2009 Summer Tour Updates
It's 1:00 a.m. as I write this, but I'm wide awake because it's lunchtime in China! We had an amazing three weeks on the other side of the world. Since being
home, I've been thinking back about some of the great memories as well as things to be thankful for. With the recent news about the French airplane
going down in the Atlantic just a few hours after our 14 hour flight safely landed, I am reminded to thank my father for our safety.
Whether it was by flying over the North Pole, navigating a city subway, riding a bus on the side of a mountain, taking a taxi whose driver doesn't speak
English, or simply walking across a street with China traffic, we were protected! I'm also thankful for the relationships we were able to
build with the students there and opportunities to share with them. I'm thankful for the great unity among our team, and the friendships that were formed.
We had so much fun together
learning to use chopsticks, becoming Kung Fu masters (well, we had one lesson...), climbing the Great Wall, teaching
English, practicing our small Chinese vocabulary, and sharing hand sanitizer :) This trip definitely made me appreciate CCC and the opportunities we have
here in a new way. Thank you for your thoughts throughout the trip.
It's been a whirlwind of a trip and it feels strange to once again be back in the USA. We've had many adventures ranging from--well, simply not being able
to speak the language--having food placed in front of you that you never thought you'd consider edible, adapting to some different customs, and living with
each other for 3 weeks. :) But each step of our journey was upheld and taken care of in ways we are incapable of recognizing. On the last evening when each
of us was sharing what we had personally learned through our visit in China, it wasn't the fact that each of us had something to learn that made this trip a
success, but that each of us learned.
As we come to the end of our time in China, my mind is continually drawn to the promise, "When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the
ROCK that is higher than I." There are so many emotions running through my head - the joy at seeing a new friend, the wonderful things
that our dad is doing in the lives of our team members, the impending sorrow at saying goodbye, and many, many more. But, thankfully,
I can claim that special promise reminder... that we can run to the ROCK that is higher, stronger, infinitely wise, and all-knowing.
My dad has done amazing things on this brief time in this amazing country. It would be impossible to write all of the special moments
that we've all experienced here; but above all, I have been blessed by the fervent trust of the Chinese friends. In America, we are
SO blessed. We have so many opportunities to make a difference and yet, seldom do we take advantage of them. Our friends here in China
have inspired me to be a better friend, a stronger story-teller, and a more diligent worker for my dad.
Think about us as we have a long trip home ahead of us.
I have been so blessed by this entire trip and have learned countless incredible lessons. One thing that has continually amazed me is the
opportunities my father has provided to share with Chinese students, and the eagerness with which they have received his words. Witnessing
a new sister come into our family has been especially exciting. I have been continually amazed by my father's faithfulness and the way he
has orchestrated so many situations and details. Its hard to believe that we will be leaving so soon. I am reluctant to leave my new Chinese
friends and especially our brothers and sisters here. Their examples have been a great encouragement to me and I am so thankful that my
father has allowed me to come on this trip. Our father is truly working in mighty ways here in this country. Keep our team in your thoughts
during our last days here and our long trip home.
My father continues to bless us. From my first vocal concert to watching the immense success of the piano concert I have watched my
father answer my petitions! Even today several of us had opportunities to tell our friends about our father and his love for his children.
It has been great to connect with my epals and students and have time to get to know them. I can not believe that it is almost time to leave,
I do not feel ready, there is SO much work to be done here and not enough people to complete it! The harvest truly is plenteous and and the
laborers truly are few! Thank you for all of your thoughts and please think about sending others to help gather the harvest! My cup has run
over so many times this trip and I continually thank my father for this!!
May 26, 2009
China is just amazing!!! There are so many beautiful sights to see and also so many people to meet. Many people come up to you
wanting to get their picture taken with you. And also many want to talk with you and ask questions about America. I have been able
to see a new culture here in China. Interacting with the people here is just great! I have made many new friends. The food here is
very different, but not too bad... We have been blessed with nice weather and not too much sickness. It is just amazing how this trip
has opened the door to experiencing a new culture, meeting new friends, and seeing many beautiful sights!!
May 25, 2009
Hello from another country! We are having a great time experiencing different foods and cultures, but we are most excited for the
opportunities to share with people. We love meeting and connecting with people and telling them what's on our hearts. We recently did a
vocal concert. Before and after the concert we were able to talk to people and explain why we sing and why what we are singing about is so
important. I am so thankful that my father allowed me to be a part of this wonderful team, and I'm excited to see the work that he is
doing and what he will do in the lives of the people here. Thank you so much for your thoughts and keep them coming!
Hey guys over there in America! It has been so much fun being in China for these past couple of weeks! As it comes to a close for the team,
whith just a couple of days left, I feel that even though we will be physically leaving the country, I know our hearts will be here
with the Chinese and all of the close friendships we have made while on this trip. I am overwhelmed by the amount of work my father has allowed
me to do here in China! My favorite item
that we have been able to do is our free time, not to hang out in our hotel rooms, or sleep, or hang out with the other teamates we
know, but to be out and around the campus, being able to meet more people and getting to know them, while at the same time, having the
oppurtunity to eat lunch/dinner with our E-Pals and their friends, and now our new friends! Thank you all for your support and mostly
your thoughts! They have helped our team so much! We will be forever touched by this trip, from the memories-to some of the more
emotional moments we have had with our E-Pals with being able to sit down and talk to them, one-on-one. Thank you all again for
all you have done! I, and the team greatly appreciates it more than you will know.
Wow, this has been an amazing trip! It has been amazing to see how my father is blessing us and providing all the things that we need!
Although it has been easy for me to become discouraged because I have not seen circumstances work out quite the way that I have wanted them to,
I have been so thankful to see how my father is still even working these things together for his glory and purpose in the end! It has been
more profitable for me to see my own ideas and plans for this trip fall through and see how my father is working his out through me! I have
made many new friends, and met many brothers and sisters that I never knew before! It has been such an encouragement in my discouragement
that my father is using! Yesterday I was able to speak with a brand new baby sister and joy overflowed from my heart when I thought of the
life that she has chosen and the blessings that she will experience now! Today a couple of us were able to tell at least 4 people about our
father and the blessings he gives to us and the life and strength that he freely gives! It was amazing to see
how my father used a trip to get a manicure turned into a time to talk about fim!! Please continue to think about us often as your thouhts
aer GREATLY coveted! A great big huge thanks to all those thoughts that you have already had towards us! May our Father richly bless your
May 23, 2009
We had a great time teaching in English classes on Wednesday. This was followed by a visit to a local high school where they put on an impressive music concert for us. The evening was taken up with our vocal concert -- "With A Song in my Heart."
Four students and I performed an hour-long musical program that ranged from classical, to opera, to sacred, ending with Broadway. A 3 tenor act of "O Sole Mio" brought the concert to a close. The auditorium was full and the audience was very responsive to our program. We were thrilled to be able to share through the musical selections from "The Messiah" and 2 other favorites that we all sing in our gatherings back home. We know that these words will not return void! We were thankful for a successful performance as we were somewhat vocally tired, but with some nervous excitement, the group really stepped up to the challenge and performed wonderfully.
Thursday morning we left early in 4 small vans and headed for the mountains. Our goal was to visit a minority village -- the Miao people. After a very rough ride on the road we turned off onto a dirt path that had certainly not been graded in the past 20 years (or more!). The drivers were very tentative to drive this road and asked for more money! We urged them to move on as the day was getting away from us. We did make it to the village and were greeted by about 40 children in colorful beaded minority clothing. Talk about a National Geographic moment! As we sang a well-known sunday school tune for them, our eyes filled with tears at these precious lives in the remote mountains of southern China. What a privilege to be standing before them in their rough school room, singing of a wonderful friend! We were fed a very basic lunch of meat and vegetables, played with the children a little longer, and then sped back down the mountainside. After breathing in much dust and fumes, we arrived back at the campus for various activities.
Gary Smith finished up his 4 days ESOL seminar and we had movie night at the student union showing the movie "Fireproof." Many students made comments after the movie which will lead to further sharing about the truths portrayed through the screenplay.
We started early Friday for our overnight trip to the terraced fields. We took 5 Chinese friends with us on our bus and enjoyed our climb into the mountains. We spent a great afternoon viewing the terraced fields and a group of us descended into the fields to walk the narrow walls that enclose each pool of growing rice. Truly spectacular.
Our comfortable hotel was perched on a mountainside and we enjoyed a brief night before we left at 5:45am to see the sunrise over the fields. Unfortunately there was too much mist so the sun never rose on the fields. We still enjoyed our early morning adventure though.
After a 3 hour drive back we split into groups and went our different ways with our friends for dinners and activities. We are over half-way through our time here now and just 8 days before we return. We have seen and done so much we are overwhelmed at times, but again thankful for the opportunities afforded us on this trip!
Thank you for you continued thoughts and support. We covet them!
May 20, 2009
I had the greatest experience on Tuesday. DJ Twigg, Shea Burris, Amy Clark and myself had the privilege to teach euphemisms to an English class. Amy and
I acted out a scenario using idioms which helped the students to understand how to use the euphemisms. This one opportunity allowed so many avenues to
build relationships. In addition to this one experience, there have been so many opportunities to teach.
This past Tuesday I was able to play soccer with a group of guys at the University. When I first arrived at court it didn't look promising. There was
nobody there and the weather looked like it would start raining at any moment. But after a few minutes of juggling and passing the ball with Dave Barfield,
players began to ask if they could join us. So we started a small-sided game of 6v6, and let me tell you was it an experience. The game was competitive and
it was good to get out there to meet some guys and play for a bit. Who would have thought that a game that I love to play would give me the chance to connect
with some great guys. And just so you know we won 4-2. Man was it a good night!
Our week is moving along quickly as our days have been filled with many exciting events. Whether we are teaching, sharing, eating, etc., we are very
conscious of our father and the work he is doing in our own hearts and in the connections we are making here. Each day brings on new venues and opportunities,
and we are humbled with the direct chance we have to make an impact for eternity.
Monday began with a campus tour and a language class. Lunch at the local jaodzi and noodle shops was in order followed by a trip downtown to a five-star
hotel where we taught conversational English to 50 hotel employees. The setting of the hotel was stunning and we enjoyed sitting under a large
gazebo between two pools in a lush tropical garden setting. We will return next week and follow through with some that were very interested in talking on a
We walked from the hotel to a local orphanage where relationships have been established by our host family. We spent two hours with the toddlers
and babies, loving on them as much as we could. It was an emotional time for many as they held these precious lives that had been abandoned so carelessly.
We will return again soon to love on them some more (and maybe sneak a couple out with us! not really!).
Monday evening the university held a banquet for us which was followed by Gary Smith's first ESOL seminar for English teachers. The music team practiced
for the Wednesday concert and the rest of the team spread out over the campus making connections.
Tuesday found us in American Literature classes teaching and sharing. Music team members taught voice and piano lessons followed by a great dinner
where we invited a group of our new friends to share our favorite dishes so far. This team has NO problem eating copious amounts of local food!
It really is incredible! Gary went from 11 to over 40 in his seminar and is having a great repore with the teachers. Our dress rehearsal for the
concert went well and we are excited about the performance tonight.
The team has adjusted very well and all have settled into a comfort level of being in such a vastly different land. Our previous teams have always
had veterans (returners) but this team are all newbies. They have done so well and I complimented them this morning in our meeting
on how well they are all doing. They are alive with the joy of sharing their lives with their new friends and are being creative with activities
I am again thankful for very little sickness, safety and great attitudes. Our father is working, and we can so clearly see his hand in all we are
doing in this small town.
Thank you for partnering with us!
May 18, 2009
Hey everyone! This trip has been such an amazing experience so far. The culture is so different, but the food is AMAZING! In the evenings we are having music
practices for the concerts. Last night Jorge Natal and I were headed to find our group to practice with in the music building, but we got very lost on the way.
This all worked for good though because we happened to stumble across a school band practice. Earlier that day, I had played my flute for a group, and one of the
girls in that group played flute in the school band. She saw us wandering around and along with other students ran out and grabbed Jorge and I and dragged us into
the rehearsal. Jorge and I played a flute and trumpet duet for the group and were able to form some friendships quickly. To look back on our frustration of getting
lost, we now see that it was all for good because of the influence we were able to have on the students and the relationships that are now being formed. This trip
has been filled with great opportunities and blessings!
Hi, everyone! We are having a wonderful time so far. We are having lots of fun trying new foods and meeting new people. Everyone here is so friendly :) Last
night, we were able to meet our "e-pals," the college students we have been emailing back and forth for several months now. It was so incredible to finally
meet them and to talk with them in person. The students are so enthusiastic about practicing their English with us. We are hoping for many opportunities to
spend time with them and make an impact on their lives. Some students have already started asking us many questions about our father.
Please continue to think of us often! Thank you!
Hi! So far, I have been having a wonderful time. So many things are different here, and it's been great experiencing everything. There is just so much to take
in all the time! The food has been absolutely wonderful. So far, I have no complaints. No dogs or cats...as far as I know. One thing I noticed here is how
friendly everyone is. Yesterday we went to a church, and the people moved so we could sit down. People walked over to give us hymnals, even though
we couldn't read them. They just accepted us coming there and were so happy to have us. The students are so friendly and welcoming. They go out of their way to
help us and talk to us. We are different to them, but they are so excited to meet us. Please continue to think of us as we are constantly busy and doing
different things. Thanks!
The trip has been awesome so far! Flying here was my first time ever on a plane, but I loved it! I love the culture and the differences that can be seen
between our lives and theirs. The weather here is a lot like home, HOT! Every morning we look out our hotel windows and see beautiful mountains which I love.
I connected with some of the students here this morning, and they invited us to their dormitories tonight to "surf the web" and "listen to music". The people
here are very friendly and welcoming to us. They ask us all sorts of questions about English and life in America. My father has provided so many things to make
this trip possible and it is amazing to see how everything is working out. Thank you so much for all of your support! Please remember us as we continue our work
May 17, 2009
Our trip south went well and we arrived in our location tired but eager to begin our work. The city lies around 5000 feet surrounded by stunning mountains
(similar to the Rockies). With a large lake in the middle of the town and beautiful landscaping, the university looks like a tropical paradise! The weather
is perfect with sunny skies and a cool breeze gently blowing. The team has already indicated they might not return on our scheduled flight at the end of the
month!! Our hotel is very comfortable and we have views of the mountains close by.
The local health organization came and met us to take our temperatures to make sure we were not swine flu carriers! We all passed and hope that is the
last of the check-ups. We have already had a local school cancel our visit -- they claim
they are not allowed to have foreign groups come into their school compound.
Lunch was an experience for the team as we split into 2 groups and went to the local noodle shop and joadzi shop. Joadzi is a dumpling that is just delicious!
The half-team devoured 14 baskets of them (240 pieces) with no problem! After some free time in the afternoon we met up with students and did a walking tour of
downtown. The team was amazed at the beauty and many pictures were taken. We met up with our host family for a special hot pot dinner. Each person
gets his/her own
small burner and pot which has a mild white base sauce bubbling in it. One adds thinly sliced beef and lamb with a variety of vegetables in it -- once
cooked, you dip
the meat/veg into a peanut sauce -- delicious. Combined with more joadzi and an excellent chive flat-bread, the team devoured an enormous amount of food.
bill for 24 -- $88!! (lunch usually runs $2 per person!!).
We came back to campus and met many students for English corner and spent the rest of the evening fellowshipping and building relationships. Our team is
on fire with excitement about the openness and eagerness of the students to form relationships and to become fast friends. The doors are wide open!
Please think of our music team as we prepare for our first concert Wednesday night. We are a little ragged vocally from traveling and need to really
focus and be prepared for this major concert in 2 days. We will have great sharing opportunities as we do a pre-concert talk about our music and why we sing.
This will be an incredible inroad for us.
We marvel at the safety and protection we have had. We have had a little sickness here and there -- continue to lift us up in that manner. We are delighted
to be vessels being used and cannot wait to see what our father does in these next days.
Thank you for your very important role. We need you to hold our arms up as we step forward into many exciting situations we will share when we arrive
home in 2 weeks (that is, IF we make that flight!!).
Looking to eternity,
May 14, 2009
Our first two days have been a whirlwind of sights, smells and colors! We have effectively shown our team all the major cultural and historical sites
we could fit into two days.
We began Thursday morning with a subway ride. We traveled to our famous Pete's Tex Mex Restaurant for lunch (our official annual treat for our teams)
and then walked a few blocks to shop. After watching the bartering pro's (Miss Ormbsy and myself!!), the students caught on real fast and enjoyed the
banter that goes on with finding good deals in the market. The guys enjoyed buying silk ties for $1.30 each (one ended up with 24!!) and the girls went
The ladies really got serious about shopping and the guys also found great jewelry for their mothers' and sweethearts! Our last dinner in a western
restaurant (barbecue) and then back to the hotel to crash.
Today we started early with a coach ride. The weather has been really great -- cloudy but cool and breezy. The mountains were somewhat hazy but we had
an invigorating climb up one side of the mountain taking many pictures. The team loved every minute of walking history. We broke up into groups and
headed in different directions to eat and shop before an early return to the hotel to pack up.
The team has settled into the time change and is adjusting well. Continue to think of us as we travel and begin our partnership in service with several
families. We look forward to sharing our daily opportunities.
Looking to eternity,
May 13, 2009
We arrived safely early this morning. The flights were all on time, and everyone is very tired and resting in a hotel right now.
When we arrived, no one was allowed to leave the plane.
People in white suits with masks boarded the plane and took everyone's temperature.
This was to make sure that no one had the Swine Flu. If they had found anyone with a fever, everyone on the plane
would have been quarantined. Praise the Lord, there were no fevers, but this put us
late getting to customs and picking up our luggage.