Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Last days in Beijing before returning to the U.S.

Our last three days were very busy. David and Ya Ning arrived back from the U.S. and there were many things to review and bring them up-to-date. We had dinner one night with Bert and Gloria, a young Chinese couple that Ron and I had met when we first arrived in China. I wrote a segment about them when we had dinner with them at The Place. Gloria's parents were visiting for Chinese New Year holidays so they had dinner with us that night. Kee Willis, the university student from Texas, went with us. We got to eat some unusual and delicious dishes that night and it was another fun evening with Bert and Gloria.

On Friday morning, Ting Ting came to see us. Ting Ting, as many of you know, was the first heart patient we brought to the U.S. for surgery.

Ting Ting was so excited to see us. Her boyfriend had worked the night shift and came on the train with her as soon as he finished his shift, so he was very tired. We went to lunch at a nearby restaurant and then put him on the subway to go back to the train station to return home. A group of Ting Ting's friends have let her stay in their apartment the past month since the factory where she worked closed down. Ting Ting spent the night with us in the apartment on Friday night. We played Rummykubes Friday night and had a great time together. Saturday morning, Ron and I took her on the subway back to the train station for her to return to the city just south of Beijing. Ting Ting did not go to visit her aunt and uncle for the Chinese New Year holidays because she had lost her job and was probably short on funds. We gave her the balance of the funds we had collected for her. Ron also called Mark Zhu, the director of the John Connor Brown Christian Care Center to see if they needed someone to work as a dorm supervisor over the girls. He said he definitely could give Ting Ting a job because he had more new children arriving in a few days. Mark talked with Ting Ting on the phone and when she got off the phone she had a big smile on her face and she said, "VERY GOOD." We showed Ting Ting pictures of the orphanage and she was very excited about going there to work.

Saturday night we had our farewell dinner with some of the Chinese students. Most of the group were still out of town for the holidays, but a few of them were able to be with us. As always, it's difficult to leave people after you've grown to love them.

In this picture, Kee Willis, the university student, and Ting Ting were looking at pictures of Ting Ting on the computer when she was here for surgery.

Ting Ting returned to Beijing about noon on Sunday with her things. Ron and I left early Sunday morning for Shanghai to catch our Delta flight on home so we did not get to see her again. Ting Ting got there in time for Sunday services and later in the afternoon, Ya Ning took her to the train station. Mark Zhu met her at the train station in Nanning and drove her on to the orphanage on Tuesday.

We were happy to get pictures of Ting Ting with some of the children she helps care for at John Connor Brown Christian Care Center.

After we left for home, David helped Kee Willis get settled in his apartment near Beijing University. He will be an asset to David and Ya Ning for the semester he will be studying in China.

By the way, the fireworks went on every night and sometimes during the day for the full seven days of Chinese New Year. We were told that it's traditional for them to have fireworks for seven days to drive away evil spirits. We also learned that some restrictions had been lifted in Beijing this year so there was more than usual. New Year's Eve they went off all night and the on the nights to follow, they ended about midnight. The Chinese people loved them, but it was a little hard for Ron and me when we wanted to sleep and try to rest before our long trip home.

Ron and I are dealing with head colds and jet lag this week. It's bad enough to have either of these things, but overcoming both at the same time has been a little rough.

I will continue to post events about our work on this blog, so please check in from time-to-time to keep up with progress on the work in China.