Still busy, but surviving the ride. So much has happened that I'm not sure where to begin. The beginning, or where I left off is probably the best.
The week before Easter was busy with Uwe's boss coming, Chinese curriculum teachers coming for meetings, and the new principal and wife coming to meet the team. We thought it would be fun to have a huge BBQ in our yard the night that everyone would be around. Well, at about noon or so, termites were found in our house. Yes, about 100 plus of those critters crawling/flying around in our hallway. I was beside myself as we were about to host 40 plus people later that evening. But, after some phone calls, the exterminator came and we got rid of them before the party started. We had a great time in the yard with great food and fellowship.
Easter weekend we left for Suzhou to visit Uwe's sister, Dorle, and family. They had recently had a baby girl and Oma was there too. It was the first Easter in a long time that we were able to celebrate with our family. We had a great time coloring eggs, resting, and taking a cruise down a canal of the city. Oma had brought dye to color eggs, so Marcus and the girls were able to color eggs that were hidden on Easter morning for them to find. We truly felt that we were able to rest/relax a bit from the stress of packing/moving and all the other hectic things that had been going on, so that was great. We wanted to see the old part of Suzhou, but somehow missed it. But what we were able to do was excellent since we had small kids and not a lot of time. We viewed Suzhou on the canal. I believe we got a good glimpse of what the city is like. Maybe one day we'll go back to explore it more. We enjoyed our time seeing Dorle, Peter, and especially little baby Madlena. She was such a doll.
Oma came to visit a few days after our return. She spent the week playing with the girls during the day and Marcus in the afternoon. She took the girls on walks around our complex, one at a time of course, at least once a day. They really enjoyed it. One morning we went to school and she read books to Marcus' class. He really enjoyed this. We were thankful that Oma could come and visit us and see the kids' life here.
Shortly after Oma left, Uwe traveled to Taipei for some meetings. He was able to find an apartment, a place for Marcus to attend pre-school, and a place to worship. The great part is that all three are within walking distance of where he will go to work each day. From his description it sounds like I might get spoiled with all the shops/restaurants there. (Starbucks just around the corner, isn't that scary?) This will be the first city that we've lived in that has a Starbucks, period, let alone close to our house. The biggest event for us while he was gone that week was having a bat in our house one night. It was injured, but it was still a bat. Story goes like this: Marcus points and tells me to look; a bat was on the floor. Thank goodness the girls were already in bed. But, how do you get rid of a bat? Butterfly net? Don't have one. Tennis racket? Don't have one of those either. Bucket with lid? That I have, but what if it bites me? Those were the thoughts running in my mind. So, I called the only person left in our area to come and help. He brought another guy who was visiting and a pair of gloves. They got it out, but I was still shaken a bit about it...in fact still am. I am all the time looking everywhere for another one. Pathetic!
Literally less than 24 hours after Uwe returned, we flew to BJ for our good-bye party. I wanted to do some shopping and Uwe needed to pick up some documents at the German Embassy. That weekend was special. It was fun to see many of our friends from all over this country. The kids were able to play together in the pool at the hotel and we were able to catch up in between splashes. =)
At the banquet I was asked what each city that we lived in was like, but I honestly couldn't think straight for some reason. But, at the end I knew what I wanted to say, but it was late and I thought it better to write it here, as I wanted many of you who were not able to be there to read it as well. So, here it goes..if you would rather not read my speech, you can skip the blue writing. =)
Tianjin for me was a time of learning who I was and making new friends. I also met my husband and we shared our first year of marriage there. We had marriage counseling from the Millers and learned some valuable lessons on money management and communicating with each other. I had a great time learning along and from Angie what it was to be a principal's wife. Tianjin was the place where if I needed an egg or some sugar, I'd just go up stairs to one of the neighbor's and ask for one. We communicated through the pipes and all listened to some (won't mention names) sing in the bathroom. I was a great place to begin our marriage.
Shenyang was were we began our famiy. Marcus was born there. We were the only married couple in the school for a few months. But, then I think we went to 8 weddings that first school year. Soon, many of the new brides were asking me about being a wife. I laughed b/c I had only been married for a year myself, but with the wisdom of the good book, and advise from other wives the questions were answered. Shenyang was a time for me to grow as a wife and a mother. I had some great examples there of mothers and I am so thankful for that. It was also a time of learning that God's timing is perfect. This theme has continued through even today. His timing in everything is perfect, so I don't need to fret and worry b/c he has it all planned out and knows.
Wuhan has been a time of faith for me these last 3 years. Trusting the Father to take care of every need that I have. From finding places to live, Matthea's birth and illnesses, to just trusting him for strength and mercy each day. I could list the many tests of faith, but I would probably have to write a book. I'm not sure I passed each test, but I do know that my faith has grown. And for that I'm thankful for each crisis that was put into my path.
As we travel to our next destanation, I'm not sure what will be next. I'm hoping some rest, but if not, I do know where my strength comes from each day.
Thank you to all of you who have blessed my life more than I can say. Please keep in touch and if you are ever in Taipei, please come and stay with us.
After Beijing, we left for Hawaii, not for vacation, but to obtain citizenship, passport and a visa for Megan. We were there for only 8 days and were blessed so much. Uwe's friend, Adriel, and his wife, Melissa, let us stay with them and their three children. Also, their church had a car for us to use as well. We were able to get everything we needed, but it was truly because of the Lord. It seemed that at every part of the process I had either forgotten something, or didn't know I needed something. How we were able to obtain it all in 5 days is a miracle to me. Again, his timing is perfect and I just had to trust him that all would go well. But we were able to do a few fun things. We went to Sea Life Park with the kids one morning. They really enjoyed the dolphin shows. It was great. We went to the beach once and the two older ones liked it, but Megan liked to just sit on the towel and eat cookies. Our last day there, Adriel and Melissa took us out to the sandbar and fixed us breakfast. The kids played in the sand and water and had a great time. The tide came up a few hours later and we got back on the boat. Uwe and I took a short swim in the ocean which was fun. Maybe we will be able to go back again when the kids are older and go snorkeling. Hawaii is a beautiful state, one which I definitely want to return to.
This has been a long newsletter and I apologize for that. We have had so much going on this month. We leave China in a few weeks. Our good-bye dinners have started and we are packing up the house. It is hard to believe that we are leaving, yet we are excited about the next place.
Our schedule for the summer goes as follows:
June 4: leave Wuhan
June 5-7: be in Hong Kong to apply for work visas for Taiwan; staying at the Bethany Ministries to reflect a bit as well.
June 7-12: In Taipei setting up house a bit and getting the residency established.
June 13-24th: At Md's parent's house
June 24-July 7: Attending PFO (Pre-Field Orientation) at Houghton College
July 7-24: Back in Missouri visiting family
July 15-21: Uwe in England taking classes
July 25: leave for Taiwan and arrive on the 26th.
We still have quite a bit to do before we are settled, but at least there are few times of rest in the midst of it all.=)
Things to pray for us are:
1. Visas for Taiwan go smoothly
2. Finishing well here and saying good-bye well.
3. Kids have been battling colds and fevers since we've returned.
4. Strength for the crazy schedule.
1. Great trip to Suzhou
2. Uwe's trip going well and things are going well here.
3. Ticket for Hawaii trip (we had every leg of the trip except from BJ to Korea. We were going to have to fly out of a different city, but the transit time was only an hour and a half and we didn't think that was enough. But, on the day that I had to make a decision on what we were going to do, 4 tickets openned up from BJ to Korea, so we have no problems with transit times. PTL!)
Thanks for your prayers, we really appreciate it.
With love, md for ummmm