Jake Zauche’s team of 4 (Jake, Lauren, Kim & Taylor), spent the weekend in the rural mountains of central China visiting a village school. They did not have internet access over the weekend, so here’s your chance to catch up with Taylor’s thoughts on the experience!
The last few days in China have been truly wonderful, and for me, a real eye opener into the lives of the people in this particular part of China. On Thursday we started off the day by packing up our things to get ready for the Mountain School, also called the Sunflower School. After being packed, we stopped by the Mayfield’s school to meet the teachers, and the students, which were awesome. We had a chance to see the ‘Savannah House’ (named after SCC because our Faith Promise giving helps sustain this part of their ministry!), where the interns stay, and where the children take a nap, and eat lunch. By this time we were pretty hungry, and so we decided to stop by the neighborhood KFC, that was fully equipped with all the chicken you could eat. To get to the Mountain school we needed to ride a train, so after that we went to buy tickets, but unfortunately some of our tickets were not approved, and some of us missed the train, so we had to go to plan B, which was going to a cooler part of town before finding a way to get to the Mountain School. That cooler part of town ended up being in the mall, parked right in front of Mckkee D’s with all of our luggage, and the camera equipment, we definitely got a lot of stares we looked like homeless foreigners looking for a place to get some cool air for a few hours. BUT that only lasted for a little while. Amy (a Chinese teacher at the school) was able to get us a bus, to take us to the mountain school. Driving up the treacherous mountains was terrifying, we realized that the Chinese have an interesting way of driving up mountains, they have no rules at all, and there were a few tunnels without light, but that’s alright, because we made it to our resting place alive. The food was amazing that night, we had a spicy cucumber dish, and rice (which would be our close friend for the duration of our time in the mountains), we also had a chance to taste a Chinese pepper called huajiao that numbs your mouth. Side note: we also realized that toilet paper is a gift from the heavenly hosts, and that the art of the squattie potty (Chinese hole in the ground, for the use of relieving yourself) is a very real and serious thing.
Today we woke up, and had sweeet red bean bread with jelly and lettuce, which was great. Driving to the actual sunflower school, that was at over 6,000 ft was just as scary as driving up the mountain the day before, but a little less intense. Once we got to the school, we split our team into two groups, my group taught the kids “If you’re happy and you know it” in English, which was awesome. Even though you could tell the kids there were in poverty, their faces lit up when we taught them the songs, and interacted with them. Once we were done teaching the children the songs we ate lunch, they told us that the meal they would be serving us was one that would not be common for them to eat, and that we were given this as honored guests. It was really amazing that these people would do this for us, even though they were in so much poverty. The conditions of the bathrooms at the school were pretty awful, and the smell was unimaginable. I think at that point I really realized how impoverished these kids are, some of them walk almost 6 hours to get to and from school everyday. After lunch we taught the kids a few games, and learned some new games from them. Jamie (a teacher at the school) took us to eat some authentic buckwheat noodles, and we realized that the native people to that town had really never seen foreigners before, and were completely stunned by our presence in their village, so I’m sure many of our faces are somewhere on many cell phones in that village.
Today we woke up and were able to eat Chinese kimchi, and rice porridge, then we went to a Christian school, and had a chance to talk with a teacher from that school, and also teachers from themountain school we went to the day before. The teacher at the Christian school told us how she cameto know Christ. Her mother was sick, and they had been to many doctors who could not help her, so she prayed to God for help, and her mother was healed. She knew then that there must have been a God, and a few years later she found out about Jesus, and became a Christian. One of the teachers from the mountain school said that the teacher from the Christian school was actually his spiritual mother, and helped him in his walk with Christ early on. After the interview the Christian school, cooked us a big lunch, and from there we headed to Jamie’s home. When we arrived at her home we were welcomed by several young girls who were dressed in traditional outfits, after this welcome, they put on a dance performance for us. What they did was beautiful, but I definitely didn’t feel worthy of their welcoming or performance. We were able to join them for a few dances which was fun, and tiring. The girls allowed us to put on some of their traditional outfits. There was a big dinner that was prepared for all of us, and we ate this rice dough, that was dipped in honey, which had to be manna from Heaven. What I think is really cool about Chinese culture is their willingness to serve others. After this we went to Ruby’s (a teacher from the school) home, and sang Christian songs in both their language and ours, and you could really see the heart that they had for Jesus through the way they sang, particularly in this song that spoke about God’s salvation and provision.
Today was our last day in the village, we were split up into two groups, one went to Ruby’s home for church, and the other went to Jamie’s home to teach Sunday school. I was on the team thatwent to the Sunday school, and there we taught the children the story of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins, and rising from the dead. We got the children to act out the story, which was great, and I think they really enjoyed it. Afterwards we did a craft that Ms. Kim put together, which was a cross door hanger, even though there were kids there that ranged from around 8-16, they all enjoyed the craft. We taught them duck duck goose, and also musical chairs, which they had a blast playing, though one kid didn’t quite understand that snatching the chairs from under the other players, was indeed cheating. We were served 1st lunch, which included a fried version of the manna from Heaven. We all said our goodbyes, and had a group hug with all the children at Sunday school, and headed to Ruby’s home to eat 2nd lunch and meet up with the rest of our team. Second lunch was top notch, just like first lunch was, and afterwards we had the privilege of praying for an elderly woman that was suffering from body pain. Lastly packed up our things, and headed back to to the Mayfield’s home in the City, for much needed showering and sleep.
– Taylor Goudeau