As summer rolls in many people (missionaries in particular) roll out of China. We are saying our goodbyes to families who are leaving for the summer, to families who are taking sabbaticals in their home countries, and most sad of all we are saying goodbye to friends who have served in the field for 10+ and some 20+ years. Despite the heartbreak (we know the life we chose) it gives us much encouragement to see so many brothers and sisters leave after having such great impact for God's kingdom here. With that being said it also gives us a sense of pressure to fill the roles that go unfilled. In the past we have felt the need to fill them (right away) - 6 roles to be exact. But, God is teaching us it's time for us to stop over-extending ourselves in the "work", because not only does He have it under control, but just as importantly He also wants us to be here long-term and not burn out.
Dan is planning to transition out of a few of his managing positions by the year end, if possible. Lily is preparing to train up a new receptionist for the clinic so she wouldn't have to be there every day. It's been a long and stressful season due to the work-load. It has been tough balancing our time at work with our time as a family.
As for the kids, Kingston just completed kindergarten at the international school. We are so impressed by this ability to read and write! Dan and I talk about how when we were in Kindergarten we remembered learning the alphabet and learning how to cut shapes...not read books and write journal entries! It was a very tough year for Kingston. So many things were completely different from his Chinese/local school the previous 2 years. But, in the end God was there for it all. Kingston received an award for the most improved student. This was a big deal for us because there was talk of him dropping a grade or repeating kindergarten in the beginning. Countless times we as parents felt lost in how we could help him when we could not physically be there with him. Only God could be there...and He was! We are so proud of Kingston and how he is growing.
Fiona has been a little sponge. We are so impressed with her Chinese language, and her willingness to be a part of the classroom community. Our kids only attended the Chinese preschool half-day. We wanted them exposed to the language but also time at home to learn and experience other things. When Kingston started at his new school Fiona was on her own and she blossomed! She was a social butterfly and begged us to let her be at school all day. Slowly and reluctantly we allowed it, after all, this will be her last year at an all-Chinese school. She loved it! Next year she will be at the international school with her big brother and she is already looking forward to it. This girl has so much courage!
This summer Dan will be juggling being one of the two family medicine doctors at the medical clinic, along with four managing positions, a few leadership roles, and being the only parent at home. Being the supportive and loving husband that Dan is, he has gifted me with quality time with my sister. I will be making a personal trip to visit my family for the month of July. It will be a blessing for me to welcome a new niece into this world, as my baby sister will be expecting her first child!