Friday, June 27, 2008

Ni Hao from Taiyuan!

Guess what?! Blogger does work where I am in China, so I thought I'd post an update that really doesn't capture all that has already happened during the short time we've been here, but it will at least give you a little glimpse....

“The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord. He ponders all His paths.”
Proverbs 5:21

Rachel, Kori, Noah and I have definitely been walking some new paths the past few days. Lots of new things to see, observe, taste, smell, ponder, pray about…

I just finished eating breakfast -- which consisted of rice/millet/sweet potato soup, hard boiled eggs, tofu, soybean/celery salad, boiled bread, onion/chive patties, and a few other interesting dishes. But compared to duck intestines and duck neck for lunch yesterday, it was all pretty mild this morning. Welcome to China!! [grin] The past few days have been so eventful – thank you all so much for your prayers in our behalf. I think we are adjusted to the new time zone, though there were several hours when my mind, my body and my watch were all telling me what time it was – and it was three different answers!

But where does one start?! I think we all have already had enough new experiences in the last 60 hours to come home and tell stories for hours!

We are praising the Lord for the answers to prayers we have already seen and been blessed by. Upon getting our tickets early Tuesday morning, we realized that all four of us would be in four different rows spread out all over the plane for the duration of the 14 hour flight. We talked to the ticket people, but the most they could do was to switch us around so we would be in groups of two. We continued praying that we could all sit together, and as we boarded the plane we found others willing to exchange seats – enabling all of us to be in one row!

As the plane took off, they had a huge GPS screen set up that gave out encouraging information like “2 out of 6353 total miles traveled.” But the numbers continually moved, and besides being long, it was a very good flight.

Johnny met us in Beijing and treated us to KFC for supper. (Bunny trail: For those of you who are ice cream lovers – I am glad I’m a girl! Ice cream is considered a “girl’s food,” and boys and men don’t eat it. Noah was quick to decide he was going to start influencing the culture...)

A 10 hour train ride to Taiyuan in a hard sleeper, using squat toilets for the first time, toting our luggage well over a mile and then up three flights of stairs during the heat of the day, only to be served steaming hot water upon arriving – and we were ‘home’ for seven weeks.

The hotel where the school is and also where we are staying.

Upon first arriving here, it was incredibly heartbreaking to see how America has influenced China for the worse. It seems what they see in Hollywood movies is perceived as the ‘norm’ in America which makes it *cool*. We covet your prayers for wisdom and discernment in knowing how to respond in these situations.

As we walk about, we get quite a few stares and pictures taken. Complete strangers that don’t know English will come up, point to us and then to themselves, then to their camera! It is amazing how much can be communicated by grunts and sign language.

Yesterday Darrel took us on a short walk around the hotel where we are staying to acquaint us to what is around town -- and were very pleased to find a convenience store (which will be our source of drinking water over the next 7 weeks), a park, and a very, very good restaurant all within a few blocks of where we are staying. The tour also included learning how to ask “how much is it?!”, say “delicious,” and count to ten in Mandarin. Oh – and they have the most amazing fruit leather and peach drink over here for pennies on the dollar, so we have discovered some great snack food. (And there is something nice about not being able to read the labels – is it healthy? how much sugar does it contain? Who knows!!)

We are all beginning to eat with chopsticks without thinking too much about eye/hand/stick coordination, though one can always tell how well we did or didn’t do by looking at the spills on the table cloth. [smile]

But it is time to sign off! Here in a few minutes we will be sitting in on a few classes to observe English teaching in action – and then on Tuesday we’ll begin teaching our own classes.

Blessings to you all! Thank you so much for you prayers. I think we are all adjusting and excited about then next 7 weeks. The first day was the hardest as far as being tired....homesick…ect…. It is amazing what some sleep and a shower can do to one’s perspective and outlook on the future!! Simple luxuries can make a huge difference.

Bethany for the team


Unknown said...

So nice to hear from you and see some pictures. May God bless you as you start to teach. I'm praying for you!

Anonymous said...

WOW Bethany! So fun to hear from you and see pictures!! Praying the Lord will guard you from the American movies and give wisdom for sticky situations! LOVE YOU!

Margaret Braun said...

Wow, that sounds different and exciting to say the least. Good to hear you have such a good attitude towards it.

Missy said...

I am so excited that you can post from over there! Thank you for sharing some of your adventures so far. It sounds like a lot of new things to get used to very fast! I am continuing to pray for the four of you. Keep us updated on specific prayer requests.

Love through our powerful God,

Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds like ya'll have had some interesting experiences already! (and I'm sure there will be plenty more) Brings back lots of memories. I hope the teaching goes really well for you. I will be lifting you to the Father!
Bethany in Abbeville

Goldfish said...

Oh, I'm SO glad blogger works for you!! (I get to see pictures then! :) It's so good to hear how He's worked out the little things already (like the plane seats). Praying for you everyday. Love ya and miss you bunches!!!!


Sara said...

I'm so glad your able to post! Now we can follow along on your trip:). I also am excited for both of you, and I'm praying God will keep you in His hand, that you will always know and remember without a doubt that He is always, always there beside you. He is willing and capable, waiting for us to ask Him for guidance, just so He can give it! God will give you grace, I have no doubt! Thank you for the update emails, God bless your next week!

Anonymous said...

Thank you --thank you Bethany for blogging1 You all look wonderful!A huge thanks to Rachel for giving up computer time last night to let Naoh Skype us.. It meant soo much to us. Love you all Mrs.U
p.s....hmmm I wonder if Noah will try to eat some ice cream on the sly?? at least sneak him some on his b-day :)

rescueforhim said...

Thanks for the update and can't wait to hear more!!
Praying for you!

Anonymous said...

Oh! Praise be to the LORD for His hand guiding you each step of the way!! It was wonderful to hear from you...thanks SO much for the update, and pictures!!:) And if duck neck is as good as chicken neck--then I'd definitely be all for it! LOVE, and HUGS to all of you!! Praying for you!

Anonymous said...

PS--I think Noah made a wise choice to influence the culture! He'll have a much more blessed time that way! :) lol

Ladygreen said...

Oh I'm so happy blogger works in China! It was such fun reading about that you've been doing so far!
I miss you already...God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have an interesting time ahead of you.You seriously had to eat that stuff?
Well anyway,I'm definately praying for you.God bless.

Anonymous said...

Well good luck with everything! It must be hard to get used to a place that's not like home... I know, it's always good to get back home! But I hope you really enjoy the time while you are there Bethany! I hope Everyone with you does too! Good luck with being a witness to these dear people!

Anonymous said...

Great pictures, Bethany!! It's great to see what you're up to!!
We've been praying for you four, and thinking of you lots!
It was great to 'see' you last night too, and visiting with Noah was so special- please tell Rachel thank-you for us!!

Vanessa said...

Wow, that is amazing! I have been reading your blog for sometime and I find your life very interesting like mine, always something new! HA HA! That is a total new culture, I know how a different country is. I travel to Germany every once and awhile, and I'm always glad to be back home in U.S.A! Thanks for the update!

In Christ, Vanessa

Nicole 妮可 said...

i hope blogging works for me there! you have given me hope! :)
thanks for making me homesick for china... you've make me more antsy than ever to walk on chinese soil again!

Ruth Ann said...

Yay for the updates!!! Thanks Bethany so much for taking time to share the beautiful pictures and the neat stories!! God is so good and I look forward to more updates like this in the days to come!!

Love you!
Ruth Ann

Anonymous said...

I am glad you are all right! I have been praying for you.

A Flock of Sebos said...

Hi Bethany! Glad your all doing well! We still remeber your lovley family, and their singing when you guys visited our church! Praying for you!


Anonymous said...

Duck intestines and duck neck? Are you serious?! ooooh! I suppose I could choke those down if I absolutly had to, but nobody better be watching me! :-)
I will be praying for you all when I think of you. It would take a lot of faith to go do what you are doing. God bless you all for it, and shine for HIM!
Your sister in Christ, Heather

Anonymous said...

How exciting to hear from you! I wasn't expecting any updates for awhile...what a pleasant suprise!Looks like quite an experience..I've always wanted to go to China so I'm greatly anticipating hearing all your stories!
Praying for you all!

Elisabeth said...

Wow! How exciting! Thank you for sharing some of your adventures and pictures so far. Praying for you ...

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you arrived safely and are getting settled in. It's a good thing they have ice cream. You can survive on that if necessary. Is it similar to American ice cream?

I probably missed some of your posts along the way, but I don't remember you telling how the four of you got together or who your sponsor is. Just curiosity stuff. Did you all know each other before?

Prayers and wishing you the best.

Anonymous said...

so glad to hear you got there safe! I am sure you will have tons of pictures and stories to tell when you come home! Will be praying for you as you start teaching!
Grace Sauve

Anonymous said...

Wonderful pics! Oh, and don't you find eating with chopsticks a lot of fun? ^^
I keep praying for you all, and hope you have a blessed time there, and lots of fun! I'll be looking forward to more photos! :)

Anonymous said...

Hey there!
I've just recently learned the fun of posting comments on blogs! (I'm really not that far behind the times though. ;)) Anyway, I love the pictures and getting a glimpse of what you're up to. Though I'm sure for each picture you could tell stories for hours! May God bless your time over there as you teach.