There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

this just in from China….

Here’s an update from Erika in China….makes you glad there are diapers in the world

Daily Schedule:


Our days start at 7am with breakfast in the cafeteria.  I usually make a cup of coffee in our community kitchen in the dorm, then walk across campus to breakfast (a very American thing…walking with coffee that is).  I usually eat an egg mcmuffin type sandwich, but they also offer a rice porridge with vegetables.  After breakfast we head to a large room in the library that is reserved for the program.  We have training on various topics from 8-12.  We are being trained by year-long teachers who have decided to stay after and support the program, most will return home this week.


At noon we head back to the cafeteria for lunch, which is usually rice, or noodles with some type of meat vegetable mixture.  After lunch we have an hour break.  From 2-6 we have more training, usually lesson planning and practicum, 7-8 more training.




Aside from the food on campus the food in town is REALLY good!  I enjoy the way the Chinese eat dinner.  It involves a lot of tradition and rituals.  They take pride in honoring and serving others during a meal.  I have a lot to learn about serving others by being around them!  Dinner is family style.  Eight to ten dishes are placed on a lazy-susan and each person has a small plate or bowl to eat from.  They always have hot tea with dinner, so asking for a soda or ice water is not something they usually do. 


The other night our team was in the city and went to an area where they serve street food.  Some of my teammates had scorpions, beetles, and worms, on a stick.  I had McDonalds. : )


Environment & Interesting Culteral Differences:


The weather is hot, and 90% of the time it is overcast, due to pollution.  It has rained a few days, but it’s generally just hot and humid.  


The campus is an our outside of Beijin.  There are a lot of trees and vegetation.  To get into town, not Bejin, we have to take a taxi or bus.  I have yet to do that alone (w/1-2 people), but I plan to before I leave.  It’s a safe area.


Babies don’t wear diapers.  Baby clothing has splits in the bottom so when they need to use the restroom they go wherever they are…on the street, on the bus, indoors.  Some parents lay out newspapers for their child to go on, or hold them over trashcans.


Spitting is the same way…anywhere, anytime, indoors and outdoors.


The Chinese do NOT make lines.  So, ordering food, shopping, etc. requires pushing your way in.  In preparation for the Olympics the country as chosen the 11th of each month to be, ” practice making a line day”!  It was very funny to watch!


Staring is not rude here.  It’s not just the walk by and stare at the Americans, it’s stop and stare.  If our team is talking in a group people will join our group and just listen and look at each of us.


Toilets are in the ground, so we have to sqat to use the restrooms.  Restrooms also don’t have toilet paper so we carry that with us.  This is not new since I lived in Japan when I was younger, but part of our training was how to squat…very funny.  We have since share way too many stories on our restroom experiences. : )


Our Team:


We have a total of 26 members.  The majority are in college or recent graduates.  A large number are Asian-Americans.  It has been interesting getting to hear what it has been like for them to grow up Asian in America.  We also have two lovely blond girls, one other African American, a Mexican-American, and a Canadian.  We all have the same goals: to glorify our Father, serve the students, learn about the culture, build and maintain a community that will represent our Father well, and be open to what the Father has for each of us.  I am grateful to serve with such a focused, caring, and FUN group (so far any way!).


Two Stories:


In addition to the Chinese staring, they also like to take pictures.  When we were at the Great Wall (oh yeah, I climed the Great Wall!) a little girl asked if she could take a picture with me, and I said yes.  Well, one picture with a sweet little girl, turn into people lining up to take pictures with me!  On of my teammate, who spoke manderin told them enough after a while.  Who knows where my picture will end up.  One of the year-long teacher said that they became someone wallpaper on their computer!  I didnt’ mind when people asked, but as we continued around the city some people would take out their cell phone and take pictures of us.  That became annoying, especially when some would send their kids to follow us, then take the pictures.


Last night I went to dinner with the president of the organization, family friends of his, and two aides in our program.  I was nervous because I didn’t want to make any mistake when it came to the traditions at dinner, but they were very kind to me.  I knew it was going to be a special evening when one of the aides said, “Erika, do you like fish-head…here have some bean-curd,  try the bamboo shoot.”  During dinner, as the food is placed on the lazy-susan they serve you, so before I could say no, all kids of foods were placed on my plate.  Fortnately, it was all very good!


Prayer Request & Specifics on Next Week:


Continues health, and unity for our team


We will need energy! The program is from 7am-9pm each day.  Some significant time of  service, our MAIN purspose will take place in the evening, your mornings, so if you rememer, please pray then.  We are all eager to meet our students start the program.


The director of the summer program asked me to be on leadership this summer.  Pray that I would be an effective leader.  There are two women and two men on summer leadership.  Pray for our unity and discernment of what our team needs.


In the afternoon sessions we have clubs.  I am in charge of a club that studies the Word.  I feel so honored that we will be teaching not only English teachers from all over China, but business people, AND seminary students.  So, for obvious reasons the club I am over is only for seminary students.  One of the things I will teach them is how to share the truth in English!  The Father is trusing me with this task…I’m at a loss for words.


Ask for just 1-2 special relationships with students.  I have heard some really special stories of how students have come to know the Father, through this program.  It is encouraging to hear how this organization is making an impact.  There is much more to share in this area, but I may have to save that for when I get home.


Thanks for reading, praying, and writing.  I have access to email in our dorm so feel free to write!It is encouraging to hear from you, write if you have time.





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