Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An Unbelievable Evening -- The Conclusion!

This is my last post about our exhilarating experience of hosting 30 Chinese government leaders for dinner!  If you are just joining in, you can read part 1 about our preparations here, and part 2 about how we came to connect with these people here, and part 3 about how I fed 42 people here.

Before they arrived, I was concerned about how we would fill the time, especially after dinner.  I was worried about how we would entertain 30 people who did not speak English!  I need not have worried!  Our time together flew by, and we certainly found many ways to communicate and connect.  (Apparently, one does not need to know English to enjoy doing Zumba!!)  ;)

As I mentioned in my last post, several of the Chinese enjoyed playing games with the children and teaching them Chinese words and phrases.  They all clapped and cheered each time the children repeated a phrase in Chinese, so it was very lively and fun!

They also took turns playing "hot hand" with Matt!  It must be a game the Chinese play with their children, because I haven't seen anyone play that in years!  However, I do remember that being my Dad's favorite game to play with my sister and me when we were little, so it brought back lots of memories!  ;)

Tiffany had learned from reading about the life of Lang Lang, a famous Chinese classical pianist, that the Chinese love classical music, so she played two of her classical pieces for them after dinner.

She performed Sonata Opus 31, No. 2 "Tempest" Allegretto by Beethoven and Hungarian Rhapsody no. 6 by Liszt.  They were very attentive and appreciative of her talent!

Do y'all notice how Matt is right at home with his new friends?!?  A future diplomat, perhaps?   ;)

I love this picture (even though it is blurry) because of the way they are all lined up taking pictures/videos of Tiffany!  I have never had my picture taken so many times in my life as I did that night!!!!  ;) 

After Tiffany played for us, they began to sing for us!!!  It was so neat!!!  What a blessing!

Guess what?  We captured a little of it on video, so you can be blessed, too!!  The first song is from the Beijing Olympics.  The bad news is that the battery on my camera died at the worst possible moment -- right in the middle of the second song -- a beautiful, Chinese love song!!  :(  Oh well, at least you can hear a bit of it and get a glimpse into our special evening!!    

After the concerts were over, we served dessert!  The Chinese are not very big on desserts (which is probably why they are so slender!)  But, we learned that they do celebrate birthdays much like we do.  Fortunately, Alan had learned prior to their visit that Saturday was Nie Yumxia's birthday, so he had ordered a birthday cake for her.  It was really neat to be able to honor her on her birthday!!  She was surprised and delighted!

Here is a picture of her beautiful cake.  (The Publix bakery never lets us down!)

And here is a picture of the other desserts we served.  Hannah made the banana puddings and my dear friend, Susan, made the pecan pie and beautiful, red velvet cake!  (She knew I had my hands full getting everything ready and no oven for baking cakes or pies, so she offered to help out!!  Thank God for the gift of amazing friends!)

The desserts were all delicious, but if you want a real treat (the kind with no calories!!) watch this video clip of everyone singing Happy Birthday in Chinese!  I challenge you to watch it without smiling!!  :)

Did that not warm your heart?!?  Now, just for fun, any guesses on how old the "birthday girl" was??  Leave me a comment if you have a guess!

Nie Yumxia was very excited and hugged each one of us and posed for pictures with us!

It was funny, because our desserts were very unfamiliar to the Chinese!  They had no idea what to do with the banana pudding -- and most of them spread it on top of their birthday cake!  LOL!

By the way, the man in the orange shirt below was our liaison and translator, as the Director of the International Department for the Carl Vinson Institute.

All too soon, they had to leave.  They all hugged us and snapped a "few hundred" last minute photos and thanked us over and over and invited us to come visit them in their homes in China!  Unbelievably, many of the women cried as they left our house and boarded their tour bus.  It was so sweet!  I don't know when I've felt so loved by so many people!!  :)

Well, that's it!  I've certainly tried, but I know I've fallen short in communicating how special these dear people were and what an Unforgettable evening we had together!  I am still amazed when I think of their warm, loving, joyful spirits!  I am also convicted when I realize that these precious people do not know the  Creator and God of the universe.  They do not have His Love and Joy and Peace in their hearts, and yet, they were some of the most loving and joyful people I've ever met!!  How many times do we who claim the name of Christ fail to demonstrate such warmth, such love, and such joy to others -- when we have absolutely no excuse???

May we all be reminded to share His Love with all those we meet, whether they live down the hall from us, down the street, on the other side of town, or on the other side of the world!!!

~Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.~  John 15:13.


Katie said...

That cracks me up that they spread the pudding on the cake!

Miss W said...

I have greatly enjoyed the "series". Thank you!

Heather said...

Wow, you are so brave! But what amazing blessings you received in return!

kimjax said...

How wonderful, Elizabeth!!!

tlmalcolm said...

A special experience your family will treasure for a life-time. I am guessing the birthday girl is much older than she looks!

Sharon said...

Somehow found your blog today. The photos of the Chinese got my attention as we have similar experiences on a regular basis. We have a ministry with international university students- many of them Chinese.
I loved reading about your evening with them and could relate completely. Our students are supposed to know how to speak English but we have many days of laughter as we welcome them into our family and teach them about God. (I could fill a book with all the precious memories.)
Thank you for sharing about your night of hospitality; they will remember it forever. Our students tell us frequently that being in American home is the greatest experience of their time in America.

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