I was so excited that it was my turn to write on the Women Behind the Scenes blog after our visit to China just a month ago. I couldn’t wait to share about our trip and all I learned there! I hope that this post will be an inspiration for you to get out of your comfort zone, apply for that passport and save for a mission’s trip! I also pray that it will open your eyes to the need in China and the need to be a prayer warrior for our missionaries living there!
After flying across 12 time zones, we arrived to China! Mark AND Natasha met us at the airport with their daughter, Ava. I knew when I saw Natasha how hard it was to arrange a sitter to stay extra hours at home with her other girls so she could come to the airport to meet us! It meant as much to me as the beautiful flowers she surprised me with! I really had not expected to see her until we got to their house!
The first couple of days Jeff and I were both pretty jet lagged especially every day at 4 in the afternoon! Mark and Natasha were very patient with us when we wanted to go to bed at 6 p.m. and get up at 3 a.m.! I had never experienced jet lag until this year, so I want to challenge you to pray for your missionaries to recover quickly from jet lag! (I know I’m making it sound like a disease, but it’s not easy for your body to adjust so many hours ahead of schedule, or whatever it is in the countries they are serving in!) It’s especially difficult with children who can’t understand! It would be a huge blessing for the sending church to arrange for families to help out with the children the first few days their missionaries arrive home on furlough so mom and dad can get some rest and the kids can get worn out during the daytime!
My first impression of China was that it was odd to hear so many people speaking a language that sounded like jibber jabber to us. We didn’t understand one word, and we couldn’t even tell when a word ended and another word started…or a sentence for that matter. It was very frustrating not to be able to communicate with anyone. It made me realize how much more we need to pray for missionaries to learn the language effectively! Not just to learn “enough to get by”. It’s not easy, and the first couple years on the field are so key to learning the language! Thankfully Mark and Natasha have both learned Chinese extremely well!
One thing that impressed me about Natasha is that she loves the people that God has placed in her life in China. I watched as she taked and laughed with “Ayi” (Aunt in Chinese) every day. It’s obvious Ayi is constantly helping her with the language and that she has spent hours with Natasha. She has taught Natasha much about Chinese culture and food! She is the ideal friend to have when you are learning a new language because she is patient to repeat things, correct and she is sooo dynamic! She has a very sweet, upbeat personality! She loved Jeff’s preaching so much that she brought him a duck the next day as a gift! Yes, a duck to eat!
I know we probably stressed Mark and Natasha out (living in their apartment for over a week), but they were so easy going and made us feel so welcome. They fed us so many different kinds of foods – not just Chinese, but Korean, New York Pizza, Indian, and even homemade Thai lettuce wraps! I wanted our trip to be a relaxation and blessing to them, but I think they made that happen more for us! They definitely spoiled us! Natasha has the gift of hospitality, something every missionary wife will have to learn. She not only interacted and served us, but she was a sweet hostess to the Chinese as well! She has learned how to set a table the cultural way for Chinese people to feel comfortable; she allows the people to interact with her children and so much more!
I am so grateful for our team of missionaries in China, but the need is so great! Everywhere you look are people! When Mark asked in their ESL Bible study how many had heard anything about Jesus only a few of the 75 people could raise their hands. It’s a country with so much work to be done for the Gospel and so few are willing to go. Would you pray about China? Pray that God would send more laborers! Mark and Natasha have left all — their homeland, family, even the grave of their little Wesley, to learn a new language, food and culture to share the Gospel and start churches in China. Would you join them in prayer for more laborers? They see the need everytime they look out their apartment window and see high-rise buildings all around them. It’s obvious for them, but can seem so distant and far away for us in America. We need more senders and goers for China!