July 13th, 2011
Today was our last day caring for the orphans, a day we dreaded. We gave each room a party which comprised of songs with actions, gifts for the children/youth and staff, and snacks. Those working in the toddler room noticed how tattered their clothes and shoes. Shortly after the party, they were already showing off their attire complete with shoes with lights!
When 5:30pm came around we didn’t want to leave.. Orphans have a way of getting into your heart and it is so easy to love them as your own. I think we almost love them that little bit extra because they are disabled orphans. They have become a part of us, so it hurts to leave them behind.
Many special faces will come into our minds in the days to come and we will have a sense of joy when we think of them, but also sadness in our longing to see them. They have given each one of us a precious gift; they have taught us so much about our Father and His great love. When you are holding an orphan everything else in this world really fades away. With great simplicity and without knowing it, they have given us the gift of who they are with their unique personalities and disabilities. We are changed as a result.
Please continue to think of us as we make our way to Xi’an tomorrow and then some of us are heading to Hong Kong and a few are going home to Vancouver on Friday, July 15th
July 9th, 2011
The team took the older girls to the local park yesterday and then the toddlers today. This is a very big deal because they rarely, if ever, leave the Welfare Centre compound. A few were afraid but the majority were so excited when we started putting them in the bus. It gave the team a great deal of joy and pleasure to give the children and youth the opportunity to get out and see what the world is like outside of their walls. They loved it and by the end, those who were fearful didn’t want to leave! Just like normal kids who’ve had a lot of fun, the toddlers slept on the way home…
July 7th, 2011
Today’s blog is dedicated to Dang Le Xuan, born on June 10, 2011. She died at 5:00am this morning. She had cervical vertebrae malformation and was one of the frailest babies here. A few of us held her yesterday and now she is gone, but she has touched us deeply in the short time we’ve known her. We grieve and will remember her.
Dang Le Xuan is the one at the top of the picture.
July 6th, 2011
This morning’s devotion time together was based on two passages: the healings of the centurion’s servant in Luke and the leper in Mark. In the former, He wasn’t even present and merely spoke the words, but with the leper He TOUCHED him. Elsa, who was leading the study, asked why He touched the leper; why not just speak the words like He did with the centurion’s servant? Of course we know the answer if we know our Saviour; He likes to challenge the conventions and norms of the day that are wrong. He knew lepers were isolated shunned people who were deemed outcasts of society. The group was then asked how His example relates to what we are doing in the orphanage. Several people shared about leaving their comfort zones. We are used to extreme cleanliness in Canada and it’s not the case here; the rooms smell and the children can be pretty dirty.
We often go on a trip like this and yes, we have something to bring, but the other piece is how He takes us away from our conveniences and comforts and transforms us. We may not even know it at the time. So it’s exciting for me to hear this process beginning for some of those who are on the team. He is good and cares for all….orphans and every team member.
The team loves watermelon!
July 5th, 2011
Today was the first full work day for the team. The daily schedule is from 8:30 am to 12:00pm, then 3:00 to 5:30pm.
As I wandered around to take pictures and video shots I couldn’t help but notice the interaction between Ella and a little four month old girl named Dang Qiang Sheng. When asked which room she would like to work in, Ella had specifically wanted to care for Qiang Sheng in the baby room. She noticed her during the orientation tour; Qiang Sheng is very tiny for a girl her age and is attached to a catheter. She is diagnosed with bladder exstrophy which is extremely rare where a part of the urinary bladder is outside the body. The progress of Qiang Sheng was remarkable to watch. Ella described her as tense and insecure when she first picked her up, but by mid-morning she was so relaxed in Ella’s arms, maintaining eye contact and smiled. It was clearly evident how much she needed to be held which Ella happily obliged….the whole day! The quick responsiveness of Qiang Sheng typifies every baby and child who is picked up and held; they long to be touched, spoken to, and given attention. It doesn’t take much; as long as you have arms and a heart of love, you can make a difference that goes way beyond words.
Everyone settled in nicely by the afternoon. Charlotte, one of the teenagers on the team, said, “I learned a lot about each child today.”
And Gabriel, the youngest member said with a big smile, “I want to stay longer because it is a lot of fun!”
And another young person, Alison, was so happy because one of the older girls she was working with hit her; you see, this girl shows affection by hitting! She apparently likes Alison!
-Edith (HFL leader)
July 4th, 2011
Today marked the first visit to the Sanmenxia Welfare Centre. Finally, after all the months of preparation and anticipation, we were able to put a face to the Welfare Center – or should we say many ‘faces’ to it. This morning, we were able to go through the formal introductions of the local director and other staff. Our team was greeted with warmly and orientation of the orphanage projects was thorough and very informative.
The door to the baby room was the first one opened to us and the team eagerly burst in and before you know it, everybody was holding a baby or playing with a young toddler. One of the team members had tears in her eyes and a huge grin as we reluctantly left to go to another room.
The team of ten will be split in three groups; one will work in the baby room, the other in the toddler/preschool room, and the last in the older girls room. There is already a ‘buzz in the air’ as the talk around meals is beginning to shift to centre on the children. There will be plenty of personal stories to share in the days to come!
Thank you all for your continued prayer and support. This trip is already changing lives and it’s only day 1.
July 3rd, 2011
We arrived in Shanghai safely yesterday! We had our first authentic Shanghai meal at a ‘hole-in-the-wall’ type restaurant that came highly recommended by the hotel staff. They were right! Very good Shanghai dumplings!! The team is in good spirits and excited for what is to come. Thanks for praying and leaving encouraging comments!
We are traveling to Xi’an and then Sanmenxia today. More to come…
June 29th, 2011
Welcome to the blog for the Anglican Network in Canada trip to China. Only two short days remain until the team embarks on a life-changing journey that will take them halfway around the world to serve at an orphanage for disabled people. Check back often during the trip for updates, stories and photos of all that happens. Please pray for safety and guidance, and for hearts to be changed and lives to draw closer to Christ.