Since I made the last trip to China without mishap, Ron was brave enough to give me the schedule of the next one before we board the plane! I guess he thinks I can take it.
We will depart Atlanta March 24th. Jonathan Goode from Nashville, TN and Dave Halligan from Endicott, NY will travel with us on this three-week trip. Jonathan will fly with us from Atlanta but Dave will meet us in Shanghai. We will spend the night in Shanghai and fly to Guilin the next day. From there, we take a train to Rongshui to visit the Neil Taylor Christian Care Center.
From Rongshui, we take an overnight train to Pingxiang, Jiangxi Province. Our son, Ronald, will go with us because this will be the location for our 7th orphanage. Ronald and Ron will survey the buildings given to us by the government and decide what needs to be done to remodel them. This will be the second orphanage funded by the Jackson Family Foundation. It will be named Refuge of Grace Christian Care Center.
We expect this project can be completed by August so the children can be brought in for the September school term. This is a coal mining area and it is predicted that there are as many as 3,000 orphans due to coal mining accidents. We will house 200 children in these buildings.
When we leave Pingxiang, we travel to Shaoyang where a worker will meet us to take us to the North Canton Christian Care Center in Longhui. From there, we depart by train for Zhumadian, the closest location we can travel to by train in order to visit Mama Jo's House Christian Care Center in Biyang. We will take a bus from Zhumadian or a worker will come meet us and drive us to Biyang. It is probably a two-hour drive from Zhumadian.
From Mama Jo's House, we will return to Zhumadian and take an overnight train to Beijing.
In Beijing, Ron has meetings scheduled but our fellow travelers will be able to tour some of the famous sites in Beijing. We will be in Beijing for several days.
This doesn't sound like a difficult trip when you read the locations but if you had traveled there before, you would know the difficulties. Although trains are often the best way to go (airports are not located in every area), it's not the most comfortable. After traveling all night, you may not have a shower for two days or more. We will stay in some locations several days and a hotel will be a blessed refuge for us.
We will become better friends with Jonathan and Dave as we spend time together. We are excited that they will travel with us to see the four orphanages and give us their input. It will be a trip they will never forget.
Our son, Ronald, is now in charge of all construction and maintenance of the buildings in China. He is eager to improve the quality of the buildings and standard of life for the children. It will be good to spend some time with him as we visit these locations to make a list of what needs to be done.
I don't have a lot of input into these kinds of things. I suggested that I stay home since Ron will have traveling companions, but he was not too pleased that I might not go. I will go and take my crocheting (I'm working on baby blankets to give babies at our next cleft palate medical mission). It will help pass the time as we spend a lot of time in train stations and on trains.
We ask for your prayers that we will be safe and healthy throughout this time.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Our son, Ronald, has worked very hard to complete the new building at John Connor Brown Christian Care Center.
He is working many hours a day to have it ready when the children return to the care center following their Chinese New Year holidays about March 1st. The care center is on the left of the picture in the background. It is not as far away as it appears.
This nice new building will house a sanitary kitchen and dining room because the tile walls and floors can easily be cleaned.
The cook will also have a room and bath in this new building.
One room in the care center has been used as a kitchen and another room for the dining room. We will now have two extra rooms available to house more orphaned children.
Ronald will miss the children very much. They have called him Uncle Ron and enjoy being around him. He's not embarrassed to clown with the children and even hold one of their toys for a picture. He said life has been hard for him (he has a small room at the orphanage, shares it with a mouse named "Iron Gut" since he can eat anything and not get sick, and eats the same food given to the children). He's had no special privileges living there. When Faith Borck was going to our North Canton Christian Care Center to teach English, she asked what it would be like living at the care center. I told her "camping" "really bad camping accommodations". We continue to improve the cleanliness and food at each care center but without a good bed and heat in the winter, it is still substandard for Americans. Having a heart for the work is the key. Ronald said the precious children make it all worthwhile.
Ronald will go to other care centers when he has time to see what improvements need to be made at each one. He is ready to begin remodeling on some old buildings the government will let us use for our 7th orphanage.