Saturday, November 26, 2011

Giving Thanks

I have so much to be thankful for this year. I have an amazing family back in the states who have been so supportive of my new adventure. And now I have an amazing family here. God has given me so much, though I deserve so little. I would love to tell you all about our Thanksgiving fellowship, but instead I'll give you the cliff's note version:

We ate. We laughed. We played games. We laughed more. We watched a movie. We stayed up all night (literally) to watch football...the first game started at 1am.

Here are a few pictures of one of the best nights I've had in China:
Ready for a lovely meal

Our "parents"

The Girls <3

My first plate of food...I won't tell you how many I had.

Almost licked it clean

Ready for a Packers' victory!

Monday, November 7, 2011

When friends become family...

Tonight began just like any other night in our humble home, but it became something very special. Everyone went their separate ways except for Marissa and me. We waited in the common area for Howard to come out and play :) After almost a month off, we finally pulled out the Dutch Blitz cards. The game was moving a little slow without a fourth player, but we pressed on. I had never played with him, but I really enjoyed the game. It gets loud and then quiet and then really loud and then quiet again...always fun. He calls out the numbers as he plays them which caused us to do the same (sound familiar, Gretchen?). Marissa and I started singing "Jamie" by Dashboard Confessional and decided it would be best to just play the song for Howard. He liked it and said he wanted to look it up and learn it. I will laugh so hard the first time I hear him sing that song to me!!! We kept playing with music in the background, occasionally singing just a little too loud for how many people were already sleeping, but we were having the best time.
After a while, we conceded the game to conversation. This was the first time I've had a real conversation with Howard. Usually we have small talk in passing or work related conversations, but tonight was different. With just the three of us (sometimes four when Stacey would wander back in), he really opened up and shared a lot about his life. He taught us the greeting they use at his church: di xiong or zi mei (it means brother or sister in the church, if you use those greetings they know you are a believer). We talked about movies and decided that we need to have a family movie day. Yes, we are family. I am the big sister to all of them and I love that. I love that by God placing us all in this place together, He has created a new family. There were just so many interesting aspects of the conversation. At one point Stacey said, "I like this night." She told us that so many nights she has been in the Inn and we are all in our rooms, but she liked that we stayed and played and talked until it was time for bed. I really liked it too. I got to know my brother and sisters better.
This Monday night might not seem like much to anyone else, but I know for the four of us it was a night we will always hold dear. I hope that there are many more just like it. I will go to bed now feeling blessed to have a family such as this.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Will Perry's Forever Family

This week has been one filled with excitement. Late Wednesday night, the Ankerich family (minus two) arrived at SFCV. It was such a joy to meet my dear friend Sharon who I have been talking to for months now on Facebook. She is even more wonderful in person! My excitement of seeing her was doubled because she brought with her my gifts from Gretchen! After a month of being here, it was great to receive a little piece of home. Maybe the best part is the Tapatio which I have already used many times...Sara loves it too!

Thursday morning was a joyous occasion. Will Perry met his family for the first time! There were a few tears, but it didn't take him long before he was calling out Mama and Baba to his amazing parents. He loves his sisters too. He knows Rosie, Ella, and Jing in person as they are the three that were able to make the journey, but this morning I saw Savannah and Amelia on the other end of a Skype call. It is impossible to put into words how wonderful it all has been. I have enjoyed the time with them here. I especially have been having fun with Ella and Jing. They are two of the sweetest little girls with warm smiles and big hugs.

After the short time they've spent with us, it is easy to see that Will Perry's forever family will be our family forever. Many blessings to you all as you embark on this grand journey. What an honor it was to be a part of it. We will miss you...hurry back :)

First Forever Family Picture...missing Savannah and Amelia
Ella hanging out
JingJing enjoying the book