Thursday, June 18, 2015

One Year Ago - The Trip of a Lifetime

The morning of the start of this expedition.  This beautiful lady is a former student of mine.  It was an honor to start this trip with seeing her again for the first time in many years!
One year ago right now, on the third Thursday of June, I was criss-crossing the U.S. in an attempt to get on a flight to China.  (All this was after my original flight to Chicago was delayed too long to make the flight to Beijing from there.)  I ended up in Washington DC (Dulles) to Los Angeles, with a 7-hour layover, and then the 13-hour flight to Beijing.  Of course my luggage was lost after all that.  After retrieving the suitcase and exiting the back of the airport, seeing my son's handsome face was a great blessing and relief.

It proved to be a 2 1/2 week experience of a lifetime.  One of the new experiences was seeing all kinds of unusual products and items for sale.

I met Andrew's boss and saw the university.

I met the "dumpling lady" whom Andrew knows from buying her street food.  She was so happy to see him, and I was happy to meet her. 

We ate with Chinese people, here with brothers and sisters as well as fellow team members.  We were crowded into a tiny apartment room that served as living room, bedroom, and dining room.

And a few days later I was able to present the lady of the house, at left in picture above as well as in the following picture, with a prayer shawl crocheted by a church group here in my hometown, and tell her it was a gift from Christian sisters in the States.  

We ate with a group of his students, people who have no knowledge of the Book or of the Father, but who love Andrew and wanted to spend time with him - and were glad to let his mom tag along.  (This is at the home of the little blind girl posted about last year.)

We ate with the members of his English Corner (English-practice club) at a traditional "dong bei" (sp) restaurant.  Jessica, at left, is still my WeChat friend and I was able to send her a gift in the last package mailed to Andrew.

And after the return to Beijing, we climbed the Great Wall (actually, we took a chair lift up to the wall itself) with the daughters, and their good friend, of dear missionary friends.

And on the way up, ran into a girl from Gamecocks country!!  She recognized our shirts immediately.

We took pictures of us reading WORLD magazine as well as the Electric City News to take back home and (hopefully) be published.  We made the News; we only made the WORLD website.

Our missionary friends drove us past Tianenmen Square and the Forbidden City.  We drove down the very street that the tanks rolled down, some 25 years before.

 We worshipped in a house church with the missionary's group.  This was a great privilege.

These pictures represent just a fraction of the many experiences of this trip.  While seeing the tourist places was great, and no trip to China is really complete without those ventures, I told Andrew later that the greatest part of the trip for me was really seeing Chinese people in their regular lives.  An interior city, such as where he is working, is very, very different from Beijing, which is practically western in contrast.

Eating in homes, walking to the grocery and making purchases by myself (Who would have ever thought that that buying fruit and some cleaning products would be a great accomplishment for me!), walking into the market and videoing people in their long days of trying to sell various things, taking taxis and buses, seeing how children are cared for in a much different way (i.e. no diapers!!) than we are used to; all these experiences are seared into memory.  And as the verse says, "my eye affects my heart."  I have a much better understanding of the spiritual needs of these people as a result of this trip.  I would love to go back.

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