The hot topic around here lately has been debriefing. Kate and Alex were debriefing to go home, Cindy and Ben are debriefing in a sense as they are moving this week, and Lee is planning a trip to debrief with his friends.
Keeping in line with that train of thought I am going to take the liberty of debriefing with you. As you can see from the previous few posts I had nothing short of an eventful trip to Beijing. I learned a lot that trip, and processed through this summer some on my 26 hour train ride home. I will start with Beijing first and then tackle this summer in general.
My trip to Beijing was a lot of fun, but also very irresponsible and at times very materialistic. It was a great reminder of the States and a good way to begin preparing me for going back to America.
Our trip to Beijing was not spontaneous; we had been planning to go since the beginning of the summer. BUT we were ill prepared. We did not do our homework. We did not have a hotel, we did not have a list of souvenirs. We did not have any real knowledge or plan. So one thing that I learned is the necessity of planning, doing your homework, having some sort of game plan and information to go off of. I am not suggesting a perfectly scheduled life by any means, just a well informed one.
I relearned how important it is to focus on things above because every moment of life counts. This is the short part of our existence; our hope as Christians is an eternity worshipping God before His throne (yeah I know it is a pretty awesome hope). But seriously, if that is our focus then we won’t miss the opportunity to minister when we are on the road waiting for a taxi, or on a 24 hour train ride. It will flow out naturally. If that is our focus then we will still be encouraged and a little nourished when we attend a church in a language we don’t understand because we know we are surrounded by people with the same hope. When that is our focus maybe it will be easier to keep our heads on strait when we go shopping and are overwhelmed by the things, the cheapness, the fun that is bargaining.
Moving on to this summer:
This summer I have learned that being overseas is a lot like being in America, spiritually I mean. Now if you have ever been on a short term trip you might find that hard to believe, BUT it is true. I have watched the people who are here long term, and it is just as easy to get in a rut, to go it on your own, and to not be intentional about your faith when you are here as it is in America. Comparison, pride, and disunity are all as big of a problem here as they are in America.
To put it succinctly: Going overseas does not come complete with pixie dust to ensure that you are always flying, nor does it flip a switch and turn you into Jesus.
It is weird to think that I will be in America again in less than 3 weeks (actually closer to 2). It is weird because what I have realized is that both China and America feel normal to me. It is not strange to me to be here, I am not suffering from constant culture shock, I have the comforts of home, and I love it. BUT I have grown up in America and love my roots as well so being back in the states won’t feel strange either.
Life befuddles me, but I enjoy it.
Well in less than 650 words those are some of the major lessons I have learned. I still have 2 weeks left, so who knows what else the Lord will teach me. BUT I am excited to find out!