Monday, July 25, 2011

Home Again

Thank you everyone who has supported me on this trip, your prayers and support have blessed me so much; it's hard to express just how much.  I have been home now for about a month, it's amazing how time seems to escape us!  After spending three weeks in China we traveled yet again to Hong Kong (26 hours on a train plus about another five counting a small train ride and bus rides etc.) where we spent five days for debrief week.  So much happened during the time we were in China that it would be hard to describe all of it in so small a space.  I've copied what I wrote for the YWAM blog and pasted it here to give you a brief synopsis:

Stepping into China felt surreal for me.  It was as if I was entering into a place that I was familiar with, but didn't know at all.  Going into Cambodia and Thailand was different because I had never experienced their cultures before, but I thought I knew about Chinese people and their culture fairly well before I experienced them.  Both proved to be far more wonderful than I expected.  Over the course of the three weeks we were there, we attended university groups where students came to practice english, helped out in a kindergarten, ministered to leper villages, and became involved with the local Christian community.  The courage and strength these people showed inspired all of us on the team; they had experienced the love of God and knew that nothing in the world was worth giving that up, not even physical safety.  God showed me so much in China about Himself through the people we engaged with.  I was struggling with a few things going into China, one of which was trusting God.  I knew He wanted to show me His faithfulness, but I couldn't seem to get past certain things that, to me, looked like failures on His part.  One sunday a few of us were invited to speak at a home church full of mostly new Christians, and I felt that God wanted me to speak to them on having childlike trust.  Still feeling raw emotionally, I went with my teammates and we spent time with these young believers.  As we sang songs in worship together, I felt the love of the Father fill the room; and as I looked upon the faces of the Chinese as they sang to God in their own language I felt a rush of His love for me.  As I spoke, it was from my heart and I knew that God had revealed Himself to me in that room full of people hungry for truth.  As much as we were there to be a blessing to the Chinese people, they blessed us with their unashamed love for God and desire for His kingdom.  God is doing amazing things in China, and I'm so glad I was priviledged to be a part of them. 
Experiencing China was like stepping into a living paradox.  Going in there you would think there would be strong spiritual oppression and the people would want to get out because of the lack of freedom.  On the contrary, the atmosphere felt so free and open it was almost like walking through open doors when you expect them to be locked.  The christians there don't talk about wanting to be free from the persecution, they only talk about how they want more of God.  I was so blessed by this experience and the people we met there, it really was life-changing for me.

Our final week of DTS was spent in Hong Kong at the base there.  We didn't do any official "ministry", although we blessed each other throughout the week with prayer and encouragement as we prepared to go back home and exit the dts environment.  We visited the local shopping places, saw some of Hong Kong's delights, visited a water park, and spent as much quality time with each other as we could.  We focused on going back over all that the Lord had taught us throughout the dts and letting it "sink in" so to speak.  During this week the Lord really gave me grace to take all He had given me in dts, but also to move onto the new things He has for me.  I looked at all of the amazing people who went through the experience with me and I was so thankful for those relationships He provided.  One of the highlights of debrief week (apart from all the fun hanging out stuff we did) was the creative expression activity where we described our dts experience using any creative outlet we wanted.  It was wonderful to see my teammates express what God had done for them, and to look at my own experience and praise God for His work.  I wrote a poem which I felt described one of the main things God helped me to do during dts, and that was to lift all of my struggles and burdens to Him and let His wings carry me:

To the one who is striving, to the burdened of heart
To the one whose peace is being torn apart
To the feelings of failure, shame and defeat
To the standards that seem impossible to meet
No pain is hidden, my sorrows are known
Despite what I think I'm never alone
He made my spirit, body and soul.
He went to the cross, His blood made me whole
He's the giver of life, and Provider of peace
I will give Him my burdens in this great release

God is sooooooo good, and I'm so glad He takes all the yucky stuff away and gives us hope and joy and peace when we ask Him.  Blessings to all of you, thank you for sharing this experience with me!!

Love, Aubrey