I'm not sure how I can talk about today in just a couple paragraphs, but I'll give it a shot. For the longer versions and personal stories, be sure and ask after we're back in the states. For most of us, today is a day we will never forget, but as we all had different experiences, our stories will not be the same.
We started the morning at Beijing International Fellowship, which as usual, is a little taste of heaven with people coming together under the same roof, praising the same person. We then headed off to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall where when you are finished climbing the wall, you can choose to walk back down, take a cable car, ride the speed chute (toboggan), or ride the ski lift. Just beginning our journey was like an Abbott and Costello experience of "Who's on first," but alas, our journey began. As we began our climb, two groups splintered off, one that was planning on going down the cable car, and one that was going to toboggan. I was in the toboggan group, and after celebrating at the top we bought our tickets to toboggan down.
Caleb and Kristen were the first to get on their sleds, and after some quick photos, Caleb headed off. Suddenly we were told that the ride was closing down due to rain. What? But it's not raining....
The response was that it was raining down below, which would make the ride unsafe. Oops, poor Caleb was already on his way down! We headed back to the ticket booth and traded our toboggan tickets for ski lift tickets, feeling soft rain drops as we prepared for takeoff. As we began our slow descent, the raindrops became heavier, and that's when the thunder and lightning began. Let's just say I think all of us on the ski lifts grew closer to God during that time:) Fortunately we safely made it down to the bottom as the downpour continued, but Caleb was not to be found. We headed to the shopping stalls to get out of the rain and do a little bargaining. We found Caleb, who had waited at the bottom of the toboggan for quite sometime waiting for us, before he went shopping. But where was the cable car group??? We huddled under the stalls long after the shopping was done, and still, no cable car people. We were to be back at the bus no later than 5:00, to which now was past. Finally someone got a text from one of them, and they were stuck on top the wall, waiting the storm out. I have never seen such rain come down, like a flood down the cobblestone street. When the storm passed the group up top was allowed to come down the Cable Car and we all breathed a sigh of relief. As we drove the route back to Beijing the bus had to maneuver many lakes of water, but many cars were not as fortunate.
Despite all the hair-raising experiences we all had a good time, and topped it off with dessert at Dairy Queen! Although we played tourists today, our real journey begins tomorrow, as we head out to HengFeng very early in the morning. We can't wait to start interacting with the children, which we all desire and which is what pulled us all together here in China.