Well, I’m not typing any of this in China. I arrived back in the US of A on Saturday evening, and now that it’s Wednesday I figured I should write something on concluding thoughts for my China trip.
It’s not my first trip to China, and it’s definitely not my last – same with the organization I worked with. But this trip was special in its own way: I met people, I did things, that all left an impression on me. For starters, the people: I have always visited ND with my family – not a bad thing, but if you’re with people you’ve been with your entire life, it isn’t a terribly new experience. Coming to ND by myself, on my own, was very different and I loved it. One of the things I really appreciated about ND was their emphasis on community. They really encouraged a community feel among the workers and staff there, which really enriched the experience. Have you ever enjoyed working with people you talked with on an as-needed basis? I loved being with really great people, and not Americans either – Ireland and England joined the party too. Secondly, the things I did there at ND were different than what I had done in previous years. I taught my own class (!!!), and assisted in teaching another class. Teaching both special needs kindergarten and middle schoolers both gave me confirmation: regular early childhood education is where I want to be. I loved both classes, but they were not something I would want to do long-term. Still, I have a lot more respect for middle school and special ed teachers.
I have been blessed by the opportunity to travel to China again, on my own, meet so many fantastic people, and grow in so many ways. I am encouraged to see so much of God’s work being done through this organization, and through the willing, faithful, dreaming people working there. They inspire you – the children and the staff – to search into the faith from which they draw so much strength from, the simple love that they share, the community bond – and above all, the joy despite the circumstances they were put in. Which goes into my next point: their circumstances have become testimonies to God’s power and work. God’s will has been done through these people, and the difficult times have only brought a bigger testament to what God can do.
China is more than just my heritage; it is a culture and a place I’ve had the privilege of growing up in, and now returning to. As I eat the food, experience the subway system, learn the language, I’m just getting a taste (sometimes literally!) of the God’s Kingdom that is so much bigger than I comprehend. I am excited for what’s ahead, not just for what I’m going to learn when school starts up again in a few weeks, but for God’s will in my life – wherever that will take me.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we ask or think. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations, forever and ever! Amen. -Ephesians 3:20-21, NLT