A lot has happened since I last wrote about Charles’ and my experiences in China. This will be a rather personal update, so I hope you will talk to Dad on our behalf as you read.
Last time I wrote, I had a good day at camp and made it through a teaching session. After that, things got rocky again, and I didn’t make it back into the classroom. I did go to the camp, interact with the kids on an informal level, and participate with the team, but I didn’t teach my own class.
On Friday morning, my dad emailed to suggest a new course of action since the camp thing was obviously causing major anxiety for me. Charles and I talked about whether I should leave China early to head back to Taiwan, but that didn’t seem like the best course of action. Charles felt led to stay in China for the second week of camp, and I didn’t want to take that away from him by making him return to Taiwan early (and I didn’t feel like I could go by myself). We did, however, decide that I should be free of any responsibilities during this second week of camp so that I could spend time resting in the hotel and doing only as much as I feel comfortable with regarding the camp. Then I could continue to be a part of the team but sort of from the sidelines. The other teacher who taught my classes last week was graciously willing to step in and teach again for me this week, so Dad provided the means for me to step back and rest. The camp leader and Shepherd from Charles’ home fellowship in the States agreed wholeheartedly with our decision.
I have worked through some negative emotions since we made our decision for me to pull back. For one thing, I realize that I had some expectations that haven’t been met: I thought that if Dad was telling us to go to China (back in May when we made the decision), then I would be healed from the anxiety by the time of the trip. That obviously has not happened in the way I expected, and I’ve had to surrender that to Him and trust that His plan is better than mine. It’s also easy to feel like I’m letting the team down and to question “why” I’m here (especially because my way was fully paid by others). My dad reminded me that often our Big Dad answers the “why” questions with a “who” answer, so I should focus on drawing close to Him and knowing Him more as I walk through this valley. Good words, eh?
So, this week, I am staying “home” at the hotel, resting, reading, and trying to draw closer to Dad. I’m re-reading Hinds’ Feet on High Places as a way to focus some of my thoughts in a more devotional direction. I don’t remember how it ends or if I ever even read the ending, but it was high school since I read the book at all. It is encouraging especially as I now relate to the main character, Much-Afraid, in a more specific way. I am reading with a very different perspective than I did 15 years ago. I am also enjoying the quiet of the hotel room and the beautiful scenery out the window. So far I have had two good days of rest. I’m thinking about going to camp to take pictures tomorrow because that will give me something active to do and a purpose for floating from one station to station. It will allow me to be a part of the camp while not having any specific responsibility.
Well, enough about me; let me tell you a bit about camp. Our second week of camp started out very well on day one. In fact, the leaders said it might have been their best first day of camp ever. Of course, there are areas in which to improve, but it’s a good thing when it starts out so well. Please ask Dad that it would continue to go well. We know that where Dad is working strongly, there is often opposition from the enemy, so we want to be ready to face whatever comes our way.
Charles is having a great time at camp. For one thing, it is awesome for him to be reunited with friends from previous teams. There are four Ukrainians on our team; Charles met them in Ukraine when he went on an m trip there, and now they want to be part of the global m experience as well. It’s so cool to have them here and to be getting to know them. They truly have a heart for the Father. Our team is a good size in that it is big enough to have some variety but small enough to get to know people. I think we’re creating some life-long friendships. Charles is also just enjoying being back in China and in this camp environment. I think it is where he first learned to serve Dad within the challenges of a rigorous environment, and it is good for him to be back here as an experienced team member. It is good for me to see him in that role too.
Typhoon Matmo is heading toward Taiwan and will probably drop some rain on us here in south-eastern China too. Maybe Thursday? Hopefully the storm won’t be too bad. Ask Dad for the storm to pass us and not hinder the camp in any way. Also ask that our apartment in Taiwan will stay dry and safe!
Well, I think that’s all for now. I will write again at the end of the week. I’m looking forward to sharing a blog with pictures and video when I get back to Taiwan and the great firewall of China isn’t slowing me down. ;-) For now, thank you for your conversations with Dad and your support of us and our team. Dad is definitely at work, and we are paying attention to what He wants to do in and through us.