Friday night here found us at a couple of houses with some University students who want to practice their english skills. There were 14 students at the house where Lindsey and I were; and there were about the same number where Michael and Rebecca were hanging out. We ate some American food prepared by an American friend here, and sat around and spoke English with our students. The theme for our English Corner was "Home Town." We answered questions about our home towns, and then split up guys and gals for more directed time of sharing about our home. It was a great time to share that, although my family and friends are in Texas, my home is not on earth. I got to share the story, share about my family, and share about the reason I travel in this world. I want to invite them to my real home, and ask them to be in my family. It was an awesome time that led to some great stuff on Saturday. After the English corner, I was talking with Lindsey, and she said the girls had some really deep, well thought, and specific questions about our "not-in-this-world" home. She was very encouraged by the questions, and feels that some definite steps towards the kingdom where taken. Michael and Rebecca shared similar experiences from their English corner, as well.
After the English corner, I called two of our new Chinese friends and asked them if they would like to accompany me to sight see on Saturday. They said they would be honored. The other English corner produced two students to travel with us, too. So, Saturday morning, we all met at the train station at 6:45 and took a 2.5 hour train ride to a city on the coast. The train ride provided us lots of time to get to know our new friends, and share our stories with them. We also got to hear their stories. Our friends have all adopted American names. They go by Wayne, Owen, Tina, and Nancy. We went to the place where the Great Wall began. It's called the Old Dragon's Head, and it begins on the Bohai Sea. I will have some great pictures to post of our travels. We also visited some caves that the rebel armies used to hide from the emperor during a revolt from the 1300's. It was cool to walk on the Great Wall, thru the Great Wall, and under the Great Wall.
On the train trip back, conversations turned to important family business. We found out that Own already knows and loves Dad. So does Tina. I believe Wayne met dad yesterday, and will be telling others about dad. I'm not sure about Nancy. I know she heard our family story, and knows what our family is. I am sure that she will have more encounters in the near future that will help figure all of that out for her. It was an AWESOME day! Our American friends who live here will stay in touch with our Chinese friends to help them learn from the family book and become more like dad. I will never forget what Owen and Wayne (they are room-mates who read the book together every day) said as we got ready to leave the train. "This has been the greatest day of our lives, and we will never forget you or your gift to us. We hope that you will visit us again so that we can continue to be friends." And they really meant it. As we parted ways at the train station, Wayne began to cry. It was one of those moments where no one wanted to leave, but we all knew it was time.
From there, we went to dinner with Marcus and Kat at the Sizzling Skillet. It is SOOOOO GOOOOD! They serve the meal on skillets like fajitas are served on in the states. It was a very good meal. I left the restaurant to play ping pong with a friend and dream/envision our next time to visit here. The others went back to the hotel, and the girls were asleep around 9 p.m. I got in around 11:30 after having been beat like a drum by american and chinese friends.
Today, we gathered with other family to celebrate Dad like many of you will do on Sunday morning. We sang songs and celebrated what Dad is doing here. I shared a word of encouragement with those who will stay. They are my heroes. I shared about boasting in weakness, and not worrying about those moments when they feel inadequate. Those inadequate moments are times for Dad to make us strong and do the impossible. It was an emotional moment for us. The realization of Dad's goodness was overwhelming for some. For me, the emotional moment was the realization that the windows were open and compliments to Dad about His character and His goodness were pouring from the apartment. There are so many things that you and I take for granted in our country. Dad reminded me today of my great freedom, and of my great laziness in doing the work at home. My friends here sacrifice, wrestle, and struggle DAILY to get the word out. But I am inconvenienced by having to be kind at home? Anyway, I'll share more on that in my trip summary that I am working on.
In just a few minutes, Rebecca and I will be meeting with local parents to share parenting methods and customs. Or methods and customs are shaped by The Book, and we hope to impart wisdom and truth. And the, we meet back up with the rest of the team to head for Beijing as we begin our 3 day trip home. Monday will be sight seeing, and Tuesday/Wednesday will be reflection and travel. It seems like we just got here and it is time to go. LOL. One of the American children here told us we should come back when we could stay for 7 months or even 7 years! And each one of should really consider that.
Thank you for all you have done to make this trip possible. I will be sharing in the next/final update about the results of the trip. You will be amazed at what father has done here. And your prayers help in that. Keep on keeping on, and remember the struggle of family here as you walk your journey.
See you soon,
Jason Bishop - weary traveler