Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Vacation Time!!

The semester is finally over and it is time for a long, extended vacation. We don't start our next semester until March 9th, so I'd say that is a pretty great break! Not a whole lot has happened over the last several weeks, but the most exciting thing is the temperature has shot back up and today I was in short sleeves and was still hot. I love the weather in this city. I don't know if it will stay like this but from what I have heard this is very unusual weather. for this time of year.

Today Dee, Anne, Anne's husband Mike, and I visited the People's Park in the city. It was so much fun and incredibly huge. We canoed, visited a fort, and I got to play in a bubble on the water. There are pictures on my pic site where you can see exactly what the bubble is, but you get in this giant air bubble and then walk on water (or rather fall on your tush several times while attempting to walk). It was a great workout but very difficult to maintain balance. After I got back from the park we had a staff meeting where the Chinese staff gave us our New Years gifts (a 10 kg. bag of rice and 5 liters of cooking oil). Being that I don't use oil nor do I particularly care for rice I thought it was quite humorous. Luckily there are lots of people on campus who would appreciate these gifts so I will have no trouble giving it away.

Please remember my family this week in your prayers. My parents are scheduled to come in 2 days but my grandmother has recently been hospitalized and it doesn't look good right now. She has been unconscious for several days and the doctors are unsure of what else they can do for her. My dad is really struggling with whether to come or stay and have me come home. I just ask that you pray for his wisdom and comfort as his makes his decision. Also pray for our family as we are probably preparing to say goodbye to my grandmother in this life. I was praying with my mom about this situation last night and was just reminded of how much God has blessed my family with 4 amazing grandparents who have loved and supported me through my life. I am anxious to see my family whether it be here or there and as much as I would love to come home, I must leave it in God's hands and take comfort that whatever decision is made will be for the best.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Rest Easy, God is Near

I want to begin this post with sharing a way that God most powerfully touched my heart this past week.
Last week for the first time since I have been here, I began to have doubts about staying an additional year. I love my job and I couldn't ask for better students, but the lonliness has finally set in and at times I wonder if I am really making a difference here. Whether to stay or go completely consumed my thoughts on Thursday and as I settled into bed that night I just prayed that God would send the Holy Spirit to comfort my heart and grant me peace. I read My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers every night and the title of Thursday's reading was "Why Can I Not Follow You Now?" The following words reminded me that God was near and He does indeed hear us.
"When God brings a time of waiting, and appears to be unresponsive, don't fill it with busyness, just wait. The time of waiting may come to teach you the meaning of sanctification or it may come after the process of sanctification has begun to teach you what service means. Never run before God give you His direction. If you have the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt- wait. ...... Wait for God's timing and He will do it without any heartache or disappointment. When it is a question of the providential will of God, wait for God to move. ...... There is now only One who directs the course of your life, the Lord Jesus Christ."
I do not know where I will be next year or what I will be doing, but God does. He not only knows but He will also lead. During His time on Earth Jesus promised his people, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you." John 14:27 I can rest easy knowing that the peace of Christ is upon me.
Funny thing happened last week, which many of you will not be surprised at given my track record with hairstyles. So I went to get a haircut and had a really cute picture to take with me. I took my Chinese teacher Bunny with me so she could help explain what I wanted. I showed them the picture and they said, "Oh sure we can do that. But we need to perm her hair first." Of course my response was, "OH NO NO NO NO!!" They continued to insist that I get a perm because everyone here has perms. After arguing for several minutes I finally just threw my hands up and said," Ok, fine whatever." They began cutting my hair and I noticed that it was beginning to look a little like a mullet. I began to get a little worried but I just kept telling myself that it was only hair and it would grow back. Once he finished cutting it, it actually looked really cute and not so much like a mullet anymore. Then he proceeded to perm my hair, which took 4 1/2 hours. Once it was all finished, it didn't look that bad and I actually really like it. It isn't really curly, but it does feel a little like straw. The perm wasn't really necessary because I can achieve the same look with a curling iron, but I have realized that people here do what they want to do and not always what you tell them to do. I guess when in China, do as the Chinese do!!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy 2007!!

Yay! 2007 is here! I celebrated the end of 2006 with teachers and students at a New Year's Party that the students hosted. They performed songs, skits, and dances for all the teachers and then we had "free dance" where we got to dance with them. We did the Cha-Cha, Tennessee Waltz, and some line dances (but not country western line dances). It felt a little like a middle school dance because the boys were on one side of the room and the girls were on the other. You would watch the boys sheepishly ask girls to dance and then when dancing they stood a foot apart from each other. There is such an innocence that is refreshing as I watch the way they interact with each other.
My Christmas was also wonderful and I didn't get as homesick as I thought I would. I talked to my mom I think about 6 times, and I know that helped me as much as it helped her. I had to go up to the school Monday morning to give something to the students and as soon as I walked in they all said, "Merry Christmas Miss Lori!!" Several of them gave me Christmas cards and I received 2 boxes of chocolate from the school. I was also able to share with my students why Christmas was special to me. After returning from the school, I slipped back into my snowflake pajamas and was able to watch the FBC Mauldin Christmas Eve service live through the Internet. It was such a worshipful experience and I just cannot express how touched I am that so many people worked hard all day on Sunday to arrange that for me. After watching the service, I curled up on the couch and watched a Christmas movie. It was such a relaxing day and was exactly what I needed.
Tuesday afternoon I went with Dee's family to the Yiling Caves. It was so incredible. We went on a tour of the park first and were able to experience a little Chinese culture. There were all these interactive stations where you could get an idea of how hard people in the country must work to carry food and make it themselves. Unfortunately they do not have the convenience of t.v. dinners! Then we went on a tour of these underground caves. The best word to describe it is magical. I felt like I was in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Unfortunately my camera wouldn't take good shots because it was so dark, but I am going back with my parents and will hopefully have a new camera by then.
On Tuesday, I got a special surprise from many of you back home. My mom kept saying, "Check your mailbox." When I finally did, I had the most wonderful treat waiting for me; 16 Christmas cards from friends in Mauldin! For anyone who has ever spent a lot of time away from home you know that emails are great, but handwritten cards are twice as nice. I am reminded of the Phillippian church and how they supported and loved Paul. FBC Mauldin you are my Phillippian church. "I thank my God every time I remember you." 1:3