Monday, July 19, 2010

Taiyuan, China.

Before I went there, I knew very little about it or what life would be like there.

A city of over three million.
A huge coal mining industry.
350 miles from Beijing.
A whole different culture.

And that was just about all I knew.

But now...
now when I think of Taiyuan, China, literally hundreds of pictures come to mind.


Like the fortune teller that sat on the sidewalk everyday. Multiple times a day I walked past him on my way to and from teaching English. Every day he was in the same place with his paper and cards, waiting. Watching the world go by. Often we'd exchange greetings of "Ni Hoa" and smile and wave at each other. Once he motioned for Rachel to sit beside him as he wanted to learn a few English words, starting with our names!
What is life like for him? Does he still sit there on the street everyday?

Like the man who had a corner store beside our apartment building. A tiny, dingy little place; his bed was in the corner of the room. He had a small fridge and sold the cheapest cold water (a real treat!) Almost every day on my way to teach I'd stop by to get a cool drink. How excited he was to practice his English "hello" on me. One day his smile was extra big as he handed me the water bottle and tried another new word: "Good bye!"

Hearing music at the park -- and finding anywhere from 5-9 men playing an unusual assortment of instruments.

The eager faces of my students wanting so much to learn English and how to do things the "American way."

Or listening to the garbage trucks and street sweepers drive up and down the streets -- playing Christmas tunes.

Sitting in a restaurant enjoying my meal when a waiter walked by with a net in his hand -- with a fish laying inside flapping for all it was worth! Someone must have ordered fresh fish for lunch!

Making new friends.

Running to catch the right bus.

Being introduced to 'bubble tea.'

People on the other side of the street shouting "Hello" (and then laughing and grinning when I replied "Ni Hao!")

Shopping at the market -- bargaining for lower prices.

The smiles of the children.

Praying that God would somehow use me for His kingdom's sake, despite the things against me: the language barrier and limited time.

Eating with chopsticks.

Seeing everything from a goat to a computer being carried across town on a bike.

Posing for a picture -- and seeing everyone else whip out their phones to get a picture of us "Americans".

Seeing expectant mothers and realizing it would be a one time experience for them.

Watching people exercising at the park by walking backwards. (It is good for ones kidneys.)

The open friendliness.

Tearful goodbyes...

And the list could go on and on...
Taiyuan is no longer just a city in China. It is where I spent seven wonderful weeks, made lots of new friends, experienced a different culture, had time to fellowship with the family of God, and gained a much bigger picture of my God and how He is working in our world.

"...The Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations."

Isaiah 61:11


ajfcello said...

Love the pictures! Funny how we think we know a place pretty well, until we actually go there and then it's like, WOW!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing some of your memories, Bethany! What a special treat! :)

Victoria Rose said...

That was great Beth. :) Thanks for sharing.


My Bright Corner said...

That is so incredible that you were able to visit China for 7 weeks. I'm such an all-American, country girl, I had shunned the idea of living outside of the country. However, the mission/traveling bug has bitten me!! :)

Rachel Wissmann said...

Oh! This post almost made me cry! Such sweet, precious memories! I'm SO thankful the Lord gave us the opportunity to experience this together. Such rich, amazing times!

And I, too, find myself wondering about how life continues for the people who daily crossed our paths.

<3 you!

Kori said...

Oh, Ditto to Rachel! Those were my exact thoughts--It almost made me cry! That summer was filled with so many wonderful memories! I still think about it often!

I am so thankful for time we were able to spend in China that summer! Like Rachel said, I, too, wonder about the people we came in contact daily and wonder what they are doing now. I wonder how our students are doing? And the rest of the wonderful people we met!

Thank you for posting this Bethany! I'm so glad I was able to experience China with you! ♥

PS. Today, one of my children at work had REAL fruit leather. Like the authentic chinese stuff, that we used to eat large amounts of everyday! :) I was so excited! And it just flooded my mind with memories! So it was fun to come home and read your post about our time there!

Love you!!!!

Vicki said...

That was beautiful, Bethany! Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures and your amazing experience! I pray that the Lord would give me a chance to minister in another culture someday, too ... Looking at your post, I can't wait! :-D

Love in Christ,

Charity U said...

Those are such cool outfits you're wearing. I loved reading through all those memories. (-:

Clara said...

That was a beautiful journey in China through words and photos - I enjoyed it; thank you.

Mom said...

Thank you for sharing those memories. Precious thoughts. I love seeing life through your eyes. We pray He is still watering the seeds sown.

Erin said...

I love the pictures! What a expereince that must have been! I was on a mission this past holy week and Easter in NY City. Such amazing memories. I did a blog post about it if you are interested -

God Bless, Erin

Diane said...

Bethany, I was thrilled to read your post about China! I too have been to China on a mission trip, only I was in Beijing and I wasn't gone quite as long as you. That country has captured my heart and I think about the people that I met there often. When were you there? I was there in April of 2009. Thanks for uplifting me with the beautiful post! God bless you!

Elizabeth said...

Beautiful photos and words too!

I also enjoy traveling and had a great time in Istanbul, and Efes, (Ephesus) Turkey last June.
I think I even checked the Wissman family blog while I was there! We got arrested after giving out Bible verses in Turkish. But through that experience we met a young policeman who was also a Christian! It was so neat. :-) (They didn't imprison us just asked some questions and let us go) "Next time," they said, "Come back and see us when you come to Turkey under more favorable circumstances!" :-)

It was a great trip and resulted in at least 1000 pictures!

I always enjoy checking your blog for a new post. Thanks for writing them!

Joyfully HIS,
><> 1 Peter 1:4-9 <><

.lauren.anne. said...

I just love all the pictures. and what sweet memories.

God Bless,
Lauren Anne

JoyfulJewels4Jesus said...

What wonderful photos reflecting on your time in China! I'm sure it was such a blessed time.

Also, I was looking through your archives and was wondering if you could possibly post the recipe for the "espresso fudge"? It looks just delicious!

Blessings, Bethany~

hilton said...

What a joy to visit your blog!!

Farmgirl said...

I love the Kimonos! = ) I really want to go to India!