Saturday's Leadership training was in partnership with Jennifer Chen's BCEF business fellowship organization run by her husband George. We had about 50 in attendance and trained for about 6 hours with an hour for lunch. Wonderfully received and at one point in the afternoon when I thought they might need a break the said "No!" - such a hunger to know and to do all they can for God. There will be a need to have different levels of training in the future as we are laying the groundwork for the upcoming connections on the website (coming soon!) on Skype and in person. In total, only counting the larger groups we trained 130 women on this trip!
I took a beautiful 2 hour drive on Sunday with Hope to Langfang, the college town built by the government where Hope attended and started a ministry. We had a really nice sharing time with 5 lovely young ladies, one named Joy who is a seeker and the birthday girl! After worship we went to lunch in the village of Langfang - a very rural type place with dirt/mud streets and vendors and meat cooking at nearly every residence/shop. We ate at the girls favorite family run restaurant and enjoyed great food and a beautiful cake!
Monday was packed with connections: a meeting with the woman at Anadarko Petroleum about possible donations to the China Harmony and Unity Center; time with Iwona Fahel; meeting with Eunice (wife of the Beijing Int'l Mandarin Church pastor); meeting with Sabina. Great times spent with all!
Tuesday was again filled with: a meeting with Shaun and Sarah BAO; time with Judy Burrows of Family Life Ministries; meeting with Hope and more time with Sabina! It was really good to have these times to really talk through how we are working together and how we can help each other to help orchestrate religious freedom in China! Then on Wednesday Shaun took me to the airport for the long ride home :).
Now, about those fortune cookies: I try to bring goodies and treats that are made in the USA - well this time that included fortune cookies purchased from Oriental Trading Co of NE :)! Knowing that fortune cookies are American and not Chinese, I thought that might be fun to bring since you can get them with Scripture Verses inside from Oriental Trading. It was really great to see how excited the women at the first training received them after Hope explained what was inside - because there were 75 women, I couldn't see all the expressions.
Then the next day at Sabina's church, after lunch and before the baptism I passed some out. They had never seen them and one lady called them "lucky cookies" and had heard of them. We had to show them how to open the cookie and take out the verse which one young man helped us translate. One lady ate the whole thing verse and all before we had a chance to explain! She was really disappointed to learn she had eaten the verse! Chewing on the Word...
I will add more and then link to the full summary of the trip soon. So many things and such excitement over God, worship, learning and all that we take for granted here. It truly wakes you up to your first love. There is a sweetness and freshness to the people and their faith. As you can probably tell, every spare moment was taken and if there had been more moments they too would have filled. Please pray for us as we move forward on creative ways to continue what we've begun and then plan the next trip in October for the Reconcilliation Forum at the Summer Palace!