Our theme for today was â€œplay.â€ Our great teacher said that unless we become like children, we will not see His kingdom. I think a great part of that is the art of playing.
Our day started at 5:30 a.m. when we began to prepare for our trip to what Lindsey has started calling â€œOur Park.â€ It is actually the North Park and part of the zoo, or Dong Wu Yuan. It is the park we adopted last year to speak to Father about every day. During our time here last year, we made friends with many Senior Adults who go to the park to exercise for a couple hours every morning. Their exercise routine consists of Tai Chi, sword forms, and ti jienza (kick feather). We usually walk and talk to Dad during the Tai Chi and sword forms. Then, when our friends are done and start to play ti jienza, we join in. Ti Jienza is like hacky-sack, but with an oversized badminton birdie-like toy. And man can these Senior Adults get after it! They are kicking it behind their head, aiming for their next victim, er, I mean target, and leaping through the air like some graceful dancer choreographing an elaborate and improvised performance. Then we jump in and throw off their groove! They truly are amazing to watch. Last year, not only did I fall in love with this sport, but the outfits that they wear, as well. In fact, the lady that makes their outfits for them actually came to the park, fitted me, and hand made me an outfit. She did have to charge me extra because I am much bigger than the people she usually sews for! Well, this morning was our first time back to the park since our last trip, and the first time for any of them to see my new outfit. When we came into the park, they stopped what they were doing and came over to feel my outfit, say hello, and feel my outfit some more. After that, we walked the park talking to Yesu about our friends and asking Him to reach out to them. Our requests were followed by 2 hours of Ti Jienza, and much coaching from our friends on proper form. It is so nice to be able to lay aside language barriers (none of them speak English) and just be able to play together. For hours we can have this one thing in common; and just play. Our time this morning was cut short when a disagreement happened between the local care taker and one of our friends. We saw that as our sign to bail.
From there we headed to lunch with some friends. One of them is a friend we met last time, and one is a new friend who is learning English for his college degree. We shared a great lunch as we helped our new friend try to grasp the concepts of humor, sarcasm, and English idioms. He was much more confused afterwards than he started out!
After lunch, we caught up with two of our friends from our last trip, Wally and Oscar. These friends met Dad on our last trip, and decided they wanted to be in the family. So our afternoon with them was a sweet time of catching up and encouraging each other in the way of the Master. These two guys speak great English, and have a heart for seeking truth. We spent an hour having instant coffee and sharing life.
On my last trip to this country, I had the opportunity to lead a parenting forum where parents got together to compare and contrast parenting in our countries. One of the things that parents here mentioned was that they wished their children knew how to play. With so many people and so few jobs, the best jobs only go to the best students. So, students are pushed from grade school through college to make studying their priority. These parents said they could remember being kids and playing outside until the streetlights came on. This generation of students has never known a life like that. When it comes to a night like tonight, then, students get to experience something rare: a night of playing. We brought Jenga, Ker-Plunk, Uno, Phase 10, Trouble, Sorry, and a couple other games for â€œWestern Game Night.â€ The students come for the English conversations (all of them can speak English, but need to be better). But they experienced something different. One of our local friends reserves a room on the University campus, and we play and have conversations. And tonight was a great night. The room was PACKED full of students who rotate from game to game, giving them a chance to play many games, but also a chance to meet each of us. I shared pictures of my family, friends, motorcycle, and life in Lubbock. They had many questions! One of them finally said to me, â€œI think your family is a happy family. Is that true? And why?â€ And I was able to explain that my family is, indeed, a happy family because of the presence and guidance of my Father, who teaches us to live by loving and serving. It opened a door for me to share with 10 or so students. All in all, it was a GREAT night with many doors opened.
We wrapped up the night with a 1.5 hour massage. In this country, a massage like that costs around $12.50! And itâ€™s different than in America. First, they put all of us in the same room with big screen TVâ€™s, bottles of water, and comfy couches. You remain fully clothed for the massage, which starts with a foot washing. In a barrel of 200 degree water Then, in a systematic manner, the massage giver beats the fool out of you for an hour and a half! Itâ€™s like an episode of â€œI Love Lucyâ€ where they bend you, punch you, pull you, and contort you in ways that make you appreciate the ability to walk afterwards. Iâ€™d never had my kidneys massaged before! At one point, the girl working on my back in kneeling on my back, digging her knees into my kidneys while trying to make a wish by ripping my shoulder blades apart. I guess I am getting used to it, though. Tonightâ€™s massage was not as rough as the last one, which did leave me unable to walk!
From there, we headed back to the hotel for 6 hours of sleep before Day 4 begins. Thank you for your tending to our requests and making them your petitions to Dad. You are making a difference in the Far East. Lives are being changed and Father is expanding His business globally. The cool thing is that you get to be a part of it!