Monthly Archives: April 2017

A Day of Last Times, Surprises and Ping Pong in the Park

It has been an amazing day. It has been an emotional day. It has been a really fun day!

Getting up knowing that it’s your last full day at the foster home and every moment counts makes you treasure everything; one more bowl of rice, playing with the kids, planting flowers, painting the mural, riding the bikes, baking cupcakes for the Easter party, landscaping clean up, dancing with the ladies on the playground court, playing ping pong in the park with the locals. 

Ten years ago I took that year’s senior class on Summit’s 2nd International Senior Class Trip. It was an amazing trip (I know I say that about everyone, but, HEY … It was!) Travis Hall was with me on that trip to England and France.  While on that trip God got a hold of Travis’ heart and here he is, 10 years later, serving the Lord, stationed in the UAE and this week he and Emily are in China. I couldn’t believe it when I saw his update email that he would be in China the same time I was and I wouldn’t be able to see him. Weeellllll……  He surprised me today while I was working on a project and he and Emily walked into the room.  Yes.  Of course I cried!  LOL   It was a sweet time and after dinner he and Emily shared with the team during our evening devotional. Travis shared his journey from high school thru college to where he is now. The kids asked questions and my heart could hardly contain the joy watching Travis and Emily do what they were created to do.  Encourage and impact others out of their love for and relationship with Jesus Christ.  They prayed for us and then we prayed for them, then they headed back to Beijing to get ready for their week.

We ended the day going to the small village grocery store to get our last Chinese snacks and some more ping pong paddles. We then headed to the village park to interact with the local people of the village. The last games of ping pong… The last basketball game… Our last time to join in the ladies line dancing. (Seriously sweet, fun time) Thru Jay we thanked the ladies for allowing us to join them in their evening dance movement fun. They were so precious.  The coaches had a great time getting ‘schooled’ in ping pong. (They weren’t half bad themselves)  Aston and Jay playing basketball and the Hannah and Yasmine doing exercises on the playground exercise equipment.  Jane and Grace rode bicycles. It was a beautiful night I doubt any of us will ever forget. Our last night in China

The kids would really love to stay and keep telling me they are SURE they can find some chips and queso… HA!  However, we are coming home tomorrow. 

This has been the trip of a lifetime.  These young men and women have represented well and really bonded on this trip. They have been easy to lead. They are kind, hardworking, talented, funny, respectful and hungry to learn and excel with excellence in everything they do.

We have experienced a lot of things.

Your student might:

Talk your ear off

Not talk at all

Tell you things in small spurts

It might take a few days to express what they experienced

 Be patient. Pray. Listen with your heart!

Thank you so much for allowing your student to come on this trip. I cannot wait to see what they accomplish when they allow every step to be ordered by the Lord.

 We are here for them.  We’ve told them that and I pray they believe it and know our hearts and doors are always open.

 We will see you soon.  Pray for safe flights, great seats and for all of our luggage to get home when we do.

 

Mrs. G

 Depart Beijing 4:10pm      Arrive Chicago 4:25pm UA850

Depart Chicago 7:43pm    Arrive Austin  10:34pm  UA511

 

Please keep watch on the flights and be there waiting. I know they’ll be anxious to see you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It Just Keeps Getting Better

It just keeps getting better and better.

It was another wonderful day of playing with the children, cleaning playground equipment and painting the mural.

We have laughed and laughed until we cried… then laughed some more.

We have shared and had our hearts challenged and encouraged.

Tonight we had dinner in town with part of the staff.  It was delicious.  The ‘Home’ let us use their bicyles and their tuk tuk thingy to go into town.  We are a sight going down the road… shouting ‘neehow’ (?) or heelllooo!  To people walking, in their yards, working in the fields. When they look up their faces just brighten up and they shout back.  The students are just loving interacting with the culture.

Tonight’s devotional was amazing and then the debrief and blessing time was phenomenal.  We went around the table and spent time sharing with each other the positive things we see in each other.  Very touching.

It’s another full work day tomorrow!  Playing with the children, finishing the mural, making Easter cupcakes, landscaping and more playing. AND…. praying on sight with insight. The kids truly don’t want to come home but … they will. : )

Please continue to pray as God is doing incredible things in our hearts.  All our hearts.

Please begin to pray for our flights home Saturday.  We leave China Sat afternoon and return to Austin Saturday evening. Pray that God will protect what He has done in their hearts on this trip and each of the students will continue to pursue God with all their heart.

Mrs. g

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A Rescued Life – A Wrecked Heart – A Prayer To Be Answered

 

Being able to work with these precious children,  that have been rescued and given an opportunity to live – will wreck your heart. Sitting on the floor, holding a child that has fallen asleep on your chest because they trust the arms they are resting in, is overwhelming.  Then you pray in your heart for God to unite this heart with a family that will treasure him/her like He does.

The time we get to spend in the nurseries and loving on the babies is an important part of their development and the fact we are getting to participate in this is kind of wrecking some hearts. That’s good.

During the children’s naptime part of the team planted 1500 plants.  Yes… fifteen hundred plants. Jay Sun was the landscaping designer. Not kidding!

Our DREAM TEAM – Hannah, Jane and Grace have the honor of painting a mural on the walls of the nurse’s examination room.  The leadership here had sent an email 2 days before we left asking if we had artists.  Do we have artist?  Why, yes… yes we do!  We sent one picture from each of the girl’s portfolios and the email came back quickly. YES, we want them to meet with us to draw and paint.

They met with the nurse and one of the directors and came up with precious designs and they are underway to bring color and life to a room that can be scary to little ones. They feel so honored and they are doing a beautiful job.

We are also helping make scrapbooks – Scrapbook team members: Yasmine, Jay, Aston and Mrs. G.

Tomorrow we bake cupcakes, clean playground equipment, scrapbooking, painting murals, more landscaping and lovin’ on babies.

Tonight in debrief we talked about their future and their life statement.  What is going to be their personal ‘tagline’ ?     They have been given 6 scriptures with questions to ponder and then to be working on their personal goals.

Please pray the girls get the mural finished, the scrapbooks finished, the cupcakes turn out great and the playground equipment looks like new after we’re done.  Pray we continue to stay healthy and that God gives us the prayers to pray in agreement with his heart for this ministry.

Till tomorrow

Mrs. G

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Part Two of Our China Journey

We finished all of our touring in Beijing this morning … Tienanmen Square and the Temple of Heaven. A little bargaining shopping and … YES … K F C.  The food has been delicious however, Kentucky Fried Chicken sounded fantastic today.

We arrived at the Foster Home about 3:15pm. Unloaded our things into our Yurts and then took a brief tour of the 3 rooms where we would be playing with and loving on the little ones.

What an amazing place we are at!  The babies/children are precious.  There are a lot of jobs needing to be done.  A Big EASTER party is happening this Sunday and we are helping them get ready; Planting, Cleaning Playground Equipment, Cooking the Easter cupcakes for Sunday and Making the children’s personal info scrapbook that will be given to their new family so they can have info about their history.

Debrief was fun and ended in prayer for the people of China.

 

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The Great Wall – The Great Call

We all agreed that today was “one of those days” that will be remembered in our hearts forever.

1. We walked on The Great Wall of China … half the team walked the 4,000 steps to the top, the other half rode the cable cars. What a view!  Such an amazing feat …the building of the wall … okay it was pretty amazing that we did physicslly accomplished what we did)

2. Grace caught our lunch that was fried for us at the village mountainside restaurant.  That was so fun.

3. Our guide was so amazing!  Her life story was so inspiring and challenging spiritually.

What a blessing she was to us and as one leader said to me, “The wall was great, but it was a bigger deal to meet her.

The internet is giving me issues tonight so this will be brief.

The devotional was led by our JE guide Rachel challenging us with a quote and thoughts from John Piper’s book A Hunger For God

Man’s struggle isn’t with sin, it’s with apple pie.

We were each challenged to look at our lives and as God to show us.  What distracts you, what can you give up and replace with obedience and devotion to God.

The Greatest Enemy of Our Hunger for God

John Piper:

Christian fasting is not only the spontaneous effect of a superior satisfaction in God; it is also a chosen weapon against every force in the world that would take that satisfaction away.

The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the vulgar rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love(Luke 14:18-20). The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.

Jesus said some people hear the word of God, and a desire for God is awakened in their hearts. But then, “as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life” (Luke 8:14). In another place he said, “The desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful”(Mark 4:19). “The pleasures of this life” and “the desires for other things”—these are not evil in themselves. These are not vices. These are gifts of God. They are your basic meat and potatoes and coffee and gardening and reading and decorating and traveling and investing and TV-watching and Internet-surfing and shopping and exercising and collecting and talking. And all of them can become deadly substitutes for God. (A Hunger for God, Crossway, 1997)

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Your Face Is Your Passport

Your Face is Your Passport

We needed to take our passports with us to the service this morning so we could prove we were not a national because they are not allowed to come to this church service. As we approached the doors with the greeters and we were about to hand them our passports, one gentleman made a gesture with his hand circling his face and said, “You don’t need that, Your Face is your Passport”.  HA! What an amazing experience being able to go to the Beijing International Church Fellowship. We were worshiping with people from all over the world lifting our voices together . The service was a special combined service in English and Mandarin, therefore we had to have translator headphones on when the pastor preached so we could understand what he was preaching. The worship songs were done in English and Mandarin and it was overwhelming to hear the voices lifted up … together praising the King of Kings. It was very emotional. Personally, my eyes seemed to have a little bit of a leaky problem. Where we really here?  In China? Worshiping God? A person in their church had written a special drama entitled “Seeing Lesson” with songs written to go along with it.  The drama was about the busyness of life that keeps us from pursuing Christ or making him the #1 priority, keeps us from seeing the opportunities that are placed in front of us every day to be Christ to someone else.  We all need a “Seeing Lesson”.

The sermon had 3 points

  1. All things are from God – All things are for His Glory
  2. All things are through Him – God is the effective cause
  3. All Things are FOR Him – God is the final cause

After the service we joined Jay who had to stay back at the hotel because he is a Chinese national and cannot attend the International Church.  We then headed to lunch, another wonderful Chinese meal and then on to the Forbidden City.  It was big and much of it in need of repair. Our guide brought 4 Chinese students that he knows to join us to be able to practice their English.  There was symbolism in everything inside the Forbidden City; The front gates, who could enter through them, who could not, who could be in certain places, what or why buildings were built , etc.

During debrief, many commented on the Forbidden City and how one individual (Emperor) could be given so much power and everything was all about him and his glory. There were outer courts and inner courts and everything was done for the pleasure of and obedience to the emperor only. Only certain people could go through certain gates, live in certain areas. Our JE guide Rachel said it reminded her of the Tabernacle in the Old Testament –  everything was done in obedience and for God. Outer courts and inner courts.  But when Jesus came, he brought a new way of thinking, he entered the world in a lowly manner and taught us … to be the greatest you must be a servant.  You are to serve …. No be served.  Coach Hughes said it like this,  ”People see things like the Forbidden City and aspire to be powerful, great in other people’s lives … we are called to be different.”

One our way to dinner we stopped by the food market for appetizers.  We had scorpions on a stick (actually good), gooey slugs(actually not), candied fruit, tofu and some kind of octopus tentacles on a stick (Yasmine and Mason say they were good)

Dinner was at a fancy restaurant where they specialize in Peking Duck. Many dignitaries go there to eat when they come to Beijing.  It was delicious! I don’t think I have ever seen duck prepared in that many ways.

We are getting better using our chopsticks!  Cold water is a rarity here.  Lukewarm or warm water or tea is the norm.

So…  back to this morning…  as we were going in to church and we were told  “Your face is your passport”  and it reminded me of a few scriptures with the word face in it.

Our faces connect us to others but most of all to our creator God –    We can seek his face, his face can shine on us, we can know him face to face.

Psalm 67:1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us

Psalm 105:4 Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always

Deuteronomy 34:10 Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,

1 Chronicles 16: 9 Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.

Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,

Join me in prayer for this senior class . Pray that they would be young men and women that would desire to seek after God with all their heart. They would seek his face and in return God will make HIS face shine on them and their endeavors. Pray that they would know him, the King of Kings over all ,throughout all time and believe that:

  1. All things are from God – All things are because of God and for his glory
  2. All things are through Him – God is the effective cause
  3. All Things are FOR Him – God is the final cause

Having an eternal hope knowing one day they WILL see him face to face.  And in a round about way they won’t need a special passport to get in … just an obedient servant’s heart because they have a relationship with him and … HE  will know their face!

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China – The Adventure Begins

20170407_041023Hi family and friends!

I’m not sure how long ago it was that we left Austin, Texas, but it feels like it took us 89 hours to get here to Beijing!  All of our luggage arrived with us … YAY!  Our duffle bag suffered a little travel stress but doesn’t look like we lost anything out of it.

Our hotel is a 4 star hotel. It is very nice. My room (Mrs G) has a small meeting/business type room attached to it so it is the student’s hang out room.

Dinner was at a local restaurant – dumplings, bamboo, mushrooms, cucumbers & peanut salad.  DELISH!  I am not going to name names, but Coach Hughes and myself had a little difficulty mastering the chop sticks.  It was funny watching the people, watch Hughes as he walked through the door.

Off to the local super market to stock up on drinking water and snacks… and now a little chill time.

Tomorrow we will all go to the International Church and then to the Forbidden City, lunch and shopping at an outside market.

Our JE guide Rachel is great. Our on the ground Chinese guide is great.  This is going to be a wonderful trip!

Mrs. G

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