Tuesday, May 26, 2009

in the arms of your mercy

in case none of you figured it out...the name of my blog comes from a song by casting crowns. i heard it at the kizer's cottage the weekend after i decided to go ahead with the whole korea teaching adventure. the title of this post is from the same song...

i need rest. and no matter how many times i've realized this in the past, i keep thinking i'm strong enough to just push through. and while yes, with God's help, i am able to... i still need rest. and just like casting crowns so eloquently put it, i find it in the arms of God's mercy. i finally collapsed into a huge sitdown with my Bible. i could say that i soaked up every word, but it was more like it was absorbing me... kinda hard to explain. maybe something like the picture of God wrapping his arms around and enveloping us. sort of. [things are so hard right now. please pray.]

it's summer! today was such a beautiful day :) the sun was out for my walk to work. i even got to go out during a break and work on kids' report cards while sipping on my third iced latte of the day...haha. this week is my 9 month marker. which means i'm 3/4 done and after 3 months of summer here i'll be back in the states. i've filled out an application for grace college as a transfer student to the elementary education program. i'm READY for the supportive/protective Christian bubble again.

please listen/watch casting crowns' song prayer for a friend. even if it's just once... pray it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


--didn't your mama ever tell you not to talk to strangers--

christina (my coworker that replaced jon) and i went on holiday together to beijing. we flew with morgan, teddy and bobby...but didnt stay in their five star hotel. our hostel was amazing...if you ever go to beijing you have to stay in the jade youth hostel! its soo close to everything and clean and helpful! anyways...we went for 4 days. we had 2 days off of work for children's day...amazing, i know.

on saturday we got to our hostel around 11 and were off exploring by 12. we accidentally found a catholic church and accidentally started talking to a man that said he was a teacher there. since the doors were locked he offered to show us in... sketchy, i know. we ended up downstairs in the back classroom building looking at paintings they were trying to sell for the church. haha... it was fine. i ended up buying 2 for less than $20. then we wandered around and got food, didnt know what to order but it ended up being good. we eventually found tiananmen square...which was HUGE! none of the buildings were open in it, so we wandered around and took pictures before leaving and going shopping. on our walk home at the end of the night we walked past the night market and fully experienced the smells, but didnt check out the foods. exhausted, we agreed on a great wall tour and hit the showers/beds.

we woke up at 6am to be on the bus at 7am for our great wall tour. our guide's name was johnny. johnny is a girl :) she was actually a decent guide...not annoyingly peppy, but still interesting and informative. we ended up taking a couple detours before the wall... (that's what happens when you're on a communist government run tour) we went to the ming tombs. it was pretty interesting and a nice walk. then we were off to a eastern medicine/nursing home...here we saw some doctors that told us whether our organs were well balanced with yin and yang and then tried to sell us meds. after that we headed for a jade factory... saw it being cleaned and shaped, and being sold ridiculously overpriced. we ate lunch there, which was pretty good, and then finally headed for the great wall. from there it was about an hour. when we got there we decided to take a chair up the wall and then begin our allotted 2 hrs on the wall...gov rules... it was really fun and a good view. the wall was pretty hard to climb. the stairs were either barely stairs or 90* angels. but i'm glad i went all the way...and past. christina and i met a flight attendant and were spending our day with him...alex. anyways, the three of us walked past the no admittance sign and got to see a bit of the real wall...not redone. the view was amazing. i wish we'd gotten more time to sit up there... maybe even a bit more silence, haha. but it is true that it's almost easier to feel God's presence when you're that high up. and seeing the mountains go on forever... He really does like showing off ;) anyways, we hiked back down and then rode a toboggan done...so much fun!! and then bussed back for almost 3 hrs. that night we met up with morg, bobby and teddy for dinner. we went to a pretty famous restaurant and had some famous peking duck. it was pretty good :)

the next day, xtina and i woke up and headed for the forbidden city at 9. ...and then a guy asked us what "expire" means... one of the most frustrating situations of my life took place... and at 10:15 we started off from the man's painting shop annoyed and not at all guilted into buying anything. but the palace was incredible. it was so huge. every building was big and there were HUNDREDS of buildings. i would be surprised if we saw half of them. when we left there we got a taxi to the summer palace...a bit out of the city. so we payed 46 yuan. i really enjoyed our time at the summer palace. we took out a paddle boat on the lake in front of it, and it was such a good day. then we walked pretty high up and got to see a good view of the city. it was so relaxing, and much less exhausting than the wall ;) the cab driver charged us 146yuan on the ride back. so we stopped him right away...but then he claimed our money was fake... so i said a prayer and we walked away hoping he'd just stay in the car and leave us alone. but now we were lost and penniless, not to mention completely pissed. we made it home and vowed that no one in china was getting anymore of our money... and then we out to eat and shopping, haha. we caught the end of the night market and then found another market where christina ate some scorpions (check facebook for the video...actually lots of videos).

the next morning i ended up sick. xtina went out exploring without me and when we checked out we took it easy on the wangfujing walking street and a side market. around 3:30 we went back, got our luggage, and grabbed a taxi to the airport. and i didnt get stopped from entering either country despite the quarantine check points and temperature sensors... :)

anyways, beijing was such a great experience. we got to see a lot in 4 days. we got to meet some really awesome people...and some crazy ones...and some frustrating ones. and we learned a lot.