Friday, September 5, 2014

Welcome Back! Have Some Chicken Feet.

We are home.  The goodbyes were so very hard, but I knew once we made it to the other side, we would be okay.  For one, after about 24 hours of flying and layovers, it's great to be on solid ground.  It's good to be back to our own space, to enjoy old routines, and to make new ones.  The kids were happy to have their own rooms again, to practice piano, to have family story time, to have the freedom to run outside and play with their friends everyday, and to eat jiaozi (dumplings).  Jacob and I were thankful to have our own place again, feeling more like home than ever.  We missed the fruit market and all the fresh fruits and vegetables that we enjoy, and we missed Chinese food, even the funny things that are strange and memorable to us, like the chicken feet we were served today.
                                                  
We have hit the ground running with Jacob starting classes this week, and I started homeschooling the kids.  The hardest thing for them is waiting for recess when I release them to go play with their friends.  They are both doing well, and Ephraim, so far, is handling cursive better than I thought.  He's even a bit of a perfectionist with it, wanting it to be right the first time.  Our team has changed this year, but I look forward to seeing how Father is going to use us all.  Much brainstorming has already occurred from great minds with passionate hearts.  Last week, we had a slight glitch.  We encountered an unexpected problem with Eden's visa.  We planned to get her a new passport after we returned since it was easier to do here, but we found out you have to have 180 days left in your passport to get a visa, and Eden had 170.  We made an emergency trip by train to the consulate in Shenyang.  Friends kept the boys, and we left early, enjoying Ikea where we purchased a few items like kids plates, coat hangers for the wall, a hammer toy for Christmas for Xavier, and magnate cannisters for the fridge (my favorite purchase).  I'm still deciding what to put in those.  We also enjoyed their yummy hot dogs, which cost about 50 cents.  
                                        
At the consulate we met up with friends from Changchun getting a passport for their baby.  We were able to get Eden an emergency passport that day which is good for one year.  We also applied for a 5 year one that will be ready in a few weeks.  While we were there, we made some very meaningful connections.  An American man who has lived in China for many years was able to connect Jacob to a public speaking group in our city, which would be so beneficial to help prepare him for his speaking class next semester.  We also met a young woman who told me about a seminar for foreign women.  I and two of my teammates are now hoping to attend this.  When all was said and done, Eden had to make three trips to the visa office, but if these issues had not occured, we would have missed the opportunity to hear about this public speaking group and this seminar.  Sometimes, what we see as hindrances from the enemy, are an opportunity to trust Father, and lead us to His sweet gifts.  Perfect love casts out fear.  Amazingly enough, I only had a few moments of anxiety throughout this whole visa problem.  Most of the time I felt His sweet peace, resting assured that He wants us to be here.  
Showers of Blessing:
The joy all around of being back
Precious friends for our kids to play with
3 different breads and fruit from 3 different friends waiting on us when we arrived
Fresh fruits and veggies
Chicken feet, yes, even that!
Teammates, old and new with a desire to serve
Ikea food and goodies
Familiar faces
Public speaking group
Seminar
This moment, right now, at my favorite coffee shop, having just had a quiet time with Father

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