So, I hope everyone had a happy holiday back in America. I thought I would share an excerpt from my journal, yesterday. My well-wishes are a little late, because we are having internet issues on campus today. Happy Thanksgiving!
11/28/2013 10:00 A.M. somewhere in Northern China
It is Thanksgiving, but it does not feel much like it to me in China. I read an email from my father, and I had to step out of the room to shed a few tears, when I heard that my brother would also be home for Thanksgiving. Everyone will be there – but me! Still, I must keep reminding myself that God brought me here. My father asked me in his email to think about all the things that have happened in the last year that I have to be thankful for. So, I will think about these things!
I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I am in this strange land, but God has brought me out of my comfort zone and is transforming me in this incredible experience. I finally left the job in armed security (I have hated the last couple years), and am working abroad. I went back to Liberty in the spring of this year and successfully finished a semester of graduate school with a 4.o. I also got my certification in teaching English as a foreign language, which enabled me to come to China. It has been a year of successes and new opportunities!
In the last year, my sister moved within a couple of hours of home so I was able to see her often before I left for America. So my siblings and my parents and I all lived within 500 miles of each other for the first time since we lived in Germany ten years ago. I can be thankful for good times with family.
I am healthier this year than I have been in over ten years. I had a scare with my health this summer, but the doctors gave me a clean bill of health. Now, I am eating healthy and getting healthy here in China. For the first time since my back injury in 2005, I am exercising daily without pain. It actually feels great to be running again! I am running seven minute miles for the first time since my cross-country days of high school. So, I am thankful to be healthy.
I have had my struggles in the last year spiritually, but now I am in this land where I do not have the freedom to go to church. I am in this land where I must depend solely on my Savior. I am thirst again so God is drawing me closer to himself in China. I have never been so aware of how much I need Him! So, I am learning and growing here in China.
I have had my financial struggles as well this year, especially while I was at school in the spring. But in China, I daily see the ways God provides for me. I have just enough from my stipend to pall all my bills. I have a beautiful little apartment provided for me by the school. I am able to eat three healthy meals for only a dollar or two a day. I am witnessing God’s provision like never before!
I miss my family and friends so much this Thanksgiving, but there are so many others, who are missing loved ones that have already passed on (and my heart goes out to them). Mine are all waiting for me back home and silently supporting me. Many of their prayers now cover me! So, I am blessed this year! So I have a lot to be thankful for this year!
This is the last page of my first journal in China. So ends the first chapter of my life in China. It has been beautiful though at times – bittersweet. I have miles to go before I sleep…