Goodbye Guangzhou- Hello Dalian!

•August 7, 2019 • Leave a Comment

I wanted to take a chance to write a post about some upcoming big changes for us here in China. As most of you know, I moved to China back in 2016. These years have definitely passed by so quickly; I’ve shared my case of the ups and downs, but ultimately I know that God has called me to China. For these three years, I have traveled a lot within China, but I have exclusively lived in Guangzhou, Southern China. Today though, this post has been scheduled to release as we are boarding the plane to another city in China.

Most recently, a door has been opened up about a pretty big opportunity here in China. A few months ago, I was offered a new job by another school here in China. This international school system is known as Maple Leaf. The only catch? Maple Leaf does not operate in Guangzhou, but they operate throughout a dozen cities across China. So where are we moving you may ask? We will be moving to a city named Dalian in Liaoning Province (simply put, we will be extremely close to the Korean border). You can check out the map below.

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This will be a very big change in my life, my wife’s life and my son’s life. Thankfully, Elizabeth is a little familiar with the area already having been close by for some time. Our little boy has only known Guangzhou, but I think it will be a nice change for him too! For me, this is a Canadian school. So I have been assigned to teach Canadian history and some English Language Development courses. Needless to say, I have been studying a lot of Canadian history for this opportunity. My studies at university were primarily focused on American and East Asian history. But I think this will be a really nice change of pace.

We will definitely miss Guangzhou, it is an amazing city in southern China. It is in close proximity to so many cool places, like Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Malaysia, the list goes on! It has been a blessing to find such a loving family here in Guangzhou, though the city is great, you all will be missed more than any other aspect of the city. May God bless you all! Don’t worry though, we hope to visit again often! I will keep you all posted about Dalian! Stay tuned!

Photos from Macau

•July 31, 2019 • Leave a Comment

In comparison to some other places around Southern China, Macau is definitely a small city with a lot of history jammed packed into it. The history of Macau actually dates further back than places like Hong Kong. Portuguese merchants had been traveling to Macau since the 1500s, though it didn’t become a Portuguese colony until the mid 1500s. Macau remained a Portuguese colony until it’s return to China in 1999. Below are some photos I took on several trips I had previously taken to Macau.

Unlike Hong Kong, the harbor surrounding Macau is not a deep water port and this actually significantly changed the development of Macau. When the British acquired parts of Hong Kong through the First and Second Opium Wars, Portugal began to see around the 1800s what potential Macau might have. But Hong Kong had it’s deep water ports and the British eventually turned Hong Kong into a Free Trade Zone and a financial hub on East Asia. Macau did not have the same environmental advantages. Therefore, the Portuguese decided to turn Macau into something a little different. Instead of a free trade port, they would focus their energy on the development casinos all throughout Macau. Till this day, Macau is the only place where you can legally gamble throughout China. Well maybe Taiwan also?? I’m not sure.

But the main aspect that I love about Macau is the amount of Christian history that is surrounded in this tiny space of China. The Portuguese brought Christianity (specifically Catholicism) to Macau and dozens of churches can be found throughout the city that are hundreds of years old. This one in particular in the photos shown above are very close to one of Macau’s most famous attractions, the Saint Paul Ruins.

The St. Paul Ruins are definitely a historical masterpiece. What remains are the walls that previously surrounded the church before suffering a horrific fire. Unfortunately, this church had suffered a couple of significant fires that ultimately destroyed the church. Churches were primarily constructed of wooden structures during this time. All that remain is this beautifully constructed wall. The St. Paul Ruins have so much Catholic symbolism throughout it. Perhaps you can look at it closer and leave a comment below describing some of the symbolism you see.

Many very famous Christian missionaries traveled through Macau or to Macau. People like Mateo Ricci who mastered the Chinese language and traveled all throughout Asia to spread the Gospel. For me personally, it was really inspiring to see these things and makes me proud to be part of this history as a Christian.

Whether you have an appreciation with written Traditional Chinese 繁體字, a blend of European and Chinese architecture, or love the creativity of Macau, there is a little bit of everything for everyone in Macau. Some Chinese may tell you Macau is not worth visiting or seeing for some extended time, that’s definitely not the case. You should check it out for yourself.

Cultural Decades Projects

•May 23, 2019 • Leave a Comment

One of the many responsibilities I have at my current school is to give a cultural presentation every month for the students outside of our international program. Recently, I gave a short talk on the difference between musical trends in the USA VS. China over the past century. My Senior Two students were also able to join this little presentation. We enjoyed the topic so much that I decided to give them a similar more in depth project on cultural trends in America and China throughout the past century. Each student had to make a presentation from their assigned decade and dress up from their decade (either from America, China or Singapore). These are my students in their amazing outfits.

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My students did a great job on their presentations! Their PPTs looked amazing and I was very interested in which singers/ bands they choose from their decades. I wish I could post them all, but unfortunately that would be too many. If you are interested in the PPT that I used for the cultural presentation, you can look at it above or download it with the link below. If you want, you can add to my presentation or change it, you are more than welcomed.

Download PPT Presentation

I have a lot of music tracks that I included in my presentation, but because of copyright restrictions, I thought would be best to not include. But perhaps I can include some YouTube links in another post. If you are more interested in me expanding on this post/ topic, please leave me a comment below.

Noah’s First Photoshoot

•May 7, 2019 • 2 Comments

I have been wanting to do this for a very long time and thankfully we finally were able to get some family photos taken! I cannot believe how time flies, Noah is already a little over one year and Elizabeth and I have been married for almost two years! God has greatly blessed me and I am thankful for the beautiful gifts that He has given me. As most of you know, I am American and my wife Elizabeth is Chinese. That makes Noah ethnically half white and half Chinese. I have been thinking of this a lot lately; I want Noah to equally embrace both of his cultures. So I wanted him to wear some Chinese clothes or locally known as Hànfú 漢服 and some Western clothes. Anyway, I hope you guys can enjoy the photos! God bless you all!

這些天我真的需要拍家人的照片和現在我很開心我們拍了。我覺得怎麼可能時間很快。諾亞是1歲多,我太太和我已經已婚2年快到了。上帝給我兩個很好的禮物,我太太和兒子所以我要說謝謝上帝。很多人已經知道了,我是美國人和我太太是中國人所以我們兒子是一半的中國人一半的美國人。我要諾亞愛都文化。所以我們給他漢服和西方的衣服。你們可以看一看!上帝祝福你們!

Witnessing through the Gospel and Chinese Tradition

•February 6, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Happy Lunar New Year everyone! The day has finally passed, I hope everyone is spending good quality time with their family and friends. May God bless you all in the year of the pig! For my Chinese friends, this topic is a common tradition in China, but my American or other friends might not be familiar with it. If you are already familiar with it, perhaps this idea will inspire my Christian Chinese friends.

In Chinese traditions during the lunar New year, families with children are supposed to give other children in the family like grandsons, granddaughters, nieces or nephews little packets of lucky money. In Chinese they call it 红包 or hóngbāo. The little red envelopes usually have some traditional Chinese greetings for good luck in the new year and some money. Depending on who gives the hong bao, it could range from 10-100RMB or $1.50-16 USD. As you can see , we have a lot of different kinds of Hong bao. We actually ordered some hong bao with Bible verses on them but we waited too late in the holiday to try and order them. So instead we had a lot of little evangelism cards we got from Hong Kong and stuffed them in with the lucky money.

We figured this would be another great way to utilize a traditional Chinese custom and again share the love of Christ with others. The only downside is that these cards are written in Traditional Chinese characters and not Simplified (used in mainland China). I wish we could find or make some cute ones like these using Simplified characters. A lot of mainlanders can still read these cards though, so that’s a blessing.

Either way, it’s good to remember your family and friends during this time of the year, but also make sure to share God’s gift with those that you love! This is a great chance to do so and show them that Christianity is not a western religion, but it’s a religion for everyone and can definitely be a Chinese religion.

Chinese New Year Traditions

•February 5, 2019 • Leave a Comment

It is hard to believe that this is the third year I have been in China and I have traveled to China several times over the last decade, but I have never really celebrated Chinese New Year. There have been times in the past (while I was living in the USA) that I would travel to Raleigh North Carolina for a Chinese New Year celebration, but I wouldn’t say that I actually celebrated it. Last year was the closest time I celebrated Chinese New Year, but we still didn’t celebrate it to the same degree. This year, we have done something that I thought was a really cool idea and very traditional in China. A special part of Chinese tradition is the process of hanging 对联 duìlián around your home’s door during Chinese New Year, which is a long piece of red paper with a Chinese blessing writing on it in beautiful calligraphy.

I have always been a fan of writing and reading Chinese characters (even though I cannot write a lot of Chinese, but give me a cell phone that can type in Pinyin and I’m a beast LOL), this was one of the most special things I have done in China. My family and I are Christian, my wife had the idea to look on the internet for a blessing 对联 duìlián to use during the Chinese New Year that had a Christian message written on it. Surprisingly there were a couple of these Christian oriented duìlián on Taobao, but we waited too late to order one. Taobao employees and a lot of delivery companies were already on holiday. Long story short, we had the idea to buy two in Hong Kong, but the Christian stores I usually go to did not have any. One employee at this one Christian store I have been traveling to every time I am in Hong Kong (located in Shatin 沙田, Elim- you can Google it) mentioned that I should have someone make it for us in Mainland China! I thought this was a really unique idea! Though I didn’t know if it would be possible, a lot of Chinese are moving away from these traditional practices and just buying mass produced things, but I thought we might have a chance since we live in an ancient village 沙湾古镇, Shawan Ancient Village.

After walking around for a while, we found a little market that opened up specially for the Chinese New Year. There was one man who was writing personalized duìlián and we found out that he has been writing traditional Chinese characters like this for over forty years! He definitely was a master at writing Chinese characters and he wrote them with such ease. We gave him two Christian blessings in Chinese and he copied them down for us. It was also a chance of us sharing a bit of our testimony and the Gospel with some people in a very uniquely Chinese way. As we were waiting for him to finish and the paint to dry, dozens of Chinese walked by to read what the old man was writing. Several people asked Elizabeth and me what the sayings meant. One of the blessings we had the man write were referring to the Beatitudes in Matthew and the old man told her something like- “in Chinese tradition we have five blessings we include on these duìlián, but you Christians have eight!”. We thought this was kind of funny but we told them a little about the 8 Beatitudes mentioned in the Bible.

It was truly a blessing and it touched my heart. It gave me a renewed spark to minister to the Chinese people and made me realize that my job here isn’t quite done. Please remember China and the Chinese people in prayer during the next week (and longer if you can). Christianity in China is going through some new hardships and we need to remember our brothers and sisters in Christ. God bless you all and Happy Chinese New Year!

Favorite Podcasts I Found In 2018

•February 2, 2019 • Leave a Comment

I meant to put this post up toward the end of 2018, but it’s been crazy lately. I am a big fan of podcasts and I have been listening to podcasts for almost half of my life. There are some podcasts that I have been following for a long time, such as those on the Twit Network or some churches that I have visited in the past. I haven’t really found any new podcasts that I have enjoyed lately until last year. I discovered three last year that I thought were very cool and informative. Two of which are China related and one strictly internet related. Oh by the way, if you are wondering what podcasting app I use, I used to use Pocketcast, but I don’t like some of their new UI tweaks, so I went back to Downcast.


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Apparently Tech Node is a Chinese branch of Tech Crunch. I have really enjoyed their podcasts because they talk about some of the new startups in China, some new APPS or new features of some older apps. It’s a nice way for me to keep up with what’s happening in the Tech space in the Mainland. I’ve even brought up some of these topics with my Chinese co-workers, it makes me seem like I’m knowledgeable about whats happening in China. (^o^)v

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The next podcast is kind of a new podcast, but this team of people have been covering China for several years. I know some people may find this pick controversial, but I think they do offer a pretty non-bias view on China. There have been times where I think they kind of go too far in their jokes. If you listen to this podcast though, try to remember this is a SATIRICAL (讽刺性的) podcast about China. Maybe the way it is presented sometimes is over the top, but the topics are still important issues that need to be talked about.

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The last podcast I would like to recommend has been around for a while, but I am just now finding out about it. IRL is a podcast sponsored by the Mozilla Foundation. It’s primary focus is on how technology is changing our lives and I appreciate it’s focus on the social changes that technology is bringing to our lives. There is no doubt that tech definitely has it’s positive aspects to society, but there are also many negative aspects that come along with it.

Either way, these are the four latest podcasts I have in my podcatcher app. Please check them out if any of them sound interesting! You can read a little about the descriptions I included in each screenshot to get a better idea of how each podcast might be like.

 
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