Sunday, June 28, 2009

I'm Home

Well I made it home, safe and sound. The flight was good and went pretty quickly. I was so happy to get to San Francisco and see Chad. He was there with roses in hand for me, what a great husband I have! As expected I crashed within the hour of me getting home. I have been doing a lot of sleeping and I am sure that will continue for the next few days. Luckily I have a good 7 weeks to recover before I go back to work.
Saying goodbye to my teammates was really hard. We became pretty close during our 11 day trip. They are all very special people that will always be important to me. I came home from the airport to realize that today (Sunday) would be filled with MORE goodbyes. As some of you know our church has been preparing for a pastoral change. Two years ago our church, Los Gatos Christian Church, merged with South Valley Christian Church to become Venture Christian Church. Both senior pastors stayed on board for two years until a new senior pastor could be found. Well Chip Ingram will now be our senior pastor effective this Wednesday. Today was the last day for Pastor Galen and Pastor Dave. Both have played a big part in my walk with Jesus. Pastor Dave was the first pastor I came to know after I was saved at South Valley. Pastor Galen was there to greet us with open arms as we changed churches two and a half years ago. Both of these men are amazing examples of Christ and their sermons have helped me grow spiritually. We said goodbye to them today and we had a great service celebrating their many years of work in the church. It was hard because I am very excited to see was Chip will do in our church, but I will miss both of our former pastors very much. Pastor Dave will stay in San Jose but Pastor Galen will move to Colorado. I was very excited to hear that Galen's heart is find a ministry that worked with helping the hurting. This includes the widowed, the handicapped, and the orphaned! When I said goodbye to him I said I know exactly where your heart is because that is where my heart is also. I can't wait to hear what God does with him and his wife. Perhaps God will use me in a similar way. I would love that!
I miss China very much. A part of my heart was left there and I know that part will always stay there. I can't wait to go back!!! Anyone on board to go back with me?!
Thank you for praying for my safe return. I love you all very much!

This is one of my new shirts that I bought at the orphanage. On the front it says I Served in a Five Star Country and on the back it has James 1:27 in Chinese. I wore it home. At the Beijing airport a woman was reading it. She asked "are you Christian?" I said "yes I am." Under her breath she murmured "me too" while pointing to herself and nodding yes. She then showed her young son to show him that we were Christians just like her and her family. This was such a great example of how there are people who love the Lord in China but they have to keep it a secret. How blessed we are to live in a country where we can worship the Lord without fear of persecution.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Time to Leave

Well the my last night in China has arrived. This post might be a little vague as it is almost 1am and I am getting up around 6 to say goodbye to Natalie and her kids. Our last full day in China was jammed packed with activities. We visited the Summer palace, a pearl store, the Forbidden City, had a peeking duck dinner,and went to a Chinese flying acrobatic show. We ran out of time to go to Taniman Square. I was a little disappointed about that because it is something you see so often on TV and in history books. Oh well, something to do next time. The Forbidden city was amazing. It was HUGE! The detail on the buildings was stunning.Apparently it took 14 years to build and was made out of the finest materials. Let's just say the Emperor sure did have a cool crib! The Chinese acrobatic show was awesome too. They made this show for the Beijing Olympics last year. It reminded me a lot of Cirque du Soleil. It was a great way to end the trip. And yes we did have duck for dinner. How did I feel about it you ask, well lets just say i would have been better off had I not known what it was. lol, it was cool to try something different though. After we returned from our busy day a bunch of us got massages in our room. It was the best massage I have ever had and it only cost me $23 including tip! I couldn't pass it up, where in the U.S. can you get an hour massage for $23?! I rest my case!
I had a great time today despite being extremely tired. I spent a lot of time thinking about the orphanage though. I miss the kids. I miss their smiles, their laughs, and their hugs. Tonight we had a closing team meeting. We were warned that we might have a hard time going home because people at home have not been through what we have been through in the last 10 days. While I can not wait to see my husband, I am a little nervous to go home. On top of being exhausted, I know that life will be there to greet me when I get home. We were encouraged to email our teammates and ask for prayer from them if we find that we are having a hard time when we get home. I hope that after a few days of sleep, prayer, and time with Chad that I will be ready to go onto what God has planned for me next. Natalie also had us write a letter to ourselves or to God that she will mail to us in the next 6-9 months. The point was to paint a picture of what we have seen and experienced during our time here. She says that after we get back to real life it can be easy to forget what we saw here and the letter will help remind us of what we did and saw during our time at the orphanage. That should be a neat thing to read. I wrote a letter to God and while I asked him a lot of questions. I told him I would always trust him even if I didn't understand. I can't wait to see what He has planned next for me and my heart for orphans! God is so good!
Please pray for me and I return home and get back to real life. I do get into San Francisco at 8:40 am Saturday morning but I am not guaranteeing that I will be up to talking on that day. I am very tired and just need some time to sleep, pray, think, and be with my husband. I have missed him so much and I can't wait to see him again.
I hope this entry didn't sound to melancholy, it's just hard to say goodbye to people I have grown quite close to. I have had a great time here in China and I am so thankful for this joyful life changing experience. I am going to continue to blog about China for awhile as I have many more stories and thoughts that I want to share with you. Thanks for reading my blog while I have been away, I hope you were blessed by it. I know so many of you are praying for me and for that I thank you. You are all in my heart. I better get to bed now!
See you soon!

The Summer Palace, Dragon Lady lived here

The Forbidden City

Duck anyone?!

Chinese acrobatic show

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Goodbyes and Teary Eyes

Well today was the day. It was time to say goodbye to the kids at the orphanage. We spent the morning handing out party bags from yesterdays birthday theme. I was very sad to say goodbye to my Jacob-Jai. After that I spent a few moments holding a few of the babies including the new baby that arrived yesterday. I was sad and teary eyed through most of it, but the worst was yet to come. Stacy had become quite close to us and you could tell she really enjoyed the time she got to spend with us. She was at the inn to say her goodbyes and she started to cry. I completely lost it. We were all hugging her and crying. We told her how much she meant to us and that we would keep in touch but that isn't the same as having us there. She stayed the whole time we were leaving and waved as we were pulling out of the driveway. the worst was when our team leaders 7 year old daughter started wailing saying "I'm going to miss Stacy, I'm going to miss Stacy." UG so heartbreaking!!! I wish I knew how long Stacy stood there or how she felt after we left. What must that be like to have people come in and show you how special you are and then a few days later have them leave you. There is a very special couple staying there that want to take good care of Stacy and I know that they were there to help comfort her. I will have to tell you that story later, its pretty amazing.
We then got on the bus and went for another McDonald's meal. we were then on our way to check into our hotel. Our hotel is VERY nice. The beds are super hard but no biggie. We then went and did a tour of an old village which was neat. We even got to go into one of the houses and visit with the family. There house was very tiny but it worked. It made me think about how little you really need in order to survive. We then went to a tea house and learned the traditional way to prepare Chinese team. It was neat because they prepared five different kinds of tea for us and it was cool to learn how they prepare their tea. After tea we went and did some shopping at the Pearl Market. At first I was not too crazy about it because they are very aggressive with their "deal making". But after awhile I settled down and while I didn't get the best deals I got quite a bit of stuff for a fair amount of money. In facts I probably went a little overboard. I am going to have some explaining to do when I get home. We finished up the day with some good old Tex Mex again followed by Haagen Daaz for dessert. It was good to have different food today, my stomach wasn't as grumpy.
Tomorrow is my last full day here in China. I have had such a great time with this team. It is like I have been on a trip with people I have known for years. On Saturday will come more goodbyes and will probably include more tears. I can't believe what an amazing thing God has put together with this team. He knew every person that was going to be on this trip and He has made it so we work so well together. How am I going to say goodbye to people I have pretty much lived with for 10 days? But now I have friends spread out all over the United States and that is something very special. I remember how sad I was when I didn't get chosen for the other trip, but this was so much better. God is good and faithful all the time. he has shown me that He can plan things far better than I can ever plan for myself. I am ready to go home and see Chad and Milo. Apparently Milo is very upset int he morning as all she does is go MEOW MEOW MEOW. I told Chad she is wondering where I am.
Well I better get off so I can go spend some more time with my new friends. We are having girl time in me and Ana's room tonight! Should be some good times! I will be on tomorrow and tell you about my last day here in China :(
Hope all is well back home!

The Team in Front of PHF

Stacy Saying Goodbye

Riding Through China

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Well I have officially been here for a week. Boy what a hot day it was. It had to be at least 100 degrees with a nice hot breeze. Exhaustion has started to set in and my body finally rejected the Chinese food I have been eating for the last week. But it was still a great day filled with lots of blessings.
A new baby was brought here today. We were out with the kids this morning when a van pulled up and out popped two women, one of whom was holding a baby. The baby is a boy and he is only 34 days old. His special need is that he has clubbed feet. We got to visit him and I even got to hold him for a bit. He was so small and he was very fussy. I looked at him as he cried and thought to myself, he should be with his mother. Couldn’t they think of some way to fix his feet so they could keep him? How do you leave your baby somewhere and just walk away?
A man and his wife who work here at PHF came and talked with us today about adoption and why there is such an orphan crisis here in China. We are all familiar with China’s one child policy due to their overpopulation. The problem is that there is no social security here in China. When people get old and can no longer work they have to rely on their one child to support them. Traditionally the son will provide best for his parents as a wife's duty is to provide for her husbands parents. If a couple has a girl they may feel as if their future is not secure. So they give the baby up in hopes that the next time around they will have a boy. Now another problem arises from this,. Woman do not go into get prenatal care because if they do have a baby that they later give up, whoever took care of their prenatal care will know that they already had one baby. They would then get in big trouble. With no prenatal care it is not known if there is a problem with the baby until it is born. Therefore when a baby is born and it has a special need, parents tend to abandon them as well because a child with a special need may not be able to work or provide for their family. That is why there are so many boys here with special needs, they are given up just as easily as healthy baby girls. What a mess! I must admit that I have asked myself why does God allow this to happen? Why would he put these beautiful children in a place that may have no future for them. I felt guilty for thinking this because I know we serve a loving and faithful God. The man told us today that he was sure everyone has thought that at some point. That made me feel a little better.
But we did have a great day today. The theme was birthday party and boy did we go big! We had a huge five layer cake. The kids LOVED it! Some came back for thirds and fourths. Some had their faces full on in the cake. It was a great sight. Their smiles are priceless. They are so happy, so carefree. You just want to make sure they are all safe and well taken care of. I know this orphanage is very special and the nannies here love these children as if they were their very own. But what about their future? What if they never get adopted? Once a child reached the age of 14 in China they can no longer be adopted. What must that be like to realize you will never have that family you had hoped for all these years. I guess today was a day of questions for me. I do trust that God has a perfect plan in all of this. Maybe it is to test us to see if we really do what his word says.
We will leave PHF tomorrow at about 11 so we have a little time to say goodbye. Then we head back into Beijing for two days of sightseeing and shopping. This trip has just flown by and I can’t believe it is almost over. Well I should get back to my room so I can start packing up my stuff. Please pray for me as I prepare to leave these kids tomorrow. They have all touched my heart and have forever changed me for the better.
Thank you for your prayers.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Great Wall and Bird's Nest

We had another day off from the kids today. While I knew we had some fun things planned for the day it is sad to think of a day without the kids. I can not believe how fast this trip is going.
We went to the Great Wall today! What an amazing place! We took a tram up the mountain and then walked down about a mile on the wall. It was so cool to be on the Great Wall. All of these years I have seen pictures but I never thought I would actually be on it. The wall is connected by towers which you can go into. There is nothing in them but it is welcomed relief from the heat. On the way down we took an alpine slide. OH MY GOODNESS IT WAS SO COOL! You say in a toboggan like seat and you had a lever in from on you., When you pushed the lever forward the toboggan went fast, when you pulled it back it would break. It was so much fun. Everyone wanted to do it again. Plus it was nice to get off the mountain quick. We even had a movie star sighting. When I came out of one of the towers I saw a guy wearing a mask. I wasnt thinking much of it until a bit later a few of my teammates came running down saying that the guy with the mask on was Leonardo DiCaprio and Vin Diesel was with him! I was so bummed I didn't realize who they were! Does that still count as a movie star sighting?
After we got some lunch and then went into a shop where they made copper vases. It was cool to see but stuff was pretty expensive to buy. We then took off for the Ming tombs. Its basically a bunch of tombs of Emperors from the Ming dynasty. (I think that info is correct)Then we headed back into Beijing for dinner. We were pleasantly surprised to find out we would be dining by the Birds Nest and Water Cube from the Olympics and would be passing right by it. Let me tell you it was so cool to see in person. The birds nest looks much cooler than it looks on TV. I wish we could have gone inside. The water cube looks much bigger than it does on TV. We had dinner and then headed back to the orphanage. By the time we had returned our day had lasted for more than 12 hours, but boy what a day.
I am very sad to think that tomorrow is our last day with the kids. I feel like I haven't gotten my fill, like I could spends weeks more with them. I wish Chad was here to experience all of this with me. I keep thinking about what the next step will be. I don't really have definitive answers so I will just need to wait on the Lord until he tells me what comes next. I know with God I can do anything and I am not going to underestimate myself. I cant wait until God revels it to me.
Well I am dead tired from a full day of walking. I will be sure to share more tomorrow. I am realizing that I am going to have to continue my blog after I return home as there are many more stories and experiences I have yet to share on here! Isn't blogging an amazing thing!
Hope everything is going well back in the U.S.!

The Alpine Slide

The Birds Nest

Monday, June 22, 2009

What a Beautiful Day

We had a beautiful day here in China today. Clear sky's the whole day with no humidity! It was beautiful. Our leader Natalie has been here five times and has only seen blue sky on one of those trips before. Praise the Lord for beautiful weather.
we had another great day filled with games and art projects today. Tonight we are going for a dumpling dinner and then we are going to have a girls night with Stacy and Wendy. Remember Stacy is the one we gathered yarn for and Wendy is another orphan her age who is a paraplegic. They are going to dinner with us tonight and then we are going to do some special things for them. They are sweet girls. I hope they enjoy what we have planned for them.
Tomorrow we are going to the Great Wall and will be doing an alpine slide down the hill apparently. It sounds like a blast and I cannot wait! An alpine slide on the Great Wall! Who knew I would be saying that one day.
I am going to leave you with some of my favorite pictures so far. I hope you enjoy them. I miss you all back in the states but I know I will be seeing most of you very soon. I am having the time of my life here. How I thank God for giving me such an amazing experience!

T and me with the twins


Me and my Jacob-Jai

Jacob-Jai and Kennedy

Eating the chalk!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Day in the Dirt

We had no kiddos today. It had been decided that by today the kids and us would need a day off. So we took a day to go into Beijing.
We started the morning by going to church. Yes you heard that right, going to church. We went to the Beijing International Christian Fellowship Church. Now I am sure you are wondering how we got to go to church in a country that does not accept Christianity. Well the church can be attended by foreigners only. You have to have a passport to get in and cannot enter if you are a Chinese citizen. It was a neat experience to go to church with people from all over the world. Worship was really good and extra long followed by a good sermon. It was kind of sad to think that people who are Chinese citizens cannot come and worship God freely. We are truly blessed to live in a country that lets us worship God without fear of the law taking action.After church we went and got some food at a Tex-Mex restaurant. Lol, it was interesting but it was good to have something different.
After lunch we headed to the Dirt Market. It was crazy! There was no dirt but there were rows and rows of vendors selling goods. It was the biggest flea market I had ever been to. At first I was a little unsure of it, but then it got really cool. Now it is crazy cheap to buy stuff here, but you have to barter for it. I am not good at bartering but my roommate Emma is a pro at it! She would stand firm and got me a crazy good deal on a really neat souvenir for Chad. ( I can't tell you what it is because Chad might read this)! I also scored some pearl necklaces for $12.50 a pop and some table runners. We are still going to the Pearl market later this week so I do not think my shopping is quite done yet. China can get you into trouble, although things are so cheap its the time to do it! My roommate Ana bought all of the girls in our room matching bracelets. Our room has been dubbed the "college room". We have a lot of fun together and we are already dreading the moment we will have to say goodbye to each other. Apparently there are big plans for a reunion in 6 months. We wrapped up the day by going to McDonald's for dinner. Some good old American food. I have been eating so much junk food while I have been here. I am going to need a major detox when I get home.
It was fun to go out and about today, (we actually got some blue sky today which apparently doesn't happen very much here), but I really missed being with the children. We only have 2 more days to spend with the children which makes me so sad. I don't want to leave them. I would much rather spend more time with them than go sightseeing but the plans are to leave on Thursday. I have been really thinking about what my next step will be when I return to the U.S. as I do not feel my work with orphans is over after I return home. I think there are many possibilities that could come from this trip but I am really going to ask God what He wants me to do next. Last night I was doing my quiet time and God gave me Psalm 20:4-5. "May he give you the desire of your heart and make your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests." God has given me a desire and I know he has given me a desire for a reason. Perhaps it is as simple as me returning here year after year, or perhaps it is something bigger. Whatever it is I know that God will be there to help me with it all. We serve a loving God who wants our plans to succeed and not to fail. How good and faithful He is. Please pray for me and the direction that God wants me to take after I return from this trip. I do not think my work here in China is done yet.
Well tomorrow is another full day with the kids, and I cannot wait. I borrowed a card reader from one of my teammates and was able to upload pictures from my new digital SLR camera. They are amazing. I will try to share some but the internet here is a little slow. I assure you there will be a full slide show to share with you on Shutterfly when I return.
Hope all you Fathers have a great Fathers Day!
God Bless!

Church in China!

The Dirt Market

McDonalds for Dinner

college Dorm Life!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Yes Jesus Loves Me

Today was an amazing day with the children. It was my teams turn to do our jungle theme day. It went great. We did the visors that I had brought first and the kids loved them. It was so cute to see them all wearing a visor with their jungle animals on them. The older kids took markers and added more details to theirs. We then did a few more projects and put on some tattoos which they absolutely loved. After the projects we did some singing. Most of the children knew how to sing Jesus Love Me in English! I tell you it is the most amazing blessing to be sitting right in the middle of China, in a Chinese orphanage, with children singing praises to the Lord. They also know how to sing it in Chinese but I was so blessed to hear them sing it in English. It’s funny because back in the U.S. we sing the exact same song with children the exact same age. Yet here it seems to become so much more special. Not that singing praises to God in the U.S. is any less important but you can see God working here, in these children, in these nannies. I spent more time holding children today and praying over them in regards to their future. I held a little boy named Jacob-Jai who just melted my heart and I told him he was coming home with me. He has a club foot which means that one foot is turned in so he walks on the side of his foot. It’s painful to just watch him but he doesn’t let him slow him down. He climbs stairs, runs, and does everything else all the other children do. Apparently they don’t want to try to fix it until he is in line for adoption. I don’t really understand why. But hopefully he can get it fixed sooner than later. This afternoon we had a water fight complete with water balloons and water guns. What a joyful experience! We also gave the children watermelon as a snack. It was so funny because as soon as some of them got their piece, they got out of their chair and went into a squat position and stayed there the whole time they were eating their watermelon. It was so funny! It worked pretty well, no mess because it all went on the floor.
Tonight we went shopping at Wal-Mart. Yes Wal-Mart exists here and believe it or not it is more hectic than ours! The whole bottom floor was food including a huge seafood section. I have never seen live turtles for sale that you can buy for your next meal. We spent a good amount of time in there as we are planning a surprise girl party for Stacy and her roomate Wendy. I can’t wait to see the smile on her face!
I have really been reflecting on one of my greatest weaknesses while I have been here. Sometime it bothers me how quiet and timid I can be at times. God calls us to take care of each other, to help the hurting. How can you know if someone is hurting if you cannot ask them? I find it hard sometimes to ask someone I don’t know very well how they are doing. I hate that because what if they are hurting? What if they need to talk to someone? What if they need Jesus? I often ask God to make me more outgoing so I can help those that are having a hard time. God has shown me something here. A quote by St. Francis of Assisi has been brought up a couple of times while I have been on this trip. It says “preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” Maybe it’s not my time just yet to go out and ask people how they are doing. Maybe that will come later as I grow more in Christ. But for right now my mission is to preach the gospel with my heart and my hands. That is exactly what I have been doing here. Holding, hugging, kissing, and praying over these children. Praise God for giving us each a different gift! And anyway I’m married to Chad; he is very good at talking! Good thing he can fill in where I fall short sometimes.
Tomorrow we are going to church. Yup you heard right and it is completely legal as long as I have my passport. Ill explain more tomorrow!
Continue to pray for us as we continue to work with and love on these children. We are all having a fantastic time and I cannot wait to come home and share more with you!

Some of us girls on the team

All smiles!

The watermelon squat. I wish I could do that!

Friday, June 19, 2009


Wow what an eventful 24+ hours it has been! The days seem to be so long yet I don't want them to end. I was finally able to get some good sleep last night. I was the first to fall asleep in my room and the last to rise. I am sure this comes to no surprise to a lot of you. You know how I LOVE my sleep!
last night we ate at the REAL rain forest cafe. I am serious! This restaurant had tons of live trees and plants inside. It was pretty neat. You had to order up front before you sat down. This is how you ordered.
Look at the pictures, and point to what you want. Some stuff I wanted NOTHING to do with! Luckily the two leaders ordered for us! Here's a picture of the menu.

Today the children were all ready and waiting for us promptly at 8:30. I am not sure of the exact number of children, but it has to be somewhere near 40 or 50. Its like working in the preschool except there is a language barrier. The children are beautiful. We did crafts with them and played with balls and bubbles. It was EXTREMELY humid this morning and we were all sweating just standing there. Playing became quite the challenge, but we kept on going because the kids were having so much fun. Their laugh is the most wonderful noise I have ever heard. They smile at everything and reach out to you to be held.
After morning activities the kids go in for a rest and we get one as well. We took a walk down the road and wandered into a small village. We were quite exciting to the people that lived there. I don't know if they had veer seen such a sight! Apparently they don't have garbage pick up so garbage is left wherever. It was a neat walk but very different from what life is like in the US. We are very blessed.
We got back together at 2:30 for more activities and free time. During free time me and two girls from the team went to one of the houses to see if we could hold some of the babies. There are six houses that the children are in and each have a special name. We went into the house of love. As soon as we got upstairs there was this adorable little boy sitting on the floor all by himself with both of his legs in casts. He lit up when he saw us. Andrea went over to him and he did not want her to leave his side. He was smiling and laughing and you could tell his day had been made by here sitting down and giving him attention. I made my way around and held this really cute little girl. Two babies in the house had cleft lips which was the first time I had seen it in real life. It breaks your heart yet the kids are still happy and still smile. As we had to leave to go get dinner the boy in the leg casts was very sad to see us go. Tears came to my eyes and Andrea broke down crying as she said it was the saddest thing she had ever seen. It makes you think. What were the parents of these children thinking as they abandoned them? Where did they leave them? So many of them have fixable needs. One baby is here simply because she was born premature. I know God has made each of these children and He has a plan for them all. Like He says “we are all fearfully and wonderfully made”. It is so easy for us in the United States to sit in the comforts of our homes and not travel to see where there is a true need. It's heartbreaking and yes it would be easier to stay home and not acknowledge the needs and the pains of this world. How can we proclaim to know Christ if we just sit there and not help those in need. I just kept thinking today these children have no idea what has happened to them. Will they dwell on it one day? Will they ask why? Will they have God in their lives to get them through those thoughts? I prayed over many of these children today. I prayed that they would be adopted into a loving Christ centered home. Will you all join me in praying for these precious angels? God is good and powerful and He is working here in China.
Tomorrow is my theme day so I am hoping for a great day. I cannot wait to see my kids again tomorrow!

The houses the children live in

Josiah is one of my favorites!

Handsome boy!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I Have Arrived!!!

Hello! I have arrived in China! It has been quite a journey so far and while I am a bit tired, I am already having a blast.
The plane ride was better than expected. I had only slept three hours the night before leaving hoping I would sleep through a good part of the flight. I figured it would be no problem with the help of a few Advil PM’s. Well wouldn’t you know, I took two Advil’s and I only got a solid 2 hours of sleep! It went fast. I had a few movies on my Ipod touch, read, and just relaxed. Right before we landed they came onto the loud speaker and this is what they said. “Ladies and Gentlemen, due to the H1N1 virus we are asking that you do not get out of your seats once we have arrived at the gate. Immigration will be getting on the plane and will be pointing a laser type gun at your forehead to take your temperature. It is advised that you keep your eyes closed while they point it at your head”. LOL not exactly what you want to hear. They came on, well equip with masks, and took our temperature. Praise the Lord no one had a fever. Also in lieu of my recent Sinus Infection, I had been worried about how my head was going to feel while the plane went down. Well by something I can only describe as the power of God, I had NO PAIN COMING DOWN! PRAISE THE LORD! I was so surprised since my head had been hurting on the plane. I did get taken in after I got off the plane because I had to check that within the last seven days I had a headache and congestion. Basically they took my temperature again, asked me a few questions, and sent me on my way. I was so excited to finally be in China! After all these months of planning and preparing, I was here. We met up with the rest of the team and everyone has hit it off right away. It was if we already had met and knew each other. I am in a bunk room with 7 other girls, most of whom are my age. It’s amazing to see how their passions and desires for this trip are exactly like mine! They are great girls and we have already shared some great times. We had an amazing Chinese dinner (seriously the best Chinese food I have ever had) and then headed to the orphanage. By this time it was 8:00 on Wednesday night. I felt like I had been awake for two days straight, which basically I had, and I was ready to get settled in and go to bed. Settling in took a little longer than expected but I finally got to bed. Today we got the tour of the facility and got to play with a few of the children. The children are amazing and have the brightest most beautiful smiles. I have already been moved, and I cannot wait to see what is going to happen in the next few days. Currently I am having a hard time getting onto my blog so hopefully I will be able to get into it soon. Otherwise you might be reading this after I return! Thank you for all of your prayers that you have been sending my way. God is working already!
I can't wait to update you with more details!

The view from my room

Look at that beautiful face!

Just the beginning

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Time has Come

Well here I am, the eve of my departure. It's hard to believe that in less than 12 hours now I will be on the plane on my way to Beijing! I can't believe it. I'm started to get nervous about flying and sad about leaving Chad. I am also feeling bad for Milo because you can tell she knows something is going on. She keeps following me and staying real close. I am trying to tell her everything is OK and that I will be back. I am feeling better today but my head is still blocked a bit. I am sure my head will hurt when I land, but thankfully it will only be temporary. This is it. This is what I have been preparing for these past few months. Everything has fallen into place and now it is time for me to go and see how God is going to use me.
Since we will no longer be traveling within China any more (remember we will not be flying to Fushun) we are allowed to bring more baggage. I can check in two pieces of luggage and bring a bag and a purse on the plane. I would say about 60-75% of my checked baggage will be left at the orphanage so it will be a lot lighter on the way home. This also meant I was able to bring more than 4 outfits (yippee)! I was also given some space saving bags which helped me a lot (Thanks Jen)!
I want to thank everyone who has been praying for me over the last couple of days. I have gotten so many encouraging words by so many people. It really shows me how blessed I am to have so many special people in my life. I know that you are going to continue to pray for me while I am gone and probably after I return. For this I thank you and I will return the favor anytime. I was told I would have internet access over in China so the plan is to continue to update this blog while I am gone. If you don't hear anything from me than it is probably because I could not get internet access or it was too expensive to purchase. Either way you will get a full update when I return :)

Prayer Requests
*Safety for the team as we travel by plane tomorrow
*We all get to where we need to be once we are in China
*That I am not in too much pain as I land tomorrow
*For God to prepare my heart for what I am going to endure while I am there
*For the children (always please pray for the children)

I know this entry was a little, well basically all over the place. Thanks for listening to me rant as I get ready. I am super excited, but I am not too great on an airplane. I know I know, GOD IS WITH ME!


Some other luggage Pics

All the stuff for my theme day and some gifts for the nannies

Believe it or not it all fit!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Trip to the ER

Let me first start off by saying it sounds a lot worse than it really is. Here's the scoop.
I have now been sick for more than 10 days. When it started I thought no big deal, I have plenty of time to get better. Well Friday and Saturday turned out to be worse than the previous days. I was stuffing myself with Dayquil,Sudafed, and Advil for the pain. No luck. I woke up this morning at 4:30 with a bad sore throat and thought I need to get to a DR. quick for some meds or I am not going to China. SO after a confirmation call to my mother (sorry mom) I woke up Chad and we were on our way. We sat in there for quite some time. As I suspected it was Sinusitis (Sinus Infection). They put me on two meds, one being a form of Steroids, and told me to go to the store and buy Mucinex and a Salene nasel rinse. So while my head is still hurting (yes I am still taking Advil for the pain) I am praying and hoping I am now on the way to recovery. I stayed home from church while Chad got dressed and went right there. I am so thankful to have a sweet husband that will sit in the ER with me. Needless to say he slept most of the afternoon.
While we were in the ER we overheard a very sad situation. They had a 9 month old baby coming in who was in Cardiac Arrest. You could hear everyone getting ready for the babies arrival and once the ambulance got there they moved really quickly. I overheard them say the mother last saw the baby awake at 4:30 and now it was 6:30 and here was this baby in the ER not breathing. I was discharged right in the middle of it all but as we were leaving we saw the room full of doctors and emergency personal administrating CPR. I was really upset about it. It really did not look good. I am sure I will never know what really happened but it completly broke my heart. What must those parents have been going through? I felt like God almost put me in that situation to prepare me for what I will be witnessing in China. The orphanage is going to be filled with lots of children with lots of sad stories. This is such a sad reality of life. There is hurt, there is suffering, and there are sad situations that seem completely unfair. I know that our God is a loving God and allows everything to happen for a reason. Where would compassion come from if we lived in a perfect world. Sometimes God has to put us through the refining fire to make us better than we were before we went in it. I love that God always knows what He is doing. Praise the Lord!

Prayer Requests
*For me continue to get better
*The family of the baby from the ER this morning

Less than 2 days left! Oh my oh my!!!
May your week ahead be blessed.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thank You for Blessing the Children of China

I have been thoroughly blessed! Many of you got support letters to help with my expenses for my trip. I am happy to say that you generously provided all but $18 for my trip! Praise the Lord. This really helped as I had to buy other supplies for my theme day as well as some necessities for me.
In addition, I sent a letter out to the parents at the school asking people to donate supplies if they felt led to do so. I got a great response from quite a few parents and co-workers. Here is what was donated.
9 Pairs of scissors
12 glue sticks
1 box of 48 crayons
1 pack of 50 markers
17 rolls of yarn for Stacy
2 bottles of toothpaste
An endless amount of pencils, pens, erasers, and highlighters
4 handmade cards for Stacy
And a whopping 83 TOOTHBRUSHES!

Here is what the loot looks like

Milo with the gifts for the orphanage

Handmade cards for Stacy (the kids in my class made them)

You have all showed me what true giving is. I thank the Lord for you and your generosity. I know that a lot of you out there are praying for me and I really appreciate that. We are down to 2 days now and nerves are starting to set in.

Prayer Requests
*My head is still killing me. Please pray for immediate healing
*My nerves about flying to be calmed
*I accomplish everything that needs to be done prior to me leaving

Thank you again for giving so generously to God's children. You will be blessed ten fold for doing so!
In Him,

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Little Hectic

Didn't have much time to blog today. Tomorrow is the last day of school and boy has it been busy. I realized at the same time I am trying to wrap up the school year, get ready for the Kindergarten graduation, prepare to leave for China, and get things together here for when I am gone! WHEW! At least I have most of July to sleep and regroup!

Prayer Requests:
My head cold is still looming and I am getting a little concerned that it will not be gone by the time I leave. Please pray that it goes away soon.

Only 5 days left. Oh man its going to be here before I know it!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Our Destination

Well it has been confirmed. We will spend the whole duration of our trip at Shepherd's Field (which is through the Philip Hayden Foundation). I am very excited to see what the Lord will do here. This is home to more than 100 special needs orphans. Our leader Natalie had some very encouraging words as she said that the Lord must have things for us to accomplish here. She said her devotional verse this morning was Romans 8:28- "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Isn't it great that we serve a God that makes plans for us and they always turn out better than the ones we try and make for ourselves? I forget this sometimes when my plans don't turn out the way I wanted them to or thought they would. But then the Lord revels it to me and I always ask myself "why was I trying to take so much control of that situation myself?" Thank you Lord for planning this trip the way you want it to go!
If you want to read more check out this web site.

Prayer Requests
~For those that we will meet at Shepherds Field. I hope that they will be able to
feel our love and know that there are people who care about them.
~For our team leader Natalie that her stress be aliviated now that our plans have
been firmed up

Only 6 more days until D-Day (Departure Day)!

Vanessa :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What About Chad?!?!

Many of you have had some questions about my wonderful husband in regards to this trip. So I thought I would spend some time talking about my favorite earthly person!
Chad is not going with me on this trip. This means 11 days without my husband which is something we have never done before. Chad has been nothing but supportive of this trip. He knows how long it has been on my heart and has been very encouraging. In fact when I was turned down for the first trip with Shaohannah's Hope, and I asked him if I should apply for this one, his immediate response was "DO IT!" He has never once questioned me going on this trip.He is even letting me take our laptop to China so I can stay in touch by blog and email. Praise the Lord for giving me such an amazingly wonderful husband. Chad is very self-sufficient so I know he will be OK. In fact due to the fact that he is taking both the weekend prior to me leaving, and the weekend I return off he actually is going to be working 10 days straight. I really think it wont be that bad on his end either, he can watch as many sports as he wants! A dream come true!!! If you do see him while I am gone could you remind him to water my flowers please:)
Please pray for us during this time apart. I know it is not too long to be away and we will both be very busy, but it still makes me sad to think about not seeing him for a week and a half.
I know there are many out there reading this that love me and Chad dearly. I am sure many of you will be checking up on Chad while I am gone and for this I thank you!
Only 7 more days to go!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Shoo Swine, Don't Bother Me!

Well I came home from work to a slew of emails from our team leader Natalie. We are not going to Fushun (the 2nd of the two orphanages we were to visit). There have been 10 students in the province that have come down with the Swine Flu. All were students that were studying here in the states and had recently come home for summer break. Because of this, they have decided to close all of the orphanages in this province. I am very sad but there is nothing I can do. The Lord is in complete control.
At first we were given two options. One was to stay at the Philip Hayden orphanage longer, and the other was to travel to the Heng Feng orphanage. The Heng Feng orphanage is in a more rural area and has mostly babies. However, due to the fact that the government can still choose to close the Heng Feng orphanage, it looks at though we will spend out entire trip at Philip Hayden. We are still going to China and we are still going to serve the children there. God has a plan and I know this must be happening for a reason. The children in Fushun knew we were coming so I am sure they are going to be very disappointed when they find out that we are no longer able to visit them. I hope they understand.

Prayer Requests
*The children of the Fushun orphanage, that they are not too disappointed
*For our plans to be firmed up quickly as we leave in a week
*For us to remember that God is completely in control

Only 8 days until I leave!
Have a great evening!
<3 Vanessa

Sunday, June 7, 2009

For Stacy

I know that going to China is going to be an exciting yet heartbreaking experience. I did not however anticipate my heart being broken prior to leaving.
I want to tell you about Stacy. Stacy is 19 and lives at the Philip Hayden Orphanage. Stacy has burns on most of her body. I am not sure what the story is or how she received her burns, but basically Stacy will have no future outside of a trade in China. This is true for most older orphans such as Stacy. Stacy has learned how to knit and spends her time knitting little sweaters which are sold in stores. This allows her to learn life lessons on saving, making money exchanges and budgeting. The orphanage has asked that if we can donate yarn to Stacy, to please do so. It would really make Stacy feel special and boost her self-esteem. They are looking for yarn in colors and textures people would personally put on their own children. Ideally they are looking for 15-20 skeins in each color so she can make multiple sweaters.
If you happen to have any spare yarn to donate, or wish to buy some to donate, please let me know. In addition, the Philip Hayden orphanage is looking for soy formula to be donated as well. I am sure most of you remember a few months ago when China found there was lead in their formula which resulted in children getting very ill and dying. If you would like to donate soy formula (powder only no liquid please) let me know. Both gifts would be a huge blessing to the children in China. I know many of you have donated so many gifts already. Thank you for being such a strong support and blessing to me and the children.
My trip is only 9 days away now. Reality is really starting to sink in. My head cold has gotten worse which is not good. I need to get better quickly as the whole month of June is jammed packed with activities.

Prayer Requests for Today
*My head cold, that the Lord heals me quickly
*For Stacy and the other older orphans. May we help them to feel special while we
are there.

Thank you for your prayers. Please let me know if I can return the favor.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I Feel a Cold Coming on...but Praise the Lord!

AG! Have you ever thought about why in the world we really need to get sick. I have been fighting some cold like symptoms the last few days. Stuffy nose, sore throat, hear ache. I don't know if this is good because it is happening before I leave or bad because it is happening during the last week of school! One thing I know is I cannot land in china with any kind of fever!
I shared with some of you that I was a little concerned when the Swine Flu broke out. I was wondering if it could possible affect my trip. Well wouldn't you know but a few weeks after it broke out, our team had to have an emergency conference call. I was on a plane to LA at the time but I was quickly updated with what was going on. A case of Swine Flu had found it's way into China. A Chinese native who goes to school here in the states flew back home to China. Upon landing they took his temperature (which apparently is standard after you get off a plane in China) and found that he had a fever. They ended up quarantine him and the entire plane he was on! The government then but a ban on any foreigners visiting government orphanages. Now the Philip Hayden orphanage in Beijing is privately run so we were still OK to visit that one. The Fushun orphanage is run by the government and so we had an issue. There were some other options but the prayer was that the ban would be lifted and we would be able to fly into Fushun. Well quite a few days passed and the ban was still not lifted. Keep in mind China was heavily scrutinized in 2003 for the outbreak of SARS. They don't want to chance another outbreak of it's kind. Well the day came when Natalie,our team leader, and Dave, the organizer from Visiting Orphans, decided we needed to move forward and make other plans. They got off the phone and 30 minutes later Dave from Visiting orphans called and said that the director of the orphanage had somehow convinced the government to let us come and visit the children at the Fushun orphanage! PRAISE GOD! Our prayers were heard and we now get to go on our trip as originally planned! God knew the whole time what was going to happen. I love that.
With this is mind I cannot land in China with any sort of fever. Natalie has told us we need to take a few Advil 30 minutes before our plane lands. Hopefully everyone else on the plane will do the same. But whatever happens, God is in control and I know he is sending this whole team over there for a reason. I can not wait to see what it is!
So my prayer request for today would be for the health of the entire team. Please pray that we stay health during the full duration of the trip as well as for when we return to the states. We cannot drink any tap water, ice, or even brush our teeth with the tap water as it has the potential to make us sick! Please pray for a hedge of protection over all of us!
Well goodnight for now. I pray that you had a great Saturday!
Only 10 days until I leave!

Friday, June 5, 2009

20 Million Reasons to Go

I know I shared with most of you in my support letter how my desire to go on this trip came to be. Working in an orphanage in China has actually been on my heart for quite a few years now. I love children and have loved working with them since I was quite young. About five years ago while sitting in church, a group who had just traveled to Peru for a missions trip was sharing their story on what God had done. They had visited an orphanage in Peru and they talked about how they held these babies who just clung to them. they clung to them because they had never received any form of affection. This completely broke my heart. In college I learned how important it is for children to receive affection as well as touch so they can develop normally. No child deserves to be parent less. But it is a sad reality of this world. I began to pray that the Lord would one day open the doors for me to travel to another country and serve in an orphanage. My heart was drawn to China because of their high number of orphans in the country. There are approximately 20 million orphans in China most of whom are girls. Boys are more desirable in China due to the fact that there is a one child only law in China and boys are seen to be able to better provide for their parents when they are older. This past year my heart was opened even further after the passing of Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter Maria. What amazing things the Chapmans did by opening their home to three little girls who may not have had much of a life had they not been adopted. In honor of Maria the Chapmans have opened a house called Maria's Big House of Hope. Shaohannas Hope is their organization that the Chapman's run to help aid families in the international adoption costs. They were offering a missions trip to China this summer which included visiting Maria's Big House of Hope. After prayerful consideration I applied but was denied due to the fact that I was too old! (The age for this trip was 15-25) In my rejection email my eyes were opened to another organization called Visiting Orphans. I checked them out and noticed they had a trip which had even better timing than the last trip. I applied and within days they were emailing me about airline information! God is so good. He knows how to fit everything perfectly together.
So I will be in China for 11 days to work in two separate orphanages. I will be working with a team comprised of 20 different people from various parts of the United States. We will leave June 16 and meet in Beijing China. We will hear straight from to the airport to our first orphanage, the Philip Hayden Orphanage. PH is an orphanage for children with special needs. After two days at Philip Hayden we will take another flight to Shenyang/Fushun China and spend five days working at the Fushun SWI orphanage. Here we will spend our time playing, doing crafts, and just plain loving on these children. I am so excited that God has hand picked me to be a part of this trip. I cannot wait to see how He uses me and how this trip will change my heart. Who knows what else will happen as a result of me going on this trip.
So that might be a few more details than you needed but I wanted to show you how God has been preparing my heart for this over the past five years. Please keep me and the team in your prayers. I am going to try and include prayer requests at the end of each post. You love and support have been felt so much already and for this I thank you.

Prayer Requests
  • Preparation for each team member
  • Safety in travel and being in a foreign country
  • Opportunities to share the love of Christ with those we come in contact with
  • For the children, nannies, and directors of the orphanages
  • Funds to be provided
Only 11 days until I leave!