China 2006

Our summer trip to Hangzhou was much more than we bargained for…! Not only were there double the number of anticipated students enrolled in the YWCA education program, but the level of English comprehension was extremely diverse. While some students gave eloquent answers to our questions, others stared blankly in response to even the simplest request. This necessitated creative lesson plans which we usually produced during the wee-hours of the morning, huddled under a blanket of prayer.

The workload was unexpected, but so were the results of our efforts. The students’ speaking skills improved in leaps and bounds. Shyness turned to confidence, apprehension to joy. At a midterm ceremony, one middle school student said, “Now we know the best way to speak English well is to keep talking. Making mistakes is not serious. In our class…No, I don’t think it is a class. It looks like a big family. We are the children. The four teachers are our parents. We love each other.”

While our goal was to focus on English conversational skills and never to evangelize, we are thankful for the opportunities God provided for us to share His love for students like these. We give God enthusiastic praise and thanks!

Our experience at Zhejiang Seminary was amazing. There, we worked with twenty pastors and ministers from area churches. Because we were at a seminary, we were free to use the Bible as a text and openly speak about God.

Each day, we began by singing old hymns and contemporary praise choruses with the pastors and ministers. The idea was to break down the text word by word to ensure understanding and to correct errors in pronunciation. Like the students at the YWCA, the level of comprehension was varied, so this was really work for the lower-level group!

Worshipping together was an awesome opportunity because their worship was so pure…so genuine. As we sang together in a dirty, humid classroom, we were overcome by the power of God’s love and we realized worship should always be so focused…so pure…so real.

We were touched by our time with this group of dedicated church-workers. It seems that while we were sent to Hangzhou to teach others, we were also called so that we would learn more about God from them.

We are grateful to have been able to share such powerful experiences with Joey’s mom, Maureen. This was her very first trip outside of the United States and it was so much fun to share her excitement!

Our hosts from the Hangzhou YWCA were excellent tour-guides. Although temperatures were in the high 90’s with a matching level of humidity, we enjoyed all of the breathtaking sights of Hangzhou.

After our teaching responsibilities were finished, we added a bit of vacation to our trip and spent some time in both Shanghai and Beijing. In Shanghai we saw the Chinese Acrobats, thanks to a gift from Tedd’s dad. We also took a sunset river cruise where we took in all of the vibrant colors of the night lights. Our friend, Steven (who works at ECF) was in Shanghai and we were happy to finally meet his pretty wife, Lisa.

Beijing was undoubtedly the highlight of our sightseeing adventure. We visited the historic Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City. The greatest adventure was our day at the Great Wall, Mutianyu. This was our first time visiting this particular area of the Great Wall and we highly recommend it to anyone who visits Beijing. Unlike Badaling, it is not overcrowded with tourists. In fact, there were portions of our climb that we were the only ones in sight. Not only were we impressed by the magnitude of the wall, but we enjoyed a special view as we rode a gondola to the top of a hill where we began our climb. On the way down, we rode a toboggan!!!

No comments: