Sunday, May 23, 2010

China Update: Days 12-15 (We're Home!)

Day 12 (Saturday)
Day 12 was awesome! In some ways, and not in others. We had plans to go to an orphanage with J&K's Sunday school class so we got up a little late, rushed to get ready and headed to the bus to meet the others. Normally there are only about 10 people who go, but many of the high school students from the school needed more community service hours so they signed up to - so a 50 passenger bus with 37 people (and about 25 of these were Chinese HS students) headed off a rural area of Shanghai to play with some orphans, sounds like a good story right? Jenn said it would take about an hour, and about an hour into the trip we've found ourselves in a rural village, but Jenn said she doesn't think we're going to right way. We turn right, left, right, right, left, left, right... and keep finding ourselves on very small roads and bridges that we probably don't fit the weight limit of. Turning on to these bridges from a one lane road was the easiest part too... kidding. The driver did a great job maneuvering the roads until he decided to turn around and go a different way because we were obviously lost. At one point, it took him about 20 tries to turn left onto another road, then there is a right turn onto a small bridge. Back and forth, back and forth, and then drop. The back tire fell off the road down a hill. We all run off the bus in the middle of this small farming/fishing village and go stand in the middle of the road while the driver (very easily) gets the bus out of the ditch. Home free? No. We walk to the other side of the bridge to wait for him to pick us up (so we don't add to the weight on the bridge) and then next thing you know he's down the road in some poor lady's vegetable garden, stuck. Praise the Lord, there was a Christian church on this road and a sweet lady walked us to the orphanage. (By this time, we've been traveling for 2 hours, and only have 1 hour left of visiting, and it takes 30 minutes to walk to the orphanage.) It was a wonderful walk though, and Daniel and I felt very at home in this small village. Everyone came to watch the random foreigners walking down their streets. There were animals everywhere and gardens with HUGE vegetables! We saw the fattest pig we have ever seen in our lives. We prayed for the town as we walked and noticed that most of the houses had crosses on their doors. :-) When we got the the orphanage, we found another surprise, there was already another group there. So all we really got to do was sit in the lobby and watch this group sign songs with the children. The story about this orphanage is that the man who runs it just goes to other provinces around China and takes children who have no home or from parents who say they don't want the kids. These children will most likely never be adopted because there is no "official paperwork" on any of the children, but this man takes care of them as his own. The bus driver (and the bus) miraculously appeared at the orphanage when it was time to go. Evidently a man next door to the garden lady had a fork lift and pulled him out. The little accident ended up costing the poor bus driver 500RMB (a little over $70). The entire group took up a love offering and gave him over 600RMB to pay for the costs and cover some of the damage to the bus. We told him Jesus loved him and gave him a DVD about the gospel that I had with me. Hopefully he will see how the Lord provides for all his needs.
After the orphanage I took a short nap and we left for the fake market to buy some souvenirs. We had fun bargaining with the vendors to get the prices we wanted. Jenn cooked stir fry for us that night and we watched a movie. Interesting and God-filled day.

Day 13 (Sunday)
We went with J&K to their Sunday school (aka church) and worshiped in English with other foreign believers (as well as some nationals too!) After worship, we went back to J&K's with a few other couples for a Bible study, had lunch at the restaurant that we had already eaten at 4 other times, and then headed to Yu Yuan for some tradition Chinese architecture and culture. While we were there we visited a Chinese Temple. I didn't realize that all people had to pay to go in, either it be to worship or sight see, and then if you were worshiping, you had to make monetary offerings to each god you were praying to, plus buy the incense to burn. We watched this one little old lady go to each room and give an offering to each god. I wouldn't exactly call what they were doing worship, most didn't look like they had a clue what they were doing or why, and then you had hundreds of tourists snapping pictures of you while you were "worshiping." Not very spiritual or sacred if you ask me. So we prayed while we were there (to our God of course) for these people who were obviously lost and searching. It wasn't really the time or place to hand out information or talk with people because there were many guards. We went back to Pete's Tex Mex for dinner (per my request of course) for some good Mexican food. I don't know if I mentioned this in the earlier post, but this restaurant was started by a Christian who was serving overseas and missed home. :)

Day 14 (Monday) - last day in Shanghai
We met up with our friends again to go to some universities and try and finish up some stuff that we didn't do on Friday. The campus was deserted yet again so we weren't able to talk to any one. We rode out to another campus to take pictures and sight see. We found out that this campus actually prefers to hire foreign Christian teachers for some reason. So if you're looking for a university job in Shanghai, let me know. We watched some kids play sports and enjoyed the beautiful day outside. That night J&K were going to take us downtown to a new dessert restaurant called Whisk. They had never actually been to it, but thought they knew where it was. After about 40 minutes of walking around and not finding it, we found a French man who directed us. We get there and they are closed on Mondays. Really? After all that. So we took a taxi to really nice Indian restaurant for our last meal in Shanghai. Very yummy! We got home, Daniel called Backwoods in Fort Worth about a job interview they were wanting him to come in for on Monday night, which he obviously wasn't going to make, and he got it rescheduled for Wednesday at 3pm - be praying!!! And then we packed.

Day 15 (Tuesday) Coming home!
We were very thankful that we packed the night before. Normally I'm on the ball about times and reservations and such, but evidently not so much on this trip. The entire time I thought we were leaving Shanghai at 2pm. So I call my mom around 7:30 to say hi and she asked if we were in transit to the airport, I said no, she said that she thought the plane left at 10, I freaked a little, looked at the itinerary, and sure enough, our flight was leaving in 2 and a half hours!!!! Hung up with her, finished throwing things in suitcases, washed our hair, and ran out the door. We grabbed a taxi because it would be quicker, though much more expensive than the subway. Of course, we get the one taxi driver in Shanghai who doesn't know the word airport. I even flapped my arms like I was flying, showed him the luggage tags, and he just didn't get it. A nice man walked by who told me he didn't speak English, but obviously did and he helped translate the taxi driver. So we're on our way, watching the meter go up and up as he drives. By the time we get to the airport, I think the meter read about 105 RMB. We had 60 in bills, and then a bag full of 1RMB coins - but it only amounted to about 95RMB. I had a $5 bill so I handed him the bag and the $5 bill and he smiled and laughed at all the coins, but accepted the money and drove off. He might have been a little mad when he actually counted it, but the $5 is worth 35RMB so hopefully he can cash that somewhere. I cried the entire taxi ride to the airport thanking God that I called my mom that morning, for the man who walked by, for packing the night before, and praying that the taxi driver didn't kill us on the way to the airport. We got checked in, got on the plane, and sat for 14 hours. Longest 14 hours of my life. We didn't sleep at all. We were exhausted by the time we landed in Michigan, we were both grouchy, and just wanted to sleep. Long story short, we made it home to Fort Worth, Bobby picked us up, it took us an hour and a half to get from the airport to our house because of 5:00 Dallas traffic, and we loved on our dog. Oh and we picked up Chik-fil-A for dinner. :-) What a great way to end a fantastic trip.

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