27 people in 48 hours

I just did the addition, and between 2pm Friday afternoon and 2pm on Sunday, 27 different people circulate through our home. They were from different countries and backgrounds, but each one of them joined us for fellowship and music and food.

Friday afternoon we had a special couple over for lunch. I mentioned that the other day.

Saturday morning my mom hosted the first ever Hohhot Co-op! 10 children and their three moms joined my mom and sisters for a morning of devotions, music, PE and handicrafts. They all had a blast!

_MG_1489Saturday evening we had some already-known friends and their two daughters over for dinner, and their Mongolian friends joined us. Fellowshipping with brothers and sisters who love this city and love our Father is always very encouraging.

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Naomi and I actually only stayed for about an hour, because we wanted to bike over to see Ben’s little get together at one of the 60Bean Coffee shops! He did open mic nights at this spot many times last year, but I was in the USA during the whole season! I did post about them HERE and HERE, but this was my first time getting a taste of the environment live. Because it wasn’t an official event, the crowd was small…. just a few of Ben’s friends, making sure that the equipment was still working and having a fun time. Next Saturday will be the first official night, and there will probably be a big crowd… but I’ll be in the US so I’ll miss it.

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Finally, Sunday. After our International Fellowship in the morning, we went to lunch with some friends and then invited a bunch of them over for music and muffins afterwards. It started out pretty noisy (notice Lily on the drum) but ended up being quite lovely and powerful.

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People are so much fun! We had such a full weekend, and it was wonderful. I’m really going to miss the parties that are always going on in our home.

Love is Left

I pulled her aside to give her the little pile of infant’s multivitamins that had been donated. There are a few babies here who are always getting sick, and she was eager to start them on a daily dose. The doctor has soft eyes and a gentle demeanor. We talked through dosage information, and then she pulled me aside.

“Hannah, the new boy, we don’t know what to do. He’s not any better. Now, when we get to work, the rest of the medical staff and myself bring him into our office right away.”

“For IVs?” I asked. I knew that he had been on several rounds of IV treatment to try and relieve his illness and discomfort.

“No,” she said, “he hasn’t had IVs for a few days. We just bring him in to hold him.”

She continued, “I think that when he becomes used to this environment, he will be better. But right now he’s not, he must still be grieving and it’s really serious case… more serious than most. His legs are so chubby, he was cared for so well. He must miss his mama so much. I walked into the office the other day and one of the nurses was sitting on the floor with him in her arms. I asked her what she was doing, and she said that he cried whenever she set him down, and so she just held him. It’s all we can think of. I am trying to see if we can love him instead of giving him medicine and IVs. Maybe that will help.”

“I am trying to see if we can love him instead of giving him medicine…”

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I wanted to pull her into my arms and hold her tight. You could hear in every word she spoke the patient desperation to bring hope to a hopeless situation.

How does one heal a broken heart? How does one young doctor save the life of a baby she is watching die of grief?

She knows medicines, and she’s learning new ones. The nurses can put IVs and cannulas in so fast that the babies hardly have time to cry. There’s a stack of immunization books in the corner, and another nurses goes through them to make sure that everything is up-to-date. But when a baby is getting worse and worse and the medicines aren’t working and there doesn’t seem to be any reason for his continuing decline she turns to the only thing she can think of. Love.

“You are doing such a good job,” I told her. “For a child to know that they are loved, that is the most important thing. Loved and safe. The rest will come.”

She looks at me square in the face. “I hope so. It’s all that we have left to try.”

 

When It’s Okay

There are needs everywhere, and there are so many of them.

When the earthquake hit in Nepal it felt so close to home… because it kind of is. It’s like, being here, there is always this need to suppress the urge to go somewhere else, to do something else… something more.

The passion to care for His people is good. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a right thing to feel… as long as we don’t feel responsible.

As I see updates of world crisis, and when new babies arrive at the orphanage or we meet people whom we could really minister to… I am actually filled with peace. Because I know, with confidence, what I am supposed to do next. And I know, with confidence, who is in control

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When I was in the USA last year, taking pre-requisites and applying to nursing schools, people would ask me, “what’s next?” I told everyone the same thing, “I will go back to China in January, and then wait to hear from the schools I have applied to. Lord willing I will be accepted into one. I could come back as early as May, or as late as August. I really don’t know.” And I really didn’t know. But what I did know, and with confidence, was that when the time came I would know. Our Heavenly Father is faithful, and He provided the peace during the wait for clarity, and then the clarity at the right time.

Now I’m taking that next step. It’s time to go, to get on a plane and fly to America and go to school and study study study. I will {hopefully} come back for Christmas, but not before then. So I will be gone for eight loooong months, and it’s going to be hard. But it’s also going to move very quickly. The time is going to fly because time does that… and that is okay by me.

So now, when the needs begin to overwhelm me in their number and intensity, and the last thing I want to do is fly to a developed country, I can have peace. I know that His plan is for me to go to America next week and start nursing school. I don’t fully understand why, but when do we ever know all of the reasons for His plan? And when do we ever really need to know?

He’s got it. It’s His plan.

“You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your gentleness made me great. You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip;” 2 Samuel 22:26-27

An Open Door

We say it in Chinese all of the time. “Chuan men’r.” I don’t even know how you pronounce this in Southern China… it’s one of those phrases that’s etched into my mind with a strong eeerrrr at the end. “Er hua” we call it. The “Er” language of the North.

Chuan Men’r. (pronounced like choowan mur) means a lot of different things. It’s one of those Chinese phrases that we can’t really translate directly into English.

“Come over anytime.” “The door is always open.” “Our home is your home.” “Just drop by.”

The “Chuan” means “to string together” and the “Men” means door.

串门

Our door is always open to you.

I love that this is the way our family lives. Sometimes it’s downright exhausting because so many of us are introverts, and living a lifestyle that involves random guests and out-of-the-blue parties can make me want to crawl down deep, deep, deep into a hole, but mostly it’s wonderful.

A few days ago we talked about having some dear friends over sometime this weekend. We finally figured out how to invite them on Wednesday, and by last night we were sitting around the dinner table trying to figure out schedules. My brain was getting so twisted up with the potentials for guests (because we already had three social engagements scheduled for the weekend, two of which included people coming over to our house!) that I pulled out a white board and mommy drew the options for who could come over and when. It ended up being decided, by that evening, that we would have our friends over this afternoon for lunch. A last minute meal with some important people meant an evening of scurrying to plan the meal and buy some ingredients, and then a fast morning of making lots and lots of food. Because to be polite in China, you must have too much food. Always.

This afternoon our friends came and we had lunch and they loved the food and we had such a wonderful time.

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The door is always open. Come in anytime.

Deja Vu

Last week Ben celebrated his 20th birthday. There is now only one teenager in the home. And it’s Elisabeth. Adorable baby Elisabeth. I don’t understand growing up and I want this to just. stop. please.

The really, really weird thing about the past few weeks, and the upcoming few ones, is that this all happened before. Last year, about 365 days ago, I had recently arrived in the USA for the first time in a long time. Right before Jeremy and I took off into the skies over Russia, Ben celebrated his birthday. We went bowling and had Woody and Dagui over for dinner.

This year? Well apparently our family is either not creative at all… or we are pretty stable and always enjoy the same things year after year.

Because this year we went bowling and then had Woody and Dagui over for dinner.

Transportation to the bowling alley was pretty simple. Hannah, Daddy and I biked, and Ben took the girls on the Diandongche. It worked out quite nicely, because Ben got a few phone calls on the road and Naomi was able to help drive while he told his friends that we were on our way.

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The guys had one lane, and us ladies had another. Lily nearly outscored the Hannah &Naomi team. It really wasn’t pretty…

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Most of Ben’s friends had never bowled before, and yet there they were, knocking all the pins down again and again. Crazy strength.

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We came home for a latish dinner of spaggetti. Lily was rather ravenous.

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Woody and Dagui didn’t make it to bowling, because little Doudou was still sleeping. Our dear friends have gone from a couple into a little family. Isn’t Doudou precious? And Dagui is the sweetest of mommies.

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For this birthday party we had banana pudding and random-soda-floats.

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We ended the evening with a time of prayer and singing. It was a sweet time of celebration and fellowship.

Eight days left…