Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuesday, August 25th

I apologize for not getting this out sooner. If I am allowed to take a moment to be transparent, I have been somewhat avoiding this task. I have a hard time sharing things like this with the world. I treasure these moments, and think to myself, "no one else will understand. They weren't there. They didn't see what I saw... they didn't hold those babies." But then I realize that if we don't tell the world, no one else will do anything about it. We spent three days at New Day Foster Home in Beijing. This facility exists to take children that have severe medical needs or disabilities and can't be adequately cared for by the government orphanages. They are responsible for approximately 50 children, but half of these kids live with foster families in the surrounding village. They divide the children by age; the babies, the toddlers, the pre-schoolers, and the 'back-yard' school (these children are older and living in the Forever Home. The oldest is 12). On Tuesday morning, we were given a detailed schedule of what our day would look like. After an orientation, Bessie and I were asked to observe the babies outside, and then the preschool class during their 25 minute music time. What we saw/heard during this time was completely unexpected. Every song was in English! They were using songs we use here! What a surprise for us. We immediately started re-planning our entire session with the children. Our repertoire just multiplied by 100. After lunch we spent an hour training one shift of nannies while the Sarah, the education director, translated. We then did about 30 minutes of music in the backyard school. Three out of four of these children are completely bilingual. Our day finished with a tour of the New Day factory, in which they create (from start to finish) various trinkets for sale through Christian bookstores and other retailers. We can now say we have been in a "Made in China" factory! This factory exists because non-profit organizations are illegal in China, so the profits of the company go to run the factory, foster home, and forever home. Stay tuned for "Wordless Wednesday"coming soon!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Beijing, China 2012

It has now been two weeks since arriving home and getting back to the groove of things stateside.  The trip to Beijing is one that I am still processing.  Originally, Amy and I wanted to do the trip to China in 2011 but it was not an option at that time.  This is when it was decided to send a team on a shorter trip to Haiti.  The experience with All God's Children International was one that Amy and Monica were so impacted by.  All God's Children International asked us to join them on another trip.  When this occurred, we wanted the trip to impact the most children with special needs.  We were told that China was the trip to do just that.

We had the opportunity to work with a team of wonderful people.  All of us were burdened with desire to help orphans with special needs.  This was a team that individuals expressed a desire to go and work with the children with whatever team was pulled together.  There were originally eight of us but at the last minute one member was unable to join us due to visa issues.  We joined one additional team member who is spending six months volunteering in Beijing at another foster home for the blind.  The team was a group from a lot of different backgrounds joined together in one purpose.
From Left to Right:
Ruth--Policy writer for the Canadian government from Toronto
Bessie--Music Therapist from California
Amy--Music Therapist from California
Marlene--Sargent with the Miami-Dade Police Department
James--Pharmacist from Minnesota
Tabitha--Short term missionary to Beijing (as well as many other places) from Oregon
Kerri--Former missionary to Bangladesh and Taiwan and pastor's wife from Washington
Taylor--Recent high school graduate and older sister to an adopted girl from China from Virginia

Different people from all different backgrounds.  We joined as a team not knowing much about each other and grew to become good friends, tourists, supporters, advocates, chopstick experts, and so much more in the nine days we were together.  God had a plan for this team and brought each person's strengths together for His glory.

We got to see the amazing work being done at New Day Foster Home, help out with Harmony House during a big transition, experience some great cultural experiences, eat a lot of rice, provide training to the care providers to improve on what they are doing, hear stories of wonderful healing of the children being cared for, mourn in the loss of life, worship with our team and the missionaries around us, receive teaching from pastors from Britain and the U.S., and much more.

We look forward to sharing individual pieces of this trip as time allows.  Thank you for those of you that have followed the journey and have supported us through prayer, words of encouragement, or finances.  We have much to share.  We are juggling our day to day lives and trying to find the time to share what we experienced.

Please look for many more stories to come...