Saturday, November 28, 2009

another session completed....

Another session is over and I am filled to the brim with every emotion possible.  I am sad the students I became so close to are gone, exhausted after the busyness of the session combined with being sick, excited about co-facilitating with one of the Chinese staff next session, and homesick for my family and friends.  That said this session really was amazing!  I had so much fun with my class.  I had so many amazing students and got really close with them.  We shared some tough stuff with each other, laughed together, cried together, learned together, loved together, and truly became a family.  At the end of the session we had a party where they sang many Chinese songs for me.  It was wonderful to be able to sit and listen to them while thinking back to the day they arrived and how far they have come. 

Now for some of the funnier moments from the session…
The students write in journals every night, and then once a week we pick them up and read through them.  They can write about anything, and usually tell about what they did during the day, and sometimes their entries are really funny, even though they are not supposed to be!  One student wrote the she couldn’t open her “mouse” and was afraid to open her “mouse.”  “Mouse” of course was supposed to be mouth.  Another student wrote that she was really “pool” at English instead of really poor at English.  They also have to write reading summaries every night.  As I was skimming through one of the students’ journals I saw she had copied an article about Viagra.  Obviously she didn’t understand what she was reading that day J

One of my favorite activities I did with my students was to make a list of how to show love to everyone.  Some of the things on the list really surprised me, but it was amazing to hear their thoughts, so I will end this post with their list, and challenge you to do something each day to show others around you that you love them!
Do things for others
Be honest
Be responsible
Respect others
Be modest
Give to others
Give a hug
Tell them you love them
Take care of them
Be available
Forgive someone
Don’t give up
Be kind
Be patient
Encourage someone
Don’t be selfish
Lift someone up
Give someone hope
Don’t be jealous

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I'm still alive :)

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I just wanted to let you know that I am still alive and China is still wonderful.  I am slightly sick, but all is well.  The session finishes up this Saturday.  It has been really good so far!  I have my own class and it has really been wonderful.  We are on break next week, so I am working on a few posts for then!  Hope all is well with you, and you truly have a happy thanksgiving, and take time to think of everything you are thankful for!  I know that I am thankful for each of you and all of the love, support, and prayers you have given me through this journey!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The say everyday in China is an adventure, and some days are an even bigger adventure. Well, last Friday was one of those days that ended up being a bigger adventure. I group of 8 of me teammates and I loaded up in a taxi, that is more like a small van to go to a childrens home near Tanjian, which was about 2 hours away. It was a pretty smoggy day, but that is something we are used to, being in China. When we arrived at the orphanage we were greeted by a couple from Washington who is volunteering there for the year, possibly longer. They gave us a tour of the grounds and told us a little bit about their history. The home was started by a couple from America who met a young man named Phillip Hayden. Phillip had a heart for the orphans of China, and imparted his love of the children onto the couple. A few years later Phillip died, and they started an organization in his honor. What started out as one foster home quickly grew to three foster homes. Then because of issues with the builder of the homes they looked for a new property, which they found in a large piece of land in an industrial district. They bought the piece of land for 1 yuan because the owner believed in their purpose and have been building their village ever since. Shepard’s Village now has 5 houses for the children, a clinic, an office, a school, a factory where banners are made, a meeting building, and they are currently building a vocational building. After the your we were able to play with and love on the children, all of whom come from an orphanage with some sort of disability.

It was such a wonderful time! We split up so that we were able to visit as many children as possible. Many of the children were at school, but there were about 5 children when we went into one of the houses, so we each took one and started playing with them. The first little boy I had was Jacob. He is about 2 years old and is absolutely adorable. I tickled him, and we read together, and played, and most of all laughed. When I first tried to pick up one of the babies, because he was playing with his own toy, he wouldn’t let me and ran back into my lap. This broke my heart, but also made me smile, because for this one moment I could give all of my love to this precious little boy, who I was told many people have shown interest in adopting, but his orphanage is not getting his paperwork through. Later, he went downstairs with one of the nannies so I was able to hold a precious little girl who was probably around 6 months old. She had the biggest eyes that looked everywhere, and a beautiful smile. After about 20 minutes she fell asleep in my arms and I let her stay there, thinking to myself that the times she is able to sleep in someone’s arms may be very few and far between, and it was such a privilege for me to give this gift to her. Throughout the whole experience, Kristen was always in my mind, and I prayed that each and everyone of those children will find their forever home soon, and it will be as wonderful as hers.

We sadly left the children and met back up. By this time it had gotten really really foggy, so we headed in the van and said a prayer that we would make it back safely. We traveled for about 3 minutes before the driver stopped, and tried to talk to us. We called one of the Chinese staff, and through translation found out that we really should stay the night because we couldn’t see 2 feet in front of us. So, we headed back to the orphanage, where they had a guesthouse for volunteers and we were able to stay there. We got settled in and then walked down the block to eat. We ended up having a huge and delicious meal!

The next morning we got ready and left by 9:00. It was still a little foggy, but definitely drivable. However, when we got to the entrance ramp for the highway we were greeted by the red x’s and the barricades being down. We were not really sure what was happening, or when we would be able to get through, but this was the only way home. After about an hour we were all hungry so we talked to our driver and we went to a little town right off of the exit that one of the waiting truck drivers told him about. We bought pastries and juice from a tiny grocery store and I couldn’t help but laugh to myself as we ate them in the van as this was something I never pictured myself doing! We made our way back to the ramp, and got back in our place at the front of the line. And we proceeded to wait, and wait, and wait. We ended up waiting for 5 hours to get on the highway. In that time the fog had cleared, but was starting to come back in. We arrived back at campus almost 24 hours after we originally intended to tired and hungry, but fulfilled.

Overall, it was an amazing adventure that I am soooo glad I was able to be a part of. I not only got to know some of my teammates much better, I also made a small difference in some of my Fathers childrens lives. After the trip some of us were talking about how we are all really orphans until God adopts us into His family. This thought really resonated with me and makes it that much more important for me to be a light in this world, so more orphans, young and old will be adopted by our loving Father.



Amanda and Asa

Me and the sweetest baby

The end of our huge feast

The biggest smile and best laugh ever

The foggy night

Why can't we go through?

The backup of trucks

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Drinking real fountain coke with ice in big cups....super exciting!

Some of my class after playing a game where they had 5 minutes to labell as many body parts as the could on one of their teammates.  Hilariousness is what followed!

Class J-Session 30

The 80's crowd at the Halloween party!

Syrena and Me!

TIP 80's style

warning....long random post ahead :)

November....I have now been in China for about a month and a half, but that has consisted of three different months. There are still times where I have to step back and think that I am really here, I am really in China...and that thought still seems so foreign to me. At the same time, it really does feel like home. I am so comfortable here living day in and day out.

My first session is over. It was busy, crazy, wonderful, frustrating, draining, and everything else, but all in all I really enjoyed it. At the end of the session, Kyle (who I co-facilitated with) and I were talking and said no matter what happens during the session, at the end the students are always happy, always thankful, and it is always an awesome experience. I think that really sums everything up, not only for the session, but also for life. When everything is said and done, and you are able to look back on things, it is good.

One of my biggest questions when I was planning to come to China was why did God want me to spend a year in China when He so directly led me into special education. I didn't doubt that His plan was best, and He knew what He was doing, but it was definitely a question that often floated through my mind. When I arrived in China the question was still there, but I knew I had to wait patiently before I could find any of the answers. So far this question has been answered in awesome ways. The first came my second week here when I was eating lunch with two of my teammates at a restaurant right outside of campus that we call Muslim 1. We had ordered our food and were just enjoying the conversation between the three us of when a big group of college age students walked in. At first we thought nothing of it, and as they began to sit down it was apparent that there were not enough seats so we let one of them sit at our table since we had an extra chair. It ended up that the entire group was deaf. The most amazing time followed, where we communicated with body language and written words as the student was translating from sign language to Chinese to English. He was a dancer in college, and had such a joy and passion for life. I walked back to campus when we finished thankful, and assured that He really does have the perfect plan in mind for me. The next moment came at church this past Sunday. I sang with a few other teammates as part of the worship team, and then we all sat down to listen to the sermon. It was about how Ruth was committed to Naomi because she loved her and wanted the best for her. The sermon ended with a video clip about Team Hoyt. If you haven't heard about them it is a father son team that complete marathons and triathlons together. The thing is, the son has cerebral palsy and can not walk on his own, so he rides along with his father as he swims, runs, and bikes. Go to their website to watch the video about won't regret it! ( I had heard of their story many times before, but it touched me in a new way on Sunday, and was another gift from the Lord. After the sermon a guest speaker from America spoke and told how this story touched her. She had a friend who had a daughter with cerebral palsy, and to make a long story short, because of this precious child she is now a Christian. This made me so thankful that I have the privilege to teach these children, and I know because of this experience in China I will be a better teacher for them. The culminating event (for now :) ) will be this Friday when some of us are going to visit an orphanage for disabled children who are waiting to be adopted. I am so excited about this experience, not only because of my special ed background, but also because these are children just like Kristen, and the opportunity to play with them and love on them is something that I hope she experienced when she was in an orphanage, so the precious hours I will be able to spend with these children is something I am overly excited about!

We had a team Halloween party on Saturday night. It was kind of a last minute thing, so people through together costumes using pretty much whatever they had, or buying a few things here and there. It ended up being so much fun! I went as an 80's workout person, and several others went as various 80's figures. It was such a fun time to spend with everyone. I really have been blessed here so far by having some really great friends already. It makes things so much better and so much more fun! Then last night we all went to an AWESOME pizza place for one of the girls birthdays. It was also a super fun time of relaxation and fellowship. After a huge dinner we went to KTV. Chinese people LOVE karaoke, and there are KTV's all over. It was pretty crazy, but a lot of fun too and we all laughed a lot!

I'm still trying to figure out how to post pics in my blog (cam put the other ones on for me) but here is the link to my Picasa album which I think works :) . I just put a picture of my class, one of my class after a body part labeling game we played, and a few from the Halloween party on it so I hope it works and maybe some day I'll figure out how to do this through all the confusion Chinese internet causes!

I just want to again say thank you so much to everyone who has been praying for me and for sending me encouraging e-mails! Please never underestimate the power of your prayers and encouragement, and just how much is helps me get through each day. Paul continuously thanked his supporters for their letters and prayers, and know that I will be continually thankful for each of you! And, to be more specific, please pray for this upcoming session, that He will find ways to work through each of the teammates, that we will have the strength for each day, and that everything we say and do glorifies Him!