I go to write, and my thoughts evade me. We're on a greyhound style bus right now headed for Hong Kong. We left the Jones family in Guangzhou with plans to meet up at the Marriott by the airport. I turn to watch the scenery go by and am taken back to my internal journal.This trip has taught me much. I was trying to explain to my husband that nothing, besides marriage, has ever been so obviously sanctifying. Traveling with other people so intimately in a foreign land has forced me to see my sins through a magnifying glass. It is not easy, nor is it painless. I don’t think sanctification or pruning is ever easy. I turn to look out the the window again. The terrain has changed; mountains now scale the highway. Factory. Another factory. Again, a factory. I haven’t seen any factories until this bus ride. I was actually beginning to think all of those stories I’ve heard were fiction. Wrong. The sky is actually lower around the factories, and I’m wondering if its just foggy or smog. I’m gonna go with smog because we haven’t seen the sun in 2 weeks. Literally. I see workers out in the fields. My mind is taken back to a day trip Nick and I took to the “country side” a few days ago. We hopped in a van, sans Jones family, and took a 2 hour ride to a little village. Our driver didn’t speak any English, but we were able to communicate with pointing and made up sign language. He pulled onto a little dirt road and motioned for us to get out. We began to walk. Not knowing where we were headed, we trusted he wanted to share something with us. The dirt road turned into a small community with houses stacked on top of each other and pig pens intermixed. We ventured onto a roof top. Below was a pond. It was beyond stagnant. What’s that? A floating, rotting pig. I turn away only to see a tiny piglet floating by the shore. I vow to never eat beacon again. We continued to walk and came across a gathering of elderly people. Our driver began talking with them, and I asked him if I could take their pictures. He asked, they gave their consent, and I began to snap. They were so beautiful. Their skin looked like aged leather, with folds and creases that told the story of a long, hard life. Some had missing teeth and others unknown growths, but all were beautiful. The thing I will never forget about this village was the people’s reaction of seeing their portrait. I think its safe to assume that they had never seen their own picture. The light that came through their eyes and the smiles that cracked their lips filled my heart with so much joy. Showing someone a picture I just took is one of my favorite parts of the job. I think a picture can speak volumes of beauty and confidence into someone. It can tell someone that they are worthy, that someone wants to see them, and that someone wants to share their story. A picture lets the world know they exist. Its funny that until we experience something its almost as if they or that place doesn’t fully exist. But it does. Back on the bus. There are 50+ realities sitting here with me. Worlds I’ll never know, pains and joys I’ll never see. It can be overwhelming, how do we direct our prayer’s and efforts? Pray. Seek Jesus. Do as He calls. For if we act on our own, we are without the power of Jesus and the world will be a confusing and scary place. Border stop. Bus ride over. Good bye China.