About this time each year, for the past four years we've been living in ZZY, the city shaves down the trees.
Last year, when they cut on the east side of us, I drove over with my three-wheeler scooter and started gathering wood. A man from top the truck started yelling at me and I played dumb, "Ting bu dong!" (don't understand what I hear). He grunted and waved me off with a small load of wood that burned through the following fall.
Last year, when they shaved off half the trees in our complex, I had just finished reading Raising Modern Day Knights and was longing for opportunities to be with my son, to do hard and rigorous things together (camping and hiking aren't always being an easy option), and to find tangible ways to teach him what it means to be a young man and to serve others.
That coming Saturday, chainsaws woke up the neighborhood and a pile of treetops piled in the middle of our complex. An answered prayer.
Judah and I spent the morning and early afternoon sawing, by hand, and carrying the wood up our seven flights of stairs. We even split the pile in half and shared it with a friend. When Judah asked why we were giving so much away, I was gifted with the opportunity to teach him about humility - to use one's gifts for the benefit of others.
Of the many days spent in China, that one was one of my favorites.