Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Weekend with Jeff

I was so blessed to travel to ZhengZhou this weekend to spend time with Jeff.  I still can't believe that we are in the same country!  I really enjoyed the time I was able to spend with him, even though it was too short.  Here are a few pictures from our weekend together.

His bosses paid for us to stay in a very nice hotel.
They also paid for all the foreign teachers and myself to have a steak dinner (my first since moving).
View of the city.
Street vendors selling food.

Look what we found at Walmart!

On the way to lunch we ran into models doing a photo shoot.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I had not spent much time considering what a smile can bring to a relationship or situation until last week. My Chinese coworker mentioned that she loves how my smile lights up the room.  I have never considered myself a very smiley person or pondered what I could bring to a room through my presence before.  Her comment got me thinking about what a smile communicates: warmth, joy, love, respect, and consideration for others.  If you do not like a person you are not going to exert the energy to smile.

As I have reflected back on her words, I am increasingly thankful for her feedback.  Though I am trying very hard to learn the language, my communication skills are survival at best.  I often get internally frustrated by my language limitations because there is so much that I want to say to people that I am currently unable to express in Mandarin.  Smiling, however, makes up for my limited vocabulary.  I do not need to say out loud how much I respect, admire, or am proud of a woman for making substantial changes in their life because that can be communicated through a beaming smile of pride.  I can let a woman trapped in exploitation know that she is valuable, consequential and precious in His sight through my smile.  I can bring His hope into a hopeless situation through my nonverbal communication skills.

Something as simple as moving a few muscles can make all the difference!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Great Wall

This week I went with friends to the Great Wall. Enjoy some of the pictures I took.

Psalm 23

This week at small group we read Psalm 23 from a variety of translations. Meditating on the famous psalm, I was once again struck by the powerful prose. While listening to verses I wrote down the promises contained in the passage. In Him I am:
   faithfully remembered
   given rest
   provided for
   made righteous
   disciplined in love
   surrounded by goodness and mercy

I am thankful for the space to focus on the words that we all know so well and see His loving promises in a new light.  This passage provides hope in the midst of life, knowing that we are provided for and resourced by the Creator of the universe who only has good things in store for us.