Once again, Arnold and I were invited up to Yinchuan this year to celebrate Thanksgiving with the other teacher team we work with, who have teammates in the city. Last year, I remember feeling happily overwhelmed. It was my first time to the capital city, I was learning how to use Chinese to buy a bus ticket, then navigate a city twice the size of Guyuan. It was also my first time away from home for Thanksgiving so I was missing the family food preparations and Macy’s Day parade watching. I remember feeling so blessed to be invited to this celebration as an ‘outsider’ to this team of people, overwhelmed by their hospitality and conversation, and trying desperately to remember all of their names.
Now a year later, I hopped on the bus by myself, without hesitation, to make the 4-hour journey north, and upon arriving, navigated the city buses to make it to the new city area that has become familiar. My weekend in Yinchuan was continuously marked by the presence of the Holy Spirit as I saw old friends, was introduced to new people, and relaxed in the new winter air. The team of people that were strangers a year ago have become a piece of my family – I couldn’t wait to see each one of them to catch up on life! No offense family, but I hardly missed anything at home this year, being in a state of peace and comfort in this environment.
Once again, I am reminded of the way the Lord has worked in my life over the past year, blessing each step and validating this call. It is actually strange to think that a journey to Yinchuan will not be a part of my life next year.
I give thanks for each member of the Yinchuan team, for their care and hospitality, and for their words of wisdom and love. I give thanks for the Green House Coffee shop, for the amazing coffee, faith-filled atmosphere, and the countless hours of conversation that happen within its walls. I give thanks for a strong body and the ability to run my first 5k! I give thanks for friends and family back at home, for Skype dates, and laughter. And I continually give thanks for my students. Here is a belated Thanksgiving message from them…
In other news, thanks to all those who contributed to the annual UMC #Giving Tuesday efforts. On December 1st, $2.8 million was donated by almost 6,000 donors to support 539 projects and 229 missionaries! Click here for the official press release!