Sunday, July 28, 2013

China and Wifi...

Hello my long lost bloggy friends :)

So, I'm supposed to be in China and Taiwan, updating you all on my journey... Well I am in China (actually I just arrived in Taiwan a couple days ago) but I had very, very little access to wifi while I was in China, almost none of the hotels had it and when they did we were usually gone for the whole day, came back and slept, then moved on to the next town and hotel the next morning so there hasn't been a lot of blogging opportunities. 

In Taiwan though there has been great wifi service so hopeful I'll be able to keep you all a bit more in the loop. I will do a whole summery of my trip when I get home but for now I will just briefly go over my thoughts thus far and what I am doing right now in Taiwan. 

My sister and I saying goodbye at the airport (right now she is also abroad in Italy for music but I will touch on that another day).

Thus far it's been so awesome! I have learned more about my Father, how He loves His children and how sovereign and good He is. I have also had life changing experiences and made new lifelong friends. 
I absolutely love China! I love the food, the culture, the people...etc
Now there will always be things I don't like or even agree with but as a whole I love this country and so look forward to the day (Lord willing) when I will get to live here and be in China everyday! 

We spent a lot of time in Guangxi, Southern China, and I loved it! We went to some large cities but also got to spend  a lot of time in the countryside. I will be in the rural countryside in north eastern China someday so it was really cool for me to see and experience what the countryside in the south was like :) 

Right now I'm at a University in Yilan (about an hour from Taipei) which is located very deep in the mountains. I can also see the Pacific Ocean from here though! Maybe if I look far enough I can see my home in Cali ;) 
I am working as a student leader and have six students that I am leading and guiding through the camp and all the topics, and so on. I was really blessed with my group! Most of them are actually around my age so sometimes it can be kind of awkward for me leading them and being their teacher but they are so great and just go with it! They are creative and most of them are not afraid to speak up and add their opinions and add to the conversations (a lot of the students are very quite and timid). 
I am also having a great time with the volunteer staff! They are all so fun to be around. The past couple of nights we have walked up from the dorms to the gym (this place is so big, it takes thirty minutes to get from the dorms to the gym!) and watched some of the men play basketball and is girls would play volleyball or just did around and talk. I also had my first ride on a motor bicycle (here they are like in between a motorcycle and a moped)! Because the gym is so far away some of the volunteers would give us rides up or down :) 

(This one is actually the outside court)

One girl who is here as one of the volunteers in particular has become dear to me. 
Her name is Kiwi. She is like an older sister to me, always watching over and taking care of me yet at the same time treating me as an equal. She is so kind and sweet! She reminds me a lot of my big sisters at home. It makes me miss them...

Well the countdown to me going home has begun. Only four days left! I have very mixed feeling about leaving. I'm ready to be home, see my family, and get back into helping in any way I can to bring Sevi home (we are so close!) but at the same time I love it here and wi miss everyone I have met so, so much! Hopefully it won't be too long before I come back.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

When Dreams Become Reality

Yep, you guessed it! I am going to China! I leave this coming Tuesday and will be there for almost a month (ah!). I'm going on this trip for a variety of reasons, the first on my list is I will get to volunteer at two orphanages (so excited for this!) as well as possibly play my violin for the children there :) I will get to tour different parts of Southern China, visiting minority groups, schools...etc. I will also be able to take cultural classes!

After about ten days the group I'm traveling with and I will head up to Beijing for a few days and get to see all the sights there :) We will be in mainland China for two weeks and then after that most of the group will go home but I was asked to be a student leader at a leadership conference in Taiwan so I will be there for a week, and then after that I will head back to the USA.

I am so excited and blessed to be able to go on this trip. I will miss my family so much and feel a bit lonely knowing that I will be experiencing this for the first time without any of them :( but I know that this is a great opportunity for me and something I have dreamed about for so long now! Speaking of dreams I would just like to highlight on my family, my mom and my grandfather in specific, and how they have impacted my life and helped me get to where I am today. 

My mom grew up in a christian home with four kids (my mom being the youngest), she had a mom who was loving, hardworking, and stubborn (love you grandma!), and a father who was kind, compassionate, stern, a pastor, and my moms inspiration. As a young child my mom grew up everyday watching the love and compassion my grandfather had for others and was exposed to different cultures through missionaries and families from other countries staying in her home. She had dreams and aspirations to live in either Africa or China, caring for orphans and those in need.

The love for the Lord and love for others my grandfather had was so strong and so full that it overflowed and filled my mom. Although my grandfather died when my mom was thirteen and I never had the chance to meet him, I am so thankful that The Lord saw fit to make him MY grandfather. 

(My grandfather is the man on the right. He, like a lot of young men back then, served in the military before he became a pastor.)

Fast foreword a lot of years (I'm sure my mom would just love for me to say how many ^_^) I was born as the fourth child of eight kids. Until I was about ten or eleven it was just my mom raising five of us on her own. Times were tough but she still felt the conviction to homeschool us and stay at home. She had so much responsibility and so much she had to take care of, but my moms heart was so big it always had room for others whether they were adults, children, or animals. 

I remember times when we were so pinched, but there would be that stray dog on the side of the road that she would take in and find a good home for, or times when her mind was so full and heart was weary, but she would always make time to listen to a person in need of a friend.

 As a young kid I was sure I would grow up working with/caring for animals. I couldn't bare to watch a baby bird fall out of the tree and ignore it until it died, I would always beg my mom to let me take care of it. I remember one bird in particular, I named him Lucky.

I was about nine years old when I found him out under the tree in my front yard. I watched him all day to see what would happen. At the end of the day I got a box, some rags, a pair of tweezers, meel worms, crushed up snail (yuck!), and a baby's medicine despensor filled with water. I carefully picked up that baby bird and took him in. I raised him so carefully and when the time came, I taught him to fly. After he could fly he would be gone for days at a time, but all I would have to do was whistle and call his name and he would fly back from wherever he was and land onto my shoulder. I think that was the first time I had anything be so dependent of me. He couldn't make it alone, but I could help. 

The next year after that, when I was ten, I read an article in a magazine that my mom had. It was about a young girl who was about the same age as I who lived in the Philipenes. She had just been orphaned.

It broke my heart to read. Just like my baby bird had no one to look after him, that young girl was now the same. I begged my mom that summer to let me go to the Philipenes. She told me no then but it was the start of something much greater.

It would be five years after that incident that I would first learn about North Korea, their orphans, the orphans in China, and the stateless children. Ever since The Lord has placed such a burden on my heart for these children. 

His command to care for the orphans has now become my dream and I am now taking the first steps to this dream becoming reality, and it all started with my grandfather. My mother watched him and was inspired to live her life out like he did, and now as I have grown up I have been so awed and inspired by the care and love that comes out of the woman I call mother, I couldn't ask for anything more then to be just a fraction of who she is (love you mom!!).

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

When dreams....

                                                                                               ...Become reality