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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Time of The Roller Coaster!

Hello everyone, for those of you who follow my blog, I am sorry I havn’t been very faithful in writing lately.  I don’t have internet access at my apartment right now, therefore when I do go somewhere with access I use that time for talking to my family or checking fantasy football.  I know, fantasy football is a bad excuse.  I hope you are doing well!  I hope this season is one of joy and excitement of good things to come.  If it is a season of testing and hardship, then rejoice, for trials and hardships are our friends, says the Word.  They refine us, cleanse us, and bring us to a better understanding of His love and compassion for us.

Aubrey, Sydney, and Lilly posing for the camera!
We (Matt, Heather, Sydney, Lilly, Aubrey, Caleb, and I) have been in Xining for about two months now.   It frankly has been a roller coaster.  One that only those of you who have lived in a country similar to China can fully understand.  I can tell you how feeling out of control because of the huge language barrier is very frustrating.  Having very little control on the situations at hand leaves you feeling angry and vulnerable.  Being in a culture so alien to you, at times makes you feel lost and alone, even if you have people around you that love and care about you.  These are a few of the things you might feel when doing what Matt and Heather have been doing for the last two months. 

Matt and Heather recently started renting two apartments, that both have front yards.  Yards in China are about as common as a snow storm in June!  These aren’t American sized yards.  They are bedroom sized yards.  None the less, it is amazing for the kids to be able to go outside and play in the dirt yard, soon to be grass!  On one hand it is a miracle they have these two apartments.  On the other hand, it has been a hard fought battle getting them ready to live in.  They were just concrete shells.  Finishing a house using your mother tongue in your native land would be hard.  In China, I would put it around extreme pain to a nightmare, depending on who you are.   They are now living in their new apartment, and it really is great!  Great things take persistence, patience, and hard work, among many other things.  The good news is I have heard that hard times grow us and perfect us!  But it is not easy to have the right perspective during seasons of trial.  That doesn’t mean we don’t try to see the situation through the correct light.
Some guys I found on the side of the road shooting bows!   Pretty awesome!

I have been teaching English every weekend since I arrived in Xining.  The job has been really great.  I don’t believe I am a natural teacher, in this setting at least.  But I have improved and sharpened my abilities to teach.  This has been another growing opportunity in my life.  Recently it has been very hard for foreigners to get a work visa in this area of China.  The company I work for was not able to get me a visa, so I will have to get a student visa.  I am happy about being able to continue to study.  My Chinese is quite terrible. 

One of the classes I teach!  Very cute kids!
We all will face trials and hard times in our lives, some more than others.  My dad always would tell us when we were growing up, “it’s all perspective”.   He really could not have been more right.  During every trial, hardship, and difficult season we have the ability to choose to see with the right perspective.  It definitely is not easy, but it will change the outcome, I believe.   I can’t say I have had the right attitude recently, about my situation, or about Matt and Heather's.  He wants to use these difficult times to shape us and grow us.  The sad part is, if we choose to see things from the perspective of our human eyes, we will not grow, learn, or change, at least not for the better.  Every situation will shape us to some extent, for good or for bad.  If we allow Him to change our perspective from worldly to heavenly, we will grow towards Him, towards love, mercy, grace, patience, and peace.  I need to live as the Word teaches, that these trials we go through, when we so often say why me, are our friends.  We should endure them with gladness, knowing that they are there to grow us, and make us more like Him.  Thanks for reading friends and family! Until next time. 

The Fam! Besides me of course.

Matt doing his best to make if over the speed bump with a Chinese style wheel barrow!

One of their yards before we cleaned it our and planted grass.  It was used as a garbage can!

Chinese guys cleaning the head and legs of a cow, they will eat just about every part! 

Matt and Caleb having a ball!