February has probably been the busiest and most productive month since coming to France, both in terms of work and fellowship activities. After a few weeks of juggling between projects and finishing experiments, work is finally winding down a bit as I prepare for my visit to Belgium, which is in exactly one week. It’s a bit strange; I feel like I just unpacked, and I have to pack again. Three months – not exactly a long time but not short either. How do you pack for three months?
As for fellowship, the intense series of activities wrapped up with our Lantern Festival celebration on Saturday. It was similar to the Chinese new year celebration, only this time we had more helpers from Paris who brought along a short theatrical play that they performed. There were a riddle-solving contest, as riddle-solving is a traditional activity for the Lantern Festival. It seemed like the participants had tons of fun being part of the celebration, but I think it was much more fun being part of the organizing team. Seeing all the hard work of the past month paying off is worth all the back-aching nights of planning and preparation. Go team GCC!
Before and after the event, I was making an effort to ask my adorable friend Sharon to take as many pictures of me with my fellowship brothers and sisters, because I wanted to have some lovely memories to look at when I’m away. I missed quite a few people as it was hard to get everyone to take pictures with me throughout the busy day, but here are some good ones.
Annie and worship team member and event emcee, Bai Yu. I find that Bai Yu is always smiling and has a special, charming aura about her that makes people feel so happy and comfortable around her ❤ By the way, that big red dot on my face IS a sticker, not a gigantic pimple.
Violinist Shi Jiawei, Annie, and worship team member Wan Zhe. This is the cutest couple ever! Jiawei is a bit shy but a fun boy when you get to know him better, and Wan Zhe is adorable beyond words. Her smile is so bright and genuine, and I kept wanting to poke that little hat that she wore that day because it just made her look so kawaiiiiiiiiiiiiii~
Pianist François Liu Honghui, Doctor Wang Xinning, and Annie. François is the eccentric one in the fellowship, but undeniably an extremely talented guy, both in terms of musical and linguistic abilities. Xinning is a relatively new member of the fellowship, but already feels like family because of her warm and approachable personality, which must contribute to her profession as a pediatrician.
Baker and photographer Sharon Cheung Kailin, general manager Lam Yihua, and Annie. This photo was Mr. Lam’s idea as we enacted the poses of “do not listen”, “do not look”, and “do not speak” (although I realized afterwards that Mr. Lam was cheating by peeking through his fingers). Yihua can be serious when work needs to be done, but underneath his calm surface lies a goofy side that always brings new surprises to the fellowship. And what can I say about Sharon? I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT HER! Silliness, evilness, craziness, and of course…ENGLISHNESS! Will definitely miss Sharon very much during the three months away!
Annie and guitarist/drummer Ma Chenggang. The first time I ever talked with Chenggang, I had the feeling that I’ve known him for the longest time. He is such a sincere, caring, and dedicated friend.
Annie and Aunt Jina. Here begins our friends from Paris. Aunt Jina stayed over at my place last time and offered me her place to stay if I ever visit Paris, which is perfect for my secret operation with Chahat in April. Aunt Jina was responsible for most of the food preparation and though I didn’t work directly with her, I heard she was godly in terms of speed and efficiency. No wonder our food was so well-received!
Paris co-workers Ma Yuchao, Chi Zhiwei, and Annie. Yuchao was very active and outgoing whereas Zhiwei was on the quiet side. I’d definitely like to know them better if I get the chance to visit Paris again.
Huang Junsheng and Annie. Junsheng may be much older than the students in the fellowship, but he enjoys joking around and interacting with students. I’m also fascinated that he speaks all the languages that I speak PLUS Vietnamese and Cambodian. That makes it so much easier to communicate with him and sometimes it’s just amusing to code switch between sentences unexpectedly and carry on the conversation just fine.
Chen Shu and Annie. I’m surprised I was able to click with this girl even though it’s our first meeting. She was extremely kind and we talked a lot more than I had anticipated. I was super glad to have made her acquaintance and look forward to hearing from her again.
Wu Shangqian and Annie. MAN this guy was hilarious. One would never guess he’s over 30, but he’s like the comedic relief in the group that brings laughter to everyone around. Oh, and he’s heck of a pro guitarist, which made him the perfect person to set the mood with his guitar in any occasion. Let’s rock n’ roll!
Wan Zhe, general manager and Sharon’s dad Andy, Annie, and worship leader Yang Weiyun. Being a dedicated Christian, Weiyun is very soft and gentle and is easily moved to tears during worship. I’m not usually one to let tears fall, but her prayer that day, along with François’ piano, literally called out tears from my eyes and I was not able to control them.*Sniff* As for Andy, it’s hard to describe the amount of respect I have for him, because he does anything and everything possible to make every student feel loved and cared for. I couldn’t be more grateful to have gotten to known him, especially since during the last few months, I’ve already made his home MY home (I think I spend more time at his place awake than at my own place). He’s no doubt the #1 person to be missed when I’m away.
Worship team member and dancer Zhang Wei, Wan Zhe, Annie, Weiyun, and Yihua. Zhang Wei is such a beautiful girl with a pure heart full of love. I think Zhang Wei and Wan Zhe could form a duo named “The GCC Beauties” ^_^ Here we have Mr. Lam playing around again. So much silliness, so much fun.
Finally, group photo! This includes all the fellowship members as well as new guests that attended our event on Saturday. Even though it rained heavily all day, we still had so many attendees and we thank God for the success of this event! The French guy in red in the front row is Pastor Dik of the French church, who seemed thrilled to be there that day.
One more weekend, one more fellowship meeting until I leave them for awhile. I will be putting aside my fellowship work for the moment, or at least only be able to work remotely with the team. I do appreciate the chance to rest, because as missionary Regine Chang told me, everyone needs a break from serving. I thank my brothers and sisters wholeheartedly for creating these priceless memories with me, ones that I will bring along with me wherever I go and cherish forever. I also shouldn’t make this sound so depressing because I’m only going away for three months. Time passes by so quickly. I’ll be back in a flash.