PhD Candidacy

Today i stood before a committee to defend my PhD proposal. I got hash comments, that is comments that i could have avoided only if i had been serious. My proposal document had grammatical errors which when pointed out to me, i even felt ashamed. So from the overall oral examination i saw that in fact i am not serious about things in my life. I realized that due to this lack of seriousness i would use English loosely as long as the other person understand what i meant. I do not like obeying rules. So my Professor after the examination called me to his office his advice was, if i want to be successful and be in the top i have to be serious. If it is English i am speaking i need to obey the grammatical rules, use the right words and be prepared.

In fact before the examination he advised me not to argue or debate when i am told to improve something unless it was technically wrong. Overall after the examination i felt awkward, i felt as if i was hit by a train, whenever someone spoke to, my mind would dose back to that examination room. I think i was also bothered by one Professor, somehow i find it difficult to communicate technically with him. I mean in a way that he would understand, i had a similar situation with him when i had to do my comprehensive exam. What bothers me the most is that he is very good at what he does, and not being able to make a strong technical argument with him makes me feel that….i don’t really know…but it pulls my confidence levels down. Anyways, the good news is that i passed let me chew on that so i may sleep in peace.

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Visit to Toronto

Our ministry had a one day conference based on 1:1 bible studies. The conference was on labor day (2nd September) so we traveled on Sunday. I enjoyed the night with some brothers and missionaries, we had a chat till late in the night.  We even shared some of the inspirational videos and stories we knew about. I shared about a recent video i saw which used an illustration of a Chinese bamboo tree. The video was a motivational talk by Les Brown and the theme was “I am going to make”.  I guess that video grabbed my attention since at that time i was under some pressure to meet some deadlines and the fact that i want to finish my studies and return to South Africa. Anyway, back to the bamboo tree, here is how it gets to grow:

You take a little seed, plant it, water it, and fertilize it for a whole year, and nothing happens.  The second year you water it and fertilize it, and nothing happens.  
The third year you water it and fertilize it, and nothing happens. How discouraging this becomes!  The fifth year you continue to water and fertilize the seed and then—take note. Sometime during the fifth year, the Chinese bamboo tree sprouts and grows NINETY FEET IN SIX WEEKS! –Dan Miller
From this tree i just saw lessons from nature which itself is created by God, i learned that i must have faith, be consistent and be patient to achieve a goal. so i shared this bamboo tree with the guys in Toronto. Afterwards a book regarding the Caterpillar that became a butterfly was also shared, in this story one learns that some people want to go to the top, climb the co-operate ladder or become well known in society, etc, only to find that there is nothing at the top.
Then lastly we had another story from a youtube video about, The Man Who Planted Trees. I must say, this moved me more than the other story’s. Its about an man who was almost in his midway 50’s, very quiet, kept his house nice and clean, lost his wife and son but had some flog of sheep and a very disciplined dog. They were in a desert like area so a very small community lived some distance away. There was not much life really, however there was something this old man used to do, he would plant seeds. I mean he would literally travel great distances planting his seeds, in three years he had planted 100 000, of the 100 00 only 20 000 and out of the 20 0000 only 10 000 came out. After twenty years or so, there was a great forest, the soul became good, people could plant, there was now water, birds of many kinds would live among these trees. The community grew bigger, even the government officials came to see the beauty which to their surprise just appeared. This old man by now was in his late 60’s, and he continued to plant seeds until he died. Now what was left was a beautiful forest, filled with trees. It was as if a new life had just come to this place. The winds turned into fresh thrilling air. It was just beautiful. It was really as if this man had created life not only for the community but for the birds, the warms, the ants, flowers, soul, etc. He left something that would last, something that revived hope. what a legacy. The question that kept ringing in my head was, how different was this man from me, what is stopping me from leaving something that would give hope and life to others? what is really stopping me? Well i don’t think i do that story justice, one will have to see it to get the real picture and its life transforming truths.
These are the conclusions of the narrator:
When i think that one man, one body, one spirit was enough to turn a desert into a land of Canaan,i find after all that the man’s destiny can be truly wonderful.When i consider the passionate determination the unfailing generosity of spirit it took to achieve this end, i am filled with admiration for this old unlearned person, who was able to complete a task worthy of God.