About a year and a half ago, my youngest son attended a mission's conference and felt God calling him to go on a trip to China. Another youth felt that pull as well. Several months later, my husband also discerned God's call. Preparations began for a trip that was to take place in the summer of 2009.
Then the accident happened. While my husband and two sons were on a skiing weekend in late March, my husband severely fractured his pelvis. It required extensive surgery. Complications arose after surgery that affected the nerves in his right arm, limiting the progress of his healing. It became obvious that he would be unable to make the trip to China. The idea was put further on the back burner when the other youth decided to go on a different tour.
However, after sensing the leading of God, we determined that our son could still make the trip. God could take care of our son in China even though plans had changed. On this trip, my son was able to experience many new things. He felt God speaking to him as he had to switch planes all by himself and meet up with the rest of his team in California. His trip lasted a total of 18 days, longer than he ever had been gone before.
While in China, he was able to see and learn about many interesting things. While the team was visiting a local university, several Chinese students became Christians because of their witness. My son stayed with a host family where the father is a pastor and has been in jail for quite a while because of things said.
While in China, my son helped with a "character camp." Chinese children ages 5 to 15 learned about good character traits each day through Bible stories, games, songs, and more. The teachers talked about the fruit of the Spirit. Even though they were undercover and not able to specifically mention spiritual things, the Word of God went out to these children. I cannot help but be amazed at how God used this trip to China to speak to my son and others as well.
The nation of China may seem to be just a distant land. At times it is even feared. My son's trip caused me to realize that China is full of people who need to hear about the love of God. I am proud of my son for his desire to share that message, even undercover. Perhaps learning about China's heritage and the land itself can help us to better understand the needs of its people. February 14 is the holiday known as Valentine's Day, but in 2010 it also marks the Chinese New Year. What better time to learn about this country?
Abacus, lantern, population, compass, dynasty, calligraphy, kites, oolong tea, panda, ibis, emperor.
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." (Matthew 28:19)
- China's current population is 1.3 billion people. Write this number.
- The abacus was first introduced in 3000 BC by the Chinese people. It is a type of counting device. Research to find out about this early calculator. Design your own abacus.
- If you were to drive from the east coast of the United States to the west coast, you would only travel about 3,000 miles. The Great Wall of China is actually made up of many walls, but it spans a length of over 4,000 miles. With a parent, mark off a distance of one mile and then walk it. Can you imagine walking for 4,000 miles?
Make some Chinese paper lanterns to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Collect multiple colors of construction paper. For each paper, do the following: Use a ruler to measure and cut ½ inch off the short end of your paper. Set this aside to use as the handle of your lantern. Next, fold your paper in half lengthwise. Draw a light line one inch down from the end of the long edge, opposite the folded edge. Measure and mark off lines ½ inch apart across the long edge. Use scissors to cut each line, stopping when reaching the penciled line. Unfold the paper, match the long edges together, and tape top and bottom. Attach handle. Hang around the room. For a variation, draw a different scene on each piece of paper before cutting.
Chinese writing is in vertical columns and is read from right to left, top to bottom. In modern Chinese, there are over 4,000 characters. Research the Chinese symbols. Write your name using these symbols.
- Research how the Chinese New Year is celebrated. Report your findings to your family.
- Research the different dynasties that ruled in China.
- Wang Wei was a famous Chinese poet. He wrote four-line poems that described scenes from nature. Write a four-line poem that describes a scene in nature. Then paint a picture to illustrate the poem.
- China has some very exotic animals. Research and write a report about one of them.
About 2,000 years ago, the Chinese discovered that a magnetized needle always pointed north, allowing their sailors to navigate. Create your own compass. Fill a small bowl with water. Use a regular sewing needle and rub it along a magnet, being sure to rub all sides of the needle. Tear off a small piece of tissue paper, just slightly longer than the needle. Place the tissue paper in the water. Carefully place the magnetized needle on top. The tissue paper will soon sink, allowing the needle to float. It will automatically point north.
Kites are part of the rich history of the Chinese culture. Kites were not just toys but were even used in battle. Large kites were used to raise men up high enough to observe the enemy. Check out a book on kites from your local library. See if you can make one of your own. What things do you need to adjust in order for it to fly?
- Check out some Chinese cookbooks from your local library. Try making a few different recipes.
- Rice is very important in China. The word for rice in Chinese is the same word for food. It is served at almost every meal. It is considered part of the main course, not a side dish. Try having rice with each meal for one day. See what variations you can do.
- China is also known for its tea. Have a tea party and try different types of Chinese teas such as green tea, black tea, oolong tea, chamomile, and fruit teas.
Go to a local Chinese restaurant. Try to learn how to use chopsticks.
*This article published on January 20, 2010.
Jodie Wolfe and her husband have been married for twenty years. They have been homeschooling their two sons for twelve years. Jodie likes reading, writing and leading ladies Bible studies. She also enjoys encouraging women through her blog, Digging For Pearls at http://diggingforpearls.blogspot.com
This article was originally published in the Jan/Feb '10 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. Now, get a FREE subscription to the HSE Digital Edition! Visit www.HSEmagazine.com/digital today to get immediate access to the latest edition!