Sunday, March 13, 2011

January to March

For we are HIS workmanship created in HIM to do
good works which HE prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10
Neehow howpon yo! - Hello good friends!

January was COLD, but the warm visit from my mom brightened it up.
She came for two week at the beginning of the Chinese New Year Holiday. We showed her around Xining and introduced her to the strange happenings of our little city and to the wonderful friends we have made. After, we ventured off to Xian to see the Terracotta Warriors and then Beijing to explore the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. It was such a joy to have my mom here; she lifted our spirits with her presence. Before she left she said with a tear in her eye, “Do you want to know what I think kiddos?...I think you should/could stay another year.”


Xian-Terracotta Warriors

The Great Wall

Fun with me mum!

February was loud with the Chinese celebration of the Lantern Festival, yet it was quiet and peaceful in our hearts were a new decision had been made.
The Chinese invented fireworks, so you can imagine what their New Years is like…loud and bright! After New Years day, they put up lanterns all over the city. On the 15th day they all celebrate again by going out at night with lanterns and, of course, set off fireworks. During this time there was no school and most people vacationed to Thailand. This gave Jeff and me ample time to THINK about what we should do. As we THOUGHT and talked we noticed that we kept saying things like, “Next year we will get this for our classroom.” Or “Next year we will help the school do this.” With this realization a peace came in our hearts of what we were to do next year…stay in China to help this school. Wow, what a feeling this is, to have our minds and your bodies saying, “oh, how it would be nice to go back home” but to have it all trumped by this HIM given peace in our hearts…a peace that helps us breathe and know that HE IS and we are HIS wherever we are in the world.

Lantern Festival

Jeff playing a lantern drum

It’s the year of the rabbit

Cute Chinese kids

Our street and some Lanterns

March is marching forward with a changed view of the future.
Jeff and I are keeping busy busy busy with school. We are having a blast teaching our students. This month we are showing our Alaskan pride by teaching the K-6th graders about the Iditarod! Each kiddo is participating in the IditaREAD, they read enough books to get through all 24 check points to Nome and learn cool Alaskan history/tidbits along the way. It is such a blessing to see each student grow as a learner and as a Child of HIM. Jeff and I are not only teaching, but also spending a good chunk of our time creating and initiating ways to further/better the school. For example, we have been helping with budget ideas, implementing school rules and conflict resolution programs, training others how to do class meetings to create positive learning environments, and firming up the standards and connected assessments to cohere with the curriculum across grades so students can scaffold their knowledge and we as teachers are all on the same page. There is A LOT of work to be done! Jeff and I are passionate about these things, as we know that HE gave us gifts in these areas as teachers. Most of all we truly value the education and lives of all 100 students at XIA and yarp that our work here will make a positive impact on each of them as well as future students.

Jeff reading to his class and mine.

The 100th day of school celebration.

K-6th buddy read.

Dr. Seuss birthday- Jeff’s and my classes.

We press on! Working hard, knowing that we are here for HIS children and the M’s of China. Thank you for your THOUGHTS and support, they are felt and needed daily. You give us joy knowing that you are there cheering us on. Thank you! Thank you!
Jeff and Kristine Hole

Yarps needed:
It is known that people can get sick often their first year here. Jeff is such a person. Please yarp for his health. He often gets really bad colds/ sinus infections and lately bad stomach problems. (He does a Nettie Pot weekly to avoid sinus infections). I/we could use wisdom, a gentle tongue, patience, and knowledge to better understand the Chinese culture, Korean culture, M culture, and MK culture so I/we may better teach and reach. (We are currently reading a few books that help, but yarps are good).

A note from Kristine:
Yesterday I was at a “like minded” woman’s meeting for expats. At one point in time we went around the room sharing verses. The first voice was that of a Filipino, the next was low gruff voice of an old English woman, then two Koreans shared, from the corner a came a large voice of a Mongolian woman, then a sing song voice of a Texan, followed by a few thick German accents, then a chiming in of a Scottish woman and her Irish friend, and finally a few steady American voices. I closed my eyes and soaked in the international beauty of these women and thanked HIM for bringing then and me here.