After serving as a missionary to thirteen countries since China, I have learned the importance of building relationships. It's so easy as Americans to go into another country expecting the people to be what you have always known. What is challenging is losing expectations and becoming like them so that you can be more relational. I should have gone into China as a learner, not as a teacher.
I had a great experience in China with my students. By the sixth week, we were very close but sadly it took me until it was nearly time to go to finally appreciate my students for who God made them to be. It took me a while to notice that God had already identified them as His. He had already given them a name. It wasn't my place to change it.