bits of gratefulness

I’m amazed at how much I have to be grateful for this week. This is just a tidbit:

- Monday was the Mid-Autumn Festival! I traveled out to one of the teachers’ homes in a more rural area of Beijing. It was so beautiful! And the food was wonderful as always. I am so blessed by the teachers who do so much for me!

- I got to start leading morning reading time in Class 3 & 4 (Grade 7) every morning! I was told that their English was really bad, almost totally nonexistent, but I just talk to them about myself and my family and my pets and such, and they loved it! When they are motivated to learn by interest, it’s amazing how fast they understand.

- These 7th graders, though brand new to the school, are outgoing and happy! Many of them call out “Hello teacher!” in English when they see me.

- Two students ran up to me and handed me a sweet little origami heart with writing on it. “教师节快乐!” said the girl, and then the boy stopped, took a deep breath, and translated, “Happy Teacher’s Day!” Then they ran back to their classroom laughing. I was proud of him for speaking the sentence correctly, especially since it was written on the heart “Teacher’s Day Happy!”

- Wednesday was the official opening ceremony of the school! The principal asked me to give a speech in Chinese, so I got to talk to the whole school about how we can learn to be servants to each other this year, how love is not just a feeling, and how we can make the world beautiful!

- Prayers have been continually answered for my Chinese – I’ve been amazed at how much I’ve been able to learn! I often go hours at a time just conversing in Chinese. But considering that the maker of language is living in me, I guess it’s not that surprising, right?

- I got to go on three “home visits,” where three or four teachers go visit a student’s home to meet with their mother or father. Each home I visited was one, tiny room, about the size of my dorm room, that served as a whole family’s bedroom, living space, kitchen, laundry room, etc. It’s always sobering to see the poverty that nearly all of them live in, but it’s also convicting to see the parents’ perseverance. They are just so glad their children can receive an education. I’m so glad I can be even a small part in helping these families.

- On Friday I was taken home by several different teachers who live in the same apartment building – we ate at one home, hung out at another, and then I got to spend the night in another!

- On Saturday, I walked nearly 5 kilometers in the Olympic Park, which is beautifully green and surprisingly lush for Beijing! The weather was wonderful, and I finally got some exercise…

- I spent most of Saturday and Sunday with two absolutely wonderful friends, Dan and Sherry. I met them just over three months ago in Georgia when Lydia introduced us. They were considering coming to China, and I got to be just one small piece of the puzzle that brought them here. They are so wise, so full of love, and so vibrantly alive with Jesus. It was so refreshing to just watch them live a bit of life.

- Walking back in through the gates of Dandelion late this afternoon, the courtyard was bursting at the seams with laughter and playing as students ran to and fro, waving to me and smiling everywhere I looked, too many to count. It made me realize yet again how blessed I am. There are so many “Am I really doing this?” moments, so many times I am overwhelmed by the truth that I have been placed here for a purpose, and I get to cross paths with these precious souls. I love them so much!

So these are a few of the big things. But I’ve been changed by gratefulness this week. Taking time in the difficult moments to consider all there is to be grateful for always brings my focus back to my Father. He truly gives so many good gifts to His children.


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