by Jason Wilde
“Hey, I noticed y’all’s shirts say you’re Catholic Missionaries…”
Not exactly a quote I get every day, but nonetheless, it helps me get past my fear of encountering a stranger. The stranger was a lone fisherman sitting by his pickup truck on a quiet beach in Louisiana. We had walked his way and briefly chatted about the 30 lb fish that he caught moments earlier and then gave to a nearby family sitting on the beach. His bait now wet again and line taut in the waves, he called us over to tell us that he too was Catholic, that a relative of his was a Jesuit missionary who he thought ‘did some good stuff’, and that he liked seeing us walking around the beach with our kids instead of watching TV or something else.
As we talked, I noticed an interesting looking contraption made out of PVC pipe. As I stared at it sitting by his truck, he began explaining how some guys had once caught an 8 foot Bull Shark while standing next to him, waist deep on the sandbar about 100 feet from shore. This terrified the fisherman as he didn’t like that one of the most aggressive sharks was swimming just feet away. And so, he built this PVC contraption which ended up being something like an air-powered potato gun for frozen squid slugs that he tied to his line and then shot beyond the sandbar from the safety of dry land. It really was a genius solution that would have never come about if he wasn’t placed in such an uncomfortable situation.
“Are you an engineer?”, Jessica asked.
The fisher smiled broadly. “No, I’m a Cajun.”
There are two responses to fear - fight or flight. This man could have wrapped up, sold his tackle, and found another way to live, or he could continue to do what he wanted to do in the face of a trial. But in the end, he did something better - he chose to look at the trial as a way to spark something new and better.
One of our conversion moments came in India when we were also placed in an uncomfortable and possibly dangerous situation. But instead of saying that we’ll never travel again, we turned to God, and He told us that we should lean in to our fear, traveling for His purposes.
Sometimes God uses these situations to allow us to revisit our life, step back, and turn to Him for a better answer. It gives us the chance to really depend on His wisdom and providence to rescue us, instead of thinking that we are in control and can work our way out of the predicament. As we begin the Easter season and listen to stories of the early Church from the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, we can really understand the uncertainty and fear that was going through the minds of these poor fishermen. Their Rabbi was crucified for His teachings, and they were next if they were caught. But the Risen Jesus changed all of this - He told them to put away their anxiety and do the opposite of what human reason would have suggested. He told them to go and be courageous. With no leader and no home, they boldly stepped out and God rewarded them with miracles of healing, preaching, and conversion. When they were forced out of the city walls, they didn’t scatter but instead camped out and shared everything they had with each other.
One of the biggest dangers of our modern lives is that it is too easy to depend on ourselves, to place our security in the hands of reason, technology and insurance companies instead of in God’s hands. It becomes impossible to see Him working in our lives, and therefore become closer to Him, when we are constantly looking for the human solution to any insecurity. Our Church is not suffering because of lack of religious freedom but because we have freed ourselves from needing God’s help and therefore have lost our witness of a life truly dependent on Him.
In the end, the fisherman’s solution was an inspiration to us...a witness of sorts...that went beyond his worldly needs. It taught us that we too need to give our fears and our plans to God and allow Him to give us the blueprints that we need in our lives.
The old man stayed all night, sleeping in his truck on the beach with his pole and squid cannon. Then as we watched him pack up his tackle and drive away the next morning, I couldn’t help but remember that St. Peter was a fisherman...
By Alex Wilde
In General Cepeda ( M E X I C O), we have a mission post. It is a wonderful place. We have a room by the kitchen. We have made a lot of friends: Gabriel, Drew, Jeremiah, Aaron, Nathaniel, Anthony, Benji, and Elijah.
There is also a very big concrete slide. One slide has one bump. The other has two bumps. If you slide down with card board, it makes it go slow. With a jacket, it slides fast and makes you fly a little bit. But with a bottle, you fly. I once made a jumpsuit out of a jacket it worked well. I also made a jet. It is awesome. Sometimes instead of landing on your butt, you land on your feet. At the beginning, I thought it was scary. Now I say it isn't scary. One of my friends, Aaron, sat down opposite me. We linked arms and then we went down the slide together. We spun.
One time we went hiking with my friend Jeremiah. When we went down the mountain, we slipped and fell and there was a small rock slide. We fell on many cactuses. We had snacks. We ate Rice Krispies and granola bars. There were also grasshoppers. We tried to catch the grasshoppers but it was very hard. The grasshoppers jumped near the chapel at the beginning of the mountain. The chapel and the mountain were very beautiful. Ms. Allison pulled out some of the cactus spikes but not all of them.
Another time, my Mom and Dad had a date with me. We bought food, cantaloupe, chips and more for a rancho visit later that night. We walked to a table. They bought me a 99 calories Coke. And we talked a lot. The missionaries stopped by to talk to us. The date made me feel happy, special, and loved.
by Jason Wilde
Fear and safety - they are almost certainly not aligned:
We fear things we cannot control.
So why the huge gap in perceived vs. actual risk? It's completely normal, and it's because humans have irrational fears about things they don't control or trust, and they will overlook risk if given enough benefit.
Driving a car is arguably one of the most dangerous activities you will ever do (because of both the immediate and long-term health risks). But, you don't fear driving because:
So, what happens when we do fear something? Fight or flight - remove the risk or remove our self. And this is exactly why Jesus tells us not to be afraid. Fear is the universal gateway to indecision and indifference or hatred and anger - an unlikely dichotomy that are each the most dangerous of all paths because we risk eternal salvation for our soul by doing nothing or hating everything. But more importantly, fear is most often misguided and destructive and so our indifference and hatred are against the very people who need love.
But even in the best case, fear can only lead to safety...
Fear is to Safety as Greed is to Riches
Safety is an idol, a self-preservation that runs counter to life as a Christian witness. And just as greed is the deadly sin used to obtain riches, fear is the conduit to the worship of safety. The Parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us to go out of our bubble and help others. Christ never promised safety or an easy life, but He did promise that "whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for (His) sake will find it." (Matthew 16:25)
The best way to fight fear then is not to take control, but to trust Jesus, the Lord of risk, in your life to control your actions and change your feelings. Allow him to turn your fear into a positive emotion like love or empathy. Loving your enemy is the safest path to salvation.
"Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your life-span? If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest?
Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:25-26,32)
"My friends, Jesus is the Lord of risk, he is the Lord of the eternal “more”. Jesus is not the Lord of comfort, security and ease. Following Jesus demands a good dose of courage, a readiness to trade in the sofa for a pair of walking shoes and to set out on new and uncharted paths." (Pope Francis, 2016 World Youth Day Prayer Vigil)
By: Jessica Wilde
Our short term medical mission trip to the Philippines was over. Genevieve dropped us off at our hotel in Cagayan de Oro, we walked upstairs to our rooms, and we fell on the bed and cried. We didn’t want our mission trip to be over. In fact, Grace said it took all the self control she could muster to not grab on to the back of Genevieve's car and hitchhike back to Canossa. We had all fallen in love with mission life.
The next day we took a short flight to Cebu. It was a shock to our system. We went from the beautiful simplicity of a convent to a lavish 3½ star hotel. For a quite reasonable $100/night, our executive 2 room suite came with a hot Asian-style buffet breakfast. We had an adequate supply of bottled water, two bathrooms (one with a large tub), and most importantly, hot water. But after spending a week bringing God’s mercy to families who could barely afford basic necessities or critical medical care, staying here felt so hypocritical that we fought to only use what we needed and keep living simply. Even so, it felt like we were missing something. We were missing the endless love of sisters who always had a hot meal ready promptly at 7am. We missed the wake-up call of a missionary crying out “Rise and shine and give God his glory…”. We missed the extra special prayers in pain as we poured ice cold ladles of water over our heads.
The next day, we took a Jeepney to the Basilica where the beloved statue of Santo Nino is kept. Magellan brought this statue with him on his voyage around the world in his quest for the spice islands. He gifted the statue to the locals in Cebu. It was the first image of Jesus in the Philippines and now a major pilgrimage site.
We walked into the dark church where Santo Nino sat in a side chapel for veneration. Long lines of people processed through the church to lay their hands on the glass surrounding and protecting him. We knelt down outside the chapel but within view of Santo Nino. He was stunning in his regal robes.
Santo Nino is dressed like a king. His robes are royal red and embroidered with gold. This was not the image of baby Jesus that I hold close to my heart. I tend to think of him as a poor boy swaddled in a manger. I think of his homeless parents searching for a safe home for their son first in Bethlehem and later when they fled to Egypt. As a young boy, I imagine him playing with his friends and getting dirty like little boys tend to do.
But through this statue of Santo Nino, God pulls aside the veil of poverty and shows us our King. Santo Nino is a beautiful depiction of how God sees the poor. God is often hidden behind a veil as seen in Jesus’s presence in the Eucharist. If only we could see with God’s eyes, I wonder how many poor, sick or imprisoned people we see on a daily basis are really princes and princesses in God’s eyes.
“Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.” (Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World)
by Jason and Jessica Wilde
The dim hospital room was packed full of 15 or 20 Filipino families, each huddled around a bed or crib holding their sick child. The windows were open and a single oscillating fan in the corner provided some airflow to keep the room bearable. Our small group of missionaries had introduced ourselves and were tasked with sharing a testimony - a personal story about when each of us saw God in our lives.
Each testimony was unique and shared a story of enlightenment, hopefully providing a little bit of God’s light to an otherwise scary and tiring time in the lives of these families. Brecklyn shared a story from when she gave her own stuffed animal to poor boy on the sidewalks of Mexico City and how she saw God in the little boy’s smile. Grace's story was about seeing God’s love and compassion in a volunteer who comforted her on our pilgrimage to Lourdes when she was afraid of the baths. But it was Alex's testimony that shocked everyone in the room, including his parents. Earlier in the morning, while the girls were planning their testimony, Alex shrugged us off when we tried to help him prepare. He told us that his inspiration came from his beloved Lego Bible at home and that he had his testimony ready.
It turned out that Alex’s testimony was reciting from chapter 25 of the Gospel of Matthew...by memory.
Throughout each testimony, Junar, one of the full time local missionaries, would translate into Vasayan, the local dialect. At this point, I could see the shock on his face as he stumbled to accurately recount what Alex just said.
By now, the room was still with suspense. A few cell phones were trained on Alex as he continued to preach.
Junar again did his part, but I could not honestly tell if anyone was listening to him. Everyone seemed to be in shock and amazement, but Alex continued.
I began to question how he was going to wrap this up. Were we just finishing the chapter, or were we in for the long haul - were we going to hear Jesus’ persecution, crucifixion, and resurrection as well?
At the end of his testimony, everyone cheered and clapped. Alex said that this was why he loved to serve God’s people.
by Jason and Jessica Wilde
(Republished from Facebook post on Nov. 23, 2016 in Georgetown, Malaysia)
Today on the bus, we met a young family with a 3 year old son who had to come check out our own crew. He and Chi were instant best friends, if only for a 20 minute bus ride. While they were showing each other their shoes, his mother struck up a conversation with us, asking where we are from, why we're here, etc. She then said that they were from Ukraine traveling for 'political' reasons (and not planning to go home). They had already 'visited' Sri Lanka and were headed to Thailand next - but we know they are essentially undeclared refugees traveling through the cheapest places in the world on tourist visas. Here was a family that will probably never be able to work legally unless they go home, and who knows what savings they have.
War, political conflict, and forced migration are intrinsic evils that cause families to live a desperate and indignant life. When we talk about refugees, most people think of a bunch of Syrian men and women living in poverty in a tent city. But in reality, the refugees who are just now being resettled, like this father, are working families from conflicts that began over a decade ago, and have been patiently waiting for up to 7 years, and during this time they were limited by refugee laws to living in a refugee area like the tent cities that have become too familiar in Europe. Poverty actually cannot be a reason to declare refugee status. When refugees do get the approval to resettle, they do not have a choice of where or when, or whom with, meaning in many cases that families must be separated if they want to leave at all. In some cases, a wife or daughter will turn down an invitation if her husband or father do not receive one, which basically puts them back at the beginning of the process, or they have to go and become single parent families in a completely foreign country where they will be looked upon as a potential terrorist, separated from their families potentially forever.
And then there are families like the one we met today, who have seen what happens to declared refugees and know the hardships, and so they are undeclared refugees - basically vagabonds on permanent tourist status in any number of countries, and are what most people would call a 'drain on society' because they don't (can't) work or contribute. The Catholic Church considers this a loss of dignity of life due to inability to work and earn fair wages, and furthermore this little boy may be denied access to education and health care since they can't stay in a country permanently on a tourist visa.
It's so easy for us to say that 'they' should just stay put, until their lives are in danger, or they are stuck behind a wall, and then it's 'they shoulda left already'. Or that they should be 'put on hold' until we can verify that they are safe, which of course means that families live several years with limited access to healthcare and education, and then when they are resettled, they are labeled as uneducated and a tax on our healthcare system. (I'm not even sure what "extreme vetting" means in a process like this that can already take half a decade.) But Pope Francis reminds us that "authentic hospitality is a profound gospel value that nurtures love and is our greatest security against hateful acts of terrorism." Also, “We live at a time in which polarization and exclusion are burgeoning and considered the only way to resolve conflicts.” “We see, for example, how quickly those among us with the status of a stranger, an immigrant, or a refugee, become a threat, take on the status of an enemy.” The Pope also warns that this “virus of polarization and animosity” can infect our way of thinking, feeling and acting.
If you are a Christian and are not doing anything to help the stranger, I ask you to please pray not just for those who are refugees, but for anyone who does not have a home, and for direction from God that He might guide you to help where it may be most needed.
Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more. (Pope Francis)
by Jason Wilde
nation : a large aggregate of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory.
I didn't get to see much of Singapore, but I got to see Singaporeans.
Walking briskly through the rain under my little cheesy umbrella (who needs one in Texas, anyway?), I pass the Chinese Buddhist Temple with the giant tent covering, following a group of chatty teenagers from the local school to the bus stop. Being the small city-nation that it is, I guess that at least half of the kids' parents are from other countries, and yet they all speak the same language - apps, movies, who said what, etc. The bus shows up and I queue behind the crowd. Just as the first girl scans her card at the door, another girl yells "DOUBLE DECKER!!", and I look to my right and see another bus on the same route, but, you guessed it, it was the more impressive two story version. The crowd runs over, forgetting the girl standing in the doorway like a kitten stuck on the roof. One of them did notice, then says quickly "Well...you know...I'll see you later." Girl in the bus says "yeah", then watches her friend run away. Being in the 'in-crowd' is universal across the cultures of the world, as is loneliness.
I touch my card to the reader, walk on the bus and scan the seats to find an empty half-row behind an older Indian woman in a purple and yellow sari sitting in the handicap seat, and across from a woman wearing a black hijab. The bus creeps forward, and as we pass the first mosque on my route home, I hear a man behind me quietly, yet very accurately, singing the chorus to a Bollywood love song to himself.
At the next stop, a group of what appear to be nurses or maybe medical students arrive, raising the volume of the bus to a more chipper level. They stop in front of the old woman in the sari, and I must have missed the joke because they start laughing as soon as she looks at them, and then she turns and I see her face wrinkled into a hearty laugh as they camp out, standing in the middle section of the bus.
We make the last turn, past the second mosque with the golden star and crescent moon atop, and life seems to move only as fast as it needs to on the bus. Not so fast that people have to compete with each other to get on and off first, but not so slow that we lose the spark that makes it all a little different each day. Even the ongoing subway construction along this road seems to progress just fast enough for me to see what has changed from one day to the next as cranes are moved in and sound barriers are built to protect surrounding communities, but it is apparent that this project is going to take some time. Past St. Patrick's Catholic school, and then I see the familiar cross of the Church of Singapore, high above surrounding buildings, which tells me that it's time to get off.
The whole ride is maybe 25 minutes long, but it is this ride, each way and each day for the past two weeks, in which I got to see Singapore in all its glory - through its people. I'd pick a half hour bus ride any day over a trip to Universal Studios, or one of those 'Hop on, Hop off' buses with a recorded tour guide, because it is not the vanities of sight and attraction or power and wealth that make a country great, but the people.
by Jason and Jessica Wilde
We had only been in Beijing for a few hours. Our kids were jet lagged and ready for bed. We stepped off the crowded subway, walked through a lush green park filled with cherry blossoms and into the hutong - a traditional Chinese neighborhood that has, over the past 50 or so years, degraded into poor living conditions for many lower class workers in China’s biggest cities. Weaving through the tight labyrinth of streets that are only wide enough for one car and yet convey a constant stream of various types of motorized traffic zipping by our left shoulders, we were amazed at the multitude of odd jobs that residents of these hutongs would do for what was apparently a poverty income level.
As the day was ending, we became scared. Here we were with our 3 babies (7, 5, and 3 years old at the time), and it was getting dark and cold. This bed & breakfast was elusive for these tired non-Chinese speakers, and we only had a poorly marked map showing about 1 of every 3 alleys in this hutong. The sun set and we started to panic. Were we safe? Did this place exist, or were we swindled? How long before our kids fall apart into one giant tantrum? And then, we noticed a small flashing neon sign at the far end of the street - one that stood out from the otherwise greyness around us, and more importantly, had English words on it matching the name on our map.
Over the next 5 days, we slept, ate and shopped in the hutongs. Our personal space was invaded. People would reach out to touch our kids’ hair and grab them for a picture. If we were in a hurry, we had to tuck the kids’ hair into their jacket to avoid being noticed. In one renovated and particularly trendy alley, we found a counter serving fish pizza in the shape of an ice cream cone. As Jason was taking care of our order, a large crowd of people formed a circle around the kids, taking pictures of them eating their fish pizza cones. We were both physically separated from them, and my heart started to pound. But this was all part of our journey, and it created the exciting stories our kids still share. It was here that we found a vibrance that still sticks in our memories as a characteristic of Beijing.
Sadly, few hutongs still exist as housing in Beijing, since most of the them were torn down and the poor pushed out of the city in the name of commercialization. Because of this, hutong tourism is ‘a thing’ for tourists. I’ll never forget seeing them, on their one hour pedicab hutong tour. The tourists were being carted around, wide-eyed, sipping on juju juice and taking pictures. It was as if they were on a safari and the poor were the antelope.
Why are guided tours and ‘all-inclusive’ vacationing so popular? I’m sure there are many reasons, dating back to when the first guided ‘expeditions’ into wild territory were advertised to the elite and adventurous. Convenience definitely is a factor, and many are willing to outsource planning to save them time. But, even at a more basic level, why does there even need to be a plan? Why can’t we just go out like a freelance adventurer, without a plan or a care in the world?
We’re afraid that without a plan, something will ‘go wrong’. And by ‘go wrong’, I mean, it will make you uncomfortable in some way. We’re afraid that we might get lost, might not see the most picturesque street, can’t order a pad thai from the street vendor, or see something that makes us uncomfortable. We are so afraid of our own instincts that we will even outsource planning to a ‘guided’ or ‘all-inclusive’ service - one which assumes all risk, or at least makes us feel like there isn’t any.
Fear can be a good thing - it is an innate sense that alerts us when something isn’t right. But the time in which we must be fearful of everything new and different is a relic of a time when, in order to survive, we lived in small tribes and villages. In this way, fear also prevents us from experiencing anything new and different - and this severely limits our ability to live a Christian life, one in which Jesus calls us to be the good Samaritan and love all of humanity - even those who are new and different.
Going on ‘resort’ vacations is like dropping a $100 bill in the collection basket and doing nothing else - it gives you the high of feeling like you are doing your part, helping a good cause, and making you feel good. It is the safe thing to do. But, it also deliberately isolates you from the real world, a world in which there are no orderly lines, or well paid attendants, or high fences to protect you from the outside - and protect you from seeing the outside, lest you feel uncomfortable. It allows you to disconnect yourself from that which you are trying to help - real people, and real problems. In fact, many destinations intentionally isolate you from the real world, surrounding you with their synthetic, sanitized version that gives you a feeling of euphoria (and helps loosen your grip on the wallet a little).
Fear is not a Christian attitude (Pope Francis)
In order to overcome evil, we must put ourselves at risk. We must be able to remove fear from the equation not by avoiding it, but by confronting it. If we want to help the poor, we must meet the poor. You can’t serve God in Disney World. Now, you may say "If I help make lunches for the homeless or give to the Food Bank or Goodwill, then aren’t I helping the poor?" Absolutely yes. There always needs to be financial contributors, just as there needs to be resorts for people to disconnect - but these should be an integral part of a well rounded view of the world, one in which you can also be so comfortable with those whom you are helping that you feel connected with them, and only in this state will you truly love and care for your neighbor. It’s not that “It’s a small world” is a bad idea, but it is the absence of reality which makes one think that the only thing we need to solve world hunger, poverty, violence, and inequalities is to smile and sing a annoyingly catchy song (and wave at the tourists floating by).
So, the next time you decide to take some time off, or even have a free weekend, I challenge you to do something that makes you afraid. Instead of calling a taxi at the airport or driving to the park downtown, take a bus or subway. Roll down your window and hand a bottle of water to the man on the street corner. Buy some extra snacks to give to the homeless woman on the way to your hotel. Do your own research and try to cut out a guided tour or two. Let faith guide you to others' lives on your travels. We must open our doors, our fingerprint encoded security gates, and our high walls and allow ourselves to be uncomfortable in order to see the neighbors who really need our help.
by Brecklyn Wilde
You see a panda at the Beijing Zoo in China. It came right towards you and is analyzing you. Awesome! That was my experience when I went the zoo. I think that you know what pandas are, and probably you have seen pictures of them, but have you ever wondered about the facts about pandas? Have you ever seen a real panda?
Hi, it’s me again, Brecklyn. I am going to talk about pandas. Pandas seem so cute and cuddly. Pandas are one of the most popular animals in the world! Pandas live in the cold, mountainous bamboo forests in China. The Panda’s thick fur helps them keep warm in the cold snowy mountains. The panda’s fur actually has three layers. The first layer is the black and white pattern that you can see. The second is pink, the inside one. The third one is the skin. Have you ever heard of pink fur!?
Pandas were endangered until last week. There were only 2060 pandas left. Pandas were endangered because their habitat, bamboo forests, were cut down by people. They were also endangered because people used to shoot them for their fur. China said that it is illegal for people to keep hurting the pandas. Zoos are trying to increase the population of the pandas. Humans found the first panda on November 9, 1927. Ming-Ming was the first panda born in captivity. She was born in the Beijing Zoo in China.
Scientists are still trying to figure out about pandas so that they can save the pandas. It is hard to find out about pandas because of their habitat and what people did to the pandas. Pandas are still a mystery to the world.
Pandas eat about 10-20 kg (20-40 lb) of bamboo in one day. That is a lot! Pandas spend more of their time eating than playing. Even though pandas seem to be carnivores, pandas only eat bamboo. The only way pandas eat meat is if they are in captivity. In zoos, pandas are fed yams and ham.
Pandas have babies at 4-8 years old. When Panda cubs are newborns, they are very tiny, hairless, and weigh 85-140 grams. When a panda is 7 months old, they weigh 20 pounds and can already climb trees. Also, when cubs are born, the father leaves the mother panda with the cubs. Pandas give birth mostly to twins. Usually, only one will survive in the wild. Panda mothers choose the stronger of the twins, leaving the younger one alone thinking that she does not have enough milk to feed both of her cubs.
Panda in Chinese is dà xióng maõ, which means “big bear cat”. There are more pandas being born at the Beijing zoo than in the wild. I remember when I went to the Beijing Zoo in China. I remember seeing the cute rolly-poly pandas in the zoo. The pandas were my favorite part of the zoo.
In the past, pandas have been thought of as rare and noble creatures. The red panda was actually the first panda found. The giant panda was discovered 48 years later. The Empress Dowagner Bo had a panda skull in her vault when she died. Sima Xiangru wrote that the panda was the most treasured animal in the Emperor's garden of exotic animals. The grandson of Emperor Taizong of Tang gave Japan two pandas and panda skin as a sign of goodwill. Even today pandas are popular creatures. Panda toys are one of the most popular toys.
Do you want to hear a panda legend now? Here it is: Zouou is a creature, a righteous animal. These were thought of as fierce as a tiger but vegetarian. It is described in some books as “white tiger with black stripes”. I guess that this is a panda. What do you think?
Adult pandas are 1.2 to 1.9 m in length. Pandas have black fur on its ears, around its eyes, nose, legs, arms, and shoulders. The rest is white. Pandas seem to be gentle even though it has been caught to be attacking people. The panda probably does not mean to be aggressive. It probably just does it because it thinks that it is going to get hurt. In zoos when people give the pandas toys, even the strongest toys are no match for the panda.
To help pandas eat bamboo they have “thumbs”. The panda’s “thumb” is not really a thumb at all! It is really just a large wrist bone called a radial sesamoid. A panda does not wrap its thumb around the bamboo like we hold a pencil. It actually wraps its five fingers around the bamboo. It puts the radial sesamoid forward to jam the fingers across the bamboo. It is very hard to break bamboo even with an ax! Pandas can break and eat bamboo because they have very wide, tall, and thick teeth. Pandas also get two sets of teeth like humans: the baby teeth and the adult teeth. Unlike humans, pandas have 42 teeth.
Pandas, just like cats, have slits in their eyes to protect them from the sun. Do you remember me talking about Mr. Lover having the slits in his eyes?
I want to be a vet when I grow up. I want to invent the I.A.C. which means International Animal Center. I am going to help animals all over the world. I am going to put centers everywhere in the world. I am also going to volunteer at places that are already there. I think that the first animal that I am going to help is the pandas in China. Some of the animals will be in cages, and some of them will be in the place where the animals are going to exercise. Each animal will have what they need, and some things that they want.
Pandas are smart, fun, creative, and beautiful animals. I just love pandas. I love how they act and play. I hope you learned a lot that time, and I hope you will see the pandas in one of the zoos in China. That is all for now!
By Grace Wilde
Hi, I am Grace. My family and I travel around the world. It is fun to travel. I love to learn about the cultures, the history, the language, and trying new food.
But how did we do this? Weren’t we scared? It is true that we were scared. But we did not let fear overcome us. Fear is like a thorn in the garden. Someone steps in it and it digs deep into one's foot causing them to abandon their job in the garden and let the thorns swallow more. You have to have faith. Faith is like the flowers on the bushes that tell you that with God you can do things that you did not know you could do.
So, before our adventures, we had two cars, we were homeschooled, and three times a year we went on a quick trip domestically. But one day my mom and dad talked about traveling the world.
“It will cost a lot of money” said my Dad.
“We would have to sell our car” said my Mom.
In the end, we had faith that it would be fun and safe. We sold one car and bore our cross as a one car family. Finally, we were on our way with a big adventure in front of us.
We did not let fear overcome us and had faith came as easy as 1-2-3. But, through weeks of prayer and thought we could say “We are going to travel.”
On a Mission
Two passionate parents and their four children are excited to bring His Word to everyone in need while living a life of Gospel poverty as missionaries. They invite you to join them on a journey to encounter our global neighbors that Jesus commands us to love through works of charity and service.