Home again, home again

Our new home… Hainan Province

We’re loving our new island home, with it’s new smells, flavors and abundant use of colors all over the place! We’ve also met many new friends and even hosted a few visitors in the short time since we arrived in November. I’ve discovered a new world of “winter flowers” that I had never imagined existed! I will definitely need to post a gallery of the flowers I’ve come across, there must be 20 different types just in our apartment complex alone! We have so many stories to share and updates on our life out here, but it’s been a bit crazy with medical travel, graduating language school, moving, visa travel, medical adventures closer to home, then medical travel, work travel, 4 days of vacation as a family (GOLDEN!!) and more medical travel… Whew. Home again finally, more posts coming soon… in the meantime, hope everyone enjoys these pictures of our new city/island province.

-JK

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Regarding Transitions…

“Before you go, will you teach us… ?”

Two years ago, this time seemed very far off and possibly beyond our reach. How did we manage to journey long enough down this road of language learning to be ready to leave our language school, our first launching pad? Did we really learn all the things? Can we truly say we speak Mandarin? Can anyone ever fully speak a second language though? It seems to be a never ending task of tweaking and perfecting. Absurdly, my teachers are confident that I have reached the point of being sent off on my own to continue the learning, out in the world, haha! (Mark, being a native Cantonese speaker, graduated over a year ago and has been patiently waiting for me to hurry up. *smile*) So in just six weeks we will be waiting for my final exam results and packing up the apartment – preparing to start a new chapter,  in a new city and province, in Southern China. The place we have told you about, you’ve shared our hopes and dreams and joined with us in our vision for helping people while learning about them and their culture. Sanya, the beautiful and tropical place that we’ve longed to plant our roots in, where we hope to live for many years to come, with a new and one day thriving business that brings light and love to all who enter!

But in order to get there, we must first leave here. Xi’an has been a place of growth for our family. It has held many treasured memories of firsts and friends that became family. This giant city (twice the size of Sitka, AK, the largest city in the USA) has been a place of learning, both language and culture, as well as some harder life and spiritual lessons. And it’s also been a difficult place, so very overwhelmingly so at times that we could hardly catch our breath. The kind of place that forces you to hold tight to those that will still love you when the fires go out and the flood waters fade. We have learned to be brave and strong and to love our family fiercely. Thankfully, we have also learned to be gentle and vulnerable and to be more lovable when others come alongside us… In the midst of these reflections, my thoughts are interrupted by the pressing needs. Packing, organizing, purging, cleaning, studying, grading, doctors (oh so many doctors this year!), translating doctor reports, newsletters, work reports, charging the scooter, buying groceries, cooking, bathing, etc, etc. 🙂 How does one simply pack up their whole life and family and start fresh in a new place, in a foreign country… all over again?!

This is our ‘normal life’ friends. Although we hope this is our last BIG move for a long while, we have grown accustomed to it over the last eight years. Eight years of constant transition. What I know for sure about it is, we must leave well in order to start over well. Our race isn’t over, but our time in this place soon will be. So how do we manage that time? It starts with preparing our hearts and our spirits to say a lot of “See you later”s to dear friends, neighbors, classmates, and teachers that have become family. This can take a lot of prayer and it can hit you by surprise when the ones you least want to leave start to, as great friends will, become excited for you. They ask you questions and talk about a time when you will be practically on the other side of the country and doing new things. They want to hear all the plans – and all you can think is “But then I won’t see you every single morning. Maybe not for many months… or even years! I will miss you dear one!”

That’s about how my week was going, rather by the book so to speak. Then came the new line of questions I had never prepared for. ~~ “Before you go, will you teach us more about raising kind and helpful kids?” “We want you both to help us with pre-marital counseling while you’re still here, do you have time?” “Maybe you can write a book or come back sometimes to teach *Word & *Truth classes?” “I can gather some friends, I think it’s very important that you give us a marriage seminar. How about after the holiday – but before you move?!” ~~ You see, most of our language teachers like to ask us questions during class. Things they really want to know, but also to get us to answer in Mandarin using new vocab and grammar. We never expected that they would miss those talks or that those conversations were much more than curiosity about the foreigners’ ways. Yet, over the months of daily classes, some of our teachers have really poured out their hearts and in turn we have shared ours freely. Not only will we miss those precious moments with these very dear ones… but we desire to grant every single request we possibly can before we make this big transition from the big city (Xi’an), to Sanya (Which is SMALL by Chinese standards, but still about the size of Jacksonville, FL (the 5th largest city in the USA by landmass).

And how to finish well? We are choosing to be purposeful and loving in how we prepare ourselves, our kids (their transition stuff is a whole other post full!), and our dearest friends for our departure. Between the travel, phone calls, emails… amid rental agreements, class time, grading papers and doctors… we have scheduled time out of packing and studying for special lunch visits, game nights, play-dates and even a friend’s wedding. We have plans to take our kids on one last adventure trip with friends during the upcoming school break (although not together – half of us are going north and the other half south). And yes, we will teach a marriage seminar, we will counsel other friends in preparation for their wedding (which we hope to come back to attend next year!), and we will take time to pray and fellowship with many more beloved ones that have become our “China family” these last two years!

Maybe after the move I will think about writing that book. Let’s start with just getting back to writing here on this blog once a week. Or even once a year, that would be good! Guess I don’t have to tell you what being a full time language student and homeschool mom living in China has done to my “free time” or rather, my “writing time”. *grin*

 

-JK

 

We’re Back!!!

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We absolutely loved connecting with all of you in so many states! Our services in the States were fruitful & our amazingly supportive team is growing every week! Because of your generosity to the Kingdom, WE HAVE ARRIVED {back} IN CHINA! We are ready & excited to begin language school on Jan. 4th… Yet we remain desperate to reach our ultimate work, the numbers haunt our dreams & motivate us to push even harder as we begin this next step towards bringing Hope wherever we go. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed & Happy New Year! Thanks again for your faithful prayers!

**Update: Our first week with all 6 of us in school is almost over & we are still smiling, although very exhausted, & REALLY looking forward to seeing Star Wars this weekend when it finally opens here in China! – No spoilers please!!**

Here are some videos from the last couple weeks:

-JK

24 lives in 24 hours

How did you spend the last 24 hours? Did you go to work, drive through traffic, stop at Starbucks, eat some take out, play with your kids, take your wife on a date, call your Gramma, walk the dog, watch the news, read your bible, listen to music, rock a baby to sleep, pray, play on your iPhone, read a book, watch a movie, exercise or catch a little sleep?? Or maybe you went to school, skipped a class, shopped online, did some homework, fed the cat, rode a bike, stayed up late, fought with a friend/parent/spouse, spilled the milk, went on Facebook, read this blog, broke a nail & stubbed your toe… again!?

Whatever you did, was it important? Was it time well spent? Are you glad you did it? Did it make a difference?

24 hours seems like enough time to do a lot of things. Or not. You could be very effective or totally useless. You could be helpful, be a blessing to others… Or not.

Why does it matter? Well to me it makes a world of difference what I do with my time, because I happen to know what happens every 24 hours on an island far away where hope is lost & the people are forgotten. Someone is dying every hour, their time has run out. In the last 24 hours, 24 precious islanders have died. 24, every day. In the last 12 months, while we’ve been in the States, 9,500 have been laid to rest. Before we could get there, before we met them. Before they knew our story… His story… THEIR story…

What can we do with the next 24 hours? We could save a life or two… or 24.

24-left

One for every hour.

We need just 24 people to help us, so we can be WITH the 24 that die every 24 hours…

Please Contact us below & ask HOW you can help!