The purpose of our trip has come to a close, but the impact of this trip will go on for years in our own hearts and hopefully in the hearts of so many in this land that we love. This morning the director of the orphanage met us at the hotel to say goodbye and load our luggage. We enjoyed a few more photos and then headed out for the drive to Xian. The drive was truly breathtaking as we watched the mountains and valleys pass by out our windows. Only God could create such beauty!
During the drive our awesome pastor, Paul read Romans 12 to us and reminded us how important it is to encourage one another. We then spent time encouraging one another and hearing what an impact each of us had made on the lives of this team. How often do we really spend time building each other up? Not enough, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to hear each person share his/her heart and how the others had been an encouragement to them this week.
This mom and son were an encouragement to all of us as they dealt with difficult news and allowed God to continue using them.
Once we were in the hot city of Xian it was time to visit the Terra Cotta warriors. This is the 8th wonder of the world and it is so full of history. It was a very hot day and everyone was so tired that we ate at a small little place with beef stretch noodles and called it an evening. Tomorrow morning two members of our team and one of our guides will begin to make their way back home. Please keep them in prayer as they begin the long trip home. Our time together may be ending but “until next time” we will hold each other close to our hearts and dear in our memories.
Our fearless leader and guides, Sophie and Elaine. They were the best of the best and we are so thankful for their help.
Today was a full day and there will be many stories to share after some rest. Our emotions are drained and our hearts are full. We experienced a beautiful program presented by a local organization at the orphanage today followed by MANY photos. Seeing us on the Chinese news wouldn’t be a surprise after all of the cameras!
We met with the director, shared our observations from the week, and exchanged gifts. He is truly a man who loves and cares for the children in his care and his staff obviously respect him greatly. We may have some to serve in this place, but he has gone above and beyond making sure we have been well served.
After the meeting, it was time to say our goodbyes. We hugged the children and whispered words of love and God’s promises over them. With each goodbye we wiped tears as we prepared to walk out the door for the final time. It may have only been one week, but we have fallen in love with so many children and we have dreams that each one could know the love of a family. We loved on the Nannies and told them thank you for loving the children.
The nannies stood at the end of the hallway as we turned the corner, waving and reminding us to please come back again. That hallway grew longer as we turned the final corner, knowing there were many we will never see again.
Our hearts hurt, but as we cling to His promises we are reminded of the rainbow. The evening could not have ended any more perfectly as we did some shopping, visiting with the locals and touring the Rainbow Bridge. My photos do not begin to do the captivating beauty of this place justice.
I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant
between me and the earth. Gen. 9:13
Today, we celebrated a man who we have all grown to love and respect immensely. He would not want recognition because he is so humble, but we celebrated his birthday last night with a surprise cake and lots of laughs and then today he was able to enjoy his birthday celebration with the children. Our team member, Jacob, has made this trip one of the most interesting, inspiring, and uplifting. He has a compassion for the children that is truly unbeatable. He has assessed medical needs, loved babies and listened to stories of so many people this week.There must be a Chinese tradition of placing icing on ones face during a celebration and he was not left out. As we celebrated a birthday party for the children, the director of the orphanage enjoyed placing icing on Jacob’s face.
The party for the children was a wonderful highlight of our day! It would not have been complete though without going to see the children who were not able to walk to the party. This photo says so much of the love and compassion of our group and of the staff. We were allowed to take the cake to the children and feed those in beds who may likely never walk or celebrate a birthday.
For the joy of the Lord is your strength. Neh. 8:10
Most adoptive parents who have had someone else love and care for their child for the first few years of his or her life would love to have the opportunity to meet that person and thank them. That rarely happens; but, today it did, and it could have only been orchestrated by our heavenly Father who knows the desires of our hearts. Please read the story below of the miracle we witnessed, through tears today, written by Gina:
Six years ago on a mission trip, I fell in love with the most beautiful brown-eyed girl I had ever seen. This sweet little girl was 9 months old and unlike other children at the orphanage, she was being cared for by an older couple on the property. I could tell she was very attached to them and they cared deeply for her. Fast forward 5 1/2 years; this sweet girl has blossomed into a beautiful little girl and is fully adored and loved by us, her family. My heart’s desire was to one day be able to return to the city of her birth and express the heartfelt gratitude we have for the orphanage staff and, in particular, this older couple. Today….I had the opportunity to do just that. The staff at the orphanage brought the couple to the room where we were meeting as we all waited with anticipation. The older couple remembered my daughter well and seemed equally pleased to see me once again and hear how well our daughter, Myla, is doing. We flipped through a photo album and with the help of our translator I was able to express through tears how much they blessed me by providing a very nurturing environment for our little girl. We shared tears, hugs, and smiles and a love for the little girl who has changed all of our lives. It was a day I will never forget and know that this moment will one day be a huge blessing to Myla as well.
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and He will do this. Psalm 37:4-5
Our first day at the orphanage was a beautiful and emotionally draining day. We loved with abandon as we shed tears at the magnitude of the orphan crisis. We experienced the presences of Jesus and felt the touch of His hand. We watched as our team loved, cared for, and spoke words of worth into each precious child. We held children who will likely never sit on their own or have a family to love them. We sang songs and tickled little tummys. This team….THEY ARE THE BEST OF THE BEST! Only God could have placed this group together-from a 14 year old to a 69 year old and every age and gender in between. We have not only ministered to the people of China, but to each other as well.
These men sitting with on my daughter are the REAL DEAL! She has wonderful examples of men in her life, but a young lady can never have to many speaking words of truth into her life. I have never seen such a knowledge of the Word of God, masculinity and tenderness all at one time!
This sweet lady, Susan, is one of the best! She loves the children and cares for every detail of seeing them through to adoption. Would you please pray for each member of the staff at this orphanage? They work tirelessly many hours to care for the 132 children in their care.
The children we saw needed sensory stimulation so we filled small bottles with water and beads and bright colors and they loved it!
During our “rest time” we walked the nearby streets and visited with the school children. We reminded them how beautiful they were and as we encouraged them, they also encouraged us.
And now…we go again to the place that so fills our hearts. Would you please pray that they would be more open to allowing us to take photos of the children in the orphanage? We were told that we were not allowed to take photos inside, but we know that the God who loves these children wants them in families and many times a photo of a precious face can speak volumes. We will always carry pictures in our heart, but we want you to see these beautiful faces as well! Thank you for your prayers!
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
As the sun rises over a place in which my heart feels so at home I eagerly anticipate the day ahead and the new memories we will make. His rainbow for us last night is such a reminder of our beautiful HOPE. My heart breaks to hear news of a horrible shooting in my own country and my heart breaks to see precious babies lying in a crib with no one to call Mommy or Daddy in this land far from home. I don’t understand it all, but one thing I do know is that NOTHING is outside of the hand of my Father in Heaven. All I do know is that without Him I would have no hope to face each new day and the heartbreak that lies within each moment. That is our job on this trip: To offer HOPE. It does not happen within the confines of an orphanage. Yesterday, it was no coincidence that the lady I sat next to on the plane from Beijing to our province was a teacher and she also spoke a small amount of English. We shared stories of our classrooms and students and then I shared about THE ONE who gives me the hope of eternity. She had heard of this one we call Jesus in an English class at the university, but she knew nothing of the Hope He offers. We talked and I encouraged her to seek His face after our time together. I may never see the blossom from that conversation, but I planted the seed of Hope He asked me to plant. Would you please pray for my new friend, Gerre, that she would continue to seek Him?
Once our plane arrived, we were quickly greeted by the staff at the orphanage and taken to our hotel for a delicious lunch and few moments of rest. Then, at 3:30 we headed to tour the orphanage. Despite the fact that some of us had been here before, each time is a new experience. In those few hours, we held babies and hugged Nannies and we watched as two of our team members thanked those who had loved and cared for their own children for the first few years of their lives. That was a moment we each shared tears and smiles and we saw the joy multiplied by people who share a common goal and HOPE.
In the time that followed we shared a dinner prepared especially to welcome us and the beauty of that meal was exceptional.
Now we welcome this new day and look with expectation and hope as we focus on our common word: Flexibility. We are yours, Lord, to use as you see the need. Our hearts, minds and eyes are on You to show us the way for today.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3After a good night’s sleep and a wonderful breakfast we traveled to a portion of the Great Wall of China that many of us have never seen before. We stood in awe looking around at this amazing wall created by men so many years ago, and in greater amazement at the majestic scenery designed by our Creator. We were reminded tonight that just as this city sitting on a hill can not be hidden, we are to let our light shine in order to glorify our Father in heaven. It is our prayer that as we meet new people and gain new experiences we will be able to do just that.
In Beijing you don’t often get a beautiful clear day with blue clouds and a gentle breeze, but today that is exactly what we were given and we enjoyed every moment of it. Some of us rode a lift to the top of the wall and some hiked to the top. Once at the top we spent time just experiencing the beauty of this magnificent creation surrounding us. When it was time to go we rode a slide to the bottom. WHAT A BLAST THAT WAS!
After a delicious lunch (full of laughs at how poorly we were doing with chopsticks) we drove to the Summer Palace and walked amidst the lake and many palaces built for the Emperors so long ago. This area is full of people who were enjoying the day and the beauty in this country so rich in history and culture. More photos and plenty of stories to come, but for now this is the next step of our journey since we will be heading out at 7 am to the place we are the most excited to go.
“…Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.”Ezekiel 36:23
Our team arrived safely around 6 pm and checked into their rooms. They had 15 min. to put bags away and be on the bus headed for dinner. We had a wonderful Chinese dinner and some great conversation getting to know each other. What an wonderful team of people God planned for us! Everyone is exhausted and ready to sleep…we will see how well that works! Goodnight for now; pictures to follow tomorrow when everyone is awake.
Here are the names of our team so you can be lifting us up by name as we serve Him:
Beth, Suzette, Tia, Janet, Macky, Tyler, Linda, Jacob, Paul, Gina, Nick
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Today, while we were awaiting the others arrival in Beijing, my daughter, Tia, and I spent the day being a little more adventurous than normal. We tried a few new foods for breakfast and then decided to venture out to the Beijing Zoo.
Getting there was the biggest challenge as we chose to take the subway. The lady at the hotel front desk circled our subway stops for us and we set out on our adventure….We made it there and back without incident, even as we purchased tickets, changed subway lines 3 times, and found our way across town and back speaking a foreign language and deciphering signs along the way.
The zoo was beautiful, the pandas were fun to see, and there were people EVERYWHERE!
We got a good laugh out of the fact that their “American animal” in the zoo was a raccoon and then look at this cute little car!
We did a little shopping on the way back and ended our day much earlier than it seemed, with exhausted feet and a nice cold drink from Starbucks.