Sunday, March 30, 2008


It was a cold, gray day in Hangzhou today. Fortunately, our hotel has heat. Unfortunately, it only blows cold air. So now we who, just a few days ago were laughing at the Chinese habit of dressing in many layers, are layering up ourselves.

The hotel rooms are starting to close in on us just a little bit and the babies seem to be feeling it the most. They seem to prefer playing out in the hallway and start fussing anytime we bring them into our rooms. Tonight we were all sitting in the hallway blowing bubbles and an American man and his Chinese daughter came up and introduced themselves. He was in this same hotel 14 years ago adopting her.

Tai Chi was apparently canceled this morning because of the rain, but we did make it to church. We weren't sure what to expect from what is likely a state-controlled church, but were still very interested in going. Rebecca told me on the way in that missionaries frequently come to teach them, many of them from America.

Also on the way in, we went past a row of books for sale, all with Chinese titles. Someone pointed out one which had a picture of President Bush on it. Rebecca giggled and said, "Oh yes, like a rockstar." Not exactly the word I would use to describe him but okay.

There were many people there of all ages, and most were taking notes diligently. Rebecca found us a bilingual hymnal and Bible so that we could be participators and not just spectators. We read Psalm 71 aloud, they in Chinese and we in English: "I will praise You more and more. My mouth will tell of Your righteousness, of Your salvation all day long, though it cannot be measured."

Later, Rebecca told us, "You know the director of the orphanage is a Christian and she told me she used to take one of these boys to church with her, but I can't remember which one." Judging from the way Joshua behaved, I doubt it was him. I can't blame him, though. It was a very long sermon, especially when you don't understand a word of it. The hymnal did make interesting reading material, though. It contained many familiar hymns and many written by Asian authors. I thought the words of one were appropriate: "In Christ, there is no East or West, in Him no North or South."

I do have to say that singing "He Lives" surrounded by hundreds of people singing it in another language is a pretty cool experience that everyone who looks forward to heaven should get to have.

I think that driving the streets around here is probably enough to make most anyone religious. There are pretty tree-lined medians in the road, but they don't really mean anything because taxis zoom around both sides of them. Today we missed a crash by inches - even our taxi driver was shaken. The fact that nobody uses carseats or seatbelts is also a little hard to get used to. We asked Rebecca if there are many accidents. "Oh yes," she responded with her little giggle.

Joshua is feeling much better and is ever the daddy's boy, although he is okay with me feeding him. He loves to be tossed around by his daddy and is so flexible we think he may have been a Chinese acrobat had he stayed here.

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