisa is about 30 years old this year and her new hairstyle suited her age a bit more and I could tell she was really excited about it. More importantly, in Chinese culture, changing your hair symbolizes a significant change in your life. When I expressed that we’d hoped that she had come to our study group, she told me that with her haircut, she hoped to start a new chapter of life where her outlooks are different and she would be more open to new people. It was so amazing to see how quickly Dad answered our request for a change in Lisa’s heart. Here’s a picture of Lisa from last semester boiling some dumplings at my house. Please keep her in your thoughts!