We arrived safely in Beijing after a long 12 hour flight. "We" meaning me, Peggy (the Global Partners in Hope leader of our team), and Dr. Liz Selzer, a new friend. I want to introduce these names to you so that you'll know who I'm referring to as I journal about my adventures here.
You would have met Peggy from my trip to Beijing last September. She is such a thoughtful and encouraging leader. Her story of how God prepared her for ministry here is pretty amazing - from managing over 600 women in her business to now sharing the gospel and equipping thousands of women in China.
Liz is also an amazing woman. We are kindred spirits with a love for study and equipping leaders. She has an MDiv, an MA in counseling and a PhD in education. Currently in the process of building her consulting business, she helps organizations and businesses in training their leaders and establishing a mentoring culture. I am so excited to be her roommate/teammate and learn from her during this time of ministering to the Chinese. Having our paths cross now is especially serendipitous because I will be speaking at a women's leadership conference in April on the topic of mentoring!
One of the main goals of this trip is to begin the training of a small group of women who have stepped forward with a desire to lead. These women called "coaches" will eventually form their own groups of women to train into leadership. The goal is to multiply these groups of leaders throughout Beijing and then repeat the process in another city. I feel so privileged to be a part of this vision, at least for this trip.
Back to the airport. We had to wait for the rest of the team to arrive from Los Angeles before we could head to our hotel (the same one I stayed in on my last trip). This team is from a church in Escondido, CA which is partnering with GPiH in China. Mary Waring has led teams to Beijing several times now. This time her husband John is with her though he travels regularly to China for business. Along with John and Mary is another couple named Greg and Kathy. While we women are speaking at our venues, the guys will have opportunities to minister to groups of Chinese men.
After a good night's sleep, we enjoyed a Friday (your Thursday) free of any commitments. This gave us a chance to adjust. The team met for a buffet breakfast in the hotel, again an amazing spread of food, my favorite being eggs over easy on top of a bed of fried rice and Asian bread. It was wonderful to spend time praying together. We decided to do this with our eyes wide open so it wouldn't create any problems in this public place. I loved praying that way! It felt more like a true community prayer with Christ sitting at our table with us. When I prayed for Kathy who was having difficulty with pain, I could reach across the table for her hand, look straight into her eyes and ask God to touch her body. I felt so much more connected to God and to the team by praying like this as if in a normal conversation.
After breakfast Peggy, Liz and I walked to Walmart. Yup, that's what I said. Walmart. Chinese style. Whole smoked ducks hanging from hooks. Cartons of eggs unrefrigerated. I couldn't read the Chinese to see if they were preserved in some way. Nothing looked American made. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since everything in Walmart stateside is probably made in China.
For lunch the team met at a Japanese restaurant next to the hotel. I ordered a big plate of calamari deep fried with wasabi flavored batter for $3. Yum yum!
Then we chilled for the rest of the day and prepared for the next day's workshop.
Thanks to all of you who are following me to China with prayers and support and encouraging words. Things continue to change even after just one day but I am happy to step into whatever God has for me. That can mean preparing talks I did not anticipate giving. But I am confident that whatever I do here God has already prepared me for it. This is the ADVENTURE OF WALKING WITH CHRIST.
It's 4 am China time as I write this (noon Pacific time). I hope my sleeplessness is due to excitement not jet lag. But it doesn't matter. I am grateful to be here.