on Palm Sunday, S, played the drums with our worship team. the sending song was I Refuse. check back to my post on march 20 titled God Sightings to see video of Shianna and me
tuesday we had homeschool co-op at the church. see my last posting for photos of cookie decorating.
thursday was Maundy Thursday. we shared dinner at some of our special friends' house. how appropriate to share in a meal the night we celebrate Christ's Last Supper, with fellow disciples, whom we love so dearly. truly another wonderful blessing.
then we popped over to the church for services. our Pastor offers a unique ceremony. one by one we are called to the alter to be individually blessed and have our sins forgiven. we sit in the front of the church, so we were some of the first to approach. Shianna and Basha each went up in their turn to get blessed. they didn't snicker, mock, or act up. oh Holy Spirit, are you filling them already? won't You move them to accept Baptism soon?
friday again brought us back to church for Good Friday. the children behaved well. they were a bit too jovial for a solemn service, but they didn't really understand what was going on.
it was almost comical to see me trying to explain the story of Easter to them using Google Translate. i first typed in that today was one of our most Holy days. then i typed that God was sent to the earth as a baby, grew up to be a man, was murdered, and then brought back to life. the children's eyes got big. really big. Basha wanted to know why. i told them that God had to die to open the gates of Heaven for those who believe in Him. that God sent a Son out of love to die for our sins. they gave me the OK sign. i am not sure how much they got, how much was lost in translation, and how badly i screwed up the telling for them.
then i tried this wonderful audio Bible website they have that has Madarin Bible stories for children http://hk.bibleinlivingsound.org. problem was that once you click on Chinese, all the titles are in Chinese character. oh no! so i spent several minutes copy and pasting the characters into Google Translate to find the Easter story. to my astonishment-they weren't in order! AND they were all broken down into small pieces. they had the "Death of Judas" next to the "Metaphor of the Good Samaritan" next to the "Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh" next to the "Crucifixion." i thought maybe i would just show them the Crucifixion one. OK bad idea. it is an reenactment audio story. it begins with men shouting and people screaming. boy, did their eyes get really big. i turned that off might quick. it was best left to the confusing description i gave them.
in any case, they were respectful of going to church and sitting through long services. they have also stopped mocking us when we say grace. just now as i sit here banging away on my keyboard i can hear all four children saying grace. it is a comical mix of English and gibberish, but at least they are on board with the way this family does things.
saturday brought us the 7th annual Easter Eggstravaganza at church. there are many fun activities including crafts, refreshments, balloon animals, and a petting zoo.
the school age children were given a wristband with a number on it that corresponds to eggs with the same number. as we sat in the church getting instruction, i panicked. oh no! who here can explain this concept to our Chinese children? i looked around, wild eyed...anyone here speak Mandarin? a close friend who is also an adoptive mom approached me later commenting on how funny it was with me shouting, "anyone here speak Mandarin??" OK it was funny.
we got outside to the egg field. i was overwhelmed. how would i explain it to them? why didn't i remember that the Bible says to Fear Not 365 times? one for each day of the year. yes, even the day of my children's first Easter Egg Hunt! the kids had no trouble figuring it out. they immediately set out to find their allotted eggs. how i underestimate them. have i learned a lesson? no! i will continue to be amazed by their smarts. probably to my detriment at some point. they are so smart they will eventually use it to their advantage.
a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to all who worked so hard to make this community outreach program a fun and successful day. we appreciate all you did to make it a special time of fellowship.
sunday was of course Easter Sunday. we usually attend the Sonrise service at 6 AM, but i wasn't about to wake the kiddos up at 4:30 AM when we are still experiencing the language barrier. so we woke up and had our family egg hunt. E rolled away the rock from the tomb of her homeschool co-op craft. inside the angel, who spoke to the women, was portrayed by none other than Yoda. cracked me up. very funny E.
because the children had already been exposed to an egg hunt, there was no need to explain what to do. they were off- tackling each other over the first several eggs until mommy started yelling to "settle down" and "don't" in Mandarin. it was more civilized after that. when Mandarin comes out of my mouth, it stuns everyone into stopping whatever they are doing. a great parenting trick...highly useful...
A found over 30% of the eggs. she scored big this year. E helped her new sisters find eggs...so selfless. i love how they love and protect each other.
we made it to 11 am church services early. yes, i said early. Easter miracles abound around here. it was the best Easter service i have ever been to. the music and sermon were inspiring. i wish i could have video taped it and posted it for all to share in. the adopted children were a bit wild though. so sugar before church is not a great idea. note to self...Easter baskets can be broken into after church next year.
later we had a nice dinner with a few loved ones. everyone chipped in to make it an amazing meal. i let the spiral ham cook in the crockpot while we were at church. i didn't have time to mess with glaze, so i poured a half of cup of orange juice over top before turning it on. it was so yummy. try it sometime.
5 out of 8 days this past week we were at our church. again, where are our Easter Week beds? the children never once complained or had to be dragged away for reprimand. woohoo.
THANK YOU MERCIFUL FATHER FOR OUR COUNTLESS BLESSINGS AND PROVISIONS. YOU HAVE CREATED A WONDERFUL COMMUNITY FOR OUR CHILDREN TO BE RAISED IN. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS'S SACRIFICE. OH HOW UNWORTHY WE ARE YET SO LOVED. BLESSED BE YOUR NAME. AMEN.