Tuesday, December 23, 2008

East Asia Update #1

Laurel and I made it safely to East Asia last night. For those of you who don't know, we are spending Christmas with Laurel's parents, who live in a city of over 10 million people in East Asia. I hope to update my blog daily to give my friends and family back home an idea of how we are spending our time.

Our flight over was uneventful but really long. We flew from Louisville to Atlanta and then from Atlanta directly to East Asia. The trip from America to East Asia was almost 16 hours! The trip was made easier by lots of movie and television selections. I always plan to do lots of reading on the plane, but always end up watching movies and TV instead.

When we landed in East Asia, we had to hurry to another terminal to catch our flight to Sam and Joan's city. The last leg of the trip was the hardest. We had been traveling for almost 24 hours and both of us only had about 5 hours of sleep during the last 48 hour period. We took a few short naps on the last leg and were so tired that both of us started dreaming the minute we closed our eyes. We were desperately trying to stay awake to help fight jet lag.

We arrived in WH a little after 7 and after an hour taxi ride, we made it to Sam and Joan's apartment. It is really nice and we had a comfortable bed waiting for us. We went to bed a little before 11pm and both of us slept really well.

I woke up about 6am this morning and after getting ready, I headed to the streets. I love waking up early in new places and walking around to see what there is to see. When I left, my main goal was to find some bao zi. Bao zi are steamed buns with various meat or vegetables inside. It is a pretty typical Chinese breakfast and that is exactly what I was looking for. After walking several blocks and asking several street vendors, I finally found some good bao zi. I bought 6 total, 3 for me, which I ate on the way home, and 3 for Laurel.

So far, I am pretty timid speaking Chinese. Since I have been back in the States for so long, I have forgotten probably 80% of the Chinese I knew, so it is more difficult to get things done. Nevertheless, it feels great to be back and I love getting off of the main streets and into the back alleys where no one speaks English and I am forced to communicate in Chinese. There is just something about this place that warms my heart.

As much as I am enjoying being back, I am struck with the overwhelming sense of the lostness of this country. Since all of my Chinese friends in Louisville are highly educated and successful, I have forgotten how difficult everyday life is here for most people. My heart aches when I consider the hopelessness of most people here. So, as I walked this morning, I prayed for this city because there are few opportunities for the everyday people to hear the good news. As always, being here has reminded me of the need for more workers to bring the truth to this land.

After breakfast, I went to the bank to exchange money. On this walk, I was reminded how helpful it is to know the language. I was able to ask the guards at our apartment where the closest bank is, then get a taxi to get there. While there, I handled my business all in Chinese and asked which bus I could take to get back. I rode the bus back to the apartment and then decided to walk some more. On this last walk, I saw both a dog and a woman get run over on the same street. The lady got tagged pretty good but she got up and was discussing the accident with the driver so I assume she was OK. Again, I was reminded of the need to share the news as often as possible because there is a really good chance that if she would have been killed, she would be spending eternity apart from the Father.

We just got back from the supermarket and are taking it easy for the rest of today. Beginning tomorrow, we will be busy all day every day with Christmas parties, meals, and tagging along with Sam and Joan as they do their thing. I will try to post a little each day to help you keep up with our East Asia adventure.

Finally, here are some tips that I have picked up for fighting jet lag. 1. From the minute I take off from America, I adjust my watch to whatever time it is in the country I am traveling to. From that point on, I try my hardest not to think about what time it is back home. 2. I try to sleep when I should be sleeping at my destination. This is sometimes hard to do, but it is worth it in the end. Therefore, since we left Louisville at 7am, I pretended that it was really 8pm. 3. 4. Another key to fighting jet lag is to eat and drink often on the plane. Sometimes the symptoms of jet lag are actually from becoming dehydrated from travel.

I'll try to write some more tomorrow. Until then, please pray for us!


Jamie Butts said...

We'll be praying for y'all, Byers!

Terry Byers said...

Wonderful to hear details! Keep us updated as we lift all of you during this special time.