While it’s a great blessing to be beginning my predissertation research in China this summer, China is so big and so hazy in my mind. Shifting through endless email contacts, people I don’t even know, to try to coordinate this venture, to try to stimulate relationships that will be anthropologically fruitful is frustrating and exhausting.

But last night, as my husband and I discussed this awesome opportunity, I got back in touch with what really matters to me: I just want to get to know people, and to serve, and to form relationships.

And when I let go of the intimidation factor, I’m able to recall that that is what anthropology is all about, and that is what I love about it. Anthropology should allow me to be me, and allow another person to be he or she, and in that it is certainly a great ministry of acceptance.

This whole effort of planning the trip continues to challenge my faith, as well. One moment I get down, thinking I’ve hit a dead end, and the next morning another email from a complete stranger pops in my inbox full of a passion to introduce me to China. When I actually allow myself to relax, to trust God that it will all come together, I experience the grace of this opportunity.

I never thought I would be puttering through a year of Chinese at this point in my life, poised to test drive my third language halfway around the world. What plans God still gracefully has for me of so little faith!


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