It’s now Autumn in Beijing. The temperature cooled off quite suddenly a few weeks ago and now I need a cardigan at night. The weather has been beautiful for most of the past week – clear skies and warm sun. I am soaking up the sun while it is still around!
I’m sorry it took me so long to write this update. My Mum has been unwell recently and while I didn’t wish to share that information with everyone it also felt strange to write an update without mentioning it, so I just…didn’t. She spent some time in hospital and will be undergoing treatment over the next few months, but her prognosis is excellent. I have booked tickets to visit my parents in November (after the youth camps); I’m thankful for the opportunity to spend some time with them.
I’ve also been very busy with youth ministry stuff. John (the only youth pastor our church had ever had) left Beijing for Singapore in June. I was able to visit him and his lovely wife and daughter on my trip this Summer which was great. Anyway, my long-time friend Joe is taking over the role but there was a gap while he transitioned out of the music director role so I’ve been handling a lot more than I normally would. It’s been fun but I’m glad to be getting back to normal!
I’m very excited about the youth ministry this year. We have a LOT of kids (our middle school group has nearly doubled). 142 kids have been to a CCC youth event (either Sunday school or youth group) in the past month. We have 6 new regular volunteer leaders helping with youth group. We held a parents meeting and 60 people came – lots of people are putting their hands up to get involved. It’s fantastic! Both the big international churches have new youth pastors, who know each other and get along well. We have a very strong team. We actually met today to discuss the camps coming up in November, and it was very encouraging to look around at so much youth ministry and TCK experience, plus such a range of gifts and skills.
On my second role, the Youth in Asia stuff, things are also going along! I will be leading a retreat for TCK workers in Thailand over October 3-6. I was aiming to have 10-15 people there, and after a few last-minute drop outs we have 8 people which I am quite happy for as a first time event. I have secured funding for the retreat costs, so the participants are just paying their travel costs to get there. I hope it will be a relaxing and encouraging experience for everyone. I would appreciate your prayers for the event – that travel arrangements for everyone would be smooth, that the retreat time would be beneficial, and that if there are other who would benefit that they would be connected in time to attend.
I am also working toward a conference for TCKs across South East Asia to be held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, right after Christmas. It’s called “EPIC” and I’m excited about it! I wish I’d done more work on it since the summer but I’ve been so busy with Beijing youth work that it slipped down the to-do list far too often.
There have been some changes at my home, too. After 6 months with us, Ting moved to the US and our new roommate Louise moved in. She is from Norway and is studying Chinese full time this year at the same university I attended back in 2004. She’s lovely! I’ve continued to make adjustments to the apartment, making it more my home. Recently I had some furniture designed and made – a dresser for my bedroom and a cabinet for the living room – and I can believe the difference they’ve made! With more storage space I’ve rearranged and brought out some decorative items, which really add homey touches. Now on display are a pewter vase my parents got me in Malaysia, a ceramic vase from my Aunt, a handpainted platter the Crawfords and Frommels gave me for my 21st, and decorative gilded Chinese plates that belonged to my grandmother. Looking at these things around my house brings me joy!
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers during a busy and, at times, quite stressful two months. I look forward to hearing from you all soon!