Perceived Value

Last night my wife got a few of the girls together and they went to the Bible study house to paint. None of them had ever painted before, and they were really excited about doing it. Which was strange to me, but my wife said when she bought the paint, all the people at the place said if we tried to do it ourselves, we wouldn’t do it right. I guess painting is more complicated here; apparently, you’re not a real painter unless you get paint everywhere, especially where it’s not supposed to be. It would probably have cost us about seven American dollars to hire someone to do the work (and about three hours of scrubbing to fix it afterwards), but it seemed like a great opportunity to let the students invest their time and sweat into our study and to give them more time to connect with each other. In the end, I think they all had a great time, and they did a great job. The guys are supposed to paint a room tonight, so we can all fight about who did a better job. Maybe we’ll vote or something.

Sunday at our leaders meeting, J., who has come for two weeks now, asked me if we were planning on painting any of the rooms in the house. I told him that we wanted to do a couple of the smaller rooms. Though this guy normally is excited and positive, he told me, “I think that’s not necessary. Maybe that will cost too much money.” Low perceived value. Makes me want to scream. So I mentioned a chain of restaurants in town here that is a very popular hang-out for students. One of those places in “clutter” vein of decoration thought. Really a neat place. I asked him if he’d ever been there and seen the way that it was decorated. His eyes lit up, he nodded his head, and said, “Of course, that place is awesome.” High perceived value. Well, J. really has a great attitude, and he wants to come help paint today.

We also have some friends coming in to town today from Beijing and the U.S. Looking forward to seeing them; we’ve planned a special activity for Thursday to give our students a chance to hear from them. Actually, I told the students that it would be a special activity and that we would have some games and stuff. But I don’t really have any idea what in the world we are going to do.

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