I love how God intersects our path with others in the most unusual and unexpected ways! The youth minister at our church met some young people from China that were working in Natchitoches, La. He began bringing them to church and they introduced him to some students working for Burger King in Coushatta. Of course, he invited the ones working in Coushatta to church and they came! This is where our paths intersected. Amy and Wales came to church one Wednesday night and I introduced myself to them and began to ask questions. I was very interested in knowing what brought these very educated and talented students to work at Burger King in Coushatta. First, you must know that Coushatta is a very small town in Louisiana with a very limited amount of things to do...that's putting it nicely. These precious Chinese students told us that they were here on a work and travel experience to learn more about the American culture and work to have money to spend while they were here. I about choked when I thought about them learning about American culture in Coushatta!! Don't get me wrong, I love where we live and know that God has placed us here for a reason but bringing Chinese people to Coushatta to learn about our culture...that's funny. Unless they want to know how to hunt, fish, or work in the oil industry. Anyway, I love people from other countries and embraced this opportunity to tell them about JESUS! It all started the night that we met and Amy told me she was very interested in Christianity!! I took that opportunity and gave them an invitation to our home which they were very excited to accept. I told them I would buy the groceries if they would cook. What a deal! We got the better end of it! Before they came to eat and cook, I learned that there were actually five of these students living in a very small apartment in Coushatta. They were more than excited to get to cook in a large kitchen. It was a party waiting to happen. Four of them came and we had a great time!
|Echo, Amy, Robert and Wales hard at work. Robert is not the typical Chinese man as you can tell by his size! He is a giant in China.|
|The girls doing the prep work.|
|The boys started making dumplins and they gave the kids and Mrs. Marilyn lessons!|
|The smells were heavenly!|
|You can't find Chinese food that tastes this good in a restaurant. It was amazing! Pork, beef, chicken, dumplins, and eggs!|
|The food was scrumptious but the fellowship was the sweetest!|
The next four weeks were spent building these relationships. We gave them rides and brought them to church. They were eager to come every time they were off of work. We even taught them about grilled cheese sandwiches and brownies (thanks to Mrs. Marilyn) which they loved! The boys left first after about three weeks of knowing them and it was hard to say goodbye. The girls stayed about two more weeks and in that time we made plans for them to see a little bit of Louisiana that would be considered "culture." My sweet mother-in-law came to pick them up and take them to her house in Baton Rouge. While there they toured LSU (which Echo loved and wants to come back and go to school there), the state capitol, ate at some nice restaurants, met some wonderful people who loved on them and shared some more of JESUS with them. One of my favorite stories is them meeting my MIL's pastor and wife who have adopted a child from China. This child is a female with special needs. The girls were amazed that someone with a healthy biological family would adopt a female from China with special needs. The pastor related their story to our adoption story of how God adopts us (with our special needs) through His son Jesus. Talk about bringing it close to home....they could understand that! My MIL also planned a special day for the girls in New Orleans where they went to the N.O. Cooking School and were able to taste and see some authentic Louisiana dishes! They also went on a carriage ride, ate at Cafe du Monde and went to an art studio(Echo is a fine arts major). They began to call my MIL their American Mama! This tickled her pink. I think the end of their time in Louisiana was the icing on the cake.
|Their American Mama!|
They might have had a less than ideal time in Coushatta compared to other students around our nation on the same program but I think they will remember our time spent together forever. I know they are forever engraved in my heart. I love and miss them very much as does my family.
Thank you God for new friends in China!