The work in China continues to progress well. The construction of the Jackson Family Foundation Christian Care Center orphanage in Zigong is underway. Many orphans in this province (Sichuan) are victims of the May, 2008 earthquake. Crews are working long days to get the building ready to bring children there by September when school begins. We are already getting some profiles on children that need to live there. Jacob, our superintendent, is carefully checking the background and circumstances of the children to be sure they are truly in need of a home. As in every society, deception is often prevalent in almost every situation. Over the years doing this work, we have gained more and more experience in evaluating family backgrounds to be sure the children are poor and without parents to care for them.
We are excited about this sixth orphanage that will provide a good life and home for more orphan children. We are also pleased that Mr. & Mrs. Chad Jackson, from the Jackson Family Foundation will visit the orphanage in August to see the work firsthand. Hopefully, they will meet some of the children that will live there this fall. You do not realize the capacity of your heart for love until you experience the joy of seeing these precious children. They will steal your heart in a minute.
We continue to bring children to the U.S. for heart surgery. One child recently had successful surgery in Texas and will return to China this week. Another child is recovering at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and will return to China soon. In a couple of weeks, another child will come to a hospital in Texas for open-heart surgery. These children have heart conditions too severely to be done in China and will die without surgery. They are not orphans but from extremely poor families that could never afford the surgery. Our three Chinese workers in the U.S. coordinate the trips and stay with the children during their time in the states.
A 13-year old orphaned boy will come for surgery in Memphis, Tennessee in July. He has a rare birth defect that will affect his future if not corrected. His sponsors have supported him for many years. They live in Huntsville and will visit him in Memphis. What a joyful visit that will be for them to get to know the boy they have grown to love so much through reports, letters and pictures.
Masako, an American Ambassador and China Mission orphan sponsor, who accompanies many of our children to the U.S., will be this boy's companion on the trip. Masako gives her free time to accompany children to the U.S. for surgery, not only for China Mission but also for other organizations. We are very grateful for the work of love by Masako and other flight attendants of American Airlines.
The newly hired workers for China (Jim Self and James Triplett) are winding up their former jobs and apartments and setting up new living quarters to begin working with China Mission. We are excited about their future work with us.
David and Ya Ning, our missionaries in Beijing, will be returning to the U.S. in September for an extended stay. David will be reporting to supporters about the progress of the work since their work began in August, 2008. While David is in the U.S. the work in Beijing will be carried out by James Triplett. Ron filled in for David last November, December and January, so the timing of this new man is great for us. It would be very difficult for us to live in Beijing for several more months because we are needed to carry on the work from the U.S. as well.
We will be traveling in the U.S. for two weeks (end of June, first of July). Ron will be giving reports about the work in Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas with a weekend trip to North Canton, Ohio on July 12th. Ron reported on the work in Calhoun, Georgia last night. Someone told him it was the best mission work they had ever heard of and said Ron's love for his work comes out clearly in his reports. I explained to one of our orphan sponsors that I cry every time Ron gives a report, although I know it by heart. She said she could understand because we have had some of the children in our home and know many others personally. If Ron and I are just old crying, blabbering people about our work, it is becsuse our hearts and souls are involved in helping these unfortunate children who are helpless and without love. This is what keeps us going (I said "going" not necessarily keeping us "young")!
This is the summer palace in Chengde where emperors came to spend their summer to escape the heat in Beijing.
We are preparing to leave Atlanta on July 23rd to return to China. We will first visit Nanchang to see if a site can be arranged to build the next orphanage there. We will then spend almost three weeks in Changde to coordinate the cleft palate medical mission. We are preparing to complete 100 surgeries in two weeks with shifts of doctors and nurses using the operating room and ICU. The hospital in Changde is running ads to locate the children who need surgery so we hope an adequate number will be found in this area.
(I might get to sit in the Queen's chair in the hotel lobby there again!)
Another attraction in the city of Chengde is the Eight Temples.
The Eight Temples are located in the east and north surrounding the Palace complex in the shape of numerous stars embosoming the moon, which symbolizes the unification of the nation and friendly relationships between the various nationalities in the country.
Across the street from the hotel there's a wonderful walkway high above the street which follows along the waterfront. There are places where you can go down stairs and walk along the river bank through parks and even find a seat to sit and relax. I am sure some on the team will enjoy this close-by attraction to get some exercise and unwind from a long day at the hospital.
Ron and I hope to travel to Zigong to see the Jackson Family Foundation Christian Care Center.
If the website for the blog is not blocked in China (as it was on our last visit), I will post pictures and updates regularly throughout our trip.
Summer will nearly be over when we return. Where did the summer go? When the work is this busy, it goes by very quickly. Ron and I are very grateful to our team of workers in China and the U.S., to our sponsors and supporters. Without everyone pulling on the team, we could not carry on the work. It is a good work because so many people care and help in so many ways. We have been blessed with health to keep working at our age and the vast opportunities and doors opened for our work in China.
Please remember the children having surgery, our team members as they travel, and us during this important time. We hope to return to Atlanta on August 24, 2009.