I recently read a book called Seasons of Waiting: Walking by Faith When Dreams are Delayed, by Betsy Childs Howard. While I initially read the book with singleness in mind, I soon realized that its truths apply to many aspects of life, particularly life overseas. Looking back, my journey of life overseas has been filled with seasons of waiting. To begin, I waited through several years of schooling in preparation for moving overseas. When that was finished, I waited almost five more years to gain professional experience and pay off my student loans. While I didn’t have to wait too long for a job opportunity to open up, the months leading up to my move were still filled with waiting and preparation. And now that I’m here, the waiting continues, in ways big and small.
Jordan, Emery, Amy and Mike: Jordan is a single young lady who is quickly noticed for her sweet spirit. She’s very introverted, but she does have an obvious and genuine like for people she meets. She’s gifted in learning languages, caring for people, and serving people in a way that makes the Gospel more real to the recipients. Emery is her best friend. Emery is also pretty introverted. She enjoys deep theological discussions, strategizing, and teaching. She and Jordan are both notably punctual people.
I’ve heard before that it’s not always good to listen to what “they” say, but it can also be very difficult to get first-hand experience, especially when it comes to expat life in another country, namely China. We also often hear a friend here say, “What’s true today in China will not necessarily be true tomorrow.”
When the Father called our family to China to work among the Dongxiang people, we were about as green as you could be when it comes to working among Chinese Muslims.
I’m not supposed to be here. And by that I mean I hadn’t planned on being here. I knew I’d be spending six months in Asia, and I had a particular city I intended to be in, but God changed the course of the trip about three weeks before I left the U.S. The assignment I’d requested had been changed to a city in a completely different region, with a team focused on a people group I had never heard of, the Hui.
Before I came to China, I imagined living in the middle of a Hui village and being totally immersed in their culture each and every day so that sharing the Gospel would be a natural part of everyday life. Instead, our family moved to a mega city where there are about 500,000 Hui – and that number is only a small fraction of the 22 million people living in the city.
In our city, it seems like all we have to do to meet Hui people is walk outside. We have Hui neighbors everywhere; they own restaurants, sell bread and fruit and vegetables (deliciousness of all sorts), ride their bikes to and from work. Every day, we pass by Hui women with their colorful head coverings and Hui men with their elaborately decorated caps.