October 10, 2010

October eNews

Year 4, Month 1
Wow! Before we realized it, we were meeting together as a team to discuss how our first month went. We asked everyone to share their first month's highlight. Almost unanimously, the highlight was "team." We're so blessed to be surrounded with friends who share the same passion for the Father, China, and the Chinese. We've grown together quicker than I ever imagined. During our team meeting last week, we reflected on the amazing beginning to our semester. The work begun in September excites us and we're driven to continue with even more amazing work the remainder of the semester and year.

Common Grounds English Coffee House
Common Grounds coffee house was a great event. Common Grounds is an English coffee house for students to sit, drink some coffee, eat snacks, and talk with their foreign teachers which we started last year and continue with monthly events. The year started with a bang! We had 35 students and 8 foreign teachers together for a night of conversation. M'Lynn led off the night by (successfully) demonstrating how to get a cookie from her forehead to her month to eat it. Students cheered on as they tried to be the first to eat the cookie. After this ice-breaker game, we relaxed at our tables and discussed happiness. Each conversation question was framed around a quote, "If you put your happiness in things that are temporary, then your happiness will be temporary." By the end of the night one student at my table exclaimed, "I'm so frustrated. I have so many thoughts in my head that I can't express in English." What a great way to get students chewing on a subject of eternal proportions.

Life Education
Along the lines of Common Grounds, we're beginning a Life Education course each Saturday morning. Class topics include wise decision making, character building, relationships, conflict resolution, love, sex, and marriage. Students crave a time to speech about many of these topics. The class meets this need and provides a safe environment for the students to discuss. We'll share the teaching load as a team. When we're not teaching, we'll participate among the audience leading discussions with students. Last year, Life Education class led to many significant and fruitful discussions. Our hope is this year will be the same and even better. Please remember Life Education course as we begin October 16 and meet weekly until December 18.

Home Improvements
During the holiday we accomplished some long debated items. First, we painted two walls in our living an awesome accent color. The color livens up the living room without the hassle of painting the entire apartment. When Aiyi walked in and saw the walls, she exclaimed "piaoliang!" ("beautiful!"). Then she asked if we were going to finish painting tomorrow and let us know it would be easy to buy more paint. Classic. (Read more about the project.) Second, I purchased a bicycle. This took more than a couple failed attempts. I attempted the first times by myself and didn't find a single bike. Then I asked directions from a freshmen student only to be led to
stationary bikes and exercise equipment. Finally, with the help of M'Lynn, we found the right stranger on the street who directed us to a local bike market. Awesome! Now it's time to explore the city as much as possible before winter arrives covering the roads with ice.

Cultural Encounters
While this email paints a rosy picture of success stories, we're no better than anyone else and experience many of the same temptations and struggles as you. While we're excited about so many amazing things happening all around us, we've recently experienced some culture stress. Since we're beginning our fourth year in China, we feel like we should know how to handle almost everything that comes our way and sometimes forget that we don't have it all figured out just yet. It's when we become overconfident in our own ability that we're blindsided by a cultural encounter we didn't expect. Recently we experienced a classic case of cultural miscommunication. We thought we had clearly communicated when in fact we had not. In these times, we are reminded to remain humble and rely on the Father's strength.

News from the Bathroom
Potty training. Somehow we all learn how to use the bathroom. During the next month, we'll continue to train Kanyon to use the bathroom. We've already had our share of potty stories and soiled clothes. He's made some progress over the last week (National Day holiday when we were both home with all hands on deck) and we're hoping for more of the same in the coming month. Meanwhile, Corbin is as mobile as ever. He's yet to start walking, but he's discovering he can get around just fine on his hands and knees. He's learn to defend himself and his toys from his big brother (by biting but that's another story) and he demands to feed himself making a huge mess on the floor.

Support Update
Beginning our third year of living overseas and depending fully on God to provide monthly support for our work, we find ourselves thankful and blessed beyond measure. Support raising is not always an exercise in comfort. Going out of our comfort zone to trust God to stir hearts of friends and family and sometimes even strangers to join our support team has definitely grown us and richly blessed us.

Currently, we’re behind. We need almost $12,000 in additional support to be fully funded this school year. Please consider making a tax deductible donation when reviewing your budget for the last quarter of 2010. To give online, click support below and use our teacher ID (T219). Thanks again for your support. We can’t do it without you! Be blessed!

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