Monday, August 15, 2011

To China with Love - Part I: Where to begin?

It seems like just yesterday I was at BT Women’s Super Saturday: Dreams, Desires, and Destiny sharing with my sisters in Christ about the exciting opportunity God had placed before me to fulfill my dream of working with orphans in China.  Now, I have the exciting opportunity to share with everyone as much about that incredible journey as I can. 

I had originally wanted to begin this devotional with that quote from The Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.”  The beginning is certainly an excellent place to start, but here’s the problem I’m discovering:  with God, it’s awfully hard to find the beginning.  You see, one of the most life-changing things I realized in China is that God’s work begins long before we even realize it.  I’m thinking back on the story of Jesus healing the blind man in John chapter nine.  Jesus’ disciples asked Him whose sin had caused the man to be born blind, and His response was profound.  He said, basically, that the man had been born blind not because of anyone’s sin, but so that God could be glorified in his healing.  God was at work from this man’s birth, long before he could even dream of experiencing healing.  And I’ve learned that nothing has changed over the thousands of years between that story and mine.

When I first arrived in China, I thought I would be doing office work, writing newsletters and the like.  They had mentioned the possibility of a music class or two since I am a music education major, but nothing was certain because they already had a music teacher.  I was ready to do whatever God placed before me, though.  It’s a good thing God got my “yes” from the beginning because after my first challenging weekend where I faced culture shock and sickness from the food, I realized that things would be a little different than I had anticipated.  About halfway through my first week of work, the headmistress of the school approached me and asked if she could give me my schedule of piano lessons the next day.  Not exactly my plan, but sure enough, she returned later with my very full schedule: 9 first-time piano students, 2 preschool music classes, and a choir.  Needless to say, I ended up spending very little time in the office.  And that became me, the English music teacher.  Though I never expected it, music became my gift to those kids and their gift to me.  Those times together singing, laughing, playing, and teaching will forever be some of the greatest treasures. 

Here’s the really neat thing though.  I would never have been able to say “yes” to that unexpected opportunity if God hadn’t begun working long before I knew I would be traveling to China.  I wasn’t a music education major until God called me to switch in Fall 2009. My reason for switching? Well, I told my professor that I wanted to make an impact in the world and that I could definitely see myself visiting orphans in China teaching them music and leaving them with songs in their hearts.  Oh, and even though I had played piano for 14 years, I never knew how to teach it until last semester when I “randomly” took a piano pedagogy class that wasn’t even on my degree plan.  My reasoning?  “I just have a feeling I’m going to need to teach piano at some point.”  Funny, isn’t it?  So there you have it, beloved.  God was at work long before I even realized.  There are beginnings to my story I never even knew existed.  What beginnings is He creating in your life?

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