It was the last day of a camp in the backwaters of West China. The volunteers from America were offering an English program to teachers and students of a high school in a small town.
Over lunch, the school principal came up with an idea. He wanted the team to address all the students to encourage them to work hard on their English after a great summer intensive with foreigners.
That afternoon, three hundred students got seated in rows of wooden stools in the school courtyard.
Our team members took turns to introduce themselves. They shared thoughts about the summer camp, about language and culture, and the benefits of English proficiency for personal development and career advancement, etc.
Now it was Jeff’s turn to share. He spoke in Chinese. The students were captivated by his story of learning English and adjusting to western culture after arriving in the U.S. as an immigrant at age 17.
Then Jeff talked about his first job after college. “I worked as a computer engineer in the Silicon Valley,” he said. At the mention of gueigu (Silicon Valley), a hushed chorus of “waah” broke out spontaneously from the audience.
Most youth in rural China ten years ago did not own cell phones or computers. But they had all heard of the Silicon Valley. Gueigu is the place of innovation and opportunities, where dreams are made.
Even for young people today in China’s big cities and top universities, the Silicon Valley is still a favorite destination for exchange, graduate work, internships, and international careers.
The Lord used all of Paul’s skills as a tentmaker, his training under Rabbi Gamaliel, and his birth status as a Roman citizen for the furtherance of the gospel.
If we fail to dedicate our business and technology knowhow to reach the world in times like these, it would be like burying our God-given talents in the ground.