If you’ve missed the few times I have talked about her, Cherry is our 17-year-old “adopted” Chinese daughter. She came to live with us on my birthday (Halloween) last fall and will be with us until June 5. And most likely next year as well.
She’s a junior at a Christian school 15 minutes away but chose the school for its relaxed, family-like atmosphere, not because of her personal faith. She’s tall and thin and quiet (except when she’s chatting with family in China) and pretty and sweet (except when she’s arguing with her boyfriend about how to make dumplings).
And I don’t blog about her much, because I want to respect her privacy.
And because she could totally read my blog if she wanted to (although I think a 17yo would have to be pretty bored to read her 37yo host mom’s blog).
We’ve had our moments. And Host Dad and I have had many discussions over certain issues. And Little Host Sisters have had their share of sighs and complaints. And there are many times when I question God–why, when I want nothing more than to be in Asia did you bring Asia to me instead???
But for the most part, things are going really, really well. We love Cherry and from what we can tell, she loves us back.
Cherry, if you’re reading this, ni hao, ming tao! And we love you!
Yesterday, Cherry’s friend Silence and his host parents came over at 9:30 a.m. to make authentic, homemade Chinese pork dumplings for Spring Festival and Chinese New Year. Eleven hours later, we were eating them. Oy.
There was a little bit of the lost-in-translation thing going on when I took Cherry to get ingredients the night before. Silence learned how to make dumplings with his Chinese parents who visited over Christmas, so he knew what he needed, told Cherry, then she told me at the grocery store. But yeah, it was kind of like the Game of Telephone.
Silence’s host dad saved the day and ran out to get the stuff we really needed. Then ran out and got us some hamburgers when we realized we weren’t going to be eating the dumplings for lunch after all. Then Silence’s parents had bowling league that afternoon, so they left Silence with us (the two of them whispered, giggled, and “studied” at the kitchen table), and came back at 7:30. At 8:30, I was putting the first bite of long-awaited deliciousness in my mouth.
Yum, yum, yum! I ate a lot. And it was definitely a day to remember. Thank you, Silence and Cherry, for your labor of love!
Then today Cherry and I shared a special moment in church. A few weeks ago, Pastor Rich asked me if I thought Cherry would be willing to read a passage of Scripture in front of the congregation in her native language as part of our Racial Reconciliation series. I laughed, thinking of how shy Cherry is, and said, “I seriously doubt it, but I’ll ask.”
On the way home from school that day, I told her Pastor Rich wanted to know if she’d read some Bible verses in Chinese. She looked at me wide-eyed, and said, “Why would I do that?”
I said, “You know how we sang a song in Spanish last Sunday at church?”
“Yes, but some people at your church speak Spanish, right?”
“But nobody at your church speaks Chinese.”
So I told her that the Bible talks about how when people who love and follow Jesus get to heaven, there will be people from every nation, speaking every language and praising Jesus. And we want to experience some of that now. We don’t want to wait until heaven.
She said she’d think about it.
And then she said yes.
And today, we went up together and I shared that story, and she read Revelation 7:9-12 in Chinese (beautifully, I might add), and I read it in English. And then I talked a little about how one of my favorite things ever is singing praises to God in my native tongue in a room full of people from other nations praising that same God in their native tongue. Like in Cambodia. And Thailand. And Okinawa.
And then our pastor Rich Johnson, and our friend Chad Brennan, co-preached an incredible message where they took us through the whole Bible from Moses to Isaiah to Jesus to the Apostles to the Holy Spirit to the Early Church and showed us how each and every one of them spoke to racial reconciliation.
Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
So honored and humbled to be surrounded by people who are making this happen in real ways every day. May I listen and learn and love and humbly admit when I’m wrong or ask brave, thoughtful questions when I just don’t understand something.
May I be part of a movement that reconciles people to each other and to God. And may I do it God’s way and for his glory.
We’re all different, all unique, yet one in Christ Jesus.
May I love like he did, whether it’s the girl across the hall or my neighbors of different colors or the homeless or the Christians I don’t agree with or whoever.
All. One. In. Christ. Amen.