My name is Susan. My daughter Alexis and I went to one of the BMH summer camps last year–what a great time that was! Perhaps because they were older and I am a Mom, I bonded especially with my two campers ZhangYan (16) and Qingqing (20), and it broke my heart to watch the vans drive away that last day. Lily, my translator, spent an extra day after the camp before we all parted ways…and we solidified a friendship that had been growing that week as God broke both our hearts for these orphans.
Both Lily and I had signed up for Becca Bolt’s email after-camp course (for campers & translators) on Relationships; I think it’s purpose is to encourage growth in friendships begun at the camp, but Lily and I didn’t need a reason to email…by that time we were emailing each other a couple of times a week. ZhangYan and Qingqing were continually on my heart, and–although she is not yet a Christian–I could see that God had put the girls on Lily’s heart, too. We talked a lot about them, and I told Lily that I felt I would be back in a year so that we could all be together again.
As the months went by, God provided money for my “China Fund” again and again. Although I was dismayed at how the cost to return to China more than doubled, still God brought the money necessary to make it happen for Alexis and me. Lily explained to me that she had told her family so much about the girls & her experience at Camp that her Father was interested in meeting these orphans and the Americans who seemed to care about them so much. I asked her to call the girls’ orphanage and ask if it was possible for us to travel with them; Lily called and the Grandfather agreed!
The most important part of our time together was spent at Lily’s home. I don’t believe her family had ever met a Westerner…but they welcomed us into their lives and treated us as Honored Guests. By the end of the first day together, God had grafted us into this wonderful and caring family. My greatest desire was to see God bond ZhangYan and Qingqing’s hearts to the hearts of Lily’s family–and that is exactly what He did! Lily’s Father announced that the girls must come and spend their future school vacations with the family from now on, and every one of the apx. 20 of us was crying on the day that we left Lily’s home. My heart longs for the day when Alexis and I can return to China, but I know that, should this not happen, ZhangYan and Qingqing now have family who love them.
In an email that I just received from Lily’s sister Violin (who, along with Lily and her best friend Nancy were translators at one of the BMH camps this summer), she wrote, “Your coming have changed my whole famlies a lot! We were curious ,joyful, my families have understood love deeper…Dad and mum often talk about you. There is no difference between Chinese and Americans to some degree! We love you all and hope for another wonderful together-meeting !” GOD is SO good!
When we returned to the Orphanage–through God’s miraculous timing–both Tim and William (Alexis’ two buddies from last year) were there to meet us! Alexis brought gifts for the boys, and we spent the day with them before reluctantly returning home. Lily and I have decided that next time, we need to bring TIM ‘home’, too…..is God awesome, or what??
Alexis, with her translator Yang,& buddies Tim and William, last year at camp.
We held a surprise Birthday Party for ZhangYan, Qingqing and Lily’s Father the last night we were at their home, complete with party hats, gifts and birthday cake. I’ve never seen the girls smile so much!
Qingqing, ZhangYan and Lily’s Father with the birthday cake.
At Grandfather’s Orphanage (L-R) Qingqing’s brother, Tim, William, Alexis, Qingqing, Susan & ZhangYan.