It has been a very busy, but fruitful week so far in Xiamen! Saturday originally I was hoping to volunteer in the special care unit, but due to staffing it did not work out for me to be able to do this so I took the day to rest and get caught up on work and get out and enjoy Xiamen. There is a desk in my hotel room that overlooks part of the city of Xiamen, which is pictured here. I spent the morning catching up on emails with families back home, and then flagged down a taxi to a local shopping area and enjoyed some shopping for my family.
Taxi rides are always an adventure and I feel I often come many times close to accidents but then I never do. It feels a bit like a race car game or something. It can be wild! I always also take a hotel business card with me so no matter where I am at even if I do not know the language, if I show the driver that card they know how to get me back to the hotel. I feel very safe going around China even alone, and I for sure stick out in Xiamen, as there are very few foreigners here. This is not like in the USA when you see lots of different nationalities all the time. I always go shopping with a calculator in hand so I can figure out the exchange rate quickly which is currently about 5 to 1 of our USA dollars. I also later took a walk around the hotel area and enjoyed visiting and seeing the local shops. I always enjoy buying dresses here for my two girls as the clothes here are so pretty. I am hoping to share about my job with my daughter’s kindergarten class during the Chinese New Year in early 2015 so I picked up all the kids Chinese dollars as well as the local Chinese chocolate moon pies 🙂 I have mainly been eating all Chinese food here though one night I did get Indian food and also tried a Mediterranean restaurant here too. There is a McDonalds right across from the hotel but so far have had no desire to go in there! There is also a grocery store across from the hotel and right down the street from the orphanage which again, I can walk to since it is so close to the hotel. It is great to go in there and get coffee, soda, tea, snacks, etc when I am here.
On Sunday morning I attended a foreign passport holder church in Xiamen. It was my 3rd time visiting this church and it is always a blessing. What I love is all the nationalities represented. The pastor is from Mexico, and there are many people from Africa, I believe one man is from Australia, and one couple I met today was from Spain. There was a guest speaker today too from Venezuela. Every time I attend it reminds me of how one day heaven will be when we all come together as different nations all around the world, it is beautiful! The speaker today was sharing that though he misses his family when he travels, he is reminded that we are the family of God, and while he is here, he is our brother in the Lord. That warmed my heart to hear, as I am away from all my family and sometimes that can be hard. I do Skype with my family almost every day.Today my daughter lost her first tooth and she was so proud to show me over Skype 🙂 I am so thankful to have time with other believers when I am here!
This morning I also took a walk and took some pictures of the baby safety island – now closed and lights turned off – and a photo of the front of the orphanage. As I stood there and took in the view and saw the steps that many birth parents have walked to leave their babies, I had to hold back the tears that were ready to flow, as people bustled by. It made me wonder how many truly know what happens in this place. My heart is full from my time here, to see children that have been matched, though also heavy for the many children that still need families. As a dear friend reminded me this week though, God holds these babies. He knows them each by name….and he loves them.
Tonight, I will meet Lilian at the orphanage and she wanted to take me out shopping and show me some of her favorite places to go in Xiamen. I look forward to spending some time with her. Tomorrow morning I leave the hotel at 5:30am to fly home! This trip has been amazing and I am so happy I had this opportunity to be here. Thank you for your love and prayers!