Today I had the opportunity to go and visit the lovely kids from a local private orphanage who we met at camp.
My Aussie friend, Hollie and I packed our vegemite sandwiches and boarded the jeep for a China day of many varied experiences.
We were met with big smiles and cuddles from Lily – 4 year old Down’s syndrome girl who is also deaf. She seems really happy and as bubbly as ever.
The highlight of the day was seeing Wei Wei and presenting him with a “stimulation tent” and a piano. As you may remember he is the blind boy who at 5 years old still weighs less than the average 1 year old.(but still managed to steal the hearts of BMH volunteers and staff.
He laughed and smiled when we presented him with his piano and all the children loved the tent that Hollie made them.
We treated Wei Wei at camp for worms and his terrible diarrhea has stopped and he looks like he has gained some weight!
We also got to see the little cleft palate/lip baby who was found in July. He was abandoned at a few days old in this box but is now a happy, chubby baby boy who loves his “grandpa”.
On a sadder note we got to meet another newcomer…
He is a little boy between 2 and 3 who was left at the door at 11PM a few nights ago. His legs were tied together so he couldn’t follow his parents after they left him ! Because he has had spina bifida he is incontinent of urine which must have become too much for his parents.
Thanks for your continued interest in these children – hopefully they will return to camp next year.
Currently we continue to pray for them and their carers – an elderly couple who now look after over ten kids.
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.
What happens when you have a group of willing volunteers, helpful translators, agreeable orphans and a big God? We found that it leaves you with a pretty seamless week of camp!
The children loved making pottery, running through the city fountains, and going to the pool with giant water slides, but sometimes our more meaningful camp moments happened when we were simply hanging out together.
The more intimate times of making bracelets for one another, reading bedtime stories together, and watching people perform in the camp talent show are precious moments. Like spending time with family around the dinner table, we didn’t need anything fancy to enjoy one another.
One family group especially enjoyed a two-hour conversation about their life-stories. After the kids heard their volunteer’s story, one little boy asked, “Can you tell me more about Jesus?”
The Lord is opening hearts around here, young and old. We praise Him for all He is doing here in Xi’an.