Present Life and Dreams

 

I went to another province where there is a college set up by one of our brothers, and  I taught for half a year in a new school established by a brother. Eventually I decided to go home first, for I felt it is easier to set up a school than to give the children a true Christian education. I am not very satisfied with the present methods and textbooks used in the church schools, which were still not very much different from the public schools. I felt a need to make some study and preparation before I can truly do anything really worthy for others.

Last July I went to the seaside church again, for they invited an American couple who are home educators to lecture on home education for 2 weeks. They left us a lot of textbooks they used in their school.

I read through the textbooks they left. Among all of these books, I felt the gardening textbook was what our children most need but lack of. For here in China we can't find any books teaching children gardening, nor are there gardening classes in the schools. In the few schools our church set up, although students are encouraged to work in the field, there isn't a course teaching them how to do the thing. But gardening is such an important subject for children that is must not be neglected. So I decided to translate this book .

This was my original plan. But as I made further study I found some parts of the textbook were not practical under the climate and conditions of our country, especially in the south, I also found one or two places that need a little correction, like the part about crop rotation. I studied for some time, eventually, decided to rewrite the textbook, basing upon the Hawkins' gardening book, and a few books on organic gardening I borrowed from the university library, and the gardening resources on the internet.

Book-writing is an experiment as new to me as gardening. At first I did not have much confidence. But by God's grace every day, and with my father's help and support, I was able to complete the book at last. Although it is several months' hard work, I feel it worthwhile, for through this process, we learned so much about gardening ourselves, and had so many unexpected discoveries, and it brought us so many little joys and surprises.

We learned gardening is not a low and coarse hard labour, but a noble combination of science, art and physical work, which can be an interesting introduction to botany, biology and other subjects of science for children, and can nurture their spirit and build up their characters better than any other methods. For adults, gardening actually is an ideal way of living.

 After writing every chapter, we put what we learned as much as possible into practice. We learned to mix soil, we learned to make compost and liquid fertilizer, we experimented with our homemade herbal pesticide. When we saw it did work, how happy we were!

 We live on the campus of a university and have only a small balcony to grow vegetable. We use an old pail and shopping bags to make compost, and little nut trays to germinate seeds, and flower pots and large shopping bags become our vegetable patches. Even so, we still tasted the joy of gardening and received some blessings thereof - home-grown spinach , lettuce and bean sprouts!

 You may go to my site to have a look of this book:

http://matthew.hitechemall.com/garhvn/Gardening/VeggieGarden/TOC.htm

 Although it's all in Chinese, there are many illustrations throughout, so you can grasp some of the content.

 As I finished the last appendix of the book, I began to wonder if we can do more than balcony gardening or not. We dream of a bigger place to practice what we've learned, and to learn more from practice. We dream of growing a beautiful garden and teaching others about gardening.

 So we are thinking of buying some land and run a small farm. We want to build a beautiful homestead so as to show people how blessed and beautiful country living can be and what bounties the earth may produce when we walk in the way of God and obey His commandments, and when  we farm the land in the way that harmonizes with nature. We believe through teaching people the right way of farming and the healthy way of living, we can reach them with Gospel in a way more effective than mere mouth preaching.

 This is my present dream.

 

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