February 11, 2009

12:2 Times February 2009

Friends from training visiting our Harbin Guesthouse

Guesthouse & Fireworks

Three great events occurred over the winter holidays between the semesters, opening our home as a Harbin guesthouse, Spring Festival which includes the Lantern Festival, and our Annual Thailand Teachers’ Conference.

Our Harbin guesthouse hosted many of the teachers we had met during training in California. It was exciting to see them all again and show them around Harbin. Beginning in mid-January we would venture out to pick up in the ice and snow from the train station and bring them back to settle them into our 20th floor apartments. (Some of our teammates who had left earlier to travel allowed us to use their apartments for our guests.)

Each morning we would make some breakfast for the group before we took them out for the day. All in all we had about 15 guests either staying or visiting our guesthouse. On the last day before we left for our Annual Conference we hosted the remaining group people for brunch fellowship, a sort of mini-La Quinta, CA training reunion. We loved talking together about the experiences (both good and bad) from the previous semester.

Next up was Spring Festival celebrating the Chinese New Year (Year of the Ox). Spring Festival ends on the 15th day after the new year called the Lantern Festival. Traditionally on this day children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns. In modern China, the festival is marked is fireworks. If you can imagine 6 million people shooting fireworks at the same time, then you will understand the enormity of the Lantern Festival. Our night skies were lit with exploding fireworks beginning at 5:00 PM and continuing after we went to sleep at midnight.

It was absolutely incredible to see the city lit with fireworks from the 20th floor windows of our apartment. There are some videos posted online if you want to check out the action for yourself. The Lantern Festival is definitely my favorite Chinese holiday!

Kanyon serving as tour guide around Harbin

Looking Forward

Here is a list of sorts that serves a reflection from the past semester and a beginning point for this next semester offering challenges to us as we live our lives in China:

#1 – TAWG meaning time alone with the Father. This is my new motto as I begin the next semester. I've been challenged to only spend time alone if we are with the Father. All other time should be in relationships with others. If I need to go shopping, why not ask someone to go with me? If I need to buy tickets for the train, ask a student for help. If I want to watch a movie, play a game, or learn Chinese, spend the time building relationships with others.

#2 – Make excellent choices. I have been learning a lot about love this past semester and was challenged to be guilty of committing one intentional act of an excellent choice daily just to stay in shape. These choices come from my love for the Father and demonstrating that love in the way I treat others. So daily I am looking for an opportunity to be guilty of serving others. And this is just to stay in shape; I should be committing these actions all the time every day.

Walking hand-in-hand around Thailand

Baby Food

While in Thailand for the conference, we tried everything to get Kanyon to eat some food, either Thai or the great Western food we were enjoying. Nothing we put in front of him was up to his standards. We started to wonder if he was just not growing much these days and was starting to eat less. He was happy, so we were happy.

Then we returned home to China. Immediately he ate anything Chinese that we put in front of him. And he ate and ate tons of food. We now know just how much Kanyon loves Chinese food.

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