Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Jordan's Life in the Village

Jordan gave me permission to share this story that she wrote about life in the village, first from the perspective of her friend and then from her own perspective.

The Arrival of a Stranger (from two different views)

            Today, something new and exciting happened, a new family moved into our village. This family wasn’t just any normal family; this was a foreign family all the way from America! They have two sons and a daughter, who is my age. One day I was out just walking around with my brother when all of a sudden around the corner popped this new family just walking along the road as I watched them go by, the girl smiled at me and I smiled back. That smile was the beginning of a friendship, between me and her. After that day I came over to their house to play with her every weekend and she came over sometimes after school. We would bake cakes, that weren’t sweet and cookies that were too sweet. J Sometimes we would make a craft like sew a bag or make a doll, or we would go to the river nearby to fish (catch tadpoles). Sometimes we would play sha bao and badminton outside. Now this new family went away to go back to America to visit friends and family, and I will miss them and the time we had to play on the weekends! Me and some of my friends said goodbye to them the night before they left.


A different point of view           _________________________________

          The bus bumped over the village roads pulling to a stop at the entrance of an alley, the alley which would lead me to my new home. Excitement about this new move bubbled up in me, as I stepped out of the bus into the cool night air. I looked up to see the sky shining brightly with more stars than I had ever seen in my life. We got our bags out from the side of the bus and started down the alley that would soon become familiar to me. As we walked up to the door of our home and stepped in, I was astonished at the size of the place! It was huge! It had a gigantic courtyard with a little garden area in the middle that had a few trees but no flowers yet. That night I slept in my own room, and the next day we all unpacked and started getting accustomed to life in the village. The village was gorgeous; with lots of trees and hills and streams. The next day on a walk around the village I saw a girl by the road with her little brother and I smiled at her, she smiled back with a big, warm smile. At that moment I knew that we would be friends! That weekend she came over to play and we baked, sewed, played outside and even fished for tadpoles in the river! I absolutely loved life there and soon grew used to it. We could wake up each morning to the sound of birds chirping and breathe clean, fresh mountain air. While eating breakfast outside we could see the mountains with snow on them in the distance. Around lunch we could play badminton in our courtyard. Sometimes, if I was out getting something I would see a friend coming home from school and go over to play at her house for a while and every weekend my friends would come over to play. Overall, I absolutely love life in the village and the friends that I have there!!! Now we are in TianJin visiting friends and we will go back to America soon, but I will always miss life in the village!

                                                                                                              Jordan Pine  

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Blessed


These past three weeks have been a whirlwind. Full of meaningful moments for our family. A real highlight for us was the dinner celebration and time of prayer for high school graduates Kaity and Josiah.


Very dear friends for as long as our kids can remember. Kaity and Josiah are on the verge of starting college in the US after living almost all of their 18 years in Tianjin. So many shared memories of growing up together. And anticipating CJ being where they are in just one year. (Thankful that we don't have to say goodbye to him right now!) Seeing CJ's last year of high school and being at home as a gift, and wanting to savor the precious moments we have.

In God’s goodness and sovereignty, He arranged for us to have an extended time in Tianjin these past few weeks. Able to take part in these significant celebrations. Bringing closure. Marking milestones. Affirming life-long relationships. CJ and Joshua just left this morning with three of their best friends for a camp in southern China, and Jordan will be joining them next week. She has been cherishing every moment here with her best friend Angela. And loving time with both old and new friends. This kind of extended time together with heart friends, especially after living apart from each other, is so sweet and treasured. My mother’s heart is grateful for the precious gift of friendship for my children. To see these relationships survive (and even thrive!) across miles and time.



For me, quality time in Tianjin with my dear sisters in the faith, since moving away last year to a new place of starting over again in relationships, is a true gift for me. I feel blessed to my very core. So while it’s been a whirlwind of activity and people-time, and I am running weary right now, I am praising God for His gifts of friends, and the reminder that Tianjin will always be a home for us.

I am thankful that He is enabling me to be where I am in the moment. While we are in Tianjin, I can be “all here.” Still remembering our time in the village. And in Lanzhou. While looking ahead to our full summer in the US. And then returning to Lanzhou and the village. Each place is unique and holds something different for us. But it’s all good. And we are so blessed. Thanks be to God.

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