We have arrived back from China safe, sound, and blessed. We did not have internet in China so I am afraid that this may be a long update but so many amazing things happened while we were there and I want to share them with you!
The chapter that God has really placed on my heart for China since 2007 is Isaiah 55. For this trip the last two verses really stood out to me: “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush will grow the pine tree, instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed.”
So wow we had nine days of craziness, joy, and love. We arrived at Eagles Wings orphanage and were greeted by about fifteen children that could not wait to see us. We played all day long with Si Yan and her friends (many of them were also at camp this summer and it was so fun to reunite with these children. I even got to see Bei Bei- this was the little boy that had an infected foot this summer, I was able to take him to the hospital and watch the Lord really do a healing work. Now he is walking around on his foot fine. It is all healed up and his foot is still functioning!). Okay back to the story, so we played all evening and put them to bed.
The next morning Si Yan, Sarah, and I headed off to the speed train to start our adventure. We did not take a translator with us so it made life really interesting. It actually worked out really well and caused us to bond even more with Si Yan. So we took the train to Xi’an where Sarah got pick pocketed as we left the train station! Thank Jesus that her passport and all the money that had been donated for Si Yan was in a different place in her purse. We then met up with the Vidlers, some very good friends of mine who are doctors there in Xi’an. It was such an encouragement to catch up with them and visit with old friends!
They introduced us to Rowen (a cerebral palsy physiotherapist from Australia). He did a physical assessment on Si Yan. I sat there watching her go through various tests of strength like a very brave little girl, making eye contact with her as much a possible as assuring her she was doing such a good job- and thought to myself “we can’t just leave her here. Why does she have to be so brave for herself? How many doctors has she visited and nothing has changed? We can’t just bring here to this doctor and leave her in the same state. How hopeless that must feel for her-with no one to comfort her”. My heart just broke and I started to cry. She needs a family, medical help would be nice, but even more wonderful would be arms to hold her and love her forever.
After the appointment Rowan was very optimistic. He said that with the way her condition had progressed he could see her perhaps even learning to walk with the proper therapy. Sarah and I were thrilled and got as much information as we could on what needed to be done.
The next day we did a wild game of hid and seek with various prosthetic boot and medical appliance stores. I think we spent about three hours within the span of three blocks trying to find different stores and getting crazy directions in Chinese, so fun. We found some doctors that could make individualized prosthetic foot braces but discovered that Si Yan would need to come back in two weeks to get them fitted and adjusted if necessary. That would not be a possibility as Xi’an is far away from her orphanage and there would be no one to take her back. Sarah thought quickly on her toes though and asked if they knew of anywhere in Zheng Zhou, as that was close to her orphanage and we would be there the next day. They found a place and we were able to get an appointment for the two days from that day. We were very excited!
That afternoon we took Si Yan to see the Terra Cotta Warriors (the 8th wonder of the world apparently). It was really neat and Si Yan really enjoyed it. She referred to the many statues as her “peng you’s” (friends in Chinese). She is pretty much the cutest thing ever and so very smart. She could understand most of what Sarah and I said to her in English!
We said goodbye to my friends and headed back to Zheng Zhou. The next day we met with the prosthetic specialists. God gave us so much favor with them! They absolutely LOVED us! They took molds of her feet and brought up sample boots that had cute pink flowers on them. We were all so excited about it. They were so sweet, they shut down the place and about 5 doctors, some designers, and the head of the whole place took us out to a really fancy lunch. They thanked us for what we were doing for China. I exchanged e mail addresses with the head doctor’s daughter so it will be nice to stay connected with them and maybe build a relationship.
After that we took the bus back to the orphanage. All the children were so happy to see us back. Si Yan showed off her new things and shared some toys that we had gathered along the way. Sarah’s translator from camp this last summer came to visit us and the kids.
That night there was a major dust storm (the biggest one they had had in four years)! Not going to lie, it was scary. It though the building was going to come down on top of us! I kept reciting 2 Timothy 1:7 (the verse my mom taught me to say when I was scared during the night when I was little) and we made it through the nigh. But despite the wind, the next morning (in true Sarah fashion) we bundled ourselves and Si Yan up and went to shop at an outdoor market! It was so much fun and very windy, but a memorable experience for sure!
While we were out we bought treats for all the kids and brought them back to the orphanage. They were very excited and we played the rest of the night.
The next day was goodbye day. We made sure and gave detailed instructions to the manager of the orphanage about Si Yan’s new boots and walker. We taught her all that we had learned about her condition and some practical ways to help her little by little each day. It was really hard because we had bonded with Si Yan so much and really become a well functioning, loving, little unit in the week we had her with us. Leaving her at the orphanage was really hard. Like I said, it is so wonderful that she may be able to walk! God is a god of miracles and hope and joy- and we are so thankful to Him that she may walk! What a life altering event! But how wonderful if we did not have to leave her. That if at each doctor’s appointment she had someone blowing her kisses and encouraging her, and then someone to put on her socks and take her home. This is what we pray f
So it was such a blessed and successful trip. We accomplished more in a week than what otherwise may have been done in a month. We had so many moments where God sent us Chinese angles (to help us get on the train, to help us carry everything, to help us find our way, or order a meal). We saw the marring judgment of evil as people looked at Si Yan in disgust, but we also were enraptured by compassion and grace which was not merited.
Thank you all so much for your prayers. We could feel them and saw them in action. We are claiming that Si Yan will walk soon!! We got to love on her and spoil the heck out of her for a week and it blessed us probably more that it blessed her. Pray for a family for her and also that her muscles and bones will be strengthened to walk!
Love you all so much, blessings and grace to you from our Lord and Savior!