Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rest and Chinglish......oh and I think I got engaged. Day Seven.

Today was just a normal day. We have made a habit out of stopping at KFC for coffee in the mornings…..which is just hilarious. Then we made our trek to the campus.

We had our morning classes, which went really well. We had sort of a light day topic wise in the Jane Eyre class, but it is going to get super heavy tomorrow. Then we went to lunch and had a chance to do some super fast shopping. This “mall” is 5 floors high and has everything from brooms and underwear to dishes and basketballs.

There are “hole in the wall restaurants” lined up everywhere, and we have somehow managed to eat at the same place 4 times. However, it is soooooooooo good so we haven’t complained!
My favorite restaurant. Only 2 tables inside.

We started our business project this afternoon. The students have a hard time with this type of creative thinking, so they should learn a lot from it.

We finally had a little down time this evening. We had dinner with some students and  then we took our sweet time getting back to the hotel. I feel like we have literally been running from place to place since we got here (probably because we have) so it was great to be able just slow down. So now we will have a little rest. That is about all I have to say about that.


-I don’t know WHY but these kids LOVE the show “The Big Bang Theory”. The funny thing is the words don’t translate into Chinese very well, so the sentence goes something like this: “Do you know American show….ummmmmm….Big …..ummm Explosion….you know? ……Sheldon….”
-They LOVE LOVE LOVE The Beatles. Especially “Hey Jude”.
-These people have an uncanny knack for squatting. They let their kids poop on the street, so they don't ever want to sit on anything that isn't a chair. So they squat. All the way down. And just hang out like that.
-The men like to fold their shirts up in the front when it's hot. So there are Chinese sweaty bellies everywhere. Lovely.
-It is totally normal to walk down the street and see a dead pig laying on a table ready to be chopped up. Just on the side of the street. On a table. Right there.
-Chinese English CRACKS ME UP to no end. When they put English on products or signs it is always wrong. And hilarious.
"bring you great feeling all the time"

-We have been buying bananas from the same family in the market on our way to campus each day. The son is hilarious! He knows about 5 phrases in English and he shouts them at the top of his lungs to us each day. "Hello!". "You are beautiful!". "OK!". "I love you!". "See you later!".Whoever said Chinese people are soft spoken has never met this guy! He also didn't get the memo that Chinese boys don't touch girls....unless they are engaged. Not only does he touch, but his armpit has some sort of built in radar causing it to always make contact with the other persons shoulder, even if you try to avoid it. He gave me a free peach, so between that and the touching, and the I love you!'s, I am guessing we are engaged. Congrats to me.
Me and the banana man.

Banana man and Jon.

He made us this tender sign! (no idea why a couple of these pics turned out red)

My engagement peach

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lord let it be so. Day six

They have KFC here. That is so strange to me.

Today we went on a scavenger hunt ALL OVER the city with the students. It was really amazing to be able to spend that quality time with them while working together as a team to help them practice their English. We were able to see the Yellow River (which would be more aptly named the Very Brown River), a museum, and tons of other amazing sights. Some of the students we were with hadn’t even see this much of the city before, so needless to say we are exhausted!
Our scavenger hunt team!

Little boys like to play with cars no matter where you are.

The Yellow/Brown River.

Random dude selling turtles on the side of the street!

Today provided a good bit of time to have some deeper conversations with some of our friends. The Lord is really working on so many of these kids, and we are doing our best to be patient while He does what He does best.

Chinese popcorn lady

A view of the city on both sides of the Yellow River.

We noticed this evening, that after work, all of the people go into various parts of the city and congregate. The women do Chinese line dances, and the men play cards, drink beer, and smoke! But, the thought was brought to my attention, that their small and not so comfortable living situations, really force them into community with each other. It is really a wonderful picture and I think that once the Lord grows some of the seeds that have been planted, they should spread like wildfire.

Just a normal evening in China.

My friend Jon who helped me barter with a lady for a dress for Ella :)

One of my girls Allison asked me today as we walked arm and arm to the museum (they are VERY protective of us foreigners so they are always holding on to us) “Are you angry with your ex husband?” Of course I told her that I was at first, but I had long since forgiven him and wasn’t angry anymore. I asked her if she knew why I would choose to forgive him and she said “I know. It is because you believe in God and your Bible says to forgive and love even your enemies”.

It is AMAZING to me how our great God can take a book written in the 1800’s (Jane Eyre), an English camp, and my story, and mold them into something that could potentially change where this girl (and maybe more) spend eternity. 

Lord let it be so.

-In China, you fall into one of two classes of people. Noodle people or rice people. Although the beef noodles are good, I am definitely rice people.
The noodles are in there. Yes you have to eat it with chopsticks.
-The women shave their legs, but not so much their underpits. I didn't get a picture of that........sorry.
-It is perfectly normal here to wear the same clothes 2 days in a row…..or more. Makes it easier to identify the students though and greatly reduces the cost of name tags. And showering is apparently optional as well.
-Old Chinese women got rhythm.
-The shower floors and the bathroom floors are the same. There is a drain in the bathroom at the lowest point and when you shower the water goes all over the bathroom floor and then in to the drains….at least hypothetically.
-Chinese toilet paper is stretchy.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rain, false gods, cheese and toilet paper. Day five.

Today was different. It rained all day, which made some things even more challenging than before. Imagine streets littered trash, filth, poop and only the Lord knows what else, and then pour a bucket of water on it. And then make a puddle of it. And then step in it. Yep.

Of course, I brought everything with me today BUT an umbrella, so a couple of times we just got downright soaked. But, it also cooled things off quite a bit which was a huge blessing.

This was the second day of the English camp. These students are not strangers to us anymore and that changes things. It is starting to become apparent to us which students are believers, and they are few. Which leaves so many that are not. We now know that the red necklaces that dangle around many of our friend’s necks have a Buddah, or some symbol of another god, concealed under their clothes. When we talk to them in Literature class about Jane Eyre and the topics of death, eternity and God, we are getting more honest answers now that the students are more comfortable with us. But that is also tough, because many of them feel that the concept of God and heaven and hell are silly. So silly that some snicker with laughter. Not to be cruel to us, but simply because they have lived their whole lives believing in nothing. They have never been taught religion of any sort, and for many this is the first time, ever in their lives, that they have even thought about the subject.

Some of the students shared with me today that they have grandparents (usually one set or the other and not both) who they remember being believers. They don’t know how they came to believe in God, but they think that their prayers and belief in heaven and hell are just silly quirks of the ancient old Chinese people. The concept of God and eternity seems to have literally been stricken from the minds of two generations of people.

Of course as our knowledge about these sweet people grows, so does the depth of our relationships with them. Although many of them do not understand what we believe, they still accept us as friends. We go to lunch with them and talk just like any friends would. Our differences in belief, or their lack of any belief, doesn’t seem to hinder friendship, and that is unique. I think as Americans we tend to only be comfortable surrounding ourselves with like minded people...........which is a shame because then how will anyone who doesn’t believe, ever come to belief?

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15

After our classes (and some awesome afternoon games) were over for today, we had a short break for dinner and then we had a girls night/ guys night. The dudes all went by bus to the city to eat at Pizza Hut! Apparently it is very new to the city and most of the students have never been, much less ever eaten pizza in their life. They have no cheese here…..such a sadness.
Headbands game! (sort of)

The girls night was an awesome time of hanging out, eating cookies (which they never have because they don’t want to get fat) and pizza (leftovers the boys brought us) and tea. Mandi sang a song and Lynn and I shared a little about the concept of self worth and who these girls are in God’s eyes. I shared a good bit of my story, and many of the students (and a few of the foreignersJ) seemed to have been really affected by it in a good way. It is always awesome to see God make beautiful things out of the ashes of pain in someone’s life. We taught the girls how to make friendship bracelets. I hope they will continue to wear them and think of this time we had together and what we shared with them.

We are now back and exhausted again. Tomorrow we will roam all over the city on a scavenger hunt with the students……I hope I can keep up with them!


-They have no toilet paper. At least not in the bathrooms. If you plan to need it, you better bring it with you.
-They don’t flush toilet paper down the squatty potties. Guess the pipes are too skinny for the population. So all toilet paper goes in the trash can. All.
 -They have no napkins in any of the restaurants. If they do have napkins, it is actually just toilet paper. Circle of life.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

English camp, line dancing and a concert on the grass. Day four.

Today was our first day of English camp! We have worked so hard to prepare for this camp, and I think we were all a bit nervous as to how it would go.

We started with a super fast 30 minute sweaty walk through the city, through the slums, through the market and then through the campus to get to our building. We bought bananas in the market and some type of bread, egg, slaw, spicy situation (doesn’t sound good but it is) and ate on the way.

(all pics below from along our walk to campus each day)

When we arrived we found the large classroom where we would start and end our days together as a group. Some of the students were already there so we had a short amount of time to get our bearings and get ready to start. I was responsible for kicking us off with introductions, which I was very happy about! I was able to use my loud mouth and silly attitude so much in Africa, and I have been terrified that I would …..terrify the soft spoken Chinese! BUT GOD has orchestrated it so that what I am good at can be useful here as well. So, we each told the 60 or so students who we all were. When I told them I was a mommy, they all said “Awwwwwwwe!. Such sweet spirited people.

Then we began our classroom rotations. We are teaching a grammar class, a writing class and a literature class. So, we basically teach the same thing, 3 times to 3 different groups each day. In literature (where I am working) we are studying Jane Eyre, which is amazing because it has given us great opportunities to talk with the students about forgiveness, God, death and eternity. They have no concept of eternity and they don’t think about dying. It just isn’t something that is of any concern to them, which makes it difficult to have gospel conversations if you have no sense of death or eternity! So this book was a GREAT way to start off our week with some deep thoughts, which thankfully come from Bronte (the author) rather than any of us, making it easier to have deeper conversations.
our classroom

Once all of our classes were finished for the morning, it was time to go to lunch. A group of girls asked me to go with them and we had an awesome time. One of the main goals of the camp is to teach English, but also give the kids a chance to practice their conversational English as well. Tomato and egg on rice is my new favoritest thing ever. Then we had a short time to sit and rest before going back for the afternoon session.

I was put on the spot and asked to fill up as much time in the first afternoon as possible, although I had only prepared for about an hour! But, loud mouth and silly is what I do and so I did. We played a couple of games, and then we taught them line dances!! Luckily, a few of the girls on the team are actual dancers and were able to help me out since I am just the loud mouth……oh yeah and I have a fractured knee! But it went over great and everyone had a lot of laughs, fun and exercise! Did I mention it is as hot here as at home, but they have no air conditioning…….wow.

Once day one was over, we had a little down time to eat dinner and chat with each other and some of the students about how the day went, and some things about them and their lives.A little girl came and sat next to me at a picnic table after we had eaten dinner. She was so shy, but she just came up, smiled, sat down next to me and read her book. I think God knew I just needed some interaction today with a 6 year old little girl. 

 Then it was off to the library lawn where Mandi and Ashley did a concert for the students, and about 100 other random people who gathered around to see what was going on! They did some of Mandi’s songs as well as some popular songs that the students knew. It was really awesome because they had a blast, but there is also some super good stuff in Mandi’s songs, and we gave them all a copy of the lyrics…..planting those seeds!

We are now back at the hotel and about to sleep. The weather, and our schedule each day really drains us. But, I think this is such good work…..even better than I had imagined. These students are from all over China, so hopefully believers will come out of this camp, who will then go back to their own home towns…..and multiply. Such an amazing concept…….who came up with it? Oh yeah, that was Jesus.


-Men wear things like black t shirts with a rhinestone zebra on the front…..and they own it.
-Giant piles of trash everywhere. The people leave trash wherever they want, because they know the government with pay someone to come behind them and clean it up.
-When you take their picture, they hold up a V for victory, but I don’t know what their victory is in.
Look at those cheeks!
-Babies don’t wear diapers. At all. Until they are (squatty) potty trained, they wear pants with a split in them, so that when they need to go, they just squat down and have at it! Craziness. So when you see a grandma carrying a baby around, their little brownish butt cheeks are peeking out for the world to see!