Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Fly on the Wall

Last semester I was sitting in church one Sunday listening to the choir, and I thought to myself, "How fun would it be to join the Chinese Church choir!" Well this past Sunday, the pastor approached Dee and me and asked if we would like to join for the remainder of our time here. I immediately jumped at the chance and was super excited for this possibility. They gave me a copy of the song and I was going to have my Chinese teacher translate it for me into pinyin (Chinese words using our alphabet) this week (which I forgot to do). So last night I went to my first rehearsal (Dee was sick so I went alone) and as soon as I walked in the room, all eyes were on the foreigner. I timidly said, "Ni hao," and the women just continued to stare. Finally, one came over to me and started speaking very quickly in Chinese. I understood some of what she said but didn't know how to respond. Just then a woman began dragging me to a chair and pointed for me to sit. We got out our songs and began rehearsal (which is nothing like choir rehearsal in the States). Luckily the first song we sang was Hallelujah so I had no problem with the words. However, I soon realized that I had taken a seat in the wrong section. I am an alto if ever there was one and I was sitting with the first sopranos and they were hitting notes I didn't even know existed in music. I was too shy to move so I just opened my mouth and tried to appear as if I were singing. After about 15 minutes of rehearsal we went upstairs to join the men. We began practicing the other song (which I never got translated) and I hoped that the first time around I could listen to the song and figure out the words they were saying. Well, no such luck. The two women on either side of me were I guess anxious to see if the foreigner knew the Chinese words. Instead of looking at their own music as we sang, their eyes were definitely on me. Then one of them began silently cracking up as she watched me make up words (that were in fact not real Chinese words but rather just gibberish sounds I was making) when we got to the part I didn't know. All in all, it was definitely a memorable experience and I learned my lesson to be more prepared next time.
This past week I met with a group of friends to study and discuss the Word. We had a wonderful time together and I really enjoyed being able to talk with them about my first love. We agreed that we would like to make this a weekly activity. Please remember this weekly time together in your prayers and I will share more about it when I return home this summer.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

This BIG, WIDE World

Ok, let me just start this by saying BEIJING IS AWESOME!!! If you ever get the chance to visit, you absolutely must go. It definitely ranks among one of my favorite big cities in the world. The history and culture that this country has is incredible and mind-blowing. I returned at 1 am this morning from an 8 day trip with my parents, Dee, and Anne. We got to visit the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, and a few ancient temples. I think the coolest thing about my trip was that I got to zip-line off of the Great Wall. I actually have a video of that as well as lots of pictures and other videos that I am going to post on my picture site this week. One video you must check out is the commentary of our encounter with the Chinese police. Yes, we were interregated by the police and our trip to the Great Wall was delayed by 2 hours because of some legal issues with our tour guide. Just check out the video and you can laugh along with our misfortune!
In other news, classes start back again tomorrow and we now have only 11 weeks of school left. Classes are going extremely well and I am also thoroughly enjoying the Sunday night class I teach. The students in that class have a very wide range of English ability as well as knowledge of the Bible. Some have been believers their entire lives, while others are hearing the gospel for the first time. Please be in prayer for this class and the students. I know God is continually at work in their hearts and each week I cling to the beautiful promise that God gives us in scripture.

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it." Isaiah 55: 10-11