Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June: A month of M-RACLES and FA-THFULNESS

A journey of living by fa-th...

This month has been one of the most impactful months of my walk with the L-rd as He has been teaching me in a very clear way what it means to walk by fa-th. I’ve encountered m-racle after m-racle and seen Him provide for me every step of the way. One of the ways that this was possible is due to the fact that I don’t speak fluent Chinese. When I’m in America, I can speak the language, I know my surroundings, and know directions of how to get somewhere. There I’m able to depend on my own self rather than having to lean upon Him like I do when I don’t speak the language, don’t know my surroundings, and don’t know how to get somewhere. In Asia I’m dependent on listening to the H-ly Sp-rit and following His leadership. This month has been filled with test-mony after test-mony of His fa-thfulness to me in leading me on the journey He has called me on.
LiJiang Ancient city

June was a new month as we didn’t have any more dance rehearsals, Chinese class was almost finished, dance classes ended, and many people began to pack for their trips home for the summer as the school semester came to an end. One thing that I was really excited about was because I no longer had dance rehearsals, I was able to go to the local pr-yer meetings with the underground ch-rch more often. At one of those meetings we got to pr-y for one of my friends to be filled with the H-ly Sp-rit and speak in tongues! Another thing that blessed me a lot was being able to sing w-rship songs in Chinese as I have been studying the language and am beginning to be able to understand what I’m singing. It’s also beautiful to get to hear the voices of the underground ch-rch singing with vibrant hearts full of love for J-sus, willing to lay down their lives for Him. Recently the persecution here has increased and become more dangerous, so seeing their abandoned love for Him in the midst of this present danger provoked me to want to love Him like that too. 
I can't take pictures of people for safety reasons, but this room is one of my favorite places! These are the feet of some amazing, powerful pr-yer warriors!
These are two of my closest friends here in China =)

Another fun thing I was able to do was hang out with my Chinese friends after the pr-yer meetings speaking Chinese with them, playing piano, goofing around, and developing relationships. It’s been a really cool season of seeing G-d establish connections and build relationships that will be necessary for my future. I asked one of my Chinese friends, Emily (name changed for safety reasons), what I should do with the B-bles that I brought with me and she got super excited all the sudden and asked me if they were in English or Chinese. After finding out that they were in English, she told me that she had been pr-ying for a physical English B-ble as all she had was the app on her phone. When I gave her the books she picked up all of them, held them, and looked inside each of them grinning from ear to ear. I don’t think I had seen a more precious sight. Her face was glowing with excitement and pure joy of receiving a physical B-ble. I was touched that I could bless her in this way.
Hanging out with some of our dance friends!
The Chinese advertise new events with these awesome lanterns!
Last dance class with Mrs Uen and Mrs Ho

We got to share the g-spel with one of our Chinese friends too. She had experienced some foreigners who are not beli-vers treating her very badly, demanding their own way, refusing to cooperate when things don’t go as planned, and thinking of themselves first before anyone else. She noticed that we (my 3 Chr-stian foreign friends and I) were different than them and asked us what made us different. It’s completely legal to answer any questions we are asked and so we got to share with her that it is because of J-sus that we are different. We were able to plant seeds by being a living test-mony and now we are pr-ying for the seeds to grow! 
Our friend Lily =)

Another exciting thing that I have been able to experience this past month is talking in Chinese. By just the little we have learned, I was able to talk to a Chinese guy for about 45 minutes about many different topics. Many taxi drivers, shop owners, restaurant waiters/waitresses, people riding the bus, and friends - I have been able to semi-hold a conversation with them. It’s exciting because it means I’m closer to being able to seamlessly share the g-spel with them in their own language! 

also got to attend one of my friend’s weddings while I was here! It was cool as they are both Chr-stians and wanted their wedding to be a test-mony about J-sus. They even played music from a w-rship leader of my school in Kansas City! It’s a small world! We got to pr-y for them at our weekly meeting and I also got to help set up the decorations. The wedding contained many western traditions as well as eastern traditions including a tea ceremony. It was such a blessing to get to be a part of this big day for them!
Pr-ying for the couple and the Three Self Ch-rch where they got married
Setting up the decorations at the venues!
Zoe was a beautiful bride!
So happy for my friends and their new life together!
Me and my "little" big sister! I love PingPong!
Zoe's dress was incredible!!!!             I really love the people in this photo!
The wedding feast was incredible including a whole chicken (head and neck attached), fish with scales and head, and chicken feet!
Me and my good friend Dodo

One of the funniest things to me is walking by shops and hearing English music. Recently I heard the song “A Whole New World” from the Disney movie Aladdin playing in a store, and “Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band in a Chinese taxi on the radio. The trash pick up trucks play the song “It’s A Small World After All”. As we have lived in China for 4 1/2 months now, Grace and I discovered that we truly have 'become' Chinese. Instead of eating ice cream, sweets, and junk food like girls usually do at 1am at sleepovers, we made rice and noodles! :) Grace’s birthday was also this month so we got to celebrate by playing games, watching Ice Age, and eating apple crisp with ice cream! It was fun to be able to celebrate with her! I also was able to help Karissa and Greg prepare to move into one of the married teacher apartments so that when they return from their wedding in the States, everything will be set up. I also got to do a bit of souvenir shopping downtown. Because it was the University's 15th year anniversary, there were many upgrades to the campus including a new Chinese park. 
Campus renovations! The new library is slowly starting to take shape
The beauty of simple designs
It was really peaceful in the park

I think Chinese architects just like to have fun!

Quiet, reflective, simple beauty
Me and my fabulous roommates!
The park is also used to host large parties like this one for all the dancers in the 15th Anniversary performance
Games and apple crisp for Grace's birthday!
Downtown Erqi square and night market
Karissa and me downtown.....I love the cool buildings!
Shopping at the stuff mart!
Cute, happy little kid in a store we walked in......and the best coffee mug collection I've ever seen (Mallory, you and I could go crazy!)
Shopping!!!!       Couples underwear is a big deal in Asia....even Spider man, Minions, Superman.....       And Durian fruit (the prickly pear from Jungle Book), stinky and poisonous if you cook it wrong

So.....the m-racle month and journey of fa-  th:

This month had been a crazy time of trying to pin down what I was going to do for the remainder of my time in China this semester. I asked G-d to make this my best month left in China and for me to be useful to Him even after the school semester. I had tried to contact many of my mixxionary friends over here, but all the doors kept slamming in my face because they were either in America or were unable to see me and have me come to their city. I quickly learned that before the next door opened, I had to walk through the current door and that G-d answers my pr-yers at 11:59pm (the last second possible). June quickly turned from the worst month (being afraid of wasting my time in China having no plans), to the best month with G-d orchestrating my schedule. 

Two days after the 15th year performance, I learned that some of my Chinese friends were going to a city in the southwest part of China to do some m-nistry and invited me to go. I was really excited because it was the same city I had been wanting to visit all semester (door open). I later found out that I couldn’t go with them for security reasons because I am a foreigner (door shut). But the idea of going to that city still lingered in my mind. Then I found out that my Korean friend was going to LiJiang with her brother for a few days. It was close to where I wanted to go, so I bought a plane ticket to LiJiang with no plans for the rest of the month (door open). About 20 hours before my flight, I ended up finally being able to contact my Chinese friend Joyce and found out I could stay with her for 2 weeks. I also ended up getting an email from one of my old dance friend’s sister from America who lives in China asking me to come and shadow their m-nistry for 2 weeks (exactly what I had asked for!-to see how other mixxionaries live in China). I called her 18 hours before my flight left, and the last two weeks of my trip were planned. G-d answered my pr-yers at the last moment. Talk about living by fa-th! I was so relieved and excited that night it was hard to sleep seeing G-d work in my life. Little did I know this was just the beginning…

On the way to the airport I got to talk to taxi guy for about 35 minutes about my height, my school, my house in America, radio commericals, songs, and lots of stuff. I can’t believe I know this much Chinese! My flight was delayed and I didn’t end up landing until 2am. Being a single girl traveling alone I really was nervous about getting a taxi 45 minutes to the place I was staying so I asked G-d for a female taxi driver (this is extremely rare in China!). When we landed G-d ended up having me talk to a group of girls who talked to another woman who took me to a taxi driver….who happened to be a woman! G-d answered my pr-yer! She was already taking two other girls to a hostel nearby my hostel so G-d provided perfectly for my safety. The lady even walked us to our hostel and made sure we were settled before she left. Since she dropped the other girls off first, she locked me in the car like a little kid! =) Thank you J-sus for giving me such a safe travel to LiJiang! 
My farewell crew....I've been so blessed this semester by these people!
The wifi in the airport was as fast as American wifi!!!! It was fun to use wifi that actually works like wifi and not dial up!
I think I was one of 2 foreigners in the airport and the only foreigner on the plane. This kid kept cracking up every time he looked at me. And the airplane provided each seat with a tablet for free games/movies/music/magazines/shopping!!!!

The next day I spent in LiJiang with my Korean friend Stella, her brother, and a Taiwanese friend they had met at the hostel. I had to go back to the hostel to pay for the room and had to take several buses to another old town called Suhe to meet them. It was another test of J-sus’ fa-thfulness as he placed people in my path to ask directions. I also got to eat scorpion that night with Stella’s brother. They were surprisingly delicious and salty/crunchy. As I went to sleep that night, I was already feeling giddy about what He was going to do next.
I got to wake up to this view.....our G-d is amazing!
The room I stayed in holds 6 people, but is really spacious.           Happy because I know I'm loved and taken care of by my he-venly Father
Old town LiJiang is really beautiful with the mountain water running through the city
Little trinket stores with different minority groups' items
Woven purses and earrings
Lots of times they sit in their shops making what they are selling, like this woman who sells scarves
The yummy restaurant we ate           My friend Stella and her brother
LiJiang famous bean curd, it's really yummy!
LiJiang famous sweet cake bread, it was really disgusting! Bland but feels like chalk in your mouth....
Little shoes and a water fall in a courtyard
Traditional skirts/pants and scarves
One of the many gates to the city........and they had pine trees here!
Many mom's carry their kids in these little papoose packs
Zhongyi market......and Lychee! One of my favorite fruits!
Traditional Naxi dances in the park and traditional clothing
Old Town was beautiful!
More trinket stores
It's the rainy season (June-July), so it would rain on and off throughout the day

Mini llama you could take your picture with....and yummy fruit!!!
Rainbow after the storm and the gate to the old town of Suhe
Having tea in a local shop in Suhe
There was even a store that dyed their own fabrics!
LiJiang famous flat bread cake with bean filling.....it's okay, but really greasy and oily
Dancing in the old town of Suhe and red lantern street
At night, Old town LiJiang comes to life!
Beautiful and still raining
Beetles, maggots, anchovies, larvae, bamboo worms, centipede, cicadas, grubs, meal worms, silk worm, and scorpion!!!! Yum!!!.....maybe?
The Chef cooking our scorpions
Eating scorpion! They were actually pretty good, although the stinger on the tail poked the corner of my mouth....I would eat them again!

The next day I went to hike Tiger Leaping Gorge (a 2 day hiking trail). It is one of the famous attractions in LiJiang due to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Mountain rising almost completely vertically from the Yangtze River. Again, I was in the situation of being a female traveling alone, and hiking alone. The night before the hike I asked G-d for a family to hike with. On the bus I sat by a Czech man in his 50s who spoke really great English. After talking to him for a while I found out that the guy and girl traveling with him were his son and daughter. G-d had answered my pr-yer again! I was able to hike the whole gorge trail with them. Though it was a little rainy at times (it’s the rainy season here in China in June/July) the mountains were gorgeous! I was even able to spend a little w-rship time gazing at the beauty of my Creator. An old Chinese man came up to me watching me w-rship and began to talk to me. He said that the mountains were worth painting and I agreed and attributed the beauty to G-d. I think that my love for mountains and water is related to the city of G-d being on the highest mountain when J-sus returns with the river of life flowing from His throne. (Isaiah 2:2; Rev. 22:1)
Starting from Old Town LiJiang
Beautiful views on the bus to the gorge

The Yangtze River and the beginning of our 21km hike!

The beginning of the gorge
Beautiful scenery despite the overcast weather
Hiking through small villages along the way

The translation on the signs is hilarious
The trail goes through many different types of terrain
Getting higher on the 28 switchbacks
It was beautiful....and steep!

Reaching the top of the 28 switchbacks we were rewarded with an incredible view!

Through the bamboo forest....
Across extremely wobbly bridges.....
Through more villages....
"Beautiful are the feet that bring good news...."
We spent the night at the Tea Horse hostel owned by a Naxi family
It was very nice and clean!
The views were incredible
So excited that G-d blessed me to be able to hike this part of His creation!
A local woman chopping up greens for dinner....and I had the whole room to myself!
Mountain villages are fun to explore!
This is where I spent some time w-rshipping 
I love mountains!
He is an amazing artist
The next morning after breakfast we continued our hike

The beauty of the mountains was incredible
More steep climbs...
My wonderful Czech family!

This part of the trail was full of large rocks and waterfalls!

And amazing views!
It was absolutely breathtaking...
Still can't believe I was here!

The YueLong XueShan (Jade Dragon Snow Mountain) behind me
Bathroom with a view! (one of the selling points for this hostel!)

Follow the red arrow! Haha, I have no idea what this sign means!
This lady was pressure washing a huge carpet....in the middle of the mountains!
There were cute little goats on the side of the mountain
YueLong XueShan (Jade Dragon Snow Mountain)
Sometimes the path was just large rocks...

With waterfalls over it!
A Tibetan house in the mountains

A little bit more up before the descent...

Making our way down to Tina's guest house

Lunch with an incredible view and fun menu!
We hiked from the Hutioxia Scenic Area all the way to the blue dot
Looking back through the gorge

Riding along the Yangtze river back to LiJiang

My third pr-yer was that I wouldn’t have to eat dinner alone that evening and would find a group of people to eat with. On the way back from the Tiger Leaping Gorge I met a Korean group who were spending some time traveling through southwest China. I ended up helping them get back to the old town of LiJiang with the little Chinese I have and all the way back to their hostel because they don't speak any Chinese. They asked me to eat with them for dinner to repay for my help in finding their hostel. G-d answered my prayer again plus I got free dinner! It was fun to get to know them and I found out that they had been to the village I had visited last time I was in China (Yubeng) and had even stayed at the same house I did! (Gesang and her sweet family) I felt very loved on and blessed when I went back to my hostel that evening. The hostel was also an answer to pr-yer because I had asked G-d for a place that spoke decent English (they spoke incredible English), that was nice (it was so clean, quiet, and beautiful!), and that could help me book tickets to Tiger Leaping Gorge and Kunming (my next stop) which they also did! 

Cute kid on the bus back to town and a gorgeous sunset!
Yummy food and new Korean friends!
Back at my hostel....I got the whole room to myself!

The next day I spent some time shopping around LiJiang and enjoying some peaceful time with J-sus. I got to spend some time pr-yer walking the streets and pr-ying for the people I passed in the shops and visiting LiJiang. For lunch, I was too overwhelmed by the “American-ness” of the restaurants in the Old Town so I went outside the touristy part and found a small, Chinese family run restaurant to eat at. :) I found it amusing that I was more comfortable among the local Chinese than the touristy area. Later on that afternoon as I was watching some old ladies doing some of the local Naxi minority dances, I saw a grandmother scold a granddad for watching me instead of the little grandkid he was supposed to be watching who went near the fountain when he wasn’t paying attention and could’ve fallen in. I’ve actually caused wrecks before because the Chinese will stare at me instead of where they are driving and they’ve crashed into other bikes, sidewalks, cars, and poles. It’s hilarious but really bad at the same time!
Loved hanging out with J-sus in old town!

I got to watch the ladies do some of the Naxi minority dances

This was the courtyard of the hostel I stayed at...really beautiful!

I really liked this hostel as the owners were really friendly and helpful. If you are ever in LiJiang, stay here!
Strange foods I had never seen before
It can sometimes be a little overwhelming....=)
Minority earrings

This guy had a peacock feather hat on!!!! And a guy working on silver bracelets 
Old Town LiJiang
Some sights on my pr-yer walk
A young Chinese guy with the typical "Chinese beard"
China is so intricate in the detail of their buildings!

Cool lanterns and a Chinese mural
I love local, candid shots. These grandparents were taking a breather from the sun under the shade of the gate.
I even found a Tibetan Temple! I got to invite the H-ly Sp-rit to come and cleanse the land and open the eyes of those who w-rship there.
These ladies were carrying heavy rocks up the mountain for their god'.....open their eyes J-sus!
The Zhongyi street market
Chicken feet soup anyone? =)         These baskets are the LiJiang "backpack"
Muscadines, live fish, and "Home Depot/Walmart"....
Beautiful resting spot watching the locals dance
Exploring and finding dinner
Cute little kid at the restaurant trying to sell me flowers.....and a glowing bridge!
LiJiang was a fun town to see!

That night I took the night train to Kunming where I was going to meet my Chinese friend Joyce. I met her last time I was in China, so it’s been 3 years since I’ve seen her. This was another answer to pr-yer as I have asked all semester to be able to see her. Not only do I get to see her, I get to stay with her for 2 weeks! It’s been amazing so far to get to live life with this beautiful sister of mine. One afternoon I helped her translate questions about Rev-lation and Daniel for a small group. We got to go eat lunch at her parents house who take care of unwanted orphans that have medical issues. I got to go with her to the local underground ch-rch to practice for w-rship where I met her cousin. I also got to go with her to spend the night at her friend’s house in the southern part of the city. We got to have a yummy dinner made by her friend’s roommate (including goat cheese!) and dance at the local park. Joyce also made the comment that bleu cheese is the same as stinky tofu! I disagree with her on that point!
LiJiang train station
I love night trains!                      A fruit similar to lychee but not....
Reunited!!!! =)
The xiaoqu (neighborhood) where she lives 
The weather here is beautiful!
The entrance looks a little bit like Thailand architecture!
eBike riding to her parents house!
Her parents xiaoqu and her eBike
The precious children that her parents take care of

Joyce and her parents!
I also got to adventure to Walmart!!!!!
It has many 'normal' looking products......

As well as some not so "normal" products.... (the oil containers here are huge!)


Chicken feet? =) They are actually pretty tasty!
Local bus during a non-crowded time
Mexican restaurant in China!!!!! We got to watch one of the World Cup games here.
Beautiful rainbow headed to see one of Joyce's friends
The subway cards are really cool!
They made a really good dinner including goat cheese! One of the meat dishes contained a flower spice that had been fermented for 3 months to achieve that taste. So yummy!
Red date tea and the local park
Joyce's friends =) (L-R: Stephanie, Michelle, Me, Joyce)

I also got to go with her to the indoor Skatepark that her team helps run (a m-nistry outlet) as well as English corner(language school and youth group) at the skatepark and dinner with her roommate Inga and her friends. It was really neat that G-d had me meet 5 other mixxionaries who live in China and see what they do. It was again an answer to pr-yer. He keeps amazing me with His fa-thfulness to me!
Ardent skatepark
It is an incredible opportunity to be able to do outreach m-nistry here!
I even put together my first skateboard! =)
I also got to attend Spill (their version of English corner) where they play games and talk in English (to do m-nistry). These games consisted of jelly beans and chopsticks. =)

While I was riding on the eBike with Joyce to her parents house she reminded me of when I treated her to Starbucks when I was here 3 years ago. She said I bought her a mocha and it was the first time she had ever had it and then proceeded to tell me that there were now multiple Starbucks over the city. What struck me was that the little things we do for people, no matter how insignificant they seem to us or how little we remember them, really do matter and the people affected by our actions really do remember. What things have you been doing lately for the kingdom? Are you living by fa-th and following His plan for your life? My pr-yer is that each and everyone of us would make living by fa-th a consistent part of our day and that each action we do would most glorify Him. 

Thank you to everyone who is pr-ying for me! I can definitely see His hand working in my life and teaching me more about His character! Next post will be from America as I leave China in 21 days. Please begin to pr-y that the transition back to my family and friends would be smooth as I’m leaving and uprooting life here in China for the time being and re-entering American culture. I’m excited to see what test-monies and stories of His fa-thfulness these next 3 1/2 weeks contain. Talk to you soon!

Random events this month:

They decided to put central air conditioning in our dorm at school so we woke up to holes being drilled into our walls and sparks coming under our door....
We had to wear masks for a few days because the dust was so bad in the hallway and in our room
Yup, we lived in the ghetto for a few weeks!
I got to FaceTime my sister who was at our friends house in Hawaii. So good to get to talk to them!
Playing an awesome game that Greg and Karissa introduced me to.....and a hilarious translation for the phone case
At the beginning of school, I could barely order from a menu like this......now I can read most of it! It's amazing what you can learn in a few months! Campus has been cloudy and overcast as the rainy season has set in.
Grandmother showing off her grandkid to the waiguo ren (foreigners)......last day picture with our Chinese language teacher, Liu lao shi! We will miss you!
Girls night for Karissa's bachelorette party! 

New foods I've eaten:

Qing cai mu'er ji dan! (leeks, eggs, mushrooms on rice)          Liang ban la mian (stretched local noodles with tomato, cucumber, and egg) Both are delicious!!!!
Mu'er rou pian (mushroom, chicken, and peppers on rice) Really yummy!               Chicken head I found in my stir fry!
Eating with friends!     Really spicy noodles in Yunnan province
Yummy soup that Joyce's roommate Anna made with zucchini, eggs, carrots, tomatoes, and noodles.         Chicken feet bones....
The correct way to eat a chicken foot.....put it all in your mouth, chew, and spit out the bones. =)

1 comment:

  1. Loved all the photos, and obviously, especially those of your hike.
    I think this is the first post where you said something that you ate was "not so good"! But out of the thousands of new things you have tried, I guess not liking just two is pretty good odds!