Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday 8/23: Guangzhou church & fun with the McDonalds

Today we spent the majority of the day in Guangzhou with our friends the McDonalds.  We had a great and very full day!

We started off by attending church at the Guangzhou International Christian Fellowship.  We took a taxi from our hotel to a Hilton a few miles away.  We started seeing Americans carrying bibles go inside and up the elevators and knew we were in the right place!  Those of you who are my Facebook friends may have already seen what I wrote about our experience at church.  I want to document it here, as well.  

To our friends in America who are waking up on Sunday morning---

Today we were able to attend the Guangzhou International Christian Fellowship church which meets at a local hotel. Many nations were represented there to hear the Gospel proclaimed-- but not China. From the church website: "Please Note - In accordance with local government regulations, Guangzhou International Christian Fellowship is open to foreign passport and foreign residence permit holders from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan."

That's right-- the local government regulates who can attend this church. There is a Christian church in Guangzhou, but it is state-run, meaning their message and practices are influenced (controlled?) by the Chinese government.

As you wake up this morning, please don't waste the amazing privilege you have to attend the church of your choosing, worship the God of your choosing, sing the songs of your choosing. To know that billions of people in the beautiful nation of China are not given this opportunity was sobering.

All that being said, we were so encouraged by our time in worship there today. We were given a warm welcome and our sweet Chinese son was able to attend church for the first time in his life.

The service was completely full- an entire banquet room at the Hilton- by the end of the service.  It was so encouraging to be surrounded by fellow believers today and to spend time in worship.

After the service we took a cab back to our hotel and chose to walk with the McDonalds to find something to eat.  We were originally looking for a noodle/dumpling place that our guide told us about but didn't find it.  We spotted Tekila's, a Mexican restaurant that Bryan and I ate at during our last visit to Guangzhou.  We all had low expectations for Mexican food in China but it ended up being a great spot for lunch.  They have added a children's play area that Samuel and Christian enjoyed and our food was pretty good too!

Bryan ordered table-side guacamole, forgetting it would have many fresh, raw vegetables in it (not safe to eat if they've been washed in Chinese tap water).  We all decided to roll the dice and eat it, knowing we could just take some Cipro if we got sick.  10 hours later and none of us are sick yet!

The new play area at Tekila's

Samuel loved playing.  He was definitely in his element and it was a great, safe place for him to burn some energy while we visited with Jess & Mike. 

Who do you think he is smiling at?? His Daddy!! This boy loves his Baba.

Sharing with Christian

 After lunch we came back to the room and Samuel took a nice, long nap while we enjoyed the quiet. When he woke up we decided to try out the hotel pool.  He was happy to bring along a beach ball that we brought.  Once at the pool, he was very solemn.  He didn't cry but I wouldn't say he enjoyed it either.  I think he was a little overwhelmed by the experience but I'm sure he will grow to love it!  We only stayed in for a little bit before deciding to try out the hotel playground instead.

This picture cracks me up.  Have you ever seen such long legs going down a kid slide?!? Bryan is such a fun, involved Daddy.  Samuel adores him

This is the face Samuel makes right before he's about to get wild.  It's kind of a crazed underbite.  This was just before he started rocking like a wild man on this toy on the playground.

We changed out of our swimsuits and walked with the McDonalds to eat at McDonalds.  Bryan and I rarely if ever eat at McDonalds in the states, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  After our meal we bought some mosquito spray at the drug store in anticipation of our day tomorrow and then headed back to the hotel.

Samuel is attaching really well to both of us:  he accepts care and comfort from us, will play/engage with both of us, is not seeking out attention or comfort from other adults, etc.  He calls us "Ma" and "Ba" short for Baba which is Chinese for Daddy.  He wants to hold our hands every where we go.  At nap and bedtime he will hold our hands as he falls asleep.  His sleeping is SO much better in Guangzhou and I think it is because our hotel room is so much cooler.  In Nanning the room felt balmy many nights as the 3 of us laid in the king sized bed.  It is chilly here so I think he is a lot more comfortable.  The ninja bed moves have basically stopped.

We are also seeing another sign of being attached and comfortable with us-- tantrums.  They aren't horrible but are definitely happening more!  Today's tantrums were over things like using or not using a fork, not being able to play with Mommy's phone anymore (after somehow changing the language to Russian), not being carried from the elevator to the room, being taken out of the bathtub, being forced to put on pants.  The struggle is real, y'all.  He is a typical toddler who wants his way and we are carefully choosing our battles while also trying to establish who runs the show.  It's a delicate balance between building trust and attachment and also establishing the parent/child relationship.  Let me tell you-- discipline and establishing a parent/child relationship is not fun when most of it is being done in public with a toddler who does not speak the same language as you!  We are hanging in there and SO encouraged by how well he is doing.  We know his trust and attachment to us will only continue to improve as the weeks go by.

Tomorrow we will go to the Safari Park with our guide.  We are really looking forward to it since we did not go on our last trip to China.  Samuel seems to love animals so it should be a blast!

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