Monday, August 09, 2010
On August 4th, I took Aaron to celebrate the coming change in his life as he goes from a little boy to a school boy. We had some other guys come to help mark the occasion with us. Between games I gave Aaron this name tag for his school bag and talked with Aaron about the significance of growing up into a young boy. I told him how Betsy and I had chosen his name because we hoped he would be a light to those around him.
He's only four and a half years old, but I think he kind of understood what was happening, and hopefully this will be a time he will look back at in the future as we continue to mark his journey to manhood with little ceremonies.
It is fun to see him growing and to hear evidence of what he is learning. A couple nights ago I had a sleepover in his room, I brought a couple mattresses in and slept on the floor in his room. It was fun. The next day at nap time he decided to sleep on my bed. I asked if he was pretending he was a Daddy in his little boys room. Then I asked if he wanted to be a Dad when he grew up. He said, "Yeah, I think so. When I'm older I'll ask God what He wants me to be and then I'll be what He says." AMEN!
Here are a few pictures of the bowling adventure:
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
We have finally recovered from our week in China. Everyone is healthy again. All of our things are unpacked. All of the laundry is finished. Here are some pictures from our lovely week.
Here is the city we visited. It is extremely large. In the three years we’ve gone, we still have not seen even half of it.
The Mandarin teacher at ICS has a home near this lake. It is the biggest lake in the area, and if someone took all of Singapore and plopped it in this lake, the entire country would be submerged and barely make a dent in the whole size of the lake.
It seems that this fresh water has an abundance of seaweed. These people are harvesting it and there were miles of it piled all along the shore.
Our first real cultural experience was a Minority Village, displaying all the variety and color of the local indigenous tribes. There are over 50 tribes just in the province we visited.
There were statues, mock villages, elephant shows, horseback riding and so much more to experience. Aaron especially liked climbing on everything he could.
Warning signs were courteous enough to have English translations. We got the gist of it.
All the villages looked so different. Some were merely huts on stilts. This village was magnificent in its stone heights.
Betsy has always considered herself lucky anytime she can be on a horse.
Our second day started with the work we went to accomplish. We went to a local university and taught English classes using fun activities. The idea is that the students would be out of their normal routines and have a chance to practice English with English speakers. Here are the basketball students. Most of the Chinese students have played basketball before, so they were quite competent.
Here is one of the students I enjoyed getting to know.
Dodgeball was a totally new experience for most of the Chinese. Some were a bit fearful to attempt something so new. It didn’t take them long to join when they watched their schoolmates take to the sport with much enthusiasm.
Our students also taught card games and Pictionary. Everyone from ICS did a great job and made good friends.
Aaron spent his days learning new Chinese words like ni hao (hello), zai jian (goodbye), and bu yao (I don’t want). That last one was his favorite because every Chinese student who saw him wanted to touch, hold, pick up, and get a picture with him. After a while he just wanted to be left alone so he could explore the area in peace. We taught him “bu yao” in hopes that it would help fend off his admirers. Sometimes it worked. He also found new ways to entertain himself. In the picture above, one of the ICS students is helping him discover wind force and gravity. Specifically how much fun it is to blow an empty water bottle off another. Betsy and Aaron also took an afternoon to explore a park in the university. The flowers and walkways were amazing!
The new university library.
Another beautiful sunset over the city. This shot was from our hotel room.
On our last day we went on quite a hike. We climbed hundreds of steps up the side of a cliff. Every so often there were shrines and temples built onto the steep hills honoring various Taoist deities. The views of the lake and city below were awe-inspiring. There were two goals. The first goal was to hoof our way to an archway called the Dragon Gate. The engineering needed to carve the gate and the steps to get there boggled the mind. You can see it below.
The Dragon Gate:
The last goal was to make it to the top of the cliff and the last of the “endless” staircase. Here are Danny and Aaron triumphant at the very top. Shortness of breath and keeping up with Aaron were the greatest enemies we had to conquer. Singapore is basically sea level. This part of China is thousands of feet above sea level. Whew!! We made it!!!
There are many more pictures we could post. But we hope this gives you a taste of our journey. God was very good to us and gave us many opportunities to live His love.