Adventures in Taiwan: Part 1

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Today we are going to take a break from the “Made In China” series as I’ve started my winter break and decided to do a bit of traveling. One of the perks about working in a Chinese university is a nice little 6 week vacation to separate the fall and spring semester over the Chinese . . . → Read More: Adventures in Taiwan: Part 1

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节快乐!!!

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Today, throughout all of China, the Mid-Autumn festival is celebrated. Its highlighted with piles of moon cakes, small little pastries filled with anything from sweet bean curd to a barrage of flavorful fruits. Its sort of like getting a box of chocolates, you just never know what your holding until you bite into it. Many families get together and share greetings and wishes, and I was fortunate enough to join my landlord as her brother and sister in-law were in town for a visit, and share a home-cooked meal with them. They made some tasty hot pot, complete with fish, duck, chicken, sprouts, potatoes, cabbage, tofu, shrimp and bread; the works. Its always fun to have these authentic cultural experiences, especially in Shanghai where there are loads of foreigners, and these situations can become more difficult to come by. I can see how it would be rather easy for a foreigner such as myself to become entangled in his or her own ethnocentricity, even in a completely foreign place like China, and spend all their time with other foreigners here in Shanghai. But fortunately, often times we experience culture here not by choice, which can be a good thing I think. For example, as I was writing this paragraph, the lady who works at the gate entrance to my apartment complex just called me and wanted to give me a moon cake before she went home for the day (moon cakes are given as gifts for Mid Autumn Festival). I met her downstairs and was greeted with not one, but a whole bag full of who knows how many moon cakes. I just bit into one, and I have no idea what its supposed to be, nor does the package indicate, albeit all in Chinese, any hints to what flavor it might be. Oh, well, just eat it.

Moon cake mystery filling #1

Real Chinese dinner!

 

Shanghai nights. The city lights were reflecting brightly with the overcast skies today, outside my landlords window.

Things are getting better here, starting to get into a rhythm, although with these holidays my schedule gets jumbled all around. Like last Sunday I was supposed to be off, but because of the holiday I worked my Thursday schedule. And on Friday Im working my Saturday hours, then on Saturday working my Friday hours. Then Sunday I work Wednesdays hours and so on and so forth until October holiday which begins October 1st and runs through the 7th. Im excited for a little break, even though I only work about 25 hours a week, and have only been working 3 weeks so far. Teaching kids a foreign language is quite exhausting, if not frustrating. Although Im starting to get the hang of it, it still requires 100% attention, 100% of the time. When I get home at 5:30, I just want to relax, like I just worked a 10 hour day or something. I am starting to figure them out a bit though; being more stern, setting up some classroom rules as well as some rewards. The biggest help came though, when I informed the students I would be talking to their Chinese teachers and then their parents if they didnt shape up. This seemed to have a lot of weight, but still some get a tad too wild. Now I just have to follow through with my threats!

Ministry stuff: Ive been making lots of connections here in Shanghai, actually a ton. Much more than I had anticipated, praise the Lord. I met a Chinese guy who is a pastor, who set me up with a Mandarin teacher, a good one too. And the best part is she wants to do it for free, although Im going to pay her somehow, whether she likes it or not. Ive also met a few people whove been doing the Lords work in the city for quite a few years now. One American guy Ive hung out with a few times, and today we actually walked around a university near my apartment, prayed a bit and met some guys playing basketball. We took them on, China vs. America. Not sure who won, but it was a good time playing in my flip flops. Fortunately my American friend has really good Mandarin and was able to share the Word with them after we finished. Hes got a huge heart for sharing, which was obvious because everywhere we went we were given opportunities to share the Word. Mostly him as his Chinese is far above mine. Seeing him in action today really motivated me to start studying more, I think it was the catalyst I needed to start getting back into my language study. At any rate, we had a great time this morning, and I hope we can do it again soon. It was a huge learning experience, and a huge blessing, and a huge answer to prayer for me personally, as I hope to be able to work with college students nearby. So we just scoped it out a bit today, and Im sure it will lead to lots of other things in the future. As always, we could use your prayers for God to water the seeds planted today. Theres also a guy from work who is interested in the Word, pray for him and that I could be a minister of truth in his life, and that the things God is stirring up in his heart right now would continue.

Also, the aforementioned lady who brought me the bag full of moon cakes is a believer. Not just any believer, shes like a super Christian or something.I dont even know what to call her. All I can say is she is extremely zealous, and for good cause too. She has a really cool testimony and some miraculous stories to tell. Shes even been arrested, relatively recently for her faith. Which makes me think of something a dear friend of mine asked me this summer: If following the Lord were illegal, would there be enough evidence to convict you? (Thanks Kelsey) Challenging stuff. Anyway, Ive talked with here quite a few times, and she just talks my face off in turbo Chinese, of which I can maybe understand about 25%. I keep telling her to slow down, but this usually lasts about 5 seconds, then right back to turbo. All the more reason for me to hit the books hard! I really gotta put in my time speaking and listening too. But she is really cool, and a great encouragement to many. Pray that God would continue to use her.

So, as you can see, the Lord is amply supplying my needs here, and things are going good. Pray that I would be a better steward of my time, and be more disciplined in my time with the Lord, as well as studying the language. I also desire to be more intentional in my relationships, as I have many new ones here. Pray they will go deeper!

All for now, signing off! Happy Mid-Autumn Festival Day!

Destination...Shanghai.

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Sorry for the short hiatus. What can I say, adjusting to a new, much much larger city has proved to be much more challenging than previously anticipated. But I’m back, I hope, for now, and writing to you directly from my new apartment. And when I say new, I actually mean that the building is . . . → Read More: Destination….Shanghai

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