Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lost and Found (Day 6 with Timothy)

Today our agency scheduled a tour for us.  We had the same guide we will have the entire time we are here.

For the first time this morning we oozed out of bed (literally, our bodies said we were not lifeforms yet) at about eight in the morning (instead of the 5:00 am as usual).  We somehow made it to breakfast with twenty minutes before our guide Judy was to meet us.

The buffet more than equals the last hotel we were at.  They have a  Koi Pond kinda trumps a normal restaurant and their pretty fish tanks (chuckle).    I actually have found myself eating Chinese food on a regular basis for breakfast (minus the chicken feet, which were weirdly white today and by the diced fresh fruit kept on ice).

We started the tour at ten, and I found my heart in a very torn place.....

.... at a Buddhist Temple.  We were brought to it as a historical tour since it is over 2200 years old.  It was beautiful.  It was ornate.  The carvings stunned us with their intricacies.

They handed us incense as we entered the courtyard.  It took me a minute to realize just what it was for.  I looked at Lexi, both of us taken aback.  They got tucked away quickly, plans to toss them in the trash (to be truthful) when the opportunity arose.  Some may think that is disrespectful, but I'm MUCH more concerned about respecting my Lord and Father instead of any man.

I racked my brain as to what I could say to reach these people.  They were so lost, bowing and worshiping a false God.  They lit the incense for "wishes" or prayers.  All around us people bowed and chanted.

Our guide just went on with the historical tour.

There is a torn feeling walking through there.

On one hand, you want to turn over tables.  These magnificent carvings, intricately woven masterpieces were made by men....who were created by a loving and merciful God who gave His Own Son.  How it must have pained Him to watch these buildings be raised to worship statues created by men.

Yet my people have forgotten me;
    they burn incense to worthless idols,
which made them stumble in their ways,
    in the ancient paths.

Jeremiah 18:15a

I'm going to get very honest here.

Inside my spirit screamed, "How dare you bow down to carven images engraved with the gold THE GOD created!!!! You might as well bow down to Mickey Mouse with all the good it will do!!!"

Then there was another side of me that ached and mourned as lips moved silently in chants, hoping in a god of the deceiver.  I broke for the lost.  I felt shattered for the generations of mislead.

So I prayed.  I prayed as we walked through the temple.  I prayed for the lost.  I screamed inside, prayed inside, and ached inside.

This is exactly what happened the last time we were here.  It seemed so much like Biblical times and is something we don't  see "in your face" as much in the United States.  Oh, we have many false gods....but they are often hidden in plane sight (money, material success, power, food, drugs, alcohol).  Here, they are idols carved with gold, wood, jade.  They are there in the U.S., but in day to day life, they are often distant.  Truthfully, one of the biggest Gods I've been seeing lately is the God of "Me" (only I matter, whatever make ME happy, if I'm uncomfortable it doesn't matter if anyone else is, I should be able to do or not do whatever I want to).

The lost of this country weigh heavily on me tonight.  I've fallen in love with this land and the people.  I didn't last time, to be completely honest.  I didn't plan on returning, unless God called.

I'm so thankful He did.  I long for the hearts of the people to know Jesus.  THAT is my reality tonight.

Our tour did not end here though.


We then went tomb of a king whose name I can't pronounce.  Lexi says it's the Lion King.  We are now in a great debate.  I don't have the tickets that allowed us to enter, so the Lion King of the Feline Dynasty it is for now.  (Yes, I know I went from thoughtful and this.  That is an insight into my VERY tired mind.)

This is how they buried the kings.  There were over two hundred
jade pieces sewn and stitched together with silk to cover the entire body.
They also, when he died, poisoned all animals, concubines, and servants 
so they would go with him to the afterlife.
I'd heard of this, but in all seriousness, it's disturbing.

Lexi and I had a long discussion about how
a parent might feel when their daughter
was chosen as a concubine.  Honored to serve a king often revered as a god? Horrified?

We followed the museum with an ancestral temple.  The same temple we visited when we were bringing Jael home.

Timothy, Lexi, and our guide Judy

Little Man

Ivory Carvings

You'd think we'd packed enough in one day, but after Judy dropped us off it was time for a late lunch.
We decided to go with something overwhelmingly Chinese.  You guessed it....Pizza Hut.

This weekend it happens to be "Labor Day" weekend here.  The crowds were out.

Pizza Hut happens to be a part of a HUGE mall where many cultural treasures can be found.  Lexi and I decided to explore.  I mean what is a trip overseas without getting completely lost and not speaking the language.

Yup...we got a pearl market.  It was like a maze within a puzzle within a maze.  Literally most buildings in China have ten plus floors.  This mall was no different.  Apparently our "mall" is connected underground to the pearl market (another mall).  We ended up in a complete different HUGE MASSIVE mall.

Now Amber and Bryan (Lexi's parents) at this point need to agree not to kill me.  We made it back to the hotel (after being lost for about an hour) with the help of our guide (a phone call I made) and a kind gentleman.

I HATE BEING LOST.  That is the first thing you need to know.  The second thing is that I have NO innate sense of direction...none.  The third was that my father helped create the first GPS for the government...and the joke is that it was created for me.  Man, I needed my Garmin at that point...sigh.

We are back though, after an eventful day of both lost and found.  Tomorrow we venture out again.  This time to a local island that is a straight shot from the hotel.  I actually have been there many times.  There is a Church there we are going to try to make it to.

So, now I need to head to bed.  I'm extremely done tonight.  That is not said with negativity, but with complete exhaustion (smile).

Please continue to keep our family in your for my husband and kids is paramount.  Lots of mini trials have been happening and that can be exhausting.  Please also pray for some events that will be happening soon and for provision for them.

Thank you SO much for praying us through this!


For those of you wondering, because who wouldn't about this AMAZING little boy (giggle), Timothy is doing great.

We see moments of fear, but he continuously looks for me.  His smile is adorable and he has a giggle that just leaves me breathless and praising God.

He is TINY.  At almost four his pants (a little tiny bit big) are 24 months.  His shirt is anywhere between 24 months and 3T (since shirts can be big).  He weighs 24 lbs (though I think I told you that...I've blinked since then).  He has some little medical surprises, but nothing huge.  His knees DO bend (YEAH!) though may be positioned a little off and he has severe clubbed feet that will require casting and most likely more than one surgery.  He has other issues though with bone (we believe).  His wrist straightens, but barely and cannot flex beyond that point.  He holds it in a bent position. We will be interested in what the doctor says.

He also came to us after living as a baby would.  He only drank out of a bottle (we taught him to use a straw tonight), but will continue to use the bottle initially as not to change too much too quick.  He doesn't know how to feed himself (but is working on a fork and learning quick).  He's in diapers, but we believe he's capable...100% of being potty trained.  He's smart....really really smart.  He's already using some English words.  '

All this is to say we are in love.  HE IS A GIFT.

We thank God daily, hourly for Timothy.

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