God gives each of us distinct personalities and talents. This was so evident my first day at First Baptist Church with my host parents.
People in my church welcomed me with their sincere smiles, hugs and love. It was almost as if they were waiting on me!
The whole place is filled with interesting people with precious characters that impress me and help me grow. I would like to introduce a few of them.
The first person is Ms. Elaine, the church pianist and organist. Ms. Elaine is just about the most elegant lady who you would ever want to meet. She has a chic haircut, wears sophisticated clothes, and speaks gently and slowly. I enjoy listening and watching her play piano so much. She pours her love of God into the music. Those who hurt can feel mended by her music. Her aura makes me want to be the same type of lady when I am older — graceful, wise, and caring.
Ms. Michelle is one of our family friends who has an adorable baby girl who everyone loves. She is a faithful believer who seems to live in church. Ms. Michelle studies Bible dedicatedly. She always sings loudly and proudly during praise and worship time. She teaches and attends many Bible classes, and shares her faith unselfishly. She impresses me by showing me that we should worship our God with all our heart and make a joyful noise. I admire her confidence and courage for sharing God’s gospel.
Mr. John Stetzer, one of our deacons, has an incredible sense of humor. It is funny that I was afraid of him last semester. My academic schedule was heavy, so I had to study nearly all the time to keep good grades. I was rarely involved any church activity, and Mr. Stetzer would asked me with such angry and serious tone "Why are you here? Don’t you need to do your homework?" After he asked several times, I got upset because I thought he didn’t want me to study too much. I talked to my host mom, and she laughed, saying that Mr. Stetzer would be horrified if he knew he scared me. She said that Mr. Stetzer who would give you his last dime if you needed it. She said "Why don’t you ask him about his homework, and see how he will respond." I met him later at church, and asked him immediately "Why don’t you do your homework, Mr. Stetzer?" He was surprised, then he grinned and said, "Because I’m grading them." Now we greet each other, "Why don’t you do your homework?" instead of "Hi, how are you?" Mr. Stetzer surprised me one time around Thanksgiving, when he said "Jorja, this time I really have homework that is called ‘honey-do list’ from my wife. I have to clean the whole house."
Mr. Marcel is not only my Sunday school teacher but also a linguist. As a Cuban American, his first language is Spanish. We found common ground quickly because he speaks Chinese! He needs to know Chinese for his job, and has studying it for four years. He asks me a million questions about China’s culture. Last Christmas, I gave Mr. Marcel a Chinese paper fan, a book introducing Chinese tea, and Chinese version of "The Screwtape Letters." He cried out with joy. Later he told me it took him nearly an hour to read just a page from the book. He told me his thoughts about the differences and beauty between our languages.
These are only four of many examples. They all make me want to be a better person, and be like light and salt to lighten others’ lives. Just like Matthew 5:16 tells us, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."