Visiting a community of Chinese people like the members of Mayflower Church is a little like living in a Chinese restaurant. Every family cooks fresh, authentic Chinese food every day. We are invited to lunch with one family, and dinner with another each day, and they always bring an abundant breakfast to our room. The fellowship is great – one of the three somewhat-English-speaking teens is assigned to accompany us to each meal to translate for the group and ends up translating both ways between gulps of food.

The people have cleared a space on the Hotel property for a large garden. My daughter-in-law Amy, who is into that kind of thing big-time, would go crazy in that garden. Each family has their own plot and grows food for their family. They have pumpkins, different kinds of lettuce and tomatoes, onions, and all manner of Chinese vegetables that we can’t identify. They work in their plots daily between running to jobs and taking care of the children and church meetings.

The amazing garden they have planted on hotel land where they get all their fresh vegetables for their meals. I took this picture from our first-floor room window before we moved upstairs.

The dinner tables are loaded with high-quality Chinese dishes of meats and soups and vegetables, often with three entrées each meal. It is more food than we can ever eat, and they are all concerned that we eat so little compared to what they’re packing away. But it seems to us that we’re overfed most of the time. Graciously, they always provide spoons, and, when available, small forks for us to use, but of course, they’re all using chopsticks, and it is obvious that they wonder why anyone would try to eat with spoons and forks. I’m not sure they know how to use them.

Many of the men do a lot of the cooking, which is interesting. They make some great-tasting dishes that are better than what we’re used to in American Asian restaurants. It helps that the veggies are all fresh. I had an interesting conversation today about canned foods. They don’t seem to use many canned foods.  I asked why, and the husband replied with some amazement at my question that “it’s not fresh.” So they value fresh food very highly, and I suspect most of them will always have a garden wherever they land permanently. I’m sure east Texas farmland would welcome their efforts. As they relocate and move on with their lives in new careers, I suspect there may be some new Chinese restaurants springing up nearby.

Enjoy the pictures. I wish you could taste the food.