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Johnny Jones, May 1994

Bryan was on my mind this week, because Saturday marked his coming of age: His 21st birthday. Wow! There were times I thought our kids would be in diapers all their lives; I thought our house would never be clean again, and I would always feel exhausted. But those times are past. Now our son is spending his third summer working in Houston. But before Bryan started work, he went on a couple of trips. One of them was to Singapore. To understand why Bryan went to Singapore (no, he didn't get caned), we have to start  about three years ago, when he was a recent high school graduate. Rice sent Bryan his roommate's name and address. It was a Leslie Loo from Singapore. I immediately embarrassed our son by calling Glenda, the secretary for Hanszen College, to affirm that Leslie was male. She laughed in reply. "Honey, we're liberal--but not that liberal!" she replied.

When we got to Houston, we took Leslie out to eat the night before O-Week (orientation). Leslie looked a little shell-shocked. He had arrived in the U. S. a couple of days before. Can you imagine coming from clean, crime-free Singapore to Houston? Sometimes Houston has 20 murders in a single weekend. His religion was another shock. While we were taking his luggage to Rice I asked him,  "Leslie, are you a Christian?" Bryan poked me; but I knew he had requested a Christian roommate.
"No," Leslie replied. "I am Buddhist." Whoa! After I caught my breath, I decided, "Bryan will get what he asked for. Leslie is a pre-Christian." Leslie didn't look happy when, in October, I went for Parent's Weekend. In Singapore, small talk was non-essential. Leslie wanted to get in on the social side of life, but didn't quite know how. I spent some time talking with Leslie, and suggested he join an intramural soccer team. He didn't need encouragement about his grades. At Rice, a tough engineering school, Leslie was making not just A's, but A+'s. He was an extraordinarily hard worker. Bryan took Leslie to the Allen family Thanksgiving in Texas. Then Leslie came here for Christmas. We fed him and took him to see a few sights; after all, Rice's campus was most of what he had seen of America! I remember Leslie's incredulity when I told him how much God loved him. He shook his head in disbelief. "No, no!" It was hard for him to nderstand. But Leslie became a Christian in March. You see, his best friend at Rice, another student with Chinese ancestry, Jack Lee, was a committed Christian. That's not to say it was a light decision. Leslie thought long and hard, and reasoned things out for himself. It was serious, because he knew his becoming a Christian would make his family  unhappy. In fact, they abruptly ordered him home at the end of the year.

Leslie's family was reassured when they saw he was still determined to do well. They have come to accept his decision. Leslie spent this year's Christmas holiday with us again. He gave his testimony for the first time at our church. Wow! It was evident he knows more scripture than most lifetime Christians. Since he came over with about a year's credits, Leslie just graduated (with top honors, of  course!). He is going to MIT to begin work on his PhD this fall, but invited Bryan to spend a couple of weeks with him in Singapore at the end of school. Bryan borrowed the money and went. Jack Lee went, too. Jack said he was going to Singapore for the food! With a blend of Malay, Chinese, and English culture, the food is varied and delicious. There were some fruits Bryan had never seen nor heard about before. Leslie is the kind of person, to use an Asian term, you are honored to know. He was a wonderful, unassuming, appreciative guest in our home. When Amy was hurt by an incident at school, Leslie wrote her a wonderfully encouraging letter. He also supported her mission trip. I am so happy that, instead of the Christian roommate Bryan requested, our family had the  experience of getting to know Leslie. Just watch those Nobel Prizes! One of these years, one of the winners may be someone with an alliterative name: Leslie Loo.