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Friday, September 19, 2014

Picnic of Joy


For our picnic for adults with disabilities, we had about 40 adults come. About half of them are blind, and the others have physical and/or intellectual disabilities. Because several of the individuals are like-minded, the picnic often felt like a celebration. Our new friends may not physically see, but wow, they can worship. Their joyful love and praise for our savior was contagious, inspiring, convicting. I want a heart of worship like that!

~ Kevin

Monday, September 8, 2014

Molly is 7!

Molly turned 7 on September 7, and China was nice enough to have a national holiday weekend at the same time. :) It's the Mid-Autumn Day festival, and nearly everyone had a three-day weekend to celebrate. We didn't have our usual English classes for adults and children with disabilities on Saturday, and there was no school on Monday.
Since Hudson's birthday is later in the month, we decided to have a joint birthday party for them to celebrate together with their friends in mid-September. That made this weekend about quality time together as a family, and we made the most of it. The highlight was playing at the mall near our house.
Molly has always wanted to jump on this big trampoline, and she decided she was definitely brave enough to try the two-story ropes/obstacle course as well.
She went up, over and across all manner of tightropes and swinging bridges. A worker followed closely behind to attach the ropes of her harness to the various sections of the course.
Molly said crossing these wooden posts was the hardest part, and she felt her heart racing:
And this is my favorite video because you can see Hudson bouncing on the trampoline and watching Molly:
Happy 7th birthday to our sweet girl! She has learned so much this year, growing in confidence and ability. We love you, Molly!
~Dayna

Monday, September 1, 2014

New School Adventure

Welcome to a new school year! While North America was celebrating Labor Day on September 1, China's students were heading back to class. Molly is in first grade and Hudson is in pre-k at a wonderful private school that combines the best of the American and Chinese education systems.
I set my alarm for 6:15, and when I stumbled out of our room in the morning, Molly greeted me entirely dressed for school. I'm not sure what time they got up, but they were excited! (Pieces of the school uniform are still being ordered. For the first day, Molly had the skirt and knee socks and Hudson had his long-sleeved shirt.)
Molly's teacher is Cici, and Hudson's is Amy. His classroom is on the second floor, directly above Molly's. Hudson is most looking forward to violin class, which takes place every Friday.
Hudson's class doesn't begin until 8:30 so the students who arrived early chose books to read. (Hudson found "Clifford the Big Red Dog.") The books are a mix of Chinese, English and bilingual.
The school is a little far from our home and not accessible by subway. We figured out the bus routes, and that's the way I'll travel home from school in the mornings and back again in the afternoons. But the neighbor of a friend of a friend is a taxi driver, and his wife is able to pick us up at our door in the morning at 7:40 and meet us at the school door at 4:00 to drive us home. (Isn't it amazing how relationships work in China?) She is only charging us $5/day to do that, and the time and effort it saves is remarkable.
Taking the bus requires waiting 10-20 minutes at the stop, riding about 30 minutes, and then a 10-15 minute walk to the school. This is the path: First, up and over the road via pedestrian bridge. Then down through a tunnel under the train tracks. (See the train going by in the photo below?)
Coming out of the tunnel, you cross another set of train tracks. The first time we did this, we had to wait for the train to pass, and there's no guard rail of any kind at the crossing.
Then there's a few more blocks to walk through a residential area before crossing one more street in front of the school. When the kids and I first navigated it a week before school started, it was raining and it couldn't have felt any more like an adventurous exploration. They had so much fun! But they are also very grateful to be driven because they recognize the difficulty of doing that every day. (Not to mention how cold it will be outside before long!)
They were very happy this morning to head back for Day 2!
Bonus pic: Kids posing in front of the cutest foliage sculpture in front of a department store near where our international fellowship meets.
~Dayna

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Picnic for Families

Some days are just simply beautiful. Here are some photos from our recent picnic with 30 families affected by disabilities. These families have been a part of family retreats, autism day camps and/or Saturday morning English classes. The volunteers got as much joy from the event as the families.
~ Kevin