It is definitely winter in Beijing now. As I walked home from the youth group bus just now, the temperature outside was -9 (16 F). The forecast MAXIMUM temperature tomorrow is -2 (29 F). While I may call one of Australia’s coldest cities home, it is still Australia, and nothing like the cold of Beijing. Over the years, though, I have adjusted to the chill here. I’ve discovered lately that until it hits -5 outside (23 F) the air doesn’t feel icy to me.
Youth ministry is Beijing is wrapping up for 2012. We have our last regular youth group meeting tomorrow night, and Christmas parties next week. Last weekend we had our Famine For China event. It’s our version of World Vision’s 30 hour famine. We did that for two years, but then decided we wanted our fundraising to go to projects in our area. World Vision didn’t have anything here, so we set up our own thing.
The Famine For China event this year was my “baby” so I put a lot of work into it. We raised about 45,000 RMB this time around, and had 50 students spend attend our overnight event. Representatives from 7 charity projects in Beijing came and spoke, and the youth went out to serve in a bunch of different ways. One group took women from Starfish on a fun outing; another played with babies (and did cleaning work) at China Little Flower. Two groups served Bethel in different ways, one by visiting kids in west Beijing, the other by wearing masks to make them blind for the day and then shopping for supplies for their Doudian foster home. Two more groups prepared gift bags and gave them to guards, construction workers, and anyone else they came across in five different housing complex. Because it was a Famine event, the kids had been fasting for 30 hours by the end, and we broke the fast with, of course, break-fast! A bunch of parents supplied a wonderful buffet of breakfast foods :)
Next up – Cambodia, and the second annual EPIC conference. This year I will be bringing 4 people with me, including 3 students from my youth group. I got our tickets and visas sorted in the last couple of days. so it’s full steam ahead! I am very excited to share this experience with them. A little warm weather won’t be a bad thing either ;) Also, since this year’s conference will be in Siem Reap, I’ll finally visit Cambodia’s top tourist destination, Angkor Wat. I’ve been meaning to go since, well, my first visit 4 years ago.
But before that, I’ll be heading to Hangzhou to spend Christmas with my hometown friends Amanda and Andrew and some of their Shanghai friends. I haven’t had Christmas with family in 4 years – this will be a good fix, while I wait for my next trip home (for Christmas next year).