[M]y parents could not ignore their invitation to join the church. Nor could they ignore the old ladies’ practical advice to improve their English through Bible study class on Wednesday nights. . . . This was how my parents met the Hsus, the Jongs, and the St. Clairs. My mother could sense that the women of these families also had unspeakable tragedies that they had left behind in China and hopes they couldn’t begin to express in their fragile English. . . . And she saw how quickly their eyes moved when she told them her idea for the Joy Luck Club.