“The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord. He ponders all His paths.”
Rachel, Kori, Noah and I have definitely been walking some new paths the past few days. Lots of new things to see, observe, taste, smell, ponder, pray about…
I just finished eating breakfast -- which consisted of rice/millet/sweet potato soup, hard boiled eggs, tofu, soybean/celery salad, boiled bread, onion/chive patties, and a few other interesting dishes. But compared to duck intestines and duck neck for lunch yesterday, it was all pretty mild this morning. Welcome to China!! [grin] The past few days have been so eventful – thank you all so much for your prayers in our behalf. I think we are adjusted to the new time zone, though there were several hours when my mind, my body and my watch were all telling me what time it was – and it was three different answers!
But where does one start?! I think we all have already had enough new experiences in the last 60 hours to come home and tell stories for hours!
We are praising the Lord for the answers to prayers we have already seen and been blessed by. Upon getting our tickets early Tuesday morning, we realized that all four of us would be in four different rows spread out all over the plane for the duration of the 14 hour flight. We talked to the ticket people, but the most they could do was to switch us around so we would be in groups of two. We continued praying that we could all sit together, and as we boarded the plane we found others willing to exchange seats – enabling all of us to be in one row!
As the plane took off, they had a huge GPS screen set up that gave out encouraging information like “2 out of 6353 total miles traveled.” But the numbers continually moved, and besides being long, it was a very good flight.
Johnny met us in Beijing and treated us to KFC for supper. (Bunny trail: For those of you who are ice cream lovers – I am glad I’m a girl! Ice cream is considered a “girl’s food,” and boys and men don’t eat it. Noah was quick to decide he was going to start influencing the culture...)
A 10 hour train ride to Taiyuan in a hard sleeper, using squat toilets for the first time, toting our luggage well over a mile and then up three flights of stairs during the heat of the day, only to be served steaming hot water upon arriving – and we were ‘home’ for seven weeks.
The hotel where the school is and also where we are staying.
Upon first arriving here, it was incredibly heartbreaking to see how America has influenced China for the worse. It seems what they see in Hollywood movies is perceived as the ‘norm’ in America which makes it *cool*. We covet your prayers for wisdom and discernment in knowing how to respond in these situations.
As we walk about, we get quite a few stares and pictures taken. Complete strangers that don’t know English will come up, point to us and then to themselves, then to their camera! It is amazing how much can be communicated by grunts and sign language.
Yesterday Darrel took us on a short walk around the hotel where we are staying to acquaint us to what is around town -- and were very pleased to find a convenience store (which will be our source of drinking water over the next 7 weeks), a park, and a very, very good restaurant all within a few blocks of where we are staying. The tour also included learning how to ask “how much is it?!”, say “delicious,” and count to ten in Mandarin. Oh – and they have the most amazing fruit leather and peach drink over here for pennies on the dollar, so we have discovered some great snack food. (And there is something nice about not being able to read the labels – is it healthy? how much sugar does it contain? Who knows!!)
We are all beginning to eat with chopsticks without thinking too much about eye/hand/stick coordination, though one can always tell how well we did or didn’t do by looking at the spills on the table cloth. [smile]
But it is time to sign off! Here in a few minutes we will be sitting in on a few classes to observe English teaching in action – and then on Tuesday we’ll begin teaching our own classes.
Blessings to you all! Thank you so much for you prayers. I think we are all adjusting and excited about then next 7 weeks. The first day was the hardest as far as being tired....homesick…ect…. It is amazing what some sleep and a shower can do to one’s perspective and outlook on the future!! Simple luxuries can make a huge difference.
Bethany for the team