56 | More Stoked Than a Cub Scout Campfire!

September 28, 2008
Sunday, 6:00 p.m.
Letter #56: More Stoked Than a Cub Scout Campfire!


Dear Family,

I am now officially on my way to earning my college degree; after a 20-year break from taking classes, my first course work from Harvest Bible University is in my hands (figuratively speaking; at this exact moment it is on my shelf). I received it on Wednesday, and I am more stoked than a Cub Scout campfire. To bore you with the details and make a short story long, let me give you the skinny on what this semester looks like. Do not touch that dial.

Harvest Bible University is an “accredited” college, an authentic Institute of Higher Learning, a school for Grown-Ups. It has three semesters per year, just like Real Schools, and it has Teachers and Everything!

I will probably get grades, but no “Good Job” or “Excellent Work” stickers. This is okay with me. I save the edges from my used sheets of stamps, and I wrote “You Rock” on one piece and “My World!” on the other. (It was supposed to be together, but I didn’t see the perforation.) When I get my graded papers back, I will make them look like Actual School Papers.

I have high expectations for myself, I am telling you. But, like Bugs Bunny,* I am a realist. So, I created a few stickers that say “Nice Try” and “This Wasn’t Your Best Work by a Long Shot” and “Did You Pass Third Grade?”

This University has no idea whom they are dealing with. Thanks to my three years of Latin, I am ahead of the whole Biblical Languages thing; for example, I can tell you that university comes from the same Latin root word as unitard, which is similar in that One Size Fits All: Class or Cloth. I still have much to learn, though, I am sure.

The University classes consist of lectures on CDs and a Course Handbook. I listen to all 11 CDs in one month, do the quizzes, three “Kingdom Assignments” and Final Project, then pass it to Trinity; Trinity passes his to Keith; Keith passes his to me. Four weeks later, we do the same thing to complete the semester with three completed courses each. In addition to these, I am required to read the Bible (from a schedule that paces it to twice per year), write a letter to my professor (one per month), write a letter to the Chinese churches in the L.A. area who are sponsoring my scholarship (one per month), write a five-page essay on major Biblical figures each month, and write out my own copy of the Bible (10 chapters per month), besides my normal devotional time of Bible reading and prayer each day. In my spare time, I’ll be icing my hand and sleeping.

New Hope Mission, the conglomerate of Chinese churches sponsoring me, has taken the HBU course work and made them correspondence course-friendly. This is accomplished through additional writing projects (to prove course competency) and heavy accountability. I have to document daily Bible reading, prayer, HBU course studies, letter writing, Bible writing, etc., mailing monthly reports back to New Hope Mission.

These reports, written in English, may require a bit of translation work to make it understandable to the Chinese churches. Here, as an example, is a verbatim assignment given by New Hope Mission on a piece of paper inserted into my workbooks (best if read with Chinese accent).

HB-212 Ezra and Nehemiah Write about given topics (double-space) God want to restoration for his people use Ezra and Nehemiah. Write about God’s restoration for his people use Ezra and Nehemiah. Write about God’s restoration Ezra and Nehemiah.

  1. Restoration through Ezra
  2. Restoration through Nehemiah
  3. What do you learn from this course?

Hmm … well, for starters, I’ve learned the value of proofreading, and I’ve learn how write with main concepts that understand about can happen.  🙂 I’m excited to finally begin classes. I wrote a weekly schedule for myself, integrating church, writing home, and exercise.

I told God I’d give up watching TV for a 40-day “fast.” The next day, our “loaner” TV that my cellie and I had enjoyed for a couple of months was removed from our cell with no explanation! Well, none needed! Let’s say it’s a lot easier to concentrate on college studies with no TV on in the same room. God is good!

It’s now 8:01 p.m., and I’m encroaching on my “Christian Book Reading” time slot.

Love always,



*Though I do not know for sure if Bugs Bunny was a realist, I do know that in College Papers you should cite or reference at least one literary figure, author, or politician, to lend credibility to your work. I know that Bugs Bunny is widely quoted.