Dear Friends and Family,

It has been a whirlwind of a week, but we are now online and back to the communicating world. Our flight here was great and the luggage all made it almost in one piece. (One of the bins was destroyed, but all of the stuff was in tact.)

The apartment that we had decided on from the States was on one of the farther away islands, but it seemed nice from the pictures. We arrived there from the airport early on Sat. morning and went to the 12th floor where it was located and the girls were so happy. They ran to their little room that only fit one single mattress and they jumped up on the window seat and unlatched the window and pushed it open! Yes! And the window was bigger than Hannah! My heart fell, but thankfully my adrenalin kicked in and I grabbed them before they fell out the window. I was so shaken by it all. I tried to talk to them about how we don’t touch the window latch and how they could fall and really be seriously hurt. Sarah said not to worry because when she jumps she will keep her legs straight and land on her feet!

So, we asked the management if we could put bars on the windows and they said they couldn’t. So we told them we couldn’t stay there even one night with windows like this that don’t lock – and the balcony door didn’t lock either. After calling a few of our contacts (whom we hadn’t met yet) in the city for advice and perspective, we took all 8 big suitcases and 6 small ones back down the tiny elevator in many trips and called two taxis (one for us and the other for the luggage) and we rode to a hotel, watching our luggage hanging out of the open trunk of the other taxi in front of us as it was raining.

We stayed in the hotel for 6 days while we looked for a new place to live. We saw some that turned my stomach, but I kept telling myself that if we had to live there, I could – but boy, I really didn’t want to. We had a realtor since renting a flat is like buying a house here. The negotiations are treacherous and all in Chinese! In the end, we found out that the realtors make a lot of money and the buyer pays it!  We did find a little 1000sq. ft. apartment, for three months and although it has no clothes dryer or oven, it is nice and clean. (But I am in search of a large toaster oven:)

We are on the 8th floor, but these windows have grates on them. Once again, the girls’ room only holds a singe bed, but we found IKEA here and purchased a bunk bed! We have been to IKEA more times than I can count now to get pots and pans, bath mats, utensils, and of course always some caramel popcorn at the cafe. When you picture IKEA, don’t picture the big ones of the states. Picture two underground floors with low ceilings, and you can walk through the whole store in under five minutes. And we are thankful to have it.

During this time, I am in search of a long-term place for us. Please pray for this search – it feels like I’m looking for a needle in a haystack right now.

We have already met with some ministries at the church here. The associate pastor was actually ordained a while back at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Dallas (our church in Dallas). We are excited to see what ministry plans the Lord has for us here. We have already met so many wonderful people.

It is very multicultural here and in any setting there are families from every country you can think of around here and abroad. We are looking for preschools right now as their school year doesn’t end until the end of June. (So the girls can get in school and go for a month and a half!) Please pray for this search as well. Transportation is crazy here with so many people, and buses pick all the kids up to go to school, even Hannah’s age! I will have to write an email about that one when that enters our life.
Hope to hear from all of you soon, and I will continue to send updates.

Jay, Anne, Sarah Grace, and Hannah Clark