Monday, March 30, 2009

Life back to normal but future plans unfold

Ron and I were sick for over a month as we arrived home with colds. Head colds moved to chest congestion and infected ears. Ron went to an ENT only last week to get his ears cleaned and a spray to clear out the congested ear passages. We were tired when we left China, then having the cold in addition to jet lag was just about too much for old bodies like ours.

We came home to a load of mail, e-mails and things to do. Once we began to feel a little better, we were back into the full workload.

Since we returned home, a burn patient has lived with us. Wushuang is 11 years old and arrived in the U.S. last year to have extensive surgeries. She has been released by Shriners Childrens Hospital and will return home April 2, 2009. The other burn patient has also returned to China.

We have five approved heart surgeries by U.S. hospitals. Plans are underway to get their VISAs, flight arrangements, etc. finalized to bring them here for surgery.

David and Ya Ning continue to have good attendance with the church group. They found a cheaper place to rent for the Sunday meeting. It will also be more convenient for the members. The government approved the new location and loosened some of the restrictions as well. Ron keeps in touch by e-mail and chat line with some of the young members we grew to love so much while we were there.

Things are improving at all of the orphanages. We have a new director at Wesley's House and he is doing a great job. His wife will be with him after their child is born in Shanghai. Peter, the former director, wanted to assume a less demanding position because he did not feel qualified to run an orphanage by himself. He is getting along very well with the new director. The children have had many visitors and outings since we were there.

Repairs and landscaping is taking place at Mama Jo's House. Like our own homes, unless regular maintenance is done, things get run-down. I also saw some pictures with newly painted walls at Neil Taylor Christian Care Center in Rongshui. Can you imagine your house with 100 children running around? Can't you imagine how the walls would look after a year or two?

More children have come to live at all of the orphanages. We are not completely to full capacity but some of the facilities are getting close to having every bed filled. The children are in the spring semester of school. School will not end until June for most of the children. Some children will go visit relatives during the summer break. They always look forward to this return to see relatives, but I dread it because I know some will not return to the orphanages. They decide they like the freedom of having no rules at home or relatives decide they miss the children too much to let them go back. The children are happier and have a much better life at the orphanages, but sometimes relatives are not considering the child's future. The children are too young to realize the golden opportunity for a better education at the care centers.

Ron and I will return to China May 5 - May 20 but we will not visit the orphanages on this trip. My former boss has agreed for his foundation (Jackson Family Foundation) to build two additional orphanages between now and 2011. We will meet with governments in various provinces to locate good sites for these orphanages. We hope to visit the construction site of the Zigong orphanage (also financed by the Jackson Family Foundation).

Ron will finalize arrangements with the hospital in Chengde for the cleft palate/lip medical mission that will be conducted there in August, 2009.

This picture is with Super, a nice young man we met in December. I cooked Chinese food for him and his friend one night. They ate like it was good.

We hope to make a quick trip by Beijing to visit with David and Ya Ning and meet with the foundation that has formed a joint venture for us to do fund-raising through them in China. I hope we can get together for dinner with some of the young people we met.

These pictures are with a young couple that works for Price Waterhouse as auditors. We met Bert and Gloria and her parents for dinner right before we left China. Kee, the young man from Texas and David and Ya Ning were with us.

The location was The Place, which I talked about in a previous segment. Decorations from Christmas were still up. It was very cold that night. We had a wonderful meal together but it was a bitter-sweet moment since we were leaving soon for the U.S.

We would appreciate your prayers for our May trip, especially for our safety and success in accomplishing the things we need to complete.