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Lives Touching Lives

At church yesterday morning we learned that Dr. Walter Fremont had passed away earlier that morning. In December he and his family celebrated 20 years of his survival after being diagnosed with ALS - Lou Gehrig's disease in December 1986. He has to be among those who have lived the longest with this horrible disease. And it wasn't even the ALS that caused his death - it was internal bleeding!

Dr. Fremont's influence on me as a student in several of his classes was huge, much greater than I realized at the time. His love for the Lord and for people and his enthusiasm for life and service were evident to all his students and left a mark on us all. If he had not encouraged us to go visit the displays at the Principals' Conference on campus my senior year, I would probably not be a teacher now. And now as I teach I feel greater freedom just to be myself because of his example. I remember his standing on his desk and doing many other zany things to get or keep our attention or to get his points across.

In my summer work as an IT tech, I worked on his computer this past summer at Barge Hospital on campus. Even with his severe limitations, he was cheerful and encouraging as always. He even used his only finger and thumb that he could still move to give his repaired computer a command to tell me thanks, praise the Lord, and have a great day!

Furthermore my wife and I counted his daughter Elaine Fremont as a good friend and were shocked and saddened by her sudden death in an automobile accident in the mid 90s. Like her dad, her life was about others rather than self. I have a page on my site about a holiday she invented - Bonza Bottler Day. You can read about it on the official page her family has put up about the holiday, Official Bonza Bottler Day website.

I'm sure Dr. Fremont and Elaine are enjoying a grand reunion after over 10 years of separation.

For those interested - the visitation will be this evening (Monday) from 6:30-8:30 in the War Memorial Chapel on the campus of BJU and the funeral service will be Tuesday evening at 7:00 at Hampton Park Baptist Church here in Greenville.

As I reflected on Dr. Fremont's impact on my life, I thought I'd send a special iv early this week to honor him and the way he touched lives.


Do famous and powerful people wear sunglasses because the spotlights blind them to reality? Maybe they suffer from a delusion that earthly power means something. (It doesn't.) Some may suffer from the misconception that titles make them special. (They don't.) Others have the impression that temporal authority always makes an eternal difference. (It doesn't always.)

To prove the point, take this quiz:

1. Name the ten wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last ten Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last ten winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name five people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
5. How about the last decade's worth of World Series winners?

How did you do? I won't tell you how poorly I did. I think most people don't do very well on it. With the exception of you trivia hounds, most of us don't remember the headliners of yesterday too well. Surprising how quickly we forget such "important" things, isn't it? And those categories mentioned above are no second-rate achievements. These are purportedly the best in their fields. However, the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
2. Name ten people who have taught you something worthwhile.
3. Name five friends who have helped you in a difficult time.
4. List several teachers who have aided your journey through school.
5. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.

Easier? It was for me, too. The lesson? The people who make a difference are often not the ones with this world's acclaim, but the ones whose lives truly touch other lives.


This is Rob again...
Some of you have had profound influences on my life (and I thank you for it), and some of you have been influenced by mine. (I hope it's been for the good.) Our life touches other lives, for good or for ill. Let's all keep trying to have a positive influence on the lives we touch. Things are temporal ... people are forever.


"Do I see my world as a tourist or as a missionary? Do I just admire the beauty of the attainments or do I see the bondage and death?" - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

Teachers live forever in the hearts they touch.

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Mindset of the Class of 2010

We all view life and the world around us from our own frame of reference. Older people sometimes have trouble keeping up with such rapid change in our technological age. But younger people often have trouble thinking beyond their comparatively limited experiences. It's not uncommon for a young person to say with complete confidence, "I'll never need this. Why do I have to study it?" I heard a wise, older teacher tell that his reply to such a comment is "You are not equipped to know that."

As yet another new batch of freshman has arrived on campus, it's good to be reminded of what is "reality" for them. One way to do that that is becoming a tradition is to check the beloit.edu site to read their listing of the "mindset" of this year's freshman class. What I'm sending today is an edited version of their list - the items I found most interesting. If you want to read their list unedited, you can go to their site given below. Bear in mind that what these 18 year olds remember probably did not happen until after they were 5 or 6 years old.



Members of the class of 2010, the freshmen entering college this fall, were mostly born in 1988.

For them, the Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.

They have known only two presidents.

For most of their lives, major U.S. airlines have been bankrupt.

Manuel Noriega has always been in jail in the U.S.

There has always been only one Germany.

They have never heard anyone actually "ring it up" on a cash register.

They are wireless, yet always connected.

Thanks to pervasive headphones in the back seat, parents have always been able to speak freely in the front.

A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.

Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.

Faux fur has always been a necessary element of style.

They have never had to distinguish between the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and football teams.

DNA fingerprinting has always been admissible evidence in court.

They grew up pushing their own miniature shopping carts in the supermarket.

They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.

"Google" has always been a verb.

Text messaging is their email.

Mr. Rogers, not Walter Cronkite, has always been the most trusted man in America.

Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.

Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents' attics.

They grew up in mini-vans.

Young women's fashions have never been concerned with where the waist is.

They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.

Brides have always worn white for a first, second, or third wedding.

Being techno-savvy has always been inversely proportional to age.

"So" as in "That is sooooo New York," has always been a drawn-out adjective modifying a proper noun, which in turn modifies something else

They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.

Retin-A has always made America look less wrinkled.

Small white holiday lights have always been in style.

Most of them never had the chance to eat bad airline food.

They have always been searching for "Waldo."

They never played the game of state license plates in the car.

They have always preferred going out in groups as opposed to dating.

There have always been live organ donors.

They have always had access to their own credit cards.

They have never put their money in a "Savings & Loan."

Bad behavior has always been getting captured on amateur videos.

Disneyland has always been in Europe and Asia.

Beach volleyball has always been a recognized sport.

Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti have always been luxury cars of choice.

Television stations have never concluded the broadcast day with the national anthem.

Disposable contact lenses have always been available.

Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss has always been the perfect graduation gift.

They have always "dissed" what they don't like.

The U.S. has always been studying global warming to confirm its existence.

Richard M. Daley has always been the Mayor of Chicago.

They grew up with virtual pets to feed, water, and play games with, lest they die.

Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.


personal update...

Last week we had an all-too-brief visit from a friend I met in France in 1975 - Doris Gilbert, for those of you who know her. I hadn't seen her in 14 years, and it was wonderful to see someone whose life has had such an impact on mine. It was a huge blessing to see her continuing to minister to many, at age 83, long after she's officially "retired from ministry." She asked me if other seniors receive my iv's, and I assured her that there are a good number in that category on my mailing list. Since she had brought the age thing up, I told her that I wanted to ask her, since she knew him personally, if George Washington was a nice man. Without missing a beat, she said, "You must have me confused with my grandfather." We did talk a little about history, and it was neat to hear the perspectives of someone who has lived even more of history than we have.


To the assembled faculty this fall: "All of us are students, learners, sitting at His feet." - Dr. Stewart Custer

=^..^= =^..^= =^..^=

You know it's going to be a bad day when your teenager knocks on your bedroom door first thing in the morning and says, "Today is Nerd Day at school, Dad. Can I borrow some of your clothes?"

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The End of Our Stay in Haikou

We arrived safe and sound back in the good ol' USA last Tuesday evening late, August 1st. Here's a little bit about our last day of classes and our flight to Beijing.

We were sad to see our time at Hainan University come to an end. We all enjoyed our classes so much this summer. I am putting pictures of each of us below so that you can see us in action. The students were placed in our classes not only on the basis of age, but also on the student's individual language ability. I will put pictures of our classes from the oldest students to the youngest.

Yvonne taught the university aged students, but several younger students were in her class because their English was so strong.

Yvonne's university class

Jean taught the class of mainly high school aged students.

Jean's high school class

I taught the middle school aged students. Since I had always enjoyed this age group in my early years as a teacher, I was happy to teach kids of that age again. We probably enjoyed ourselves far too much.

Rob's middle school class

Becka taught the youngest children - ages 7 to 9. In case you wonder what she's doing in the picture below - her kids loved to sing the action songs she taught them. 🙂

Becka's children's class

Becka had as one of her main themes "animals" and had many fun craft projects for the kids to do. Below is a picture of some of her students' paper penguins.

paper penguins

We left on Saturday, July 29 to spend several days in Beijing. Even though we left our apartments at 6:30 a.m., we were surprised and pleased that some of our students from this year and last year came to see us off. Below is a picture of those who assembled to bid us farewell.

big send-off

On our flight from Haikou to Beijing I was very surprised to see one of my students from last summer on the plane with her parents. Though my class last year was mainly university-aged students, this middle school girl named Nancy had by far the best English in the class. I was sad not to have seen her on campus this summer since she was not able to take classes from any of us; therefore, this was a very pleasant reunion for us both. Below is a picture of Nancy and her parents. The three of them were going to Beijing for several days since her dad had to go there on a business trip.

Nancy and her parents

One of Ruth's Chinese friends had asked us to carry some frozen Wenchang chickens to a friend of hers who lives in Beijing. This friend agreed to meet us at the airport. Since we did not know her, she held up a sign with our name on it. This was actually the fulfillment of one of Becka's dreams - to have someone at a foreign airport holding up a sign with her name on it.

Becka's welcome

I will do another blog entry in several days to show what we saw while we were in Beijing.

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Saturday Morning from This Side

Even though some of you may read this on Friday evening, it's already Saturday morning here. Our first week of classes has already ended. That's just amazing! The time is flying by! We all are enjoying our classes, and the students seem genuinely interested, for the most part. I learned from the parent of one of my students yesterday that most of my "middle school" students are the children of teachers here at Hainan University. In fact, she herself is an English teacher. She sat in on the last hour of my class, just to pick up some ideas and teaching techniques. The students in my class change from day to day - some don't show up, and new ones do. The other three teachers have had the same experience. Some of it is that the students go from one class to the next, seeking the level with which they are most comfortable. The reason I put quotation marks around middle school in describing my students is that they range from age 9 to 13. Below is a picture of my class taken early this week. They're really cute kids and some are really sharp!

my middle school students

Last evening (Friday) our Chinese doctor and his wife who is also a doctor came by to deliver our medicine. We were to begin taking it last night. Before I took any, my symptoms were already worsening. Then after the first dose I had a rough night of coughing and a seeming inability to clear my throat, even after having taken an expectorant I'd brought along. Once I finally got to sleep, I was fine, but it was a short night of sleep. This morning, though, I am having fewer symptoms, so we'll see.... Below is a picture of me after I poured out the first dose. I had not yet experienced the taste of the vile stuff, which, to be perfectly honest, was really not bad. Becka's hoping she's not going to lose that shiny image of "picture of health" - she began blowing her nose at bedtime last night and during the night. I'm sure after seeing everyone else's luscious bottles of Chinese medicine, she wants to share the experience. By the way, I have only 3 bottles to down in 3 days. Jean and Yvonne each have 7 bottles to down in 7 days. The dosages for all three of us is one-third of a bottle, three times a day (being sure to exclude the sediment at the bottom of the bottle). I have not spoken to either Jean or Yvonne since they went back to their apartment last evening. I'm anxious to learn how each of their medicines tasted to them. 🙂 On to the picture....


In an hour and a half, we are supposed to leave for our weekend down south. When I have the opportunity after our return, I'll share some of what we saw and experienced. Bye for now!

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Strangers in Paradise?

I thought you might like to see several images of where we'll be in July. The first one shows some local scenery.

picture of the tropics

We'll be teaching at a university - my wife will be teaching Interior Decorating and I will be teaching French culture.

picture of one of the university buildings

More Asian posts to come....

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