A friend is moving to China in three weeks. She got her letter of invitation last night and put her two weeks' notice in this morning. I can see the excitement welling up. The fear of moving to a foreign country can be staggering, but at this point, Brittany is ready to just get on the plane and go.
Her grandma isn't quite as excited as she is. I can understand the hesitation her grandma is feeling. China is a big country with a lot of people. A lot can go wrong when one is on the other side of the globe. I also had a grandparent who was concerned for my safety when I went to China.
I was sitting with Grandpa George and Grandma Kathy drinking coffee and telling them about the ministry I was going to take part in. I was getting ready to spend a month in China to teach middle schoolers English. With different laws that China has, that is risky business. Grandma was excited for me. She was happy that I was able to go out and see the world, and she knew that I would be home in 6 weeks to tell them all about it.
Not so the case with Grandpa. I tried to reassure him by telling him the organization I was going with had a really good setup with the Chinese government, that the people who were sending me were going to take care of me and that I would be safe. But he had recently read stories about Christians in China being incarcerated for their faith, being left in jail for years and being submitted to torture. I appreciated his concern, but I knew that it was unlikely for me to be in any great danger.
Grandma was ruthless, though.
"Oh George, he's going to be fine. Don't scare him with your stories."
Then came the chiding. I didn't like seeing Grandpa teased when he was worried about me, but when Grandma started singing Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock," I couldn't help join in.
Grandma and I still have a special liking for that song as we remember Grandpa.