One of the things that was really interesting was baking with the girls. Most Chinese people have never used an over (and many have never seen one) – they just buy baked goods from the store. Since they had so much fun making the cookies, April asked to make cupcakes as well. It was funny because Air disappeared for a bit, so I let April choose the colors of the frosting, and when she got back, Air decided that she was going to use all the green frosting, and decided that April was going to get all the purple (even though April had chosen both colors). When I asked if they were ready to switch, Air said, “No, I’m good!” and April just tilted her head. Since April is much quieter and more passive, I pressed, “April, do you want to switch?” She looked at me, and stood straighter, and said in a defiant tone, “YES, I do.” Air looked offended and replied, “No, you are happy with that,” and then loudly talked in Mandarin for a moment. I interrupted and cheerfully said, “we need to share – let’s switch!” Air frowned and April had a huge smile. April – as I mentioned before, has a sister, and Air does not. I think Air is very used to getting her way and has not had to really share before. It was an interesting experience for all of us. They decorate their cupcakes very differently too (Air’s are first, April’s are second).
The food was another thing that was very different for them. They weren’t used to eating such heavy food, or having so many sweets, or having raw salad for that matter. Most of the food they enjoyed, but a lot of it was new, and some clearly was not a favorite (to put it nicely). They did both enjoy cereal, and told me that they wished they could bring back some milk with them since our milk (2% in our house) tasted so much better than the milk in China.
Our second Sunday, I went out to get donuts – because I figured they needed them at least once. I got a huge box of them (and was very sad I couldn’t have any). We all sat down for breakfast before church, and had a serious discussion that luckily was very lighthearted. Since they were joining us at church, I asked them how much of the sermon they had understood the prior week (“not much” they confessed), and I asked them what they know about Christians, Christianity, and Jesus. Again, they confessed, “Not much.” I asked if they mind if we explained a bit to them before church so that they could understand it a bit better, and they were really excited. The prior Sunday we had explained the basics of the Bible and how to use it and what it meant to us (and given them their own bilingual copy), but this was the important stuff.
We started with sin and how we believed everyone sinned. We explained how in the Old Testament people made sacrifices to try to make up for their sins. We then explained that Jesus was the son of God, sent down as the one perfect and final sacrifice so that if we put our faith and trust in him, we are made clean. We talked about how we were believers and that we try to live like Jesus and we have a personal relationship with God, which involves prayer and forgiveness, and that we use the Bible for guidance. They asked questions and we got into a discussion about the Da Vinci Code, which was great because it brought the Gospel into everyday perspective. It was a wonderful conversation because it was presented in an educational manner but still conveyed the truth without being pushy in any way: Here’s what we believe, and this is how we (and Christians) understand things, and why certain things are important. What was the absolute best part: when we went to church just after, our pastor presented the gospel again, and I could see the girls nodding their heads; I knew they understood what was being said, even if they didn’t believe it. And as much as I love culture-exchange and learning about other places, my ultimate goal is to share the truth, and hosting was a marvelous opportunity. We were incredibly blessed by the time with the girls.
freedom – ask about all govnt posit commun, but people can believe other things – thoughts?