Sunday, December 21, 2008

What's in your Christmas?

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty G*d, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

For me, Christmas isn't just a holiday but a season. I started playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving got here. My mother always called it the "humming season." We always knew Christmas was coming when mom started humming throughout the day. Christmas brings about many different memories for each of us. As I sit here in Ch*na, I have come to remember many things that I took for granted. Aunt Julia's cut-out cookie is just as good in China as it is at home but when you take a bite of them here, I feel like I am sitting in my parents' living room in front of mom's big tree with the icicle lights on it. My brother and I used to complain about a silly tradition our family has. For the past 42 years of my life, we have stood in front of the tree and each held up an orange. The number of people standing in front of the tree grew as my brother had his son but it was always something we did every Christmas. This will be my first Christmas not in our orange picture. I have taken my own here and will send it home for them to hold in their picture.

My first orange picture in China

We each have different Christmas traditions in our families. Some open presents on Christmas eve. Some open one gift. We have certain foods we eat, songs we love to listen to, people we call and sing "We wish you a Merry Christmas" to on Christmas Day, gifts too big to wrap that you have to hunt them down, and the list goes on and on. Christmas is especially a time for gifts. We spend lots of time shopping for that perfect gift for each person and then more time wrapping it. We want each person to know how special they are to us and how much we love them. What is often not done on Christmas is the sharing of one gift. It is the most important gift of all.

This gift came to us one night over 2000 years ago in a stable. It came in the form of a tiny baby boy named J*sus. I have gotten some amazing gifts in my 42 years but none quite like this gift. All my life I had said that I knew who this Jesus was. I said I knew he was the son of G*d, born of a virgin, died on the cross and rose again. I just never knew HIM. THAT was the gift that was missing in my life and THAT was the gift that I finally got 5 years ago.

I had always called myself a Christian but even though I had taken religion classes for many years, I never really knew him. I knew of Him but I had never had a personal relationship with J*sus Chr*st. It was in the darkest time of my depression after Christmas of 2002 that I found Him. He had come over 2000 years ago but was waiting for me to take His hand so I no longer had to go through anything alone again. I was at a point in my life that I didn't want to take my life but I had no idea how to live it. I was in jeopardy of losing my job and my home. I had creditors calling all the time because I wasn't paying my bills. My debt was greater than my income for I was trying to find happiness in purchasing things and having trinkets. Many days, I couldn't get up and go to work. When I did, I wasn't much use. I spent alot of time crying and even more time sleeping. My psychologist had me on 3 different medications for my depression and my anxiety attacks but it wasn't working. He couldn't hospitalize me unless I had thoughts of suicide. Then I found a counselor that could help me. It was the counselor that Isaiah had spoke of more than 2700 years ago... J*sus Chr*st.

I won't tell you that coming to know J*sus stopped all my problems or fixed all the situations I had gotten myself into. What He did give me was peace...peace in knowing that I could get through anything with Him as my strength. I guess that is why Isaiah called Him the Prince of Peace. I remember the first time He stopped one of my full blown anxiety attacks. I could feel His peace wash over me. It was like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. I continue to get that peace whenever I call out to Him for He is with me all the time.

Another name given to J*sus is S*vior. He has saved me from so much. He saved me from my anxiety attacks. He has saved me from needing 3 different meds. (I have been med free for almost 3 years now after taking them for 13 years) He has saved me from my fear of never finding someone to love me for all that I am and all that I'm not. He has also saved me from eternal damnation and given me the security in knowing that I have a place in heaven. This is because I asked Him into my life.

This gift is not just for me but for you too. He came over 2000 years ago because He loves each one of us. John 3:16 tells us For G*d so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son so that whosoever shall believe in Him shall have everlasting life. He came even though He knew that not everyone would believe in Him. He came because He loved you and the only thing He wants back is for you to love Him too...with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.

There are so many things that are unsure in our lives right now...the economy, jobs, health, investments, relationship issues. He is here to help you get through these things. You don't have to go it alone. All you have to do is ask Him to help you. He is standing there beside you with his hand stretched out to you...waiting...longing for you to come to Him so He can hold you and help you get through all the challenges you are facing right now.

Because it is Christmas, we need to hear His story...the story of His birth, for without His birth He couldn't have died for you. For those of you who are Chr*stians, I ask you now, is Chr*st a part of your Christmas? Is there anything you are doing for Christmas that tells others He is a part of you? His story is amazing and because of Him I am who I am. He has fearfully and wonderfully made me and He is using every good and quirky thing about me here in Ch*na. He too wants to use you for He has a plan for you. Don't you want to know what it is? Don't you want to see what that gift is like? Go ahead. Open that gift. You won't be disappointed that you did.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

How the cookie crumbles

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13

He knows the plans He has for us...funny...I never would have thought that for Christmas 2008 I would be in China making Christmas cookies with Chinese friends. He knew what He was doing though. I have to hand it to Him. He keeps coming up with better and better things to add to my life.

Many of you know that I love to make Christmas cookies. I must, otherwise I wouldn't enter into the adventure of having Special Needs children make cookies for 4 weeks straight! That is what I would do at this time of the year with my OT friend, Jenny, with our high school students. This year, I got to teach some wonderful Chinese ladies how to do the same thing.

Shelby, Christina, Sara, Pam and I

The Chinese don't eat things really sweet but we found a few different ones that they really liked. The most fun was making cut out cookies. I was able to share my Aunt Julia's recipe with them. This is a recipe that has been handed down now in my family for 4 generations!

Sara is now a professional dough roller
Jenny, I found us another recruit for rolling out dough next year! Sara did an awesome job. Sara wants to know when we are going to open a bakery! Hmmm! That's a thought. :) I may have to hit my friend Carol up for some more cookie recipes!
I asked the girls if they had memories of cooking with their moms. They recall making jiao zi. I shared my stories of making cookies with my mother and my grandmother. I always loved Grandma's house. Each holiday had its own cut out cookies that we got to cover with colored sugar and bake. My favorite was the yellow, pink and purple chicks and bunnies she would make for easter. Now the girls will have another recipe to share with their children.

The finished products! Piao liang! Hen Hao!

I think their favorite part was getting to frost the cookies and decorate them. They were getting very creative as the night went on. As the cookies were coming out of the oven, they were quickly claiming which one they wanted to decorate next. My favorite part was sharing my traditions and stories with them. Nothing is better than spending time with friends. I am so glad that He planned for me to be here for the holidays. It is becoming a very special time for me though I am so far from home. May you too be enjoying the plans He has for your life during the holiday season and throughout the year.

A Visitor from Fushun

And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him. Psalm 37:40

When I traveled to Fushun this summer, our team became friends with the director of the orphanage. She is an amazing woman who deeply loves all the children she watches over. She desires to help her children and is very much like a mother to each and every one of them. Friends of mine, Bob and Pat Hawley have been friends with her for the past two years. While in Fushun, Bob and Pat saw the needs for a baby who had club feet. They desired to give this child whatever he needed so he would one day be able to walk. They have spent the last 6 months in contact with Fushun encouraging them to allow PHF to take in this child and get him the necessary casting for his feet. Because of the trust they have built, Madame Zhu was willing to bring this child to Shepherd's Field.

Fushun SWI Doctor, myself and Madame Zhu
Whenever we are faced with something, even if it is only club feet, God promises us that He will help us when we trust in Him. Bob and Pat's desires of their heart were fulfilled this week. On Tuesday, December 16th, Madame Zhu arrived at PHF. Not only did they bring this young boy to be taken care of but they also viewed the facilities to see if it would meet the needs for two of their Cerebral Palsy (CP) children. They desire to have these children receive Physical Therapy in hopes that one day they may be able to walk. They have their own therapy department but they were seeking individuals who have been working with CP children. It is so exciting to know that God has given PHF the talents here to be able to help the children. This is also allowing us to help the Chinese. Nothing would be more amazing than to continue to train the native Chinese so they can treat their own children's needs.
A big part of the progress PHF made re: therapy and training of the staff is due to Carrie Mills. She is a Speech-Language Pathologist from Virginia. She has been a faithful servant here at PHF for the past two years. She has helped train a team of 7 women that perform occupational, physical and speech-language therapy. On Wednesday, Carrie returned to the US. Please keep these women in prayer as they have all grown to love and respect Carrie and are now here missing her and feeling alone. Though they have guidance here from other staff, it is not the same. Carrie, too, is waiting on Him to guide her for the next step. She may return here. Only time will tell. Carrie was also able to meet Madame Zhu. Madame Zhu is highly interested in having someone in Fushun to train her team. One never knows what the Lord has planned. I am hoping that Carrie will travel with our team when we return to Fushun again in June. I look forward to seeing the plans that He has in store for all of us who desire to serve Him by caring for the children.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Have you found your purpose?

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

WOW! All I can say right now is WOW! I walked out of church today amazed and inspired! There was this man named Nick Vujicic speaking. I had seen him a few weeks ago on tv when I was in Hong Kong and this week he was speaking in our church in Beijing. He has a story to tell. You just have to read it in his words. Since writing is not my strength, I won't do it justice. Check out his site to read more about him.

I'll start by telling you he was born without any limbs. He has a small foot that he calls his "chicken leg." With this he is able to do all that he needs to do. The most amazing thing about him is that he could have let all the circumstances in his life that he had no control over turn him bitter and nasty. He talked about his life and the times when he asked God "Why if you loved me did you give me less?" We as human beings have all asked God similar questions. "Why me?" "What am I going to do?" "How could this happen?" He found his answers in Jeremiah 29:11-13 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. "

We have a choice. We can look at the circumstances in our life and let them rule our emotions or we can look back to God and TRUST that He has plans for our lives and He can use anything that happens. When we are focused on God's purpose for our lives instead of the circumstances, things work together for good.

One of the questions God asked Nick was "Do you trust me?". My question to you is "Do you trust Him?". Are you willing to let the miracle of God into your life? I can't begin to know what circumstances are in your life but I know God does. I also know He has a plan for you and a purpose for your life. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 He longs to give you the strength to handle all the circumstances that are in your life, especially the ones you don't know what to do with! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 I know some of the plan He has shown me in my life and I look forward to seeing more of what He has planned for me. With those plans, I know I will deal with many challenges. There have been numerous times in my life that I know it wasn't by my own will that I got through circumstances I was dealing with. I was only by His strength. It will be His strength that I plan on using to deal with any additional challenges that come into my life. You can have this strength too. This comes to anyone who is willing to believe and have faith in Jesus Christ as their savior. I remember life when I wasn't willing to trust Him to lead me, guide me, direct me and I am so glad that I never have to go back there! I have the promise of heaven and you to can have it too. Just ask Him into your life. He's been waiting for you.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Jiao zi anyone?

As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17

I learned how to cook traditional jiao zi last night! I can officially say I now know how to cook authentic Chinese food. Woohoo! Jiao zi is another word for dumplings. My friend, Shelby, learned how to do this as a very young girl and often made these for her family.

You start by making the dough from flour and water. Next, you roll out each piece. Shelby was amazing to watch! She has this technique that none of the rest of us could do. As she rolls the dough with one hand, she keeps spinning the dough with the other. This makes a perfect circle for the dumpling. Hey Jen, we need her to help us roll out cut out cookie dough next year!

Jane, Sarah Jo, me and Shelby

Jane was the jiao zi QUEEN! Her's were "piao liang" (aka beautiful)! Carrie was really good too! She has done this a few times and now she is ready to take the recipe home and share it with family and friends back in the states!

Carrie, the expert jiao zi maker

Jiao zi can be filled with anything. We made two kinds. One was with pork and onion. The other was egg and carrot. You then dip them in a mixture of soy sauce, sauteed garlic and hot pepper paste. Once you have had soy sauce here, you can't go back to the states and have the "fake" soy sauce. It is sooooo good here!

Can you tell which is the true Chinese way and which one was made by the American? Let's just say...mine may not have looked as pretty but it sure tasted really good!

The next time we get together to cook, they want to learn something American. I am going to teach them to make Chicken Soup. This was a wonderful way to spend a Friday night.

My question to you is when was the last time you spent quality time with your friends? We have entered a really busy time of the year and it is easy to take people for granted. Make sure you take time for the people who are important in your life.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Night Market in Beijing

The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. Psalm 22:26

Welcome to Wangfujing! This is the Night Market in Beijing! This is the place they showed people walking around eating unique foods. Let me walk you through and show you some!

Don't ask me what everything is because with some of these "foods", I truly have no idea! What I do know is that I wouldn't eat most of them, identifiable or not!
Two of the people we were with tried the small scorpions. They blew on them to show you they were still alive before they cooked them. I still can't figure out how the poison inside them doesn't effect you when you bite into them! Can anyone tell me how that works?

They say the silk worm coccoon is a very good source of protein. I'll stick to the purses made from silk instead.

Grasshoppers anyone? These aren't covered in chocolate. Just crunchy and on a stick!

Sea Urchins...yum? They say they cut it down the middle and then you eat out the inside. Amazingly, they couldn't convince me to try it!

Didn't like the other choices? Well, you might like this one. This is more in the meat family. It was sheep male anatomy! Yes, you read it correctly. I was floored when I heard him and then read the sign. When we had arrived, three of us thought we would each pick out a different food for us to try. After we saw this and smelled many of the funky smells on this street, we gave up that plan. Trust me, I don't have a weak stomach and I had to walk down the street initially with my nose covered. I wasn't sure if I could make it but eventually I got used to it.

Eventually the guy we were walking around with decided that he would try starfish. I was willing to try that. It tasted like over fried, crunchy fish with sand. I still liked it better than some of the other choices though!

Eventually I found something I really liked! My friend, Shelby, and I ate candied fruit on a stick! YUM! If you are craving this one, you can find a little bike vendor selling them on the street corners out where I live. They do this with all different kinds of fruit and vegetables. Most common are crab apples (they have a different name here) and white yams. This is definitely a place everyone should go to when they come to Beijing. So when are you coming out to visit me?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Great Wall of China

You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great. Psalm 18:35

I have been on some good field trips over the years but NONE like this. We went to the Great Wall at Mutianyu! Eat your heart out BOCES! After a two hour ride, we finally arrived. The boys and I went with two teams up working at Shepherd's Field. One team was from Detroit, Michigan and the other was from Memphis, Tennessee. To get up to the wall, you get to ride a chair lift up to the top. Let me tell you, it is alot easier to get off one of these with skis on!

I just stood at the top in awe. When I went to a different area of the Great Wall over the summer, the weather was awful. It was foggy and raining. You couldn't see the landscape though you could see how majestic it was. I was amazed then as I walked up each hand carved step. This time, I was speechless. For any of you that know me, you would agree that doesn't happen often!

This one is for all of you who keep asking "Where are pictures of you?"

Nate and Zack
"Miss Dawn! Do you have to take another picture of us?"

Do all 11 year old boys always look this thrilled when getting their picture taken?

The Great Wall was originally built to protect China from the Nomads crossing in with their horses and stealing from the Chinese. Work on the wall started as early as the 5th Century BC. It was then built with stone, dirt, wood or whatever was available in the area. This is part of the reason that many original parts of the wall no longer exist.

This area of the wall is known as Mutianyu. This area was constructed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1620). It is primarily made from quarried limestone. In other locations they also used quarried granite or fired brick. Walls were erected with earth and rubble fill placed in between with a final paving to form a single unit. In some areas the blocks were cemented with a mixture of glutinous rice and eggwhite.

The Great Wall is the world's largest human made structure running approximately 4000 miles long. During its peak, it was guarded by more than 1 million men. It is said that between 2-3 million Chinese died building this centuries long project.

It has been said that if you took all the stones/bricks from the Great Wall and laid them out in a line, it would circle the earth 27 times.

When we were done with our walk on the wall, we got to ride a toboggan down to the bottom. It was a riot!

While on the wall, there was discussion of the holes placed in the walls. What do you think they were put there for? We found some amazing symbolism there. We all have holes in our lives that WE are trying to fill. The holes in the wall allowed you to see through to both sides. We all have this opportunity to look at situations in our life this way as well. We can look through one side and see things how the world sees them. On the other side, we can see how God looks at things. Gods way may not make any sense at times but He tells us "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on our own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path." Proverbs 3:5-6 The world's way may be enticing at times but His way is always best. A friend of mine also remembered when she felt like she had a hole in her heart. People thought she was crazy. After she came to know Christ, she found out He filled that hole. Even if people thought she was crazy, she knew something was missing. I understand what she felt like and I am so glad He filled mine too.

While I was in the shower this morning, God challenged me with a few questions. "What Great Wall stands in your life? Do you have a wall up that is keeping someone or something out? What is keeping you away from something I have planned for you?" We ALL have walls that need to be taken down so we can live the life God has planned for us. Some of them are great...some are small. So I will in turn ask you this question. What Great Wall is in your life?

Prayer Warrior

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Everyone should have a prayer warrior in their life. We should all have someone who believes strongly in the power of prayer, willing to stand beside us. We each need an intercessor willing to go and lay our needs at the foot of the cross. Many times our pride gets in the way and we are unwilling to ask for what we need. Many times we are unwilling to go to someone and say “I need prayer.” The bible tells us in James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” While I am here in China, I continue to hear stories of how fervent prayer has brought forth some amazing things.

I know many of you are out there praying for me and the work that everyone is doing here at Shepherd’s Field. I would like to introduce you to one of my personal prayer warriors. For those who have never met a prayer warrior, they are someone who truly believes in the power of prayer and are willing to keep praying for the needs of others until those needs are met. My personal prayer warrior is so precious to me. At a young age, she has already learned of the power of prayer. May the rest of us be as willing to come before our Lord and place our needs at the foot of the cross.

Let me introduce you to Anna Pieschke. Anna is 5 years old. She was adopted from China 3 months before her 3rd birthday. From the moment she was brought into her family, she saw what prayer was all about. She not only heard it daily but participated in it. She saw that when challenges arose, people prayed. When blessings happened, people praised God and prayed in thanksgiving. When adults were asked what their prayer requests were, Anna was not excluded. She witnessed her prayers being answered as the Lord brought home a sister from China yet she would be able to stay home with mommy. When I call back to the states, one of my favorite things to hear about is what she is praying for at home. She prays for me, the boys I teach and that they Lord would bring me home. Many in the bible were successful because they had someone behind them, waiting for them, helping them through prayer. I am so blessed to have this prayer warrior in my life.

Anna, Dawn and her sister, Sarah
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A red thread connection

A friend loves at all times… Proverbs 17:7

An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The red thread may stretch or tangle but it will never break.
-Ancient Chinese Legend

What an amazing blessing I was able to have last week! It was definitely one of those Chinese red thread moments! My roommate Tabitha and I went up to Beijing over a week ago. Tabitha left on Thursday and we had some things we wanted to do before she went. One of those things on our agenda was to meet up with a mutual Chinese friend of ours, Lily. I met Lily two years ago as our guide to Jiangjin Social Welfare Institute (aka orphanage). Tabitha also met her on her last trip to China. I have not heard from Lily in over a year and tried to contact her while I was in China during my last trip. God was saving it up for this day!

Tabitha, Lily and Dawn
We met Lily at Hong Chou. It is also known as the Pearl Market. ANYTHING you can think of is here! Everywhere you turn there is another vendor trying to convince you they have the best price for you! Each of them will insist that their product is the real thing. They will tell you everyone else would sell it to you at this price but since you are their friend they will give it to you for a different, lower price. Welcome to bartering land! Four floors of this and row after row of your new Chinese best friend! Fortunately, we were able to find Lily in all of this! She could only sneak away from her tour group for about 45 minutes but it was so worth it. She is older than I am but I am convinced she looks younger than the last time I saw her! Lily convinced a man at one of the booths to give me a job painting. I can do scripture on scrolls and add flowers to them for 5 kuai a scroll. That is equivalent to $.75 in US money per scroll. She was very excited about that for me. We will have to wait and see. I’ll keep you posted on this. She was amazed to watch Tabitha barter! She is very good and has an amazing poker face. Tabitha and I bought the same thing and she got a better deal. Lily told me that next time I needed to wait until Tabitha was done bartering before I bought anything. Lily and I talked about getting together again while I am here. She told me I could teach her about His word and I in turn asked her to teach me to do calligraphy. (His word is even more beautiful written in Chinese characters!) I do hope that we are able to do that. I am just so glad that this Chinese red thread never breaks!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Welcome to my humble abode

...As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

I'd like to welcome you to Shepherd's Field Children's Village. I have heard from several people that they would like to see where I am living. So sit back, relax and let me take you through a little tour. As you enter the gates of Shepherd's Field, the first building you come across is the office.

Directly to the left is " The Inn". This is where I live. There are two apartments in here for staff. There is a third apartment that I am using as a classroom. There are also 11 guest rooms. This is for team members who come to work/serve at the orphanage. We are able to house over 50 people at a time. Right now, we have three teams here.

As you walk through the grounds, there are many wonderful buildings to visit. To the left of the office is Samaritan's House. This is where the clinic is based. When children have high medical needs, this is the place they live in. There are four additional houses the children live in. There is the House of Peace, House of Blessings, Zachary's House, and House of Love. There is a building in the middle of all these homes for the Little Lamb's Preschool, SLP/OT/PT Therapy and the Primary School.

Across the courtyard is the Banner Factory. All Foreign run orphanages (also known as Foster Homes in China) must have a business that they participate in as well as the care of special needs children. The work the ladies do there is stunning. You should check it out on There is a kitchen where all the food for the staff and children are prepared. There is a workshop in a separate building. There are also 2 new buildings presently under construction. One is called the Outreach Center. The purpose of this building is to provide the older children a place for vocational training. I am blessed to be given the opportunity to teach some of the older girls how to paint. They will be able to sell their pieces at our store in the Inn. This building will also be used for fellowship. Staff and children will join here for lunch daily. Next to it is another building. It is where The Little Lamb's Preschool will go. Presently they have one class. Once this building opens, there will be room for a second class to start. The Primary School will also be located there. The therapists are looking forward to their new therapy rooms as well in this building. There is prayer needed for these buildings. Funding is needed and must be deposited into the Bank of China by mid November. Without it, it appears the project construction may have to stop.
Now that I have walked you through the grounds at Shepherd's Field, would you like to come visit my apartment? I live with Tabitha Davis. She is from Nashville, Tennessee. She has been given this amazing gift of videography and photography. She has such a heart for the children here. Since she has been here, she has been blogging stories about the children in hopes of finding them homes and letting people know of the work God is doing here in China. Check out her blog at She has been a gift to me. She has helped me learn many of the things I needed to know and how to do things in China that I have no clue about (which is ALOT!). She was heaven sent as she has been patient with me. She leaves on Thursday and I will miss her desperately. While here, it has been amazing to see how God has woven our lives together over the last 3 years. Since I arrived, I have been sharing stories with her of my friends and their adopted girls. It was just last week that we realized that she went on a trip and met Anna Pieschke the summer before she was adopted. We also realized that we both had the same guide on one of trips. Some of you will remember me telling you about Lily from my first visit to China. She is wonderful lady so full of life. When I came here this summer, I had hoped to get to see here. God was saving it for tomorrow! We are blessed to be getting together with Lily in Beijing after church. God is sooooo good! Can you tell I am excited about this?
Anyways, let me walk you through our apartment. We enter the apartment into a room that is our living room, dining room and kitchen...all in one! Did you know Samsung makes refrigerators? They do in China! Toaster ovens also work for baking cookies!
Oops! There was a picture of the living room/dining room here
but I hit backspace too many times
and deleted the picture. I couldn't get it back. Sorry!

Our favorite room in our apartment is the bathroom. Periodically, it creates this lovely sewage smell! You never know when it is going to reappear! Sometimes it is so bad that you walk in and it bowls you over! Tabitha adds "I smell a smelly smell that smells smelly!" I won't complain too much though since they give us western toilets instead of squatty potties.
For those of you that have experienced the lovely matresses in China, I will tell you that you are welcome to come and visit me. I will gladly share my box spring with you! I have bunk beds in my room. The mattress on the bottom is a double bed and the mattress feels like a box spring. The single bed on top however has a normal, comfortable mattress. Yahoo! That is where I sleep! It could be worse! They could have given me a bamboo mat to lay on top of a wooden board. I am blessed that they didn't!
I hope you have enjoyed my tour of Shepherd's Field!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Food! Glorious Food!

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; Proverbs 25:21

Before I came to China, my big joke was that I was going to become a vegetarian here! The reason I said this ws due to my first grocery store experience here last June. They had meats that were cured hanging around. Picture a good Italian Deli , mulitply it and then add very unique things hanging there too! The best was watching people picking out their own pieces of meat from the big pile (yes they used gloves!).

Fortunately, the store I shop at is not quite to this extreme!

We have a WalMart Super Center in LangFang. In there, the meat department however is very "open". We are used to foods being prepackaged. I can get that here but it is more expensive and not as many choices. The rest is either laying on ice or in an open refrigeration unit and you pick what you want with tongs. It is like a bulk department but with meat! After you bag up what you want, you take it to get weighed and labeled. Purchasing a whole chicken though will never be the same for me.

(Trying to put a picture here but can't figure it out! To be posted later!)

Now picture getting that head in your dinner! Been there! Done that!

In China, they waste NOTHING! Everything can be used for something so you will find unique things in the meat department!

You can even get your chicken nuggets in bulk in the frozen meat section!

(Will add another picture once I can figure out how to move them!)

So far I am sticking to the things I am familiar with and comfortable with. I imagine I will get more adventurous as time goes on.

Wegmans better watch out though! They have bigger meat, produce and bakery departments with a much wider variety. It is easy to eat healthy here. If you are really craving certain Western foods, Beijing has several grocery stores carrying imported foods. I can even get my favorite Rold Gold pretzels there...if I want to pay $5 a bag!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Second Week in China

It is hard to believe that I have already been in China for 19 days! This has been an interesting journey. It is often really good that God doesn't tell you all that you will be experiencing before it happens. All of you know how much I LOVE to talk! It is amazing how quiet you become when you are in a foreign country and you don't know their language. You listen alot more and communicate through actions. I am getting really good at charades! The Chinese staff seem to understand that better than my mixed up tones of the few words I know in Chinese. Fortunately, time with the children is easier than communicating to the adults. The little ones seem to understand me the best.
I have started going into the homes to pray over the children. My prayers seem to get really short as they want me to play with them instead. After a challenging day, children's laughter always seems to brighten it up. They also don't seem to mind that I don't speak their language. There is one little girl, Bea, who notices me each time I walk into her house. She waves, blows me kisses and brings books for me to read to her. She doesn't even mind that I read to her in English. She also loves to sing with me. When we are playing, she will often be singing and I could swear that she is singing in English.
Each of them has such a story to tell. They are so young but have already gone through so much. Every child here is labeled special needs. One set of twin boys are here because they were thought to have a heart problem. Upon full examination, it was found that they only suffer from eczema and are "all boy"! Others have club feet or cleft lip and/or palate. Some require blood transfusions every other week. My favorite part is when staff point out the children that are already matched with a family. The saddest part is hearing the older children's stories. There are boys here who are 13 years old and so long to be a part of a family. Grady is one of these young men. He suffers from Scoliosis and desires to have a family. He needs surgery and the best place for this surgery is in the States. Please keep him and the other older children in your prayers. So many families have opened their arms to special needs children. My desire is that more families open their hearts to adopting an older child. Please continue to pray that God works in the people He desires to adopt orphans, no matter what country they are from.