Everyone is home-Now what?

We traveled the miles

IMG_4566

and wore the tshirt,

IMG_0150
we ate the food and experienced the culture

IMG_4681IMG_7915IMG_7954IMG_4534and oh how we shed the tears!
IMG_0248

Now what?

Do we come back home and live life like normal? Do we forget the faces that stared into our eyes and looked with longing for someone to love them? Returning home is HARD! How can I say that when we live in the land of plenty? We have most anything we could ever want at our fingertips and yet we want more.

It is HARD because we felt the need, we experienced the heartache and now we desire  more for these precious children. We know they are loved by their caregivers, but that will never replace the love of a family. So many people asked, “Did you bring a baby back home?” If it were only that easy I can promise you we would have brought many of them back home.

So, we each must answer the question, “WHAT NOW?

The answer will look differently for each of us-some will make plans to adopt, some will find other ways to serve because we each have a different calling and different purposes to fulfill, some will begin preparing for the next trip.

However, one thing is certain: we  all agree that we have been changed and like the words to Matthew West’s song, we are ready to “Do Something.”

Do Something

Matthew West

(from the album Into The Light)

I woke up this morning

Saw a world full of trouble now

Thought, how’d we ever get so far down

How’s it ever gonna turn around

So I turned my eyes to Heaven

I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”

Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of

People living in poverty

Children sold into slavery

The thought disgusted me

So, I shook my fist at Heaven

Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”

He said, “I did, I created you”

If not us, then who

If not me and you

Right now, it’s time for us to do something

If not now, then when

Will we see an end

To all this pain

It’s not enough to do nothing

It’s time for us to do something

I’m so tired of talking

About how we are God’s hands and feet

But it’s easier to say than to be

Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves

It’s alright, “somebody else will do something”

Well, I don’t know about you

But I’m sick and tired of life with no desire

I don’t want a flame, I want a fire

I wanna be the one who stands up and says,

I’m gonna do something”

We are the salt of the earth

We are a city on a hill

But we’re never gonna change the world

By standing still

No we won’t stand still

No we won’t stand still

No we won’t stand still

Publishing: Songs of Southside Independent Music Publishing / External Combustion Music / Songs for Delaney (ASCAP)

Writer(s): Matthew West

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Distractions 

Oh how quickly Satan can try to steal our focus. We’ve spent a week loving children who have nothing of this world and yet we are so anxious to get back to our “normal” lives. It is so easy to lose our focus if we are not intentional on WHOM we focus. 

Yesterday after going through multiple security checks and lines we were finally on the airplane headed for home. Everyone was snug in their seats ready for a 13 hour flight. We pulled off the gate and thought we were in line for take off when we were informed there was a sick passenger. Our plane had to return to the gate so the man(who I heard was having chest pains) was taken off. They had us all ready to go again after about an hour when we were informed there was a mechanical problem. We went back to the gate and mechanics came on board to access the problem. This is a brand new airplane but it is very computerized. After sitting for another few hours we were told the plane could not be repaired and we would have to stay in Beijing. The airline put us up at a hotel,  but with 225 passengers plus crew that was not a quick process! Once arriving at our hotel we were provided dinner(at 11 pm) and a comfy bed, and breakfast and transportation back to the airport. 

This event was a slight delay in “our” plans, but all in HIS plan. Our group did a wonderful job keeping a positive attitude(since we have an amazing leader who always stays positive)! We had a delay, but what if….the man had had a heart attack after we got in the air or we had to make an emergency landing while over the ocean or Russsia or somewhere else. God has protected us and provided for our needs and we know He is continuing   to do so. We had one day longer to enjoy new friends who we won’t see again for a long time. 

Thank you for your prayers and we ask that you continue as we try this again today. 

  
To God be the glory, great things He hath done…  

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why?

Why did we come to the other side of the world to love on orphans for a week?

Why did we spend so much time and money to get here?

Why did we leave our families behind to go to a foreign land?

Why don’t we just stay close to home and love on children there?

Why are we going on a mission trip if we aren’t going to evangelize?

All of these and more are questions many of us have heard as we’ve prepared for this trip. Let the photos answer some of those questions.  

 

For one short week  we loved with every ounce of energy and strength we had to give and it never seemed like enough. Not because we HAVE to, but because it brings us a great joy and we WANT to. Thus the answer to why is Babies are worth it, children are worth it and the relationships that we’ve built among new friends on the other side of the world are worth it.

Today we had a birthday party for children who don’t get to celebrate every year with gifts and cake. We took lots of pictures and we shed tears as we said goodbye to our new loves. Our hearts are heavy but overflowing with love.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (‭Luke‬ ‭6‬:‭38‬ NIV)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Precious moments

From our morning bowl of noodles-the best we’ve ever tasted-to an evening full of dance at the park we had a day full of blessings!    

  Each moment was filled with precious memorie that we will treasure for a lifetime. The orphanage director has gone out of his way to make sure we have been well cared for and fed well. After a day of loving on sweet babies he took us to the park that has a huge statute(sorry, I don’t remeber his name) of an emporor who created much of their farming and was well regarded in the early years. Just like most of the parks in China the people  all gather and exercise and dance. We took lots of photos and had many taken of us as well.   

 The best part of our day certainly revolves around loving on precious children, but  the friends and relationships that we’ve made on the other side of the world has created a bond of love  for a people so dear to our hearts.  

   

 Please pray that tomorrow we can finish strong and show off the reason for our LOVE -it is only through the love of Christ that we can give that LOVE to others. 

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Always watching

As I’ve said before, a group of crazy Americans in another country often draws a curious stare.  It isn’t a bad thing, and it’s often quite humorous-something  we’ve come to realize happens each time we go out.   As we discussed tonight, though, we must live our lives in such a way that when people see us, they see Him.  Do they see love, joy, and compassion or do they see the darkness that so fills our world? This morning we were so blessed to see some of the behind the scenes places that we often don’t get to see.  The director is such a kind man and graciously showed us around the hospital and many areas of the orphanage. We had the opportunity, sad though it was, to see a new baby who had just been abandoned and was now awaiting her placement in a room already full of babies. She was the most beautiful baby, but sadly due to a costly medical condition her parents probably chose to leave her somewhere because they likely did not have the resources to help her.         This is the area outside of the hospital where children can stay when abandoned if the weather is bad until they can be taken into the hospital.   

The beautiful nurses who are caring for the newest babies.

The  lady is on  the far right is one of the head doctors and so kind and loving.

After our tour we went to the school that is made possible from the funding of Love Without BoundariesThis school held 22 children from 18 months to 18 years.  There were many special needs present but the children were full of joy and the teachers were happy to share their classroom with us.

 When we returned this afternoon we once again spent time with the older children at the school painting, blowing bubbles and painting fingernails and watching their sweet faces shine with joy!    Tonight we ask that you pray for the precious little gifts from God, created perfectly in His image. Pray for their strength as they wait and for families to hear His call to open their hearts to these treasures. We covet your prayers and feel them each step of this journey. To God be the Glory!

Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment

On our hearts 6/23/15

When it comes to a visible evaluation of our day it looks something like this:
7:00 breakfast 

8:00 drivers meet to transport us to the orphanage 

8:30-12:00 time with kids

12:00-1:00 lunch prepared by the orphanage staff

1:00-2:30 rest time back at the hotel

2:30-5:00 time with kids

5:00-6:00 supper

6:00-7:00 supermarket stop

7:00-8:30 devotion/discussion time

8:30-7:00am try to sleep

Nothing newsworthy, headline grabbing or earth shattering today.  Playtime included taking little hand and footprints which was sweet, challenging at times, and lots of FUN! Our art director, Macky, and her crew did a phenomenal job capturing a small milestone in the lives of these little ones. What a sweet treasure to pass on to future families.  Throughout the rest of the day our team members laughed, held, sang, played, cried, prayed, wiped up puke, pee and poop.  In general we have experienced a range of emotions that often left us with a conflicting mix of emotions: sad and happy, hopeful and despairing, yet most of all prayerful. During our devotion time, Beth, our fearless leader, read 2 Corinthians 4:18, “so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Our schedule is easily seen and our actions feel small & inadequate for the visible needs we see, our hearts are burdened with how pitiful our small efforts actually seem. But as Beth read that verse it struck me that our view is so limited. Like an author of a novel our God is writing a story for which only He knows the details. He is writing this story not on paper or screen, but on human hearts. 

 Just as the reader doesn’t know where the story will go, neither do any of us know how, or when, God’s story will end. It boggles the limits of my mind to think about how many characters God is developing. Each of us are part of a His story-every baby, every nanny, every team member.

God sees the invisible, the unseen. He sees each heart, and while we may not know all of the details, the ending has already been written. And for those of us who crave a great ending , this one is pretty SPECTCULAR!

Love wins!

“…With every act of love, we bring the kingdom come.” Jason Gray   

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s a small world

If you hang around any of us for long you will probably hear someone humming the words below, and it has nothing to do with a song we’ve chosen to sing.  The funny thing is that several times a day we will hear the loud music to this song coming throught the windows of our hotel from somewhere below. Tonight,  I learned that the music is coming from the street sweeper-not your typical music for men cleaning the streets below!

 

It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears

It’s a world of hopes, its a world of fear

Theres so much that we share

That its time we’re aware

it’s a small world after all

It’s a small world after all
It’s a small world after all

It’s a small world after all

It’s a small, small world

There is just one moon and one golden sun 

And a smile means friendship to everyone. 

Though the mountains divide 

And the oceans are wide 

It’s a small world after all

It’s a small world after all

The words are a reminder to everyone that this small world is one of beauty and tears, joy and fears, differences and yet many likenesses. We all may look different and eat different food, but we love the same and hurt the same.  Though the oceans divide us we have hopes and dreams just like the people we have come to serve. They have continued to serve us with such love and care and though the language may divide us we see that a smile is the same around the world.

Today, we sang songs, played with finger puppet, balloons and balls. We gathered information on sweet babies who are waiting and will hopefully be matched with a family soon. We cradled very frail babies and prayed over them, not knowing what the future may hold for them.

Tonight we ask that you pray for our sweet guide, the continued health of our group, and especially the babies who are so very frail. Many need a miracle as they wait. The Nannies do a great job with the resources they have, but they can only do so much and it will never replace the desperate need for a family.

This saying on the wall of the baby room holds such truth.   Today, they were given abundant love.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Father to the Fatherless

Our 4 am departure to fly to the next province has everyone pretty exhausted again tonight! After arriving where we will spend the week serving, we checked into the hotel and rested for a little while. Around 11:30 we met the orphanage directors and had a specially prepared lunch at the orphanage. They went out of their way all day today to provide for us in so many ways.  The food was delicious and each staff member was so caring and ready to meet any need we may have had.  We may have come to serve them, but they went above and beyond serving us today. They took us to the Dragon Boat Festival where we were most likely the only Americans they had seen by the magnitude of pictures snapped of us.  Since we were not able to take photos in the orphanage today all of these are faces from the festival. 

After lunch we had the chance to go on a tour of the orphanage and what a joy that was! We spent time loving on babies who are going to be adopted soon and many who will likely never know the love of a family. As you gather with family to celebrate Father’s Day today we ask that you pray that God will pour out an extra blessing on those babies   Who long for a fathers touch.                                                                                                                               May He be the father they may never know. The joyful laughs and sweet smiles and little kisses every time we walked into the room filled each of us with a joy that could have only come from the JOY of the Lord.  Thank you for your prayers. It was a good day, but also so emotionally draining! 


   

   

   

   

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Sightseeing and sharing hearts

After a good night’s sleep we were very early to rise with the sun at 4 am and ready to enjoy a wonderful breakfast. Then it was time to head out for a day of sightseeing and experiencing the Chinese culture.  We toured the  Forbidden City, along with what seemed like all of China, and viewed many historical buildings.   McDonalds, a place I would rarely eat at home, became the chosen place for lunch followed by a long drive filled with lots of traffic to the Great Wall of China.   Four of the younger members of our group were very enthusiastic to climb to the top while the others of us enjoyed some great conversation in the shade.  
  Our conversation today included crazy things like: getting to know each other’s families, learning about our guides religion and getting to know her, our amazing husbands who make these trips possible, our desire to see churches burdened for the orphans of the world, and even some discussion about pterodactyls(you will have to ask Macky about that one)!

 The day ended in the best way! We had another great Chinese dinner followed by Starbucks and conversation with a facebook friend, now turned “real life” friend. Meredith lives in China and operates Morningstar Foundation, a home for amazing children with serious heart defects.  She has such a passion to see God heal and place these precious babies in families.   We were able to bless her with a few small gifts and she blessed us even more with her spirit and love for seeing every child know the love of a family.   We quickly discovered what a small world this really is and how many friends we all have in common. All Glory goes to God for new friendships and blessings of the day!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We made it 

Today’s post is oh so short….EXHAUSTION is the consensus among our group, so we are off to bed now that many of us have been awake for over 24 hours.             Our group-Rylin, Maury,Amanda, Suzette, Macky, Beth and Dawn                                                       Mountains over Russia on the flight  Peking Duck for dinner

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments