Providential Relationships and Mr. Owl’s Journey in the Around the Worldpress Amazing Race

A few weeks back my pastor did a sermon on Providential Relationships. I’ve been thinking about this ever since, and how often it seems that God places just the right people or circumstances into my life at just the right time. Mr. Owl’s first destination on his journey in the Around the Worldpress Amazing Race began because of this very kind of relationship.

As I said in my first post ever, “How do you do it?”, often at the start of a journey we can’t see where it will end. As we look back though, we can see the path emerge. We can begin to understand the why and the how of being led in certain circumstances.

Some people may call this fate. Some may call it coincidence. I prefer to think of it in terms of God’s providence. One of my favorite life verses is:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.— Romans 8:28 NASB

Personally, it is such a hope-filled verse.

God is working behind the scenes, directing all things towards His purpose. He takes our free will into account, yet He is the one in the driver’s seat. He is working it ALL, the good, the bad, the ugly, towards His divine purposes even when I don’t believe it, or I don’t see it, or I don’t understand it at the time or this side of Heaven.

And so it is with my own story. And so it is with my adoption story. Before I even came back to God, He was working in my life preparing me for my calling to adopt my children. I didn’t know what was to come, but He knew. Now as I look back, I can connect the dots. I can say, “Ohhhhhhhh, now I understand. Now I see. Thank you, Lord”. To connect all of the dots leading up to our adoption would take several posts, so I am going to focus on the dot that led to Mr. Owl’s first destination on his Around the Worldpress Amazing Race.

My family had moved from California to Michigan and I opened a home-based preschool for a few years when my first son was very young. As a new baby Christian, only coming back to the Church after many years as an atheist (THANK YOU church janitor, with your sweet and simple consistent invitation to your church. Your short, providential relationship, one where I don’t even know your name, changed the course of events for my entire family!), I felt a strong call to make it a Christian-based preschool. This was the first big stepping out in my faith for me. The first child that God placed into my care was without a doubt in my mind, a powerful providential relationship for both of us. Caring for her absolutely prepared me for adopting my children who did not know English, and it also proved to be a much-needed, powerful care placement for my first student as well.

This lovely girl, we shall call her Jewel (for she is a gem!), came from China to America at the tender age of four and spoke no English. Her Chinese parents spoke Chinese to her at home, but they desperately wanted her to learn English and to connect with the English-speaking children of her new city.  Wanting the very best for their daughter, they enrolled her in one of the most expensive, top reviewed childcare centers in the city. Jewel spent three months there and learned ZERO English words. She seemed to withdraw from the children and the teachers there, and her parents were concerned. They began their search for a new care setting for their daughter.

Through a series of what I prefer to call God’s providence, Jewel’s mom “happened” to catch a post that my Christian realtor had lovingly offered to post on her blog about my moving into the area and beginning a Christian preschool from home. What are the chances? This is the ONLY contact I got from that post, but of course, I am convinced that was THE contact I was supposed to make. Jewel’s parents enrolled her as my very first student. We were all a little concerned. She was older by a year than my son. At the beginning, it was just the two of them (until other students enrolled) and obviously they were opposite sex, would they make a friendship? There was also the concern that she did not speak English, and although my background was in teaching, I had little training in ESL methods.  But what I DID have, was FAITH, HOPE, LOVE,  and DETERMINATION.

This proved to be enough. And of course, God’s will never fails.

Early on, Jewel’s mother shared with me that Jewel told her my son was the nicest child she had ever met in China or in America. That is what she needed the most. She needed unconditional love in her childcare environment. She needed trust. She needed those caring for her to be reaching out to her in intentional, loving ways, despite language barriers.

Caring for Jewel taught my family the lesson that it doesn’t matter if we speak the same language as the person we are with. Everyone understands the language of love. Everyone understands a smile. Everyone understands a hug. Everyone understands a hand held out to help up a fallen person. We don’t need to speak the same language to feel these things, to understand these things, to trust these things.

Jewel quickly learned English, and our family was amazed at how fast children’s brains can learn new languages. She has grown into a lovely young lady, already taller then her mom. She excels in school, plays the violin and piano beautifully, and swims competitively.

Jewel’s family were the very first people to offer to help in our Around the Worldpress Amazing Race. We sent Mr. Owl to Jewel’s grandfather in China, who enlisted the help of a local second grade girl. She is the daughter of Jewel’s mother’s childhood friend who was touched to hear about our adoption story and wanted to help with the project. Following are the two letters the little girl wrote back to us. The English translations are below.

OwlPic1

To Mr. Owl: Wish you a very pleasant journey and happiness forever.

OwlPic2

To my family and future hosts: Dear friends, I am very happy to have a chance to introduce you to my hometown: Xitang, China. I hope you’ll like it.

Below are the wonderful photos of the little girl in Xitang, China holding our signed letter and Mr. Owl. If you are wondering how to pronounce “Xitang”, you can click hear and listen to three different audio recordings of people pronouncing “Xitang”.

ChinaGirl1

My children were in awe to see her holding THEIR letter with Mr. Owl, in this new, distant land. They peered over the photos to see what they could spy in each.

ChinaGirl2

They quickly realized that it must be somewhat cold there right now, due to the warm jackets, yet their trees have green leaves. They also noticed that there seemed to be a lot of water there, with boats and homes and/or businesses that were right on the waterways. Once we looked up Xitang, China we learned that it is an ancient, scenic water way town with nine rivers that criss-cross throughout it. Due to the beauty of the town, it has been a popular tourist destination as well as famous for landscape paintings.

ChinaGirl3

Looking at the photo below, my children all jumped and yelled “those look like pelmeni she is eating, but in soup!” Pelmeni are somewhat like a ravioli almost, filled with meat, and are commonly eaten in Latvia and Russia with sour cream, ketchup or vinegar.

ChinaGirl4

It is amazing to me that even though our world is so large, at the same time it is so small,  especially in this day and age where technology and the internet can connect people across the globe in seconds. We should never underestimate the power we have to connect with others. We each have a story within us, and our stories can inspire, help, encourage, teach and lift others up. We should be willing to allow God to use us in other people’s lives, as well as to allow God to use other people in our own lives.

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The Around the Worldpress Amazing Race was born from a genius idea over at Cyranny’s Cove. My connections with her in the blogosphere also led to my new favorite pair of travel socks, because you know, God’s providence can even lead you to discovering some really awesome travel socks, if you let it. So starting with Cyranny’s Cove over in Montreal, Mr. Owl traveled to our family in Michigan. From Michigan, he travelled across the world to Xitang, China. So far the total distance is 7,726.42 miles or 12,434.47km. He continues his journey, now currently en route to an old, dear friend of mine in Switzerland. From there, he will travel to Tokyo, Germany, Nepal, Latvia, and finally back to us in Michigan. This is of course UNLESS more of our DEAR READERS, which blog stats show us come from more than 80 countries across the world, agree to join in on our fabulous project. Just drop me a comment or email me using my contact form and YOU could have Mr. Owl come for a visit and share your country with us!

Finally, THANK YOU LORD, for bringing people into my life at just the right moments. May I always be brave enough to listen to Your urgings and promptings. I would also like to say THANK YOU to Jewel and her lovely family. Thank you for sharing your gem of a daughter with me for the short time I was able to care for her. She taught me life-long lessons that impacted an entire family and helped bring four orphans home forever. THANK YOU to Jewel’s loving grandparents, I know how involved they are in their grandchildren’s lives, and I am thankful that they have offered to help in our little project. THANK YOU to the little second grade girl in Xitang, China for sharing her stunningly beautiful hometown with us. Thank you and your mother for taking the time to bring Mr. Owl around Xitang and share your photos and letters with us. We loved your photos and your letters and we wish you peace, love, happiness and many blessings forever!

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image reprinted with permission from hearlight.org, see here

34 thoughts on “Providential Relationships and Mr. Owl’s Journey in the Around the Worldpress Amazing Race

  1. Hi Christina…glad to see you posting again! What a story. I’ll have to read it again as I rather skimmed it today due to time constraints. Also, I have another problem with a family issue I need to keep an eye on. But this is such a wonderful story. I had no idea you used to live in Ca. In what area did you live?

    Steve

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, you’d love where I live…about 40 minutes West of Palm Springs. We have about 14 months a year of sunshine, Lol. Okay it just seems that way. I’d like a little more rain and seasonal changes…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I did miss the seasonal changes when we lived in California, as I grew up with them. However, the continual sunshine was never something I complained about! I sure miss it right now! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’ll bet you and those children would love to be out and about in our current weather…about 90 degrees and loads of sunshine! It’s “spring-summer” right now as I call it. We’ll move to “winter-summer” in several months. Not much difference, just a bit cooler…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Sounds much more delightful then the 47 degrees and gray skies and rain we have here. Kids are going stir-crazy and mom is going a little batty! 😉 time for indoor obstacle courses and thank God for hockey tonight for the older boys!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Oh, I’ll bet the weather is really different there. Hum…indoor obstacle courses? Sounds like you’ll need to help me understand that one. And your boys, they love to play hockey or watch it on TV?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. All five boys, well I guess 6 including my husband, played hockey this past winter. Thankfully, only the three older boys are playing the Spring league. It certainly takes a toll on the family with all the games and practices! 😉 However, I know it is great exercise for them and important for them to learn to be a part of a team. The indoor obstacle courses…well…winter gets long here! ha ha! So in the basement I just set up different things that need to run and jump on and through and around…think laundry baskets, hula hoops, balls, jump ropes, mini cones, all set up in different fashions and then having them run through it over and over. They like to help me set them up as well! I’m also the parent who lets the children rollerblade inside on the hardwood floors in the winter because my kids need to MOVE! loL! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Way to go, mom! You sound as if you have adapted well to the winter weather. Yes, exercise is important and your house sounds like the place to get some…MOVEMENT! I love the things in the obstacle course…and I’ll bet the boys do too! You just let ’em go, lady!

        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Hiiii!!!! I’ve missed seeing you here on WP. Hope you enjoyed your trip. It must be something to take along so many on a journey like you had…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, it is a lot of fun. Thankfully, the children are AMAZING travelers and they did AWESOME! It is fun to travel with so many, never a dull moment, always someone to talk to or do something with. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’ll bet that’s true. No quiet time for you if you even wanted any! I’m sure it’s a great deal of fun in your vehicle on the road with the kidos…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Little quiet time for sure. I usually find it when they are sleeping and then stay up too late myself! LOL! We are headed on another short road trip for a friend’s adoption shower this weekend. Always pretty busy around here!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. It sure sounds like it! But as hectic as it may get, I’ll bet you wouldn’t have it any other way! Just tell your friend Steve said “hi” and congratulations…hehe!

        Liked by 1 person

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