Panda did indeed take my roommate and I to his hometown. It was awesome. There were about 200 people in his village and it seemed like half of them were his family. His house is basically a cement block; 15-foot ceilings and unfurnished rooms that seem to suck the warmth right out of you. Most families in this area do not have the money to furnish their homes.
This town was very similar to how southerners are in America. Everyone always says “Hello” to everyone. I took a bunch of photos with strangers. A few of them were elderly women who were so excited just to talk to me, even though we could not understand each other. Panda also took us to a nearby movie production place. It was up on a mountain and we got to hang out and talk for a long time. We talked to him about God and he said: “oh you believe, so I will also believe.”
Good relationships can go a long way in Asia but we want him to fully understand what we are saying. Is he a part of the family? I would say not yet. Next time I meet with him, I will bring an American who can speak the language and will be able to clearly explain what it is we are saying.
Later that night, Panda took us to his cousin’s school where we taught about 30 kids some basic English. We basically just asked them a bunch of questions in English like, “What is your favorite color? Do you like Fish?…” The day was awesome, but I was definitely exhausted!