Hey y'all! I've spent the last three days wrestling with the internet, trying to get pictures to load! Phew.
While I can't go into all the details here and now, I want you to know that this past week has had the potential to be absolutely unnerving in about a million ways and it has been anything but.
God has kept us in His perfect peace and has been so gracious to us. He is carrying us through this crazy season. We have a final medical exam tomorrow morning and would SO APPRECIATE your prayers! We anticipate Heng will pass just fine, however, the doctors are looking for any sign that his rash (which they've finally agreed is chickenpox - though the absence of fever and itching still puzzles all of us) hasn't completely scabbed over.
Assuming they are pleased with what they see, they will hand us Heng's medical report and we will run it right down the street and over a block to the Consulate where we will apply for his visa.
The visa should be ready by Tuesday late afternoon and we hope to board a plane for the States Wednesday morning!!!
Please, please, please pray he passes just fine. Please pray the doctors are pleased with what they see. Pray that his rash continues to clear. If they don't pass him, you might hear me crying half way across the world! (The pic above was taken with our dear, dear guide who we love so much! She has been phenomenal and couldn't have done anything more to help us. She's a total rockstar!!!-Like our clothes drying in the background!? Haha.)
My arms are physically aching to hold our little girls and I can scarcely let myself dwell on the sweetness of our homecoming! When I think of it for too long, my heart starts racing and I get all kinds of teary. It will be so sweet.
So many of you have let us know you are praying for us - thank you so much! It is such an honor to be part of the Body of Christ and to be so well loved and cared for. Thank y'all!!! We hope and pray that through the insanity this adventure has been, Christ has been made much of.
It is incredibly sweet to find ourselves totally dependent on His mercy in this strange and foreign land. So often, it's easy to "fix" things. And we are comfortable, in our own little bubble…but being at the mercy of a group of physicians who we can't understand and having to depend on our guide to translate - it's just made the absolute certainty of God's sovereignty - of Him holding us in the palm of His hand and directing the doctors' hearts - so, so dear and comforting.
We were thrilled to discover a Muay Thai event being held in our very own hotel lobby…and we were sure to make it to the first round! I feel kind of bad admitting I was a little disappointed to realize the entire thing was choreographed.
Of course, we didn't let on to the children. It may be the quietest and stillest Little Man has been the entire trip. He was rather enthralled.
Today we had a very, very sweet experience. We took a taxi to another hotel and attended Guangzhou International Christian Fellowship for worship. I think it was a tiny taste of heaven, in terms of all the people from so many different tribes and tongues, all worshipping together. There was standing room only. It was sweet to spend Sunday morning worshipping with other believers.
Saturday we spent the afternoon, well, it was supposed to be the afternoon-it was almost the night, on Shamian Island.
Sister and Little Man and I had made the trek earlier last week, while The Engineer stayed behind, quarantined with Heng. Now that we've stayed in China past our expected leave date, we have nothing scheduled and took the opportunity to spend some unhurried time in such a beautiful spot.
We did a little shopping and exploring...
We stopped at a really neat Starbucks - probably my favorite one, ever!
It was quite a happening' spot. We sat outside on the upstairs porch.
And we learned something super fun and exciting! Our newest addition likes coffee. He's going to fit in with this family just fine! (BIG smile!)
So…in the near two weeks we've had him, he's gone from barely crawling and when he did crawl (at first) it wasn't "right." He would sort of drag one leg and then push off his foot…to crawling correctly and everywhere…to pulling up…and a few times he's taken a solid step to us without any assistance.
He'd also only ever had rice cereal, formula, and rice congee…and now that we know his rash was chickenpox and not a food allergy, the gates are wide open! This little guy is trying all sorts of new things! We caught him with a box of blueberry flavored poky sticks (icing covered tiny little breadstick sort of things). He was digging in, loving it! Which was a big surprise because he hated sweet things early on.
He's also learning how to drink from a cup, whereas he's only every had a bottle… and all of this is big because of his cleft lip and palate! It's just amazing what being part of a family does for a child. I can't get over the changes we are seeing in him each day.
And I can't wait to see him with out little girls!!! What a crazy and happy (oh, I hope!) house we will have! (And messy!)
So we had a great afternoon on the island and had two stops to make before we planned to head home. At our first stop, the item we wanted wasn't in stock and so the shop keeper's husband ran to get them from - well, I'm not sure where, but he was gone for a while. During his absence a nasty storm rolled in - like a pitch black dark, scary kind of thunder (I screamed several times!) and lightning storm. We actually had a great time just hanging out with her while we waited for him to return…
And then we made our final stop and, in the POURING rain, made our way to a hotel. We'd been told the best chance of getting a taxi was to wait at a hotel on the island. So we waited. Finally we decided we should go to the hotel where our taxi had originally dropped us, it seemed busier…only, we were turned around and with the weather what it was - I mean, the rain was coming down in sheets…we were all soaked…we couldn't find the hotel.
Finally, finally we found it. And we waited. Nothing. No taxis. Evidently taxis don't run in the rain in Guangzhou. One of the bellmen at the hotel called a friend and tried to line up a ride for us. Nothing.
Taxis came and dropped people, but no one would take us back to our hotel. (It's about a thirty minute drive.) We were all praying. And we were hungry. We hadn't planned to stay nearly that long and had only enough to pay the taxi fee…so we kept waiting. And praying. And my children didn't even complain about being hungry!
And God sent us sweet Jenny of Jenny's, the store where we'd done some of our shopping. When I told her we'd been waiting, at that point, over an hour and a half, she immediately offered to help us. She and her husband tried to call a cab to no avail. She translated with the bellmen for us. She asked them to call our hotel to see if there were any taxis heading this way…she flagged down taxis and asked them for us…she took us to a busier intersection. She insisted on helping us. Finally, she suggested we take the subway. This was a little overwhelming. As The Engineer said, "It can take us really far really fast. In the wrong direction!?"
Jenny helped us figure out where to change lines, where to get off, as well as how to purchase tokens…and just like that, we were off. In China, taking the subway - like we had a clue what we were doing! It actually wasn't bad at all and we'd definitely do it again.
We were the main attraction on the subway. Ha! These crazy, wet Americans with a baby in tow…we were quite a scene.
We didn't eat dinner until 10:30 last night. Poor little Heng never uttered a complaint and he went a long time without food. We had a bottle, but I was worried it was bad, so we didn't give it to him. He was so content just being held. The picture above was us right before we exited the subway station…right at the entrance to our hotel!
Once again, God was so gracious! He continues to remind us that we cannot escape His presence. Even on the other side of the world, in a country where few know Him, He is here. Even when all our plans fail, He is still caring for us, making a way, and reminding us His plans are better.
Thank y'all again for your prayers and encouragement. Please, please pray for us tomorrow morning!
Much love and happy Sunday, y'all!