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Beautiful Nan-Chong is my home


December 02, 2003
- Wu Xiao Rong; translation by Jane Zheng

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Todd and Jeanette Hanson of Saskatchewan have been serving (through China Educational Exchange) as Mennonite Church Canada workers in Nan-Chong. Here Todd provides English language training at the China West Normal University. Jeanette works to establish social welfare projects, connecting with local Christian congregations and helping to develop local church leaders. Recently, a local newspaper wrote a story about their experience in Nan-Chong. Translated by MC Canada staff member Jane Zheng, the article is a testament to the Hanson’s ministry. Todd asserts that English language training isn’t only a vehicle to ministry, it is ministry. In addition to this article, a local TV station produced a 5 minute documentary about their work. It can be viewed (with English translation) at –Ed.

Nan-Chong, China — A young Canadian couple, Todd and Jeanette Hanson, locally known as Han Son (pronounced Han Soon) and Zhang Lin (Jeanette’s Chinese name), respectively, have worked and lived in Nan-Chong for the last 10 years. They have witnessed the growth and changes that the city has experienced. Today, like many other locally-born residents, Todd, Jeanette, and their two daughters have proudly treated this beautiful city in the south-western China as their home, happily lived there with freedom and do not intend to leave.

Todd and Jeanette first came to China in 1991. Todd worked as an English teacher at JiuJiang Teacher’s Colleage and Jeanette was a member of the North America – China Education Exchange Association. In 1992, Todd had a chance to come to Nan-Chong from Jiujiang to visit a friend. The city’s beauty, the decency of the local people, and the delicious Sichuang dishes imediately attracted this young fellow. In 1994, Todd came to Nan-Chong to teach at XiHuan College (formerly SiChuan Teacher’s College). Jeanette also joined Todd in the town.

Ten years has soon passed. Like the city of Nan-Chong, Todd and Jeanette’s life has also experienced a significant change. They have made a lot of new friends in the town and have become attached to Nan-Chong’s various local foods and a SiChuan fondue dish. In 1997 the couple had their first daughter Su-Yin (Claire) and 5 years later they had their second daughter Su-Lin (Kate). Both Su-Yin and Su-Lin were born in Nan-Chong and both speak fluent English and Mandarin.

Todd and Jeanette had their Chinese name since the day they landed in China. Now few people there even remember their real names in English. Their two lovely daughters also are known by their Chinese names. When asked why naming two girls Su-Yin and Su-Lin, Jeanette, who speaks a fluent Mandarin, explained that both Yin and Lin in Chinese mean beautiful jade and this suggests that the girls are their real treasures.

In this past 10 years, many foreign teachers from the United States and Canada come and go in the city. Normally, a foreign teacher would stay in the town for about two years and then s/he either goes back home or goes to another Chinese location for a new teaching contract. Todd and Jeanette, however, along with their two dauthers, have developed a strong attachment and pride with this small city. Now they even cannot bear a long vacation back home in Canada, where there are also beautiful mountains and lakes. In their mind, Nan-Chong has begun to be their lovely home.