Hello from China! The team has been in country for 24 hrs now and it was been a very eventful trip 🙂 It all began on commissioning night when our bus broke down before even leaving the TMI parking lot. This meant that the team needed to unload the bus, wait for a bus to return from the airport and then reload the new bus. Of course, our bus was a “top load” bus, which meant that all of our 50lb duffle bags had to be loaded on top of the bus. The team had a great attitude throughout the time and everyone pitched in to help move the bags. Although we arrived to the airport later than expected, we still had time to rest for a few hours before boarding our plane and even take showers in the hotel inside the airport. Every team member enjoyed the opportunity to clean their bodies before boarding the plane for our 17+ hour flight.
We arrived into China at 2:30pm and were greeted by two volunteers from the Joy in the Journey english camp. They accompanied us on our bus ride back to the camp, which took us about 8 hrs. The team pulled up to the camp gates at midnight and had everything unloaded, a small snack to eat and were asleep by 1am, we were very impressed with their efficiency upon arriving.
Today the team did great and fell right into the swing of things. They all responded and helped where needed. Today we set up the tents, which we will be sleeping in the entire time we are here. The weather has been really nice and mild, which means that it will not be that bad out in the tents. We discovered that the camp will be holding 4 weeks of english camps and all of the camps are filled to capacity. This has given the team a great opportunity to meet many new students and practice their english (and our Chinese) with them. The team was blessed to be provided with 3 wonderful Chinese meals today while the lady leaders set up their kitchen and established meal routines with the camp. The team was excited to experience new flavors and foods. It has funny to watch many of the team member learn how to use chopsticks for the first time. Some have mastered the skill while others…..now carry their fork in their back pocket 🙂
This afternoon the team had the opportunity to join the camp in a large scavenger hunt at a local park. The team was thrilled to join the Chinese students in this 4 hour long game! The team came back exhausted but pumped for next week’s group of kids to teach the game to. Our head leader also sat down with our local missionaries to establish what our daily routine will look like. We are anticipating that we will be spending the majority of our time working on some much needed construction and renovation projects that they need to have down around the camp. Additionally there will be opportunities for the team to teach conversational english or accompany the campers on their afternoon activities.
Overall the team has appreciated your prayers and all of the love and encouragement you have provided to them over the past few weeks.
p.s. the picture below was taken at the passport check in the Beijing airport. We were greeted by a friendly customs agent who insisted that we step in front of this painting and take a group photo. He was comical as he tried to tell us all the sights we needed to see and was surprised that we would be spending 4 weeks at the same location, he felt like we needed to travel around the countryside more 🙂