China Mission Trip 2015

Written by Pam Newman on . Posted in Mission Trip Blog

Team Members Blog about the trip:

childrenfacesKim Gibson . . .

Every trip to China has been so different. We never know what to expect with the people, the small vans, new friends, the translators, the shopping, the food and the fellowship.

The fellowship never fails. The children and the caregivers are ready for us with smiles and hugs. We sing together, play together and sometimes pray together (while realizing that our teaching these children the Word of God is illegal).  We try to share an unspoken love of God hoping to let them know there is so much more in this life and after for them.

To describe the food I only say "rice".  We have rice with potatoes, spicy beans, unknown bony meats, slimy okra and stewed tomatoes. We went through many bottles of soy sauce our 7 days. John and Ben did find a open market that would make stir fried noodles for a $1. We became regulars visitors mornings and night at the end of our week.

Our translators this year were answer to prayers. We had Rebecca from a private school volunteer her time and knowledge as she will be a great help with visas if we are able to begin the exchange student program. Our friend Lana joined us from Beijing and stayed with Abby and I in our room. She is a Christian converted while she lived in the states in 2005 and has a sad story. Leo (a Chinese accounting teacher) volunteered from a college many  miles away. He led singing in our services which was so amazing that I believe we few singers totally competed with the Angels.  It was so beautiful.  Max also came for the third year to be with our group.  I don't really know what Max does.

Last year we met a group from Texas and they joined us again this year. This is their 5th year in the care center. We all work so well together and truly bonded.  We had classes on the fruits of the Spirit.  We shared the left over VBS t-shirts and kids wore them all week. We played many games including spoons, basketball, games with beach balls and badminton. We had a class with just girls while the men took the boys and we talked about caring for our bodies as God wants us to.  We had crafts, books, how to draw books with supplies for art.  We made bracelets with beads to represent Christ, blood, learning and eternity along with purity.

We ended most nights (and  our rainy afternoons) to project movies on the wall speaking in English and subtitled in Chinese. We considered this another English lesson each day. The kids were mesmerized with frozen, mulan, big hero 6 and bolt.

We love China and want to share our Lord with the people. Stan is hoping to have a retreat with the caregivers from the centers in the near future. It will be a great help for them to know how to teach their people and spread the Gospel more effectively within their very different culture.

And there was NO shopping

friends2friends3Abby Gibson . . .

The thought of going to China was awesome but also gave me butterflies in my stomach thinking about how bad it might be there. When we arrived,  I realized it isn't  bad at all but very different. I loved going being there and playing with the children and experiencing the food. Where we were stayed was not smoggy so we were lucky to not have problems with the air.  We could see how heavy it was as we flew out of Beijing The weather is normally in the 90's but we didn't get anything over 80 degrees and it was amazing. Now the language barrier.... That was a huge difficulty but we worked through it with our translators and LOTS of hand signals. It wasn't easy for us to teach the word of God but we found  ways by teaching them English words like kindness, gentleness, friendship, ....The Fruits of the Spirit. We had a few devotionals with those that had been baptized in private and any of those that wanted to join to sing and listen to God's word. The singing was beautiful when we sang our own language and put them together. I can't wait to return on 2016!

gamesshoppingTaylor Jansen . . .

The trip to China was one full of different kinds of emotions: happiness because these kids were filled with so much joy and kindness, sadness when it was time to leave them, admiration in the kids because they had so little but they were so happy with what they had, and so much love for the kids. The kids had such big wonderful hearts and were so willing and happy to be spending time with us. They loved the games and crafts we brought for them and they showed us some of their games, as we taught them English they would teach us Chinese. We were very lucky to be able to have a worship service with some of the kids, we sang in unison in English and Chinese- to me this was probably the most inspiring thing from the trip. Hearing the songs we sing (Jesus Loves Me, Thank You Lord, When We All Get To Heaven ) and being able to hear them sing while sitting next to some of these kids who live across the world from us was showing that we are never alone and it was a bigger inspiration to keep striving to get to Heaven. Leaving the care center on the last night was a bittersweet moment because we were leaving these wonderful kids who had all made a special place in our hearts but we were so blessed to be able to meet the beautiful people over there and come back with a greater appreciation for all that we have. –

workingfriendsJohn Iverson . . .

The experience in China was once again an amazing Journey.  I am reminded of a quote by Mark Twain who wrote, 

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime”.  

When I see the struggle and the sorrows of the millions of Chinese who have NO knowledge of a Loving God, the All Mighty Father in Heaven and His son, Our Savior, my life is forever transformed and my mind renewed (Rom. 12:2).  I realize that the knowledge of Christ gives me power to rise above my circumstances and provides me with an opportunity to live the life as a child of the Almighty King who has given me the opportunity to invite others into the realms of HIS kingdom.  Thus it becomes incumbent on me to share the GOOD NEWS (Mark 16:15) that Jesus Lives.  I am humbled by children (and Adults) in China who are searching for the meaning of life.  Through this experience, I have learned that God is the answer to all of life’s struggles (2 Peter 1:3).  With God, all things become possible (Matt. 19:26).  Now what I have to do is learn how to convince others.

Ben Burnette . . .

benThis year's trip to China was very different the year before!  Compared to the gallons of sweat we lost last year, the weather was perfect the entire time at a cool 70 degrees and we only saw the sun once! The kids bonded with us a lot quicker than last year and we were able to play games and call them by name from the first full day there! My favorite experience was a hike we went on one afternoon. The kids led us first to a cave, where all of the men of Luxi play mahjong, and then up a mountain to the local Buddhist temple. Seeing an ancient culture so close and personal is an experience I wouldn't trade for anything. Worshiping with the brothers and sisters in both English and Chinese was also a very wonderful thing to be a part of!

Julie Jansen . . .

worship8Our trip to China was unforgettable and an adventure the whole time.  The food on the Air China flight was interesting, most of it a bit of a mystery but could always recognize the rice lots of rice.  On the way to the Care Center we Survived a VERY crowded van ride that couldn't possibly have held another thing, calling out names for wellness checks to some who couldn't be seen because of luggage or having to find a sitting spot by squeezing your body to make it work.  At one point wishing we were in a boat as the driver passed a car stuck in some rushing water (needless to say we got out feeling much closer) :)   At the Care Center I was glad to see the sweet faces of the kids, remembering many from last year.   Loved our translators Max (helped 3 years in a row) & Lana (2nd year) we were blessed with meeting more Christian translators there that made communicating nice & easy.   School was out, so there was a smaller number of kids this year but realized that I would be able to give the kids more individual attention.  Everything done gave the kids something new & fun to do everyday (loved watching everyone getting involved (even the teachers & translators) making bracelets, drawing, coloring, word search (words only in English-if it were Chinese words, I would still be sitting there) and an attempt was made to teach us how to knit & crochet.  
Kim brought a projector to watch movies on the big screen (which was the lunchroom wall & a sheet in the hall). I have never seen so many kids (teachers & workers) so mesmerized by watching a movie speaking a foreign language (CC-in Chinese). She was also asked to teach the girls about hygiene.
Our BYG were So involved with everything involving the kids, playing badminton, basketball, dodgeball, ping pong, making chalk art, singing church & fun songs, playing charades and making crafts.   Addie & Taylor were busy playing many games (Addie's favorite was badminton)  Abby kept the boys in shape keeping them running.  Ben was the sport guru & Katie was a class teacher, bracelet maker & crocheted everyone a headband for that asked her.
Connie taught a bible lesson using colored beads to remember the life of Christ, & always had a snack when anyone wanted.   John, Stan & Ben did an awesome job with our church services.  I was proud to be a part of a group of Christians singing praises to God & worshipping God together but could only do in a private place.  Every year I come home with a New appreciation of being able to worship God without FEAR of the law.    
We ate most meals at the care center :) every meal we covered our food in soy sauce.   John & Ben found a street vender that cooked Wonderful food with rice noodles, egg & spices which became a breakfast meeting place. I came with a smile :).
We met 3 Christian ladies from Texas last year that were back (4th yr for 2 of them), all were great at helping the kids better understand English & had so much love for the kids.  The last night at the Care Center was both happy & sad. I enjoyed playing games & coloring with the kids ending with a fun firework show lit by John & Ben, a gift for all was made by Taylor for hot days (water bombs made from sponges) Kids & teachers saying Xie Xie or thank you!   Candy, snacks  & glow bracelets were shared-photos together were taken it was time to go so the hugs & tears started.  Leaving is Always SO Sad.  I become so attached to those awesome kids (translators, teachers & workers).
I came home as always knowing God is So Good, giving God the glory for everything that was done!   Wondering how I was So Lucky to have been raised by Christian parents in a loving home, also Thankful & lucky enough to have been born in America.   I Love & Have a stronger appreciation for everyone that went on this trip & thanking God for our loving family, homes & life.
I want to say a HUGE Thank You to the Elders for allowing my girls & I the opportunity to go to China to share & show God's Love.  Hopefully helping them to see what a difference he can make in life.  
Appreciating Our Life Much More!

Addie Burnette  . . .

addie2My favorite part of China was playing with the kids. I liked playing ball with them, chasing them with Abby, doing bracelets with them, and eating with them. I will always remember having fun with them.

 

 

Mission Trip Overview

We had a successful trip in Luxi, China visiting the Refuge of Grace Care Center. This is a work of the Chinese Agape Foundation under the leadership of Ron Brown. The Buford church supports this work and some members of the group have been blessed to have made their third summer trip to visit and work with children in the care centers.

The group included Julie, Taylor and Katie Jansen, Kim and Abby Gibson, Ben Burnette, John Iverson and Stan, Connie and Addie Burnette.

airportWe left Atlanta on June 30. The fun began when the John Iverson family all showed up to send John off to China. His father, sister, daughter and niece were all at the building to say goodbye. Unfortunately, John didn’t come to the building and went straight to the airport. But it was nice of the Iverson’s to show up for the rest of us! Connie was quickly detained at the airport for carrying size “D” batteries in her carry-on bag. Fortunately, she was released when she failed to break under intense interrogation.

We arrived in Luxi a little after lunch on July 2. The trip wasn’t that long but you lose a day traveling 12,000 miles around the world from the East to West. We joined with three Christians from Dallas, Texas in Changsha. The final two hours were in a small fifteen person van that did not include space for luggage for fifteen or thirteen. We had suitcases of clothes and supplies stacked to the ceiling and people stacked on top of each other for the ride from Changsha to Luxi. In China, this is considered perfectly safe and probably the optimal way to travel.

busselfieBefore we left, we were told that the Chinese Communist government had been cracking down on non-profit religious groups in China. They also have demolished over 300 Christian church buildings in China. The pressure was on to stop Christian efforts in China. The Chinese government realizes that freedom in Christ undermines the Communist agenda to exclude God from all walks of life. So we were asked to cut back on biblical teaching with children for the safety of the care center directors and children.

centerChina1center2This year we had about 24 kids stay after school let out for summer break. Plus there were about five more kids that were the children of the Chinese workers at the center. The number was down from last year but that meant more time for each child. Of the 16 that were baptized in 2015, only about four stayed this year.  That was a disappointment. Last year we worked with more girls than boys but this year the group consisted of mostly of boys. Our days consisted of games, sports, crafts, English lessons, studies on the fruits of the spirit, hygiene lessons and just spending time showing love to the children who don’t get much attention. Kim, Julie and Connie did a great job planning and supplying the team with materials for projects every day. Kim had the idea to take a projector and show movies to the kids at night. The movies spoke in English but had Chinese subtitles so we considered this English lessons as they enjoyed animated movies.

We were fortunate to have several Chinese Christian volunteers contribute their free time to help us as translators. We appreciate Leo, Max, Rebekah, Hannah, and Sophie’s efforts to help us fit in.

In China, all middle school students take a test for advancement to high school. It is a huge event. Those who are successful advance to high school and continue their studies. Those who fail are mandatory drop outs and some have been known to commit suicide as a result. If the kids who pass have money, they can go to technical school. If they don’t, they probably are destined to taking a job at 14 or 15 years old with no future and their chance for advancing out of the lowest social class is virtually non-existent. They have to leave the care center when their school options end. Chinese Agape has a work program and a Bible training program available to the kids who fail the test but they usually decline. They are ready to leave the center and are too embarrassed to stay around as workers. They really don’t understand their bleak future.

This year, several who we worked with last year failed the test and had already left the care center. A couple of them stayed around to spend time with us. This was a very difficult thing because we know this was probably the last time we will ever see those kids.

One who did very well on the test and had one of the highest scores ever from a care center was Jiang Xi or Josie. Due to her high scores, she is on the fast track for early entry in to a University if she can pass the University entrance exam. This is another big day for the kids in high school. We are looking into the possibility of her coming to the United States as a foreign exchange student. More on that later.

One day John and Stan went on a tour of the local High School. While we were there, we saw some of the kids who had passed the test. If they advance to High School, they are moved to dormitories and become resident students at the High School. The local school is about 80 years old and very run down. There isn’t any air conditioning. There are no sports teams. It is all study six days a week and goes from morning to night with a few breaks in the day. They take their study seriously!

Another day, we were invited to visit the home of one of the girls that was about two hours away by bus, taxi and a one mile walk over a mountain. That was a real taste of China in the countryside. On the way, John and Stan caused a traffic jam in downtown area. They are both very different from what they normally see in China!

Listen to the Mission Team Sing - Click Here

worshipOn Sunday, we enjoyed a beautiful multi-language worship service. John preached and was translated by our old friend Max. Leo led us in singing in English, Chinese and combined simultaneous singing in our own languages. When we finished singing “When We All Get to Heaven,” the Americans were in tears. What a blessing It was for us to worship with them in a home church situation. And I think the Chinese Christians really enjoyed it as well.

We had other combined devotional Bible Study periods on Wednesday and Thursday. Next year, we will probably try and start every day with a combined devotional. It really was the highlight of our trip. Especially since the translators were Christians and they asked us to spend some extra time in study and song.

It was great to see members of our Buford Youth Group so involved. Taylor, Abby, Ben, Katie and Addie were very active and right in the middle of everything. The kids really connected. For the most part, they ate their rice right along beside the care center kids. Until the end of the week when they discovered fried noodles at a little place by the hotel for under $1 a meal.

The Lord blessed us with unbelievable weather. The high temperatures were in the low 70’s and it rained every day. In past years, we have suffered through mid-90 temperatures and no air conditioning. The only place we found relief was in the administrator’s office and back at the hotel. This year, the low temperatures and rain made it much easier on us physically. The water in China isn’t drinkable for outsiders so our bottled water requirements were much more reasonable. This week we are receiving notes from the kids telling us about the hot weather that followed our departure.

After a teary goodbye on Thursday, Friday morning we checked out of the hotel and were on a bus back to Changsha and the airport. We were able to upgrade to a 19 person van and it was perfect for our size group. The return trip was without any surprises and we arrived back in Atlanta around 10:30 on Friday July10. Our families were there to welcome us. Well, except for John Iverson’s family who ended up at the Valdosta airport looking for him. Just kidding!

July 10th

The China team has arrived back home. Your prayers have been appreciated and more blog posts from members fo the team will be updated soon so check back!!

July 6th

Hello!
Another busy day here in China, it feels like time is flying here.  We got up to go eat breakfast at 8 and walked to the care center by 9. This morning we played and did crafts with the children and relaxed as we have had a very busy past few days.  We ate lunch and relaxed just a bit longer and then decided to climb the mountain.  For those of you who remember, this is the same mountain that we walked up last year.  We started our walk with about 20 of the children from the care center (a few stayed behind to watch a movie) and most of the American adults.  (Connie, Addie, Kim and Julie all stayed at the care center).  We followed the children through the back roads and into the farmlands where rice fields and corn surrounded us.  All the children go to the mountain pretty often, so they all know their way around.  It took almost one mile to get to the foot of the mountain.  We stopped at what looks like a welcome center (we could be totally wrong about this, but it had bathrooms) and used the restroom and looked at a cave! After that we grouped up and started our one mile hike up the mountain.  The hills were extremely steep and my calves were already sore from the uphill one mile hike we took to get to the foot of the mountain. (i know, i'm a wimp).  As we continued to the middle section of the mountain, I kept a steady pace and kept up with several of the kids.  But as the middle of the mountain hit and the hills got steeper, I needed a break.  Ashley, Taylor, Janaye and I took up the back of the group as several of the kids literally raced up the mountain.  A few kids stayed behind with us using encouraging sayings like, "walk quickly".  David, a cute 13 year old kid grabbed phones and took pictures of everything and everyone as the Americans huffed up the hill. Although I felt like I was dying, all in all I only took 2, 1 minute breaks on the way up to the mountain.  
   We arrived at the top (or a few feet below the top since the very top isn't easy to get to.  There was the pagan temple and karate place we visited one before.  The temple is huge and it looks like there are apartments around it?  We walked inside the temple and it is still just as huge inside.  The walls are at least 20 feet high with high vaulted ceilings and statues of idols sitting in the center of the room.  I tried to take pictures of everything this time, but when I took a picture of a mini shrine the kids suddenly all jumped towards me screaming no! They took my phone out of my hands and deleted the picture almost instantly.  I was a little shocked and found Max, a translator, to tell me what was going on.  Apparently in the picture there was a picture of a woman who was real and had died and the shrine was devoted to her, the kids thought i was being disrespectful by taking a picture of the dead woman's picture.  Shawn, one of my favorite kids seemed very upset about this and I went and apologized to all the children saying that I didn't see the photo of the dead woman, and meant no disrespect.  Max seemed to find this whole event pretty humorous, as did I but I didnt want to have any of the children upset so i made sure to apologize.  
After we explored the temple we started our two mile hike down to the care center.  A little mist had started (thank goodness for the cool weather this time) and we were all trying not to slip down the hills towards the foot of the mountain.  I did much better going down the mountain than even trying to go up it.  Once we got to the foot of the mountain the kids saw this place (we called it the happy fun place) and they all sprinted up the hill to find it.  So off we went to go climb some more hills to figure out what this happy fun place was.  I never found the happy fun place, in fact no one told me but I think they are in the process of building it.  We climbed up a small hill which looked like the entrance to the happy fun place , but turned out to be a bulldozed hill with an amazing background view.  We all stopped and took pictures here.
   On our way back to the care center (officially) David led the way with Me, Taylor, Ashley, Ben, and Jenaye taking the lead of the group.  David lead us fast to the care center as we tried not to slip and slide on some of the steps.  Once we got back we rested for a long while. Connie and Addie step up Big hero six for the kids and all of the Americans went to abrahams office and layed down to cool off and relax.  The rest of the day we just relaxed and played games with the kids.  I played volleyball with a few and taught crocheting to a few as well.  Around 8:35 we left the care center that night to head back to our hotels and rest for the night.  I am so thankful for days like these where we get to do fun things with the kids, and relax afterwards. I cant wait for the next few days to continue to have an impact on these kids lives and to love, teach and play with them.  These kids are so precious and we have been so lucky to work with such a great group of kids!
Thanks again for all of your thoughts and supports!
Love,
Katie

china9china5China1china2July 5th

Today was a VERY long day- so be prepared for a long email. I don't think Day 3 sent, so I will just skip over that. We woke up early so that we could go down and eat at the little street corner shop, mom and I split spicy noodles and they were amazing. When we got to the care center I blew up 20+ water balloons, today was a ' Field day' for the kids so we had different activities for them. I helped keep score and take pictures rather then play games- I'll try to send my best pictures. The kids had an absolute blast with the games, everyone was laughing and having such a great time. We had a sac race, a water ballon toss, sitting on the balloon to pop it, jumping rope, and many other games. A lot of the kids smacked on the ground pretty hard but no one cried and no one sat out, during a three legged race Shawn fell on his knee really hard but he just walked it out- the kids here are very tough. After that we ate lunch and played some card games, mainly spoons, then we  went to Abrahams house to Meet, it was very nice to see that some of the kids from the care center came too. We sang some songs and John gave a lesson, it was very inspiring and eye-opening to be singing with them, during some songs we sang both English and Chinese at the same time and that was very moving to see two completely different cultures come together to Study. After we Met walked back to the care center and watched as some of the people took apart a tree that had fallen yesterday ( it was a very very big tree and thankfully no one got hurt and nothing in or around the care center was broken ). The tree was a Camphor (?) tree and the wood smelled so good, almost like  pine, when David- one of the younger boys - realized that it smelled good he ran inside and got some of our plastic bags and filled the bags with tree shaving so that the Americans could take some it home. We then decided to go into town and try to do some shopping, after walking a long way we found a place called Happy Cooky, though it did not sell cookies and the type of ' candy ' they sold did not make me very happy - they did have the best ice cream in town ( that's what Max told us ). We then made our way through the shopping and food markets, in the food market I saw a fish getting scaled and then gutted ( the man wasn't wearing gloves ), we also saw a dove get its throat slit. We thought it they were going to cut its head off so we all waited in suspense and the Chinese people were laughing at us when they slit the dives throat because we were all slightly disappointed in the suspense building up for nothing. It was very funny because we were walking and some girls ran up to Ben and go "Hello Handsome boy, are you from America? Can we take a picture with you? " After some more shopping we ate at a place called Happy Chicken, and unlike Happy Cooky this place actually makes people happy, it's like a spicier version of Wendy's  . After we ate at Happy Chicken we went to a mega grocery store thing and started looking around but we had thought Sophie and Leo ( our translators ) had gone back to the care center before we ate happy chicken and when they found us in the grocery store we asked Leo how he found us and he said ' I asked the people walking around where the Americans were, everyone knows where the Americans are.' On the walk back to the Care Center ( it was a VERY  long walk ) we passed these exercise equipments one of them was like four ladders connected  by a circle at the very top and so we climbed on and had Leo ( A translator ) take our picture and so many people, even people in the roads  stopped to watch the ' Crazy Americans'. It's nice here, you feel like a celebrity almost, while we eat people try to discretely take our photos or when we're walking they'll try to talk to us and people love running up and asking to get their picture taken with us. 

 

china12china8china6July 4th

Hello!!!!
It has been a wonderful day! We are thanking our many blessings because HE has blessed us with AMAZING weather! Every year we have been in China it has been close to 95-100 degrees F each day! This week Luxi has recevied a lot of rain and today it rained for quite a bit, from 9 am to 2 or 3 pm! The rain brought a very cool air in and when Suzanne checked the weather, she said it will be in the 70s all week!!!!!! We couldnt be happier!!!! I will say it got a little cold and NO one packed for that, but I cant even complain one bit! I would rather be cold than dripping sweat!
    Today we got up semi early and went outside to meet up with the group, some went in the car with Abraham (the care center's director comes and picks up a group each morning while the rest walks) and the rest of us went to sit at a breakfast area.  John and Ben both ordered breakfast where it costs less than 1 USD to get a huge plate of noodles, spices, chives, "mystery meat" and egg! I personally do not eat mystery meat, so my mom sister and I all walked around a shopping area close to our hotel.  We found a few street stores which sell what looks like Jade and other jewelry! Around 9:30 we headed to the care center (we were a little late this morning) and Suzanne Barker was teaching a class to the children on Joy and Peace.  We tried to teach the children about giving joy to other people and then read a book to them where we taught them simple english words.
   Since it had been raining all day we couldn't play outside much so we ate lunch and set up Mulan in Chinese for the kids, and I crocheted 3 headbands! After Mulan we played some english exercises with the kids! We had a white bed sheet and bounced a beach ball on the sheet and had the kids count how many times the ball bounced! We also had a ball with english phrases on there and they had to catch the ball and say the phrase that their hands landed on.  The kids were wound up because they couldn't play outside in the rain, so they LOVED this! After awhile some of the younger kids became board of the game and wanted to do some crafts, so we pulled out some different types of string and I taught about 10 people how to make those chevron embroidery bracelets! The chevron pattern is NOT easy, and with a language barrier it makes it even more difficult to explain.  Not every kid understood and some gave up, but the translators and some kids certainly did enjoy it!
   We ate dinner around 5:30 and the kids watched another movie, the Lego movie! Several of the kids wondered out of the dining hall, where we played the movie, and into the foyer where we all played volleyball! Rebekah, the translator was such a huge entertainment when we played! She would play so well and joke around so much with us and the kids! She has such a great sense of humor and we absolutely LOVE her. Leo, one of the other translators, is also very good and helped me translate instructions to the other kids for crafts. Leo even made a chevron bracelet of his own :) Red, white and Blue! I am so happy to be here to play with these wonderful kids! It has been such a blessing just to be here,  but also the cool weather AND the kids attitudes and willingness to learn also helps :) After about 9pm we all left to go to the hotel.  Tomorrow we seem to have a busy day and I am so looking forward to it :) Thank you all so much for your thoughts and support for this trip!
Love, Katie
PS: Happy 4th of July!!!!!!!!!!! We were going to talk to the kids about it, but since it had been raining we had to hold off on some of the fireworks we found. Hoping to light them up tomorrow :) Have a happy holiday! - Katie Jansen

china11china3china4China7china10

July 3rd

The hotel is very nice. All of it is very nice, except for the beds- they're like sleeping on a wooden boards and our hotel is next to a rooftop mini carnival thing so most of the night you could hear people yelling and having fun. For breakfast I had a little bowl of trial mix and then we walked to the care center, some of the Chinese people on motorbikes think it's funny to freak Americans out, so they swerve when they get in front of us and laugh and yell hello. When we got here we thought the kids about Love, we broke up the kids in two groups oldest and youngest, the children were very reluctant to talk and answer questions, after the class one of the interpreters told us during class that during school the kids are not suppose to talk at all, and for homework they're not suppose to work or help each other. After lunch the kids have about 2 hours of ' quiet time ' in their rooms and Mrs Kim, mom and I went and got another thing of waters for everyone. When we got back to the care center we played volleyball and Ben found a frog and went to pick it up but Rebekah told him no because the frog was poisonous. We then thought the kids some ways to make bracelets, and I fell in love with a little girl named Lisa. We ate dinner and set up a projector we brought and played Frozen- with Chinese subtitles. - Taylor Jansen

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July 3rd

Hello!
  Sorry for the delayed response for my first update, I had some issues connecting to the internet as well as I forgot google doesn't work here.  Whoops!!!!
Anyways, after leaving at 2:30 pm on Tuesday June 30, we arrived in Luxi, China at 1:00 pm on Thursday July 2. (This is China time) This is in total close to 36 hours of travel with over 23 hours of plane rides!  We left Atlanta to Houston a little late due to storm delays, but made it didnt make almost any difference. We arrived in Houston around 9:30pm Houston time and ate our last "American" meal.  We had almost a 6 hour layover and we all took the time to charge all of our devices for the future plane rides.  (Theres a pretty funny picture i'll send out of about 10 devices being charged all at once - will send in next email).  
  At 1am Houston time (2am Atlanta), We left Houston for a 14.5 hour plane ride to Beijing China! Luckily my mom sister and I all got to sit with each other on this flight.  I love flying China air because they let us watch free movies, but they didnt have anything really great to watch this time.  I fought sleep off until about 4am Atlanta time (4pm China time), in an attempt to reset my sleep cycle to China time and to have an easier time adjusting once we arrived.  I slept for almost 8 hours,  on and off and tried to get up and walk, and drink plenty of water but my feet still swelled up.  I had to loosen my chacos about as far as they could loosen for my big toe to fit in it haha! We arrived in Beijing around 3:54 am China time.  (Just for further reference ATL time is literally 12 hours behind China time, so keep that in mind if you're trying to figure out what time it would've been for you).  We had a few issues trying to figure out where to go, and whether or not we were going to pick up our luggage, but around 5:15 we found our way to the terminal and saw our plane.  There was a "costa coffee" house near our terminal and Abby, Taylor and I all ordered Coffee in attempts to make it through the rest of this Chinese day.   The Beijing airport is absolutely gorgeous, it has huge windows and a beautiful building structure.  
  At 6:50 am we all boarded the next plane which would be about a 2.5 hour plane ride.   I personally tried to walk a lot on this plane ride in hopes to decrease the swelling in my feet. If it didn't decrease the swelling it certainly stopped it!!!!! We got off the plane ride and walked to the front of the Chan. - Katie Jansen

July 1st

The team has arrived in Luxi. They will be supporting one of the China Agape Care Centers (orphages). The children will be breaking from school and they hope to have 50 children to work with as well as support the needs at the center. Check back as more information becomes available.

June 30th

10 of our members depart today for China to serve the China Agape care center (orphanage). Please pray for their travels and for the work to be done there.

ChinaTeam web

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