Wednesday, June 28, 2017

China 2017


Well this was my 7th trip to China, 4th mission trip. What can I say that I haven’t already said? It is always a HARD trip. Hard on many fronts. The traveling alone is hard. We were gone a total of 14 days and 7 of those were travel days! Note to self…Never connect again through Canada! You have to go through immigration and security there even though you have done that at your origination point and you have been in a metal tube in the sky for hours on end and you aren’t leaving the terminal nor exiting the security checked are just connecting through??? And second note to self…(even if the tickets are really cheap) never fly Air Canada again. The delays are ridiculous and the service is so-so.

We took, cars, buses, trains and planes all to arrive on the other side of the world. A world much different than ours. There are so many fascinating things about this country but also so many strange things. We said “why” a lot! I always try to get outside my selfish self when there and concentrate on the children we are there to serve. I must confess, I don’t do that well. I complain. I am jet lagged, I miss my family back home,I am uncomfortable, I usually get the stomach “thing”, and I desperately miss my creature comforts. But I feel so guilty. Because these kids have nothing. And they don’t get to leave and go back to all the nice things our American lifestyle holds. Some of them are here forever. Some of the lucky few will get out through adoption. But it takes awhile and they must live there until they are matched with a family. The conditions are not what you would want your children living in. You really can’t imagine it and I find it hard to tell people because it really just doesn’t do it justice.
It is hard.
Hard to see children living like this. Especially knowing I had 3 of my kids start life like this. And Lulu, actually lived in the orphanage we work at. I get very emotional when we FaceTime and I see her spunky, cute little self chattering away to me with our comfortable home in the background. I just can’t imagine if she were still there. She would be a shell of what God created her to be. What would all of these children be like if they got out? That is hard. My heart hurts on such a deep level that it haunts me. What can I do about it? We certainly can’t adopt every orphan in the world. We can’t really change the conditions at the orphanage because there is a communist government involved and it would also take gobs of money, training, staffing and overhauling the system. So my question when I return from these trips is always “What do you want me to do with all this God?” Surely it can’t just be to go once a year and give love for 7 days? That just doesn’t seem like enough. It just isn’t fair. We have so much. They have so little. We were born into middle class America by the grace of God. They were not. My amazing teens have seen too. Their hearts hurt also. I am so proud of Julia and Sam. Wow! They way they loved was beautiful to watch. Thank you God for kids with caring hearts.

I always long for home and regular life when I am there but then I get home…and I can’t really enjoy it because I feel so guilty. They are still there. They have gone back to their regular ole days without us there to add hugs, kisses, laughter, play, crafts and outside time. They sit in cribs or on benches or plastic potty seats day after day after day. 
They have never felt grass under their bare feet. Or sand and the ocean wash over their toes.
They have never felt the soft fur of a pet.
They have never had a birthday cake and been celebrated on the day they came into the world.
They have never had someone rock them when they were sick or had a bad dream.
They have never tasted cold sweet popsicles on their lips on a hot summer day.

“What do you want me to do with this God?”
I pray for them. I advocate for them. I tell interested families all about the child they are considering adopting. We donate money. We stay in touch with some of the nannies. But that just doesn’t seem like enough. So my heart hurts.
 I can’t fix it. 
So I pray. I try to let it go and give it to God. There must be some purpose as to why He has allowed me to have this experience in my life. Why He has allowed me to see this. I might not really ever know the why and that has to be ok. He knows. I have to trust Him.
That is hard too. It shouldn’t be but it is.
So as I re-enter life in America, I come back from all the “hards” of the trip.
As jet lag disappears I almost feel a deeper sadness. In a weird way I don't want it to disappear because it keeps me connected to them and I am afraid I am going to forget. I don't want to forget!
Some things do fade from my memory over time. Some don’t ever fade.
Just a piece of unsolicited advice…if you ever feel called to go and do hard, please go.You might not REALLY want to go. I usually don't. But it will change you. It will be hard and you will say “Why am I doing this?” but you won’t regret it. Your heart will hurt but it is a good kind of hurt.
You will see God so clearly. We can't always see Him so clearly here in America because we have so much and we don't feel as if we have to depend on Him. But Wow do you have to depend on Him in "hard". And Wow does He show up time and time again. He is pretty awesome!
And everyone’s hard looks different.Choose what breaks your heart. There are a lot of heartbreaking things in this world! One hard is not better or greater than another.
And maybe, just maybe, if enough people go and do hard things we can change the world. Or just change one person’s world…even if it is just for a few days.

Both my Bigs went this year. My kids have won academic and sports awards and as a parent it makes you proud. But seeing my kids love so big and so freely is really indescribable. It makes you realize what is really important, Those awards pale in comparison to matters of the heart.

 Breakfast in Hong Kong before crossing the border

Taking the bus across the border and through immigration to the train station.
We then have a 2 hour train ride to Chenzhou  

This little girl, Sam named Lucy, adored him and clung to him each day.

 Julia's friend Anna also joined us this year

 Hot Pot night

 Craft time with some of the older and "more capable" kids ( we are talking preschool type crafts)

This little guy is blind. His future there feels hopeless.
 Sam and Lucy

 We took some of the kids to a "park" one day. Its so sad to know most have never ridden in a bus or played in a park

 On our last night of devotions we invited the nannies. Look how many showed up!These ladies are so dear. They have very hard jobs under very hard conditions. Julia Sam and I both said this was one of the most touching things on the trip. As we sang we really felt God's presence there among us all. We were able to tell them in simple terms about God and how He loves them and the kids. It was really a special time.
 Sam and I left a few days earlier than the rest of the team as my hubby had to get back to work. Here we are sitting by the airport hotel pool in Hong Kong waiting to catch our flight the next morning. We needed some down time to process it all before the long journey home.
I was so proud of my kids. Sam was awesome. They both loved so BIG and gave so much to the kids. It really melted my heart.
 The rest of the team went on to Beijing to shop and climb the Great Wall.


  1. ok friend I guess this is how we will meet in "real life"! I so want to go and serve. Please give me details, I'd love to do this next summer! I'm sure you are already thinking about this but what are your thoughts on taking your littles some day? Everything you wrote is exactly how I felt when I got back when I went with Pearl River Outreach!

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