God recently showed me, in a very personal way, that His ways are not always our ways.
As part of a 10-year agreement that SEAPC has with the Chinese government to help develop a standard of care for children living with autism in China, the SEAPC CARE project was developed. As part of SEAPC CARE, the US office periodically hosts small groups of Chinese teachers to come to the States to receive additional training and experience with working with children with autism. Earlier this month, five teachers chosen by the Beijing Association for the Rehabilitation of Autistic Children traveled to Pittsburgh to augment their teaching skills. They had an extremely busy time of visiting and observing several Pittsburgh schools and medical clinics, as well as at partner behavioral services centers.
Even in the midst of the Chinese teachers’ intensely busy schedule, I was given the great opportunity to work with them a bit to help improve their English language comprehension skills.
One of my first tutoring sessions went in an unusually different direction. I had a great lesson plan—or so I thought—but apparently God had a different plan. I was getting my proverbial “ducks in a row” to begin the lesson. Due to an unfortunate circumstance, one of my students quite suddenly left the room in a highly emotional state.
Oh no – what should I do?
The student with the untimely exit was supposed to be a “key player” in my lesson plan. Five pairs of eyes focused in on me. I quickly sent up a silent prayer.
After praying, I felt as if I was supposed to forget about my carefully crafted lesson plan, and just ask each of them a very simple question.
“During your time here in the states what is one thing you found that you like the best?”
Things were a bit awkward as they were still trying to process the sudden exit that had just occurred, but all of the teachers answered my question.
Each of their answers involved a certain food they had discovered to be part of the American culture, and several answers named a particular fruit. At this point I interjected a comment that surprisingly and interestingly lightened up the mood in the room. I said, “I love bananas and so does my dog.”
I guess dogs in China don’t eat bananas! The cloud that seemed to cover the room quickly dissipated as gales of laughter broke out. In fact, a couple the students laughed so hard that tears coursed down their cheeks. I was even drawn into the irresistible bouts of laughter.
How reassuring it is to know that God really can use anything—even the image of a dog eating a banana—to accomplish His purposes!