China – October 2009

“…so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.” 1 Kings 8:60

We returned from three weeks of visiting with friends in one of the busiest cities we’ve ever seen. Our training and experience in the world of education was put to good use as we supported English-speaking families in their children’s studies. We offered lectures and workshops for adults, provided classes and story hour sessions for children, met separately with families and couples, and toured local “schools”. We renewed some longtime friendships and got to know a lot of our siblings serving on a demanding and exciting field.

There were many new things to learn in such a diverse culture. We were impressed by the respect given to tradition even as modern technology is embraced. The walk from where we stayed to our place of service was filled with a changing variety of sights, sounds, smells, and tastes. There were times when we were pressed in by our surroundings and are thankful for the presence of our Shepherd’s rod and staff to keep us in the way.

Of course a trip to this beautiful land would not be complete without going to its capital. We were able to visit the main sights which we found rich and colorful. We enjoyed the national food, eating in every kind of establishment you can imagine. We did avoid the more exotic fare found at the stalls of the night market. Phew! The cravings arrived one day though and we had an American meal. Can you imagine having lunch at Starbucks and dessert at Dairy Queen in a seven story, sparkling indoor mall without reading a word of English?

Our favorite visit was the full morning we spent walking the Great Wall. We chose a spot that was less commercial than most and made it all the way to Tower 1. We were able to see across both sides of what was once the barrier that kept the Mongols at bay. There is a lot of deterioration, but restoration is in progress – such a massive structure. At one point the Wall is wide enough for five horsemen to ride abreast. It was a powerful experience.

Curt would probably report that the most exciting part was the descent. We were loaded onto individual “sleds” and sent down a stainless steel course similar to the track luge or bobsled riders negotiate. The little stick in our hands acted as a brake and was the only “equipment” at our disposal. Yes, it was a thrilling ride. One we will not soon forget.

Our return trip included nine hours overnight in one airport (not much sleeping) followed by a 15 hour flight to New York (lots of cabin fever). We’ve been home a little over a month and we’re still processing our various experiences. We have a lot to share about the opportunities there, but it’s difficult to put it into this type of online report. Please feel free to email us directly for any specific questions or personal interest you might have.

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