Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bits December

Well, last month I told you we were going to party a lot in December. I think I underestimated our partying. We did birthday parties, end of the year parties, wedding partying and family partying. I guess we are turning Brazilian! They love their parties! 

Gabriel and Andressa have been going to our Bible studies for a while now and have been pretty consistent. In November they were married in the civil court and did not have a formal ceremony. So on Sunday the 11th we told them we were having a get together that night for just our Bible study group (we had service that morning) and we planned a surprise wedding for them. Yeah, sounds kind of funny...well, it was kind of funny. But it was also beautiful and fun. (more pictures are on facebook of all these events!) A wedding planner in our group had a dress for her to change into and we had the ceremony planned out. Everyone had a blast and Gabriel and Andressa were thrilled.

The following week we had a service with a baptism followed by the end of the year parties for our Bible study group as well as the football and cheerleading teams. Gabriel and Andressa were baptized as well as Pedro, Bia's brother. The get together was a lot of fun as we had team awards and then games. 

A couple days later we went out to Tupanatinga to have our party and last study for the year. The new couples have been consistent in coming to the studies and are really involved in the studies. It has been neat to hear many changed life testimonies for this year. Rodryggo and Danielle have not made a public decision but ask many questions and have been understanding a lot! They don't miss a study! 

Christmas Eve brought some surprises as well. Walter, who often attends our studies, is from Afogados, a town we considered moving to in our arrival to the Sertão. His family from Afogados was all in town and he invited me to give a Christmas devotional to them before their Christmas Eve dinner. It was a neat opportunity to meet people from a future town we would like to get a church in! Due to traditional tardiness, we were able to get to know them a little more as well! 

On Christmas night we had a dinner at our house with our Bible study group and had basically a Thanksgiving time (they don't have thanksgiving here....). We are grateful for all the friends we have here and told them that they are family to us. So many here go above and beyond for us and we are so grateful. Sounds similar to you all who are reading this who have done so much for us that it leaves us humble thinking of what little we deserve.

On January 13 we head back to the US for three months! Please pray for our travels as we will be in North Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee and I imagine a couple more places. Let us know if you want us to come to the church. We will be showing a furlough video that will be posted online soon and all the love offerings this furlough will go to the church construction that is really looking sharp lately! My course right now is Strategic Planning and so I am evaluating most areas of my life now. Let me know if you have anything I need to get right! haha.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! May this year bring you closer to Christ and may we all make more disciples together!

All for HIS glory,
David, my beautiful bride of 10 years as of this month, our little two Polly pocket lovers, the older of which is loving her new roller blades and even can go backwards, and the other who thinks the has two moms in the house most of the time; I don't know how Sarah does not get confused when Anna Claire is calling Evelyn Momma! 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Misconceptions about China

We just took a two week trip to China a couple weeks ago and I noticed a few differences than my previous conceptions about China and thought I would share them. Of course, it was only two weeks in just a couple of towns and so it can in no way be for sure; so I wouldn't state these all as facts, just my opinion. 

1. Dangerous. My first thought about Sarah’s sister being in China is that she is in grave danger. But there is little dangerous crime in China. The Chinese are not really violent. Honor is very important to the Chinese. So to be caught doing anything dishonorable would be very shameful. So while they may do petty thefts at the right opportunity, the major stuff is not too common. Even in the sense of not allowing certain religions to act. They may not allow it, but they are not going to imprison foreigners for doing anything; worst case scenario would taking away their Visa. It seems that living in China is much safer than living in South America. (not a fact, just opinion).

2. Food. Chinese mainly eat dog and cat. Not necessarily true; it seems they ate more chicken and pork. Although I did find out that dog is acceptable in the winter months because it is a warm food. I didn’t really see the grilled scorpions and cockroaches, which does not mean they don’t exist. 

3. Everything is made in China. Not true. Just 99% of things. The ports in Hong Kong are huge! Lots of containers all over. There is a lot of money in China too. I am sure there are parts of China that are poor, but it seems like the Chinese are doing alright for themselves. 

4. No structure. Well, I guess I shouldn’t label this a misconception since I hadn’t heard anything before about the structure. But China seems well structured. Sarah and I were amazed by the complexity of the cities. How difficult it must have been to have an adequate transportation for so many people. There are a lot of people in China. All over. Traffic could get pretty heavy; trains were loaded and buildings were everywhere. 

5. Everyone looks the same. We all have this idea about Asians that they all look alike. But in my experience there were all kinds of different people in China and they did not look alike. I thought that interesting especially since we have that misconception. It is neat to know that God has made us all different and loves us all the same. There are so many Chinese and God cares for each one of them! 

A couple other notes: There are people people everywhere! Not many speak English; I thought a lot more would. 

Note:Both these pictures were actually taken in Hong Kong on our way out of China.