Saturday, April 21, 2012

Back to the Gardens...

We had the opportunity to enjoy some more of Spring yesterday on an Elementary field trip. This is the second time in the past week that I have been able to go to the botannical gardens. This time, I was able to see a little more than I saw the first. Sadly, many of the flowers had already lost their petals.  I really enjoyed spending the day outside of class and hearing them speaking English to me was so fun!

My 4 students for the day! They are pretty cute!

Peaking through the leaves. So beautiful!

Always gotta strike a pose!

So happy! No class today!

Taking a little snack break

When in China, do as the Chinese.. throw up a peace sign for every picture.

Beautiful azealea bushes. I really loved these. They reminded me of home.

These are my new favorites!

What a hat!

I just love my kiddos!

 I just love this smile.

And I just love this man! :)
Enjoying each day He gives us here... So thankful for the Spring and the reminder of His love through the beauty around us. We are praising Him for the work of His hands. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Field Trips, Field Trips, Field Trips

Tis the season for field trips. We began a couple of weeks ago with a trip to a local university with the Elementary school. Then, this week I went out with the Kindergarten to visit the botannical garden. It was rather perfectly beautiful day. I enjoyed visiting with the teachers and loving on my cuties!  Then, on Saturday, we had a Teachers' Field Trip where we hiked a mountain to get to the home of a king many years ago. He wanted to be alone so he built a mansion in the middle of a mountain range. It was a beautiful place, but not such a beautiful day. It was rainy and cold, and we climbed millions of steps. My legs are still aching. But fun was had and it did my soul good to soak in some of His creation. I so love finding Him in the middle of his world, his beauty.  We have two more field trips.. one on Thursday, off to the Coca Cola Factory with some Ks, and one on Friday with some Elementary kiddos where I will go back to the botannical gardens. It's a busy time, but we are loving life and embracing the challenges and joys and everything else He has in store for us here.

My little Louis and I enjoying the beautiful flowers. He was my buddy!

Checking out the fish in the pond

There I am with some of the other Kindergarten teachers

Posing for a shot with my student, Davis and his mom

So, in case you didn't know, we might as well be movie stars.
This is a good example of why. For about 10 minutes, this
group of girls stared, pointed, and talked about me before
they finally got the nerve to ask me if they could take a picture
with me. This is not a first by the way... It happens almost every
time we go out. I really feel sorry for famous people after living here.
It must stink to be stopped over and over again by people wanting
to take a picture of you!

So this is the Kings home in the mountains

This is a picture with our principal and the children that
joined us for the teachers' field trip.

The Ladies- Elementary Teachers.. We are blessed with a great staff.

The Men Elementary Teachers

We found a waterfall!

Cody and our principal working to pull water through this machine.

He loves making silly faces... I bet you didn't even notice
 the waterfall behind us!

Lydia and I decided to be like Nehemiah and make silly faces too!

Thankful that His love can move mountains!
What a great reminder of what Faith really can do!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring has Sprung!

Last week, we had the privilege of working Saturday and Sunday, making a 7 day work week.... It was a long week and ended with a bang on Sunday with a field trip to a local university. But some how, regardless, of the strenuous schedule we kept, I felt refreshed. Of course, He is filling us up each morning and giving us the strength and joy that we so desire and need.  However, the sunshine and flowers that began to show themselves to us last week helped to give me renewed energy.  It felt like all of a sudden things began to thaw around us.. no more five layers, no more shoes in the house, no more bed warmer.. flowers were blooming and Spring was taking its place among us; thankful for His precious gifts of sunshine and flowers, oh what they do for my heart.

Our 7 day work week led to a three day break for the local Tomb Sweeping Holiday. This holiday is one where people go back to their hometowns to clean, decorate, and pray over their ancestors tombs. We had the opportunity to go with a Chinese family into the countryside to take part of the festivities. It was truly an incredible experience... one where He reminded me of His heart for people all over as I was just marveling at the people in the village, their hospitality and their warm welcomes into their homes. It was a beautiful inside shot into the lives of the people we love so much.. giving us more understanding of their culture, their family unit, and their backgrounds. Our team along with the Chinese family loaded up into a van this morning and drove about 2 hours into the countryside, which is stunning right now by the way.. We visited the tombs of our Chinese friend's ancestors and were able to meet the majority of his family. After we went to the tombs where the family burned paper, money, and shot off fireworks, we went back into the home of a relative and enjoyed a lovely lunch with at least 10 different dishes of traditional Chinese food. It was delicious!  After we finished the meal, we all walked through muddy roads and rain to get back to the van where we all piled back in and hit the road home. It was a beautiful day despite the rain and mud. 

We also had the opportunity to take a tour of Cherry Blossom trees over the break... It was not at all what we expected it to be, but we had an awesome time. We were headed over to the other side of town to transfer money (which still was not able to happen, maybe 4th times a charm). We met some sweet friends for lunch and they suggested that we join them to go see the Cherry Blossom trees at their university. So, we thought, "Oh yeah, that'd be neat." Thinking there were some pretty trees we could check out before heading back to our side of town. Well, we arrived to the university and a sea of people... I mean you would have thought we were a major sporting event, amusement park, opening day of some special performance... I don't know something HUGE! Apparently, people come from all over China to see these trees.. who would've thought!?  There we stand in a crowd of  thousands of people admiring trees that lined the roads of the university. They were beautiful, but I can't imagine taking a plane or train ride to see these trees. We enjoyed the company of our friends as we wandered through campus taking in His beauty and watching all of the people enjoy the gorgeous day!

In other important news, we also added two new absolutely adorable teammates. They are already bringing so much joy and excitement into our lives... and their sweet lives our teaching us new things about our Father. SO happy they are finally home with their family after so many months of pursuing after them.  (see their pictures below!)

We are ever so thankful for the break we had and for the sunshine He is sending our way!

By the way, only 86 days until we will be back in the humidity of Mississippi and we can't wait!

Check out pictures below:

First signs of Spring.
The tree outside of our apartment.

My class on our field trip.. aren't they cuties!?

We visited a fine arts college. This was a pottery class.
The students were able to watch them make things and
were even allowed to mold their own clay! It was pretty cool!

I love this kid! Some creation he has there! :)

Having fun on the field trip!  His smile says it all!

Some of my students' work.. They impressed me.. a couple of angry
birds and a couple of pigs.. pretty cool!

Jack is excited about drawing on the computer.
They were able to particpate in so many fun activities.

Enjoying the beautiful day on our field trip..
It was an absolutely gorgeous campus; made us
want to go back to college!

The most beautiful building on campus. It
is not finished yet, but will be a library and
looks like a cathedral.

Sharon helping paint a picture!

The sea of people checking out the trees

The glorious trees! Really so beautiful!

Walking to the tombs in the rain through fields

One of our newest team mates... we are already great pals!

Our new team mate #2... his smile has already captivated my heart!

This guy makes adventures even more fun!

I love these girls! They make life grand!

Enjoying our lunch!

Giant water buffalo just hanging out by the road

The local restroom! I just had to document that considering that
I used to be deathly afraid of public restrooms... Public restrooms
have nothing on this hole in the ground! :)

A local baby that was not so sure about the foreigners!