The Diary of Ma Yan
The Struggles and Hopes of a Chinese Schoolgirl
It was published in America in 2005 and in France in 2002.
It is a combination of the real diary entries of a Chinese girl from the time she is 13 to 14 and narrations of her and her family's way of life. She and her family live in one of the poorest parts of China. The Chinese government has actually declared this part of China uninhabitable because of its many droughts. She is constantly commenting on how she must get an education so that her family can escape poverty. She must reach university. She must get a good job. Here is an example:
Friday, November 10th.
This afternoon we made the trek home after school. My mother was preparing noodles for my brother and me. My father was outside, busy mixing water with coal dust. With the mud it makes, we create coal cakes to burn. My brother and I went off to visit our paternal grandmother, who lives at our fifth uncle's. My grandparents live in the big room. My undle has dug a sort of cave next to the house for his seven children.
By the way, his seven children are all girls. I'm sure he's unhappy about that! Sons are treasured over girls. Ok, on with this entry from the book...
When we arrive, our grandmother is out. Our cousin tells us that our grandparents are busy cutting fodder for the ox. We go off to help them. When he's finished cutting the grass, Grandfather feeds it to the ox. Grandmother invites us into the kitchen and offers us brand and steamed potatoes. I accept half a roll, and my brother has a potato.
My grand mother's almost eighty but she still works for fifth uncle's family. So des my frandfather. Old people who have an education certainly don't have to do this kind of work. Surely when on ereaches old age, it's time to benefit from life. Nowhere but here do you see old people serving the young like this.
It's obvious that one has to study these days in order to avoid the fate of my grandparents, who have to slave away into their old age. They'll never taste happiness.
Ma Yan is associating education with happiness. I know that education may help Ma Yan (and others) pull out of poverty, but after that, what is there? Work all the time? Always pushing on? Never a moment of family time or enjoyment?
Don't get me wrong. An education is good and important...but it shouldn't take first place. I know a girl who has spent all her time getting a good edcuation. And she has it. But she is living alone with a dog and no one to spend her holidays with. She has commented before to us that her holiday would just be like any other weekend.
But, even family and friends cannot give the Ultimate Happiness. I know a man who was in the hospital. He talked on and on about how he loved his family, cared about them, etc., but he never talked about Jesus. And all the while, this was the most important thing. Family and friends won't get you to Heaven when you die.
I wish that Ma Yan (and others) knew about this Ultimate Happiness. Because all you have to do is this.
1. Believe that Jesus Christ, God's One and Only Son, came down to earth and died on a cross as the sacrifice for our sins (from our sinful nature which was handed down to us from Adam, the man who first sinned.) and that three days later, God brought him back to life.
2. Repent of your sins. "God, I know I have sinned against you. I'm a sinner. Please forgive me and was my sins away."
3. Ask Jesus to come into your heart.
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20 (NIV)
And you now have the Gift of Eternal Life! When you die (or if the Lord comes back to snatch us away from this evil world before you die--either way), you know that you will definately will go to Heaven. There will be streets of solid gold, a crystal clear stream, mansions built for each of us, no pain, death, or sin, and--most of all--The Glory of the Lord will shine over everything and everyone. The Glory of the Lord will shine so brightly that we don't need a sun, a moon, or stars.
That's true happiness...that's the Ultimate Happiness.
God bless you!