Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2
We’re back in Dalian and though we’ve only been living here since late February, it really did feel like we came home today. As we settle in and get back into routine, I find myself reminiscing about the many "angels" we encountered as we travelled. They may not actually have been heavenly beings but I can’t help thinking that God brought them across our path to make our way easier and more enjoyable. I’ve mentioned some of them in previous posts.
First there was Michael who helped us find our hotel when we arrived in Jinan and later led us to a restaurant and helped us order a delicious dinner. Though he wanted to spend more time being our guide, circumstances didn’t allow it but Michael kept in touch by texting for the remainder of our trip making sure that we were fine and offering to translate or advise if we needed him to.
Then there was the gentleman who volunteered to drive us from the village of Zhujianyu to the bus station in nearby Mingshui so that we could get back to Jinan after exploring the historical site. We didn’t get his name and though we offered, he wouldn’t accept any payment for his trouble. Definitely an "angel"!
Many of the long distance buses here have someone who rides along, collecting tickets or cash from passengers as they board at various pick up stops. She often disembarks somewhere near the outskirts of the city once everyone is on board but when we rode from Jinan to Qufu, the "stewardess" stayed on board all the way. When we pulled into the Qufu bus station, 6 km outside town, she left the bus with us, found us a taxi and made sure he knew where to take us before she boarded the bus again and it continued on to its next destination. We could have managed on our own but it was much easier having an "angel" who knew the language taking care of us.
That evening, when we went out to find some supper, we encountered another one of our "angels". We were thinking about eating at the local night market where food is cooked and sold on the street. We had just started walking through the market area checking out the various things that were being prepared when Daphne, a local college student, walked up to us and asked in excellent English if she could be of any help. She advised us not to eat at the market because it might not be very healthy (exactly the same advice that our own students give us). After asking us what we enjoy eating, she suggested a restaurant, took us there, helped us order and visited with us while we ate.
The next day Aku appeared out of nowhere to act as our guide to the Confucius Temple and Mansions but I mustn’t forget to also give credit to one more Qufu "angel", our host at the tiny Bao Tai Hotel. Our room was basic; the mattress was thin, the towels tiny and at $13 a night, we couldn’t complain about the room not being made up each day. What made our stay heavenly was our host. He didn’t speak a word of English but when we arrived, he asked us through gestures if we were hungry and when we said yes, he walked us around the corner to a little restaurant. While we ordered, he headed off on his bicycle to find a map of Qufu and brought it back to the restaurant for us. Later, he was able to communicate through the translator on his computer, that we were the first Canadian guests to ever stay in his establishment and he treated us like royalty. When we came downstairs to check out yesterday morning, he insisted on driving us to the bus station himself instead of allowing us to take a taxi! Though he isn’t smiling in the photo, I think that’s the only time I saw him without one. Yes, that’s definitely the face of an "angel"!