Happy Chinese New Year from Asia! The fireworks are noisy, everything is red, and our city is becoming a ghost town since many people have left to visit family elsewhere or go on vacation. The country shuts down for a couple of weeks, so it will hopefully be a restful (although noisy) time for our family.
At the end of January, I had the opportunity to go on a trip with a local friend to visit a farm a few hours away. My friend’s friend owns the farm, so I was able to ask her a lot of questions about how things are done, policies, cost, etc. (She invited our family to live there, which our second invitation since we arrived here. I love how the people for this country are so generous!) It was a helpful time and gave us more to go on as we pursue fund raising and figuring out where to go from here as we hunt for land.
I also went to another city to visit more of her friends and see some of the other things going on in this country. I got to visit a few small villages and gain further cultural experiences. One thing that struck me is that so many people here are tired. They work really hard, but especially in the villages, it is hard to make a living. But one of our core values is to release hope and rest wherever we go, so we try to look for ways to encourage people who feel hopeless and weary. I had the opportunity to encourage people many times, and was honored and happy to have the chance to do that.
Having two New Years gives us twice as much time to think about the coming year and the direction we are heading. We have been here ten months and are understanding more and more of the language, although we are still very elementary in it. And we have learned so much about the culture, the way to do business, and how things are done here which of course is quite different than we are used to. We are building strategic relationships with locals and internationals and really do feel at home here.
When Allison was away on her travels, I stayed behind and homeschooled the girls. Rachel has been taking eight hours of Mandarin each week recently, and her language is coming along fast. So she and I have become a good translation team. Her listening and comprehension is good, and I am doing pretty well on being able to speak enough to communicate. So, together we are able to get across what we need. For example, last week we had to get a water heater replaced. Rachel and I were able to get someone to our apartment, show them where the problem was, answer random questions the workers had, and even had them fix a water leak in another location. Several times they would ask me something and I would get Rachel to translate, then I would say the answer.
With all of that said, there is still so much to consider as we move forward with Josiah’s Covenant. I have been working on a detailed business plan with cost projections, which is a lot of work with so many variables. We’ve been given advice from many people (both foreigners and locals) that we need to start a business here, so we are wondering if we should move forward on this in the near future.
We realize we are new at running a non-profit, and there is a steep learning curve, especially in a cross-cultural context. So thank you for the prayers, thoughts, encouragement and support as we move forward. We value you and are thankful for your interest in our family, Asia, orphans, and human trafficking victims.