|LtoR Michael, Lydia, Nancy, Elizabeth, Dr. Zia, Ezra|
Dr. Zia resides in California. He is an intellectual, educator, businessman, and leader in the Asian community in nearly countless ways. Like my friend Robert George, who is eighty, he also travels extensively. Caleb has a rich spiritual heritage: his great-grandfather ministered all over China with the famous missionary, Hudson Taylor. His grandfather ministered with the famous Chinese missionary, preacher, and writer, Watchman Nee. His father was also a Christian minister who spiritually impacted his continent. Several of his family were martyred during the turbulence that surrounded Chairman Mao.
Dr. Zia is a humble man whose love for Christ has been the anchor in his extraordinary life. Were you to Google his name, you could spend an afternoon reading about his remarkable accomplishments.
Sitting around our dining room table with him and his wife, Nancy, whose pedigree is beyond impressive in its own right, the Zias told Sandy and me their stories that read like a chapter out of the book of Acts. Caleb's parents' commitment to Christ, and the fact that they both held university doctorates, resulted in persecution of them and all those in their family. As a boy of nine years of age, he and his mother were sent off to live in what had been a death camp during the Japanese occupation. In his early years he could neither read nor write and began a process of self-education that opened doors for him to attend a Catholic boarding school and then on to higher education. He excelled at every level, and paid his own way through high school by singing and caring for the home of a foreign teacher.
Dr. Zia and I sat out by the lake for a good long while, talking about a broad range of subjects. Mostly, I just pelted him with questions. I wanted to pick his brain and hear more about his adventurous journey of Faith. I so need an older, godly man in my life. At one point he waved his arm in a panoramic fashion and said, "Bill, it is so peaceful here. I would love to move to Georgia and live in a place like this and write. You could write my family's story." There is no explaining his life apart from the Divine favor of God, and I had asked him earlier if his family's sojourn was on record for posterity's sake and for the sake of the Kingdom. It isn't. He continued, "I would love to get out of the city, but God knows that."
I wish I could sit at his feet and learn, but God knows that...
The Zia's grandchildren are well-behaved, bright, confident around adults, and adorable. When I was first introduced to them--Ezra(four) and Elizabeth(six)--I immediately named them "Pete" and "Repeat," something I have done for as long as I can remember whenever I meet children. Some of those children are in their late twenties now and still re-introduce themselves to me by those corny names. Pete and Repeat, like the generations before them, corrected me the first several times, but after a while gave up and just rolled with it. When they met Sandy, Elizabeth said, "I'm Repeat and this is my brother is Pete."
Did I tell you they have boundless energy? O yes! As you can see by the picture, I got them two little rods and reels, a generous supply of worms, and baited their hooks non-stop for three hours that first day. There are so many fish in our pond that within seconds of the bobber resting on the water, it began to jiggle, dip, and then plunge. Furiously, they began cranking on the reel like they had hooked on to Moby Dick. On their return visit I turned the baiting task over to their dad. He did great! Pete caught eighteen bass and brim. Repeat caught another ten. Mom and Dad caught a slew more. Dr. Zia actually caught a turtle!
Pete teared up when I unhooked the turtle (unharmed) and released it back into the pond...he wanted to take it home with him!
I am quite sure we will be seeing Dr. Zia and his family again, and I am sure you will be reading more about him and his family on this blog.
The final picture of Dr. Zia, his family, and me was taken on their first visit. Sandy was teaching school that day. I made them a meal and hosted them. On the second visit, they brought all the ingredients to make a meal--that may reveal something about my cooking--and Sandy and I shared time with them together.
After the Zias left, Sandy and I talked about the unshakeable faith and incredible impact Dr. Zia and his wife have had because they have lived yielded to God. We came away with the continued resolve to "live a life that demands explanation." Remaining relevant in the advance of the Kingdom all the days of our lives is our goal.
If not that, what? Isn't that the point and purpose of life?
Enjoying the Adventure,