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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