Archive for February, 2008

World on Fire

Ok, so this has nothing to do with China, but we came across this amazing video that we wanted to share. It is this best example we have seen on how much difference a little bit of money came make all around the world.

If this engages you, we would strongly suggest that you also get to know Tom Davis and the work he is doing with Children’s HopeChest. As we have ‘plugged’ before his book Red Letters: Living a Faith That Bleeds does an amazing job of guiding believers into an action-oriented faith, rooted in a relationship with the Creator.

– Dan


Hannah MuRong


I’ve waited a long time to write this post …

Our little daughter Hannah, who had such a rough beginning and demonstrated significant emotional turmoil for such a long time after joining our family, is well on her way to recovery from the insecure attachment, fear, anxiety and need to control that she clung to as a means of emotional survival. She smiles and laughs easily. She is comfortable when I leave and excited when I return. She seeks other children to play with – and is ready for a give and take of ideas. She dances with abandon.

We know that the trauma of her early years will always be a part of who she is. She will always struggle with fear and not knowing if she alone is enough to maintain a relationship without manipulation. She did not receive the foundation of consistent unconditional love and responsiveness that babies need to make sense of their world and their value in it. But despite all that, she has learned (and will always need to continue to learn) to trust. Her decisions in the past were always based on fear. Today, she acts out of curiosity, security, playfulness.


We are rejoicing at the goodness of our Heavenly Father, who was always there with her. From Joel 2:25 – 27: I will repay you for the years the locust have eaten … you will praise the name of the L your G, who has worked wonders for you …”. If these years trying to become a real family to Hannah hadn’t been so hard, would we now celebrate the miracle of her healing? Every child who is able to attach meaningfully in their adopted family is a sweet story of grace and healing – we are so thankful to celebrate our two daughters, their journeys into our hearts and finally, our journey into their’s. Sara


Fukang Fireworks: “Like the 4th of July” (per ZK), Videos A Plenty

Today is the last day of the 2 week celebration of Chinese New Year/Spring Festival. This special day is called the Lantern Festival. The Chinese, who invented fireworks, don’t mess around with token one hour displays – the louder, longer and bigger, the better. As an added bonus, every car alarm in the city goes off with each bang (the inventors couldn’t have anticipated that!). Every Tom, Dick and Chen buys loads of these play explosives. It is now 7:30 pm. They started around 4 pm. This will go well into the night. It literally sounds like we are in a huge thunderstorm. Along with the near constant ‘rain’ of fireCRACKERS there is an on-going barrage of full-on fireWORKS. While these big ones are only available to professionals in the States, they are readily available on any street corner to the average Joe (or Zhou).

If you Skype us right now (8 PM China time) you can listen in. Or check out these videos…

Walking in our back gate (by the way, the name of our apartment complex is Fukang Gardens) I witnessed this firecracker sample…–DpGV8I

As we were sitting down for dinner we took this video. It slows down, but hang in there. It shows how we have really big ones literally right outside of our window.

Just funny/odd… Some of our community have gotten in on the action. Check out this video of one of our respected school officials “experimenting” with stuffed animals (a bit disturbing). It demonstrates the power of these fireworks. Note the other videos in the sidebar with the same “Fukang Fireworks”.


– Dan


Making Jiaozi with Laoshi (video included!)


The Year of the Rat began literally with a BANG! In Tianjin and many other cities around China, fireworks are everywhere – all night – all day – ridding the city of evil spirits that may try to sneak into the new year. We missed the bulk of the explosions during our break, as Hong Kong restricts the use of fireworks to an official display that lasts 1 – 2 hours. We did return in time to enjoy another time honored tradition – the making and consuming of jiaozi (pronounced je ow ze) or Chinese dumplings. If you’ve ever enjoyed potstickers in a Chinese restaurant, you’ve basically eaten the same dish.


Our Chinese laoshi (pronounced laow sher, which means teacher) invited us to his new home to celebrate the new year with his family. After 19 months in China, we’ve seen jiaozi made many, many times. It is an acknowledged fact that lao wei (pronounced laow why and means outside person or foreigner) cannot make proper jiaozi. Our sweet ayi even gave my hand a smack when I tried to help her last year. A true Chinese chef guards their jiaozi receipe with the same secrecy and pride as a Texas chili cook.

Daniel teaching me the proper method of stuffing and folding – I wasn’t a very good student


Beef, Chinese green onion, garlic, vinegar, sugar, salt and other secret ingredients go into the stuffing

So … to be given the chance to make jiaozi is both a privilege and a responsibility. I simply do not have the knack for it, but this week, Daniel graduated into the “your’s don’t have to be completely redone” category. The Year of the Rat is starting off well for him! Sara
We took a short video of our time together if you would like to see more (follow the link below):


Coming & Going: Hong Kong

Greetings from Hong Kong!

We are wrapping up a week’s retreat in slightly warmer Hong Kong. It was quite the adventure to get here: van, shuttle, plane, bus, bus, bus, taxi, ferry, hike. Tomorrow we repeat (in reverse order!). We leave at 6:30 am and expect to arrive to our place in Tianjin around 5 pm.

In contrast with the grey on grey of our home city in China, Hong Kong (especially this retreat center for ‘people like us’) is lush, green with shockingly fresh air and even sunshine. We have learned that ‘deprivation leads to appreciation’. Each of us has found ourselves marveling at the trees, grass and the chance to run in wide open spaces.
We love our work in China. We really love the people who have befriended us and we them. But environmental factors make contentment often challenging. Think of us as we return to our fair city.

Refreshed, relaxed and ready to go home,

Dan (for the Kennedys)

Fresh rain when we got off the ferry: Noah drinking it in…

Brilliant sunlight from our first morning: Hannah glows…

Sara and the kids navigate the streets of Cheung Chau (the part of Hong Kong we are visiting)

The narrow and steep streets of Cheung Chau


China Day 2008: Our Noah Can Dance!

Every year the kid’s school, Tianjin International School (TIS) celebrates Chinese culture on the cusp of Chinese New Year. The focus this year was the people group Mongols from Inner Mongolia, China. There was food, art, music, and, yes, dance. Below is a link to an absolutely priceless un-cut video of the First Graders performing a traditional Mongolian dance. Noah is in the back row. Mongolians are known for their horse riding skills, hence the galloping.

Net, the boy can dance! For those that remember Noah’s cow-suit Christmas 2006 performance, this is in the same league…

– Dan

Although this the picture below is poor quality it should whet your appetite!