What an indiscribable experience to start today with worship at a Christian church in Guangzhou. Before I came here, I had no idea this was even possible, or that there were openly Christian churches holding Sunday services anywhere in this country. The service we attended was in Mandarin, with an English translation. How amazing to hear God's word spoken in Chinese - and how great to see the church be COMPLETELY packed. The building was very simple, with beautiful stained glass windows its only decoration. Yet you felt God's Spirit as you walked in, every bit as much as in the fanciest, best ornamented churches in America or Europe. We sang a couple of songs in English, some of the same ones we sing at church back home. There were also a couple of songs in Chinese. The message was about Abraham being the father of many nations, which all the adoptive families thought was very appropriate considering the purpose of our visit to China. We then got to hear a wonderful testimony from one of the church members, reminding us of the importance of prayer.
After church we had to go to our guide Shiyan's room to finish up the paperwork needed for Abby's visa - her appointment is tomorrow. We were there with about five other families, although the families had all split up so that only one parent was in the room while the other parent watched their child elsewhere. Abby was the only child there. I was very proud of her as she was extremely well behaved the entire time, and waited very patiently even though she must have been insanely bored. At one point, Shiyan offered her a candy, and she made me very proud by responding "NO, thank you". We've been working on those "No, thank yous" a lot lately. The paperwork was very simple, but it did take a while with so many families.
We then spent the rest of the afternoon shopping around the island. There's so many little shops to see, and it helps pass the time. I want to get Abby a few things from her country to give her at different occassions as she grows up. We're also having fun looking for souvenirs for the kiddos at home. Don't want to say more so I won't give away their surprises. James is having a lot of fun bargaining with the shopkeepers, and has really scored us some great deals. I know I'm talking about a lot of shopping, but the price you pay for things is ridiculously low. They always throw in a free something or two when you're paying, too. One of the shopkeepers today gave Abby a free silk dress.
For dinner, we ventured out on our own to the Cow and Bridge, which serves Thai Food. We're going to have a group dinner tomorrow night at a Chinese restaurant, so we thought we'd try something a bit different. I had a great Thai beef skillet, and James opted for the squid. Everything was delicious, even though I'm just taking James' word on the squid. I opted not to try it - thank you. Abby had a mountain of french fries and some of my beef. She DID try some of the squid, and didn't care for it one bit. Oh- I also drank coconut milk straight out of the coconut like I did when I was a kid - brought back a lot of memories!!! Did I mention that five minutes after we walked in the restaurant, in walked Chris, Avery and Faith???? YAYYY - I was wanting to meet up with them again. So, even though we started off on our own, it turned out to be a dinner with friends after all. Avery sure is a charmer - she was making eyes at James tonight, too : )
Tomorrow is a nothing day - we just have to check our phone at noon to see if we have a message from Shiyan. She actually brings our file to the Consulate to apply for the visa, and then she'll call us if there's any questions that come up about our paperwork. So hopefully, we won't hear from her at all!! I will try to get a few pictures from today up, and a video clip from the church service. I was finally able to get pictures on yesterday's post, so go check those out if you haven't already!!
Oh- and I guess a few people have been asking, so I'll post this to make it easier for everyone: Abby is wearing a size 6, maybe a 7 to grow into because I plan to pack a few pounds on her FAST!! I brought 6s that fit her perfectly!! And if you're inclined to buy her some clothes, please remember: she's definitely a girly-girl.
Abby's new favorite word: BEAUTIFUL. She says it when she sees a nice dress, a bride (lots of people come to Shamian Island to have their wedding photos done, so there's brides all over the place), a pretty doll, anything!!! She even says "Mama Beautiful" in the morning when I get dressed and do my makeup. I love how kids always think their moms are beautiful!!!!!! And if I tell her she's beautiful, she gets a huge grin on her face!!!! What fun she's going to have with her sister!!! OK - look for pictures to be added SOON!