Monday, July 15, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Chenzhou

I couldn't write this post until now for 2 reasons. One, we had an 8 hr train ride to Beijing on Friday afternoon and didn't get to our hotel until about 11:30 pm and I was wiped out! Two, I just couldn't relive that emotion. It is hard even now. We had a celebration with the orphanage staff and some of the older kids that morning. It was a wonderful celebration of love, friendship and appreciation. We sang a song for them, the kids performed and the staff sang. We had fruit and cake and gift exchanging. We then had a few minutes to say goodbye to the kids and the babies. My heart hurts just thinking about it. As I approached Angelina and Minnie's crib, Angelina saw me and smiled her big whole entire face smile and I scooped her up. I held that tiny body and kissed her all over. I told her I loved her and Jesus did too. I told her to fight and hope and I prayed one day she would have a family. I wonder if she will look for my face over her crib and wonder where I have gone. She came so alive the 10 days we were there. She loved to be out of her crib. But now she will just lay in her crib all day. Oh my heart. I then held Minnie and kissed her and prayed over her. She is so tiny. I told her to hang on and never give up! I sobbed as I walked away from these two precious gems. I went around the room and kissed each precious baby, aware of their personalities now. I told them each how Jesus loved them. I then had to say goodbye to Charlotte. She was hooked up to an IV so we couldn't hold her. Poor Julia was sitting on the floor next her bouncy seat sobbing. I kissed her little head and face. I prayed, I cried, I told her help was coming and to not give up. She was so miserable and I could barely make it away. Then I had to watch my 14 year old daughter say goodbye to her. The sweet Nanny came over and just held Julia and cried along with her. The nanny and I hugged and cried and I tried to thank her for all she does for the babies. We had to leave and it was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. We said goodbye to the big kids. I held Ray and sobbed and he looked into my eyes searching....oh baby, how do I leave you here. I kissed Sydney, the 14 yr old and she cried and started pinching her wrists...oh God please be with these kids! We said goodbye to the nannies too. We cried then as well. Some of them and the director took us to the train station and there were more tears by all. We all had our Heart for Chenzhou shirts on and it was quite a picture of unity. We then boarded the high speed train for the 8 hour trip to Beijing. That was a time for reflection for me, it was long but I needed it. How do I go back to my life in America? I want to pretend this doesn't exist because it is just too hard. But it does. So what do I do about it? How can I help???? I will pray and search and I will listen for His voice and direction because I KNOW there is work for me to do with this all. I have never felt closer to God then when I was amidst the least of the least of these. I told Will the day we Americans paraded through the streets of Chenzhou with the orphans holding our hands leading them to church, I "saw" Jesus ahead of us, leading us in his robe and sandals, I felt Him there and it was overwhelming, in an undescirable good way!

I write these posts, I talk about this, I show pictures, but nothing can convey the reality of it all. You have to go. Everyone should be required to go. It will change your life! You might not want to go, it feels too hard, too uncomfortable, you might not REALLY want to know, but you must. Life is not just our American upper-middle class bubble we live in. It sure is nice to reside in our abundance but in reality we are not given abundance to shower upon ourselves. We need to share. Not just our financial abundance, but our love, our minds, our time...whatever we have to give, we should give. Because, some have nothing. Nothing at all and your gifts, no matter how small you may think they are, are HUGE to those who have nothing.

To my precious friends at Chenzhou, may God be among you, may you feel His love long after we are gone, may we NEVER forget you all, may we be your voices where they need to be heard and most of all thank you for the gift you gave me......your love and friendship. Godspeed.

Some of the big kids at the celebration.

Sweet, always smiling Joy.

The kids getting ready to sing.

The "school" kids doing a song and dance

The kids and staff getting ready to sing.

My last time!

The cake they got for us.

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