November 11, 2010
The year just keeps humming along here. We've passed the mid point of the semester and are as busy as ever. While busyness could be a bad and distracting thing, we are certain the Father has provided the opportunities of the past month and eagerly follow-up with each chance. Our season of tilling the soil and planting seeds seems to be yielding the first fruits of the season. We anticipating what the Father will do next.
Halloween in China means party invitations are everywhere. Since no one dresses up for Halloween, at least not the students, Halloween is mostly an excuse to have a party and invite your foreign teachers. As we attended three Halloween parties, we only saw four students dressed up for the occasion. Kanyon enjoyed the students at the parties, as usual, but enjoyed the balloons even more. When we arrived at the first party, he waved hello and took pictures, but soon discovered he could use a balloon like a volleyball. He chased the balloon around until it was time to leave. Each time he popped his balloon (twice), students quickly ran to find him a replacement balloon.
For Halloween proper, we decided to include our Chinese friends in our celebration. We informed them we'd stop by their apartment to trick-or-treat. Little did we know that we'd end up being invited in to have pizza. M'Lynn said this reminded her of her small town roots. Every time she'd trick-or-treat at her neighbors' houses, she'd be invited in and asked to visit a while before moving on to the next house. We did much of the same. We ate the pizza (topped with radishes, pepperoni, pineapple, potato, corn, and everything else) and visited before we moved on to the next party.
The third and final party was with a group of Sophomore students. They decorated their classroom, provided snacks, games, and even karaoke entertainment! One of the games was to quickly transfer sunflower seeds from a table to a cup using chopsticks. The first round involved students vs. students and foreigner vs. foreigner (pictured below). Since I (Jeremy) had the most seeds at the end of the first round, the students demanded a rematch since they're Chinese they figured they should have the chopstick advantage. Not so fast, I won again! We had a blast!
While Halloween is most definitely a holiday with pagan roots, it brought up many conversations. It was awesome to be in the classroom able to explain the history of the holiday. Students were excited to listen about the Celtic roots and the early church's response to the pagan holiday. I was able to explain more about All Saints' Day (celebrated November 1 to celebrate the lives of the saints) and All Souls' Day (celebrated on November 2). The history included some talk about Martin Luther's response to the latter two holiday that led to the Protestant Reformation beginning October 31, 1517. What an opportunity!
At our monthly Common Grounds Coffee House, students discussed fears, both reasonable and unreasonable fears and superstitions. "Are you afraid of death?" of "Are you afraid of ghosts?" are awesome questions to begin conversations. So while the holiday may have it's pagan roots, it sure does lend itself to topics of deep significance.
Happy Birthday Month
November is filled with chocolate cake. Both Kanyon and Corbin will provide birthdays as the excuse for more cake. It is great to be able to celebrate birthdays with our teammates and Chinese friends (we do also miss sharing the celebrations with everyone back home).
Kanyon will be 3 on November 20th and Corbin turns 1 on November 30th. I'm quite sure M'Lynn has her work cut out for her as she's baking, designing, frosting, and serving endless cake! Birthday shopping is a little tricky here as we need to board the bus, travel across town to the toy market, and then hid the toy without the boys finding them. We'll keep you updated on the events and post pictures and videos online to include you in the celebrations.
ELIC’s Annual Thailand Conference is coming up and we’re in need of one-time donations to cover the cost. From our past experience, we can positively say that attending this conference gives us much needed time to take a breather from our work in China, refocus on the reason we’re here and fellowship with our ELIC brothers and sisters. Total costs for the conference, including round-trip airfare, room and board, as well as other conference costs is $5,200. Donations for these costs are TAX DEDUCTIBLE for you and given online (our teacher code is T219). (These costs are included in our yearly profile amount…but right now we’re still $7,000 short for the school year. This is just a chance to take care of one specific line item on our profile and keep our account in the black when these large expenses hit.)
Jeremy left his netbook computer & backpack in an on-campus restaurant one day during lunch. By the time he realized this and returned the next morning it was gone! After an in-depth search including a visit to the police station, watching surveillance videos, posting a flyer around campus and telling all our students, the computer is still missing. It costs $350 to replace it. If you are interested in helping with this need, please contact us.