Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Day in Texas this year

Things have changed on this blog site so I can't locate where to add pictures or change the heading. Be patient and I'll try to keep searching for where these toolbar things are now.

Things continue to go well in China. There have been no major changes. Dave Halligan, a supporter and friend from New York, has just returned home after visiting all of the care centers for the past month. He feels that the trip was a blessing to him but we know it was a great blessing to the children and a boost to encourage our workers and our son, Ronald, who works so diligently in China. We are very grateful for Dave's sacrifice of time and energy for the cause in China. He slept on hard beds at the care centers and ate the same food as the children. He knows what it is like for the children.

We returned to Texas about two weeks ago after a hectic two weeks at our home in Sharpsburg, GA. We went through piles of mail and handled stuff on our desks and then spent the rest of our time cleaning out closets and personal items from the house. We brought back what we thought we would absolute need in the RV and stored everything else in the attic. I gave the church give-away closet in Woodstock about l/2 of my clothes.

After we returned to Texas, Judy and Aida, our Chinese workers moved upstairs into our house. The small apartment they occupied in the basement will either be rented or we will use it whenever we return to Atlanta.

Hongsheng, the boy from China with the Tessier Syndrome Palate, has been occupying the third bedroom at our house for several weeks. He continues to have some infections since his surgery in Dallas a couple of months ago.

Flying back, I saw a girl with a cowboy hat, boots and a rhinestone belt. I've told Ron that I need those things to show my Texas pride. He has not come to that conclusion. In fact, he would not admit he was with me should I add those items to my wardrobe. This is not the image he wants me to convey. I guess it would take on a totally different tone from a young woman to an older woman so I'll forgo these items.

We spent our first week back in Houston to complete appointments in that area. We attended church services in several locations around Houston. Ron spoke at chapel at Westbury Christian. We enjoyed a meal with Carole Booker and Steve Hawley, teachers at Westbury, that went to China to teach last summer.

We had a delightful dinner with Myra and Rodney who go to Champions C of C in Houston. Myra and our daughter, Leigh Ann, were friends in college.

We had a good meeting with the folks at Franklin on Sunday night and drove on to Temple on Tuesday. Our travels from here will take us to cities near Dallas.

I have an appointment to speak at the Lewisville church on December 7th. I was invited to attend their holiday party and give an overview of our work in China, telling the ladies ways they can help with our work. I have been working on that presentation for a couple of days. It has been several years since I have done power point. I am selecting photos I want to use. Ron will show me again how to do it.

The weather has been unseasonably warm for about a week but weather news shows some colder weather on the way.

While home in Georgia, I cooked Thanksgiving dinner and shared it with our daughter, Leigh Ann, and Judy, the only Chinese worker who was in town at the time. Today, Judy asked Ron if I will cook Thanksgiving dinner in the RV. I told him to tell her I already cooked my dinner but I still have a turkey with me. I don't think Ron appreciated that too much!

Our son, Ronald, sent us a cartoon from China. It showed a taxi with turkeys inside and the caption was:

"This just out! 700 turkeys escaped today from a farm in Newnan, Georgia! They are thought to be fleeing south."

Well, I guess Ron and I are two of those escaped turkeys from Georgia.

We have spent many holidays in mission fields away from family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although we love to be with our family on these special days, we realize that our work does not always permit us that luxury.

I have been fretting about my personal losses. Giving up my home to live in an RV and moving from city to city does not give a woman much sense of home.

It is not just a house or personal things that we often have to give up. It is also people we love, family, relationships, friendships, health and such like. Life is always changing and throughout our lives we are constantly giving up something important.

Although I wrote the last segment entirely for myself to try to get a good perspective, it's still been difficult. It seems that men to do count a permanent house a home any more than living in a tent or RV. There is something about a woman's domestic needs that men cannot understand. They don't understand the little things that make a house a home. Since we began the mission work in 1984, I have said home is where I hang my hat, but it's not so simple. Not for us spoiled and rich Americans.

Today, as I was looking for pictures to put in my presentation to the Lewisville ladies, I found the original picture of a very pitiful little girl. Looking to see if she was still at one of the care centers, I found a report and picture of her and could not believe the great change in her appearance.

I was talking with Ronald in China about what I should include in my presentation. I know life is very hard for him but he's not complaining. I sent him the "before and after" picture of this little girl because he is now at the care center where she lives. I thought it might be encouraging for him to see what a difference we are making in the lives of very poor and desperate children.

As we are counting our blessings and reflecting on thanksgiving, Ron and I were talking last night about our riches. He asked me if I considered giving up everything "rubbish" as Paul said he did. I could not honestly say "YES" because home and things in this world take hold on us and we have a very hard time letting go. We get used to comforts and luxuries. We get it all mixed up as to what are necessities and what things we just want and enjoy. The TV or VCR does not work in the RV until we connect to something. I miss not having the news and a few other programs. Most people call a serviceman if the TV does not work. When my workday is over, I read as much as my eyes permit but I get bored with things too quiet and simple.

Ronald told me on the chatline that I could mark my days on the wall and maybe I'd get out earlier for good behavior. I told Ron about this and he said I'd have to use the smelly bathroom walls to do this but to remember that "fools' names like fools' faces are found in public places."

Maybe all Christians should review their lives and their priorities. I don't like to do this and I know most others had rather just go along day after day doing what we are used to doing, never forcing ourselves to sacrifice. That's what I would do if I was not married to Ron. Although I get upset with his attitude toward extreme sacrifice, I think some balance is needed in most Americans' lives. I'm not judging. I can't decide for anyone else how much is enough. I have enough trouble figuring it out for myself. We can't work our way to heaven. Sometimes I think giving up is more than just doing without things - it's also the attitude. I am falling far short on that end of the scale. We know that if we give our bodies to be burned but have no love, it is worthless sacrifice. We have to want to help others. We have to LOVE doing it. We have to love the Lord and his cause. I have to remember Jesus' great love and his sacrifice or I will lose perspecive.

I will continue to pray that my heart will grow more and more tender and more willing to accept life's changes. I do appreciate having so many blessings after each trip to China (or anywhere else) where people are so poor.

May each of you have a wonderful holiday and great reflections on your blessings. Life is hard - every family has troubles. Sometimes we think we deserve what we have to soothe our wounds from the hard times in life. Although we are blessed, life throws curves and there's pain and suffering in every life. To overcome the many disappointments and pain, we must keep focused.

May God continue to bless us all. Enjoy your holiday!