Monday, April 27, 2015


I'm here! A good six months later than I expected, in spring time instead of fall, with a different visa than I expected, but I'm here.

It all still seems a bit surreal. China is so familiar, yet the village I am living in is so much smaller and has a different feel. I am living in an apartment (complete with 6 floors of stairs) instead of a first floor dorm room. I have 3 roommates and the other volunteers are farther away than down the hall. Packing was different. A lot less wondering if I would need something and a lot more , yes, I need to bring deodorant, and no, I can buy shampoo and body wash there.

At the same time all it took was walking through the airport (actually all it really took was waiting for my flights surrounded by Chinese people) to feel familiar. The familiar look and feel of the money, crisp hundreds and well used ones. A trip to the grocery store to see my favorite snacks and knowing which shampoo to buy even though I can't read a word on the bottle. Laughing with my roommates over cucumbers and mutton sticks.

So, I've arrived. Arrived in the country that has stolen my heart and so ready to see how it further captures it this time. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

18 days and Empty Suitcases

18 days are all that stand between me and China. Part of me can't believe I am typing these words. I initially e-mailed New Day a year ago an anticipated going in the fall. Then you know the story, setback after setback. But now it's just about go time! After waiting for so long, it's time to GO!

Here's a quick recap of the timeline:
April 2014- e-mail New Day about volunteering
June/July 2014- officially apply and interview
September 2014- start support raising and visa process
October-March 2014- visa craziness
March 18- find out the teaching visa won't work, decide to go on a tourist visa
March 19- buy plane tickets
March 27- get visa (good for 10 years, 90 days per entry)
April 24- leave for China
April 25- arrive in China

My favorite part of this timeline is the last few entries and how fast everything has happened! It really reminds me of God's plans and how when God says it's time to move, it's time to move and He will make everything fall perfectly into place!

Oh, and the empty suitcases, they are out and ready and I have things spread out on the floor so they won't be empty much longer! BUT I want to make sure they are as full as possible. Since I will be making a short trip home at the end of July and don't have to pack everything at the beginning I made an Amazon wish list full of items New Day would love to have! I will happily take everything over and can't wait to show you the kids using the items!

Thank you SO much for your prayers, support, and encouragement!

Monday, March 23, 2015

March Madness: It's not just for basketball

If you know me, you know that March Madness is observed with holiday like status in my house. However, madness can also be used to describe the past week or so in regards to my journey to China.

First, yet another roadblock was hit. And unlike the other that required new paperwork or more official stamps this one has no clear ending which means a teaching visa isn't in the cards right now.

That leads us to plan B (or C, F, J who knows at this point!) A tourist visa!

So what does all is this means?

  1. Most importantly, it means that I can go to China soon! In fact I have purchased plane tickets and will leave on April 24th!
  2. Tourist visas are normally issued for 30, 60, or 90 day time periods. They are also either single entry, multiple entry for 1 year, or the new multiple entry for 10 years.
  3. I have round-trip tickets for 89 days which means they will hopefully give me at least a 90 day 10 year visa.
  4. I will be making a trip to Chicago in the next week or so to the Chinese Consulate to get my visa.
  5. After the first short trip home to attend a family reunion and a friends wedding I will return to China. I will then have to leave the country again every 90 days in accordance with my visa.
  6. This means that there is the added expense of travel for visa trips. At this point I don't know exactly how much more this will be, but I anticipate it being at least an extra $100 a month.

What can you do?
  1. Continue to pray! Pray that the rest of the visa process moves smoothly and there are no snags that delay anything. Pray as I wrap things up here and prepare to move to China. Pray that the extra funds I need will come in.
  2. Donate! Maybe you haven't been able to or couldn't give as much as you wished. Maybe you can't give a big chunk but something as little as $25 a month adds up! I treasure all of my supporters and know this isn't possible without them.
  3. Donate! (yes, again) Maybe you don't want to give money but you want to give a tangible thing. One benefit of coming home for a short trip after three months is I don't have to pack everything at the beginning and will have more room for donations for New Day. If you are interested please let me know and I'll give you a list of most needed items!

I am continually seeing God through this journey and am so excited He is the one leading it. It hasn't been easy but it is so so good! It does feel like complete Madness at times, but isn't it more fun when the underdog wins :) 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

Waiting is never easy. Waiting for an extended period of time is even harder.

Abraham continually waited for God's promises to be fulfilled. He waited 25 years for his son, Isaac to be born, and that's not even counting the time before God promised him a son that he and Sarah were hoping for a child.  The Israelites waited 40 years until to reach the promise land after finally being freed from the Egyptians. Joseph was in prison for three years waiting to the released. Hannah and Elizabeth waited and prayed for children before Samuel and John the Baptist were born. Simeon sat in the temple day after day waiting for the Savior to come.

The common factor in all of this waiting is that God was with them. They trusted God and he carried them through.

They were not passive in their waiting, yet actively seeking God and striving to be obedient to Him. Abraham messed up, repented, and follow Gods plan to the best of his ability. Joseph could have wallowed in his circumstances yet he used his gifts to interpret the dreams of those around them. Hannah, Elizabeth, and Simeon were examples of faithful followers of God.

Instead of sitting back and waiting, they knew that God could still use them in their waiting, and more than that, that He wanted to use them.

We have such a great cloud of witnesses to use as examples

Even still, waiting isn't easy.
Waiting for China isn't easy.

But is it worth it? Yes

It's worth it because I know that God is leading me. I know that in my waiting I can become more dependent on Him and more persistent in prayer. It's worth it because the longer I wait the more I anticipate seeing the faces in person and not just in pictures on the internet. It's worth it because I trust Gods plan and in the fact that He will always see His plan through in His timing.  

Waiting is hard, sometime almost unbearable, but if you are waiting on God is it always always worth it