Monday, July 18, 2011

Some stories about the children we help...

Jin Cheng came to our care center in 2009. She will be eleven in October. When she was small, her father mistreated her and her mother. Her mother worked hard as a farmer but her father never did any work.

Once when her mother gave her a piece of pork to eat, her father got angry. She was just a worthless little girl that he never wanted. Why give her good food? He took the meat away from her, poured hot water on her head and broke her mothers’ legs. Both Jin Cheng and her mother went to the hospital for about a month. There is a place on her head where hair will not grow because of the burn and she is very self-conscious about this placing showing.

After her mother came home from the hospital, some kind of complication caused her death. Jin Cheng’s father decided to sell Jin Cheng. Her grandmother was approaching their apartment to visit when she saw him stuffing Jin Cheng in a large plastic bag and putting her in the car. She ran up and stopped him. She took Jin Cheng to live with her. She was kind to the little girl but her grandfather gambled and took every bit of money he could from her and her grandmother. If any relative gave either of them money, he took it to gamble. They were, of course, very poor.

Today, Jin Cheng is a happy and well-adjusted little girl. She loves her friends and enjoys sports. She is improving all the time in her personal life as well as in school. Jin Cheng feels safe and is happy living at our care center. She has made some friends and is learning many things. Here, she has a chance to learn about Jesus. She says she never wants to see her father again. If she hadn’t come to our care center, what kind of life would she be living? It hurts to imagine that. Changing lives—that is what China Mission is doing one at a time.

Yin Fei is a girl and was born in April 8, 1999. She came to the care center in September, 2010 and was in fifth grade. I came to the care center in November, 2010.  Here is the original information sheet on Yin Fei:

Yinfei's father died because of a snake bite in 2008. Her mother is handicapped with her legs and hands and she seems to have a low level of intelligence. Yinfei has a younger sister (9-year-old) and a younger brother (4-year-old). Four persons lived together in a poor and old house. Her mother isn't able to work. Now, yinfei's aunt (the wife of her uncle) who is about 50 years old takes care of all this family. She helps them work and cook for them. Besides, the aunt has a grandson to take care. Yinfei' uncle died 5-6 years ago. Life is very hard for all the family.

When Yinfei and other new girls came to live at the care center, they shared the same dorm room and were taken care of by a female worker who was in her thirties. The worker was a believer and shared the light with these new girls regularly.

This March, this female worker quit and left here. The girls in the dorm cried the day she left. They still miss the worker very much.

Because of the seed the female worker planted, Yin Fei has accepted Him. She has faith in Him. I remember one Sunday a few months ago, some of the workers, along with Mark were going to take His supper. Some girls in that dorm wanted to join us. We said yes, though we rarely did that. Mark knew some of them had been taught and kind of accepted, (and are “wet”) but still he asked how many of them clearly knew what their beliefs meant and what the supper means and if they are really clear about that so they can take the supper. Two girls said yes and took the supper and Yin Fei was one of them.

A week or so ago, while the children were still here, one Friday evening while most of the kids went to watch movies as usually, Yin Fei and a few other girls in her dorm chose to sing songs of praise to Him. I joined in with them. I could feel Yin Fei’s sincerity for Him.

Yin Fei behaves quite well and studies hard. She often gets good grades in school. She shows much interest in her education and she reads a lot. (Does she read the Book? Well, I’ve no idea. I gave her a Good Book, but haven’t asked her how often she reads it).

She is outgoing and happy. She wants to go to high school and college. She gets along very well with others. I think she is an excellent girl, but she often says she is not good at anything. She would say “Oh, I will not do well in this exam and I know it.” When I was playing ping pong with her, she said, “I am not good at it. I feel I can’t do anything well.” Words like that show her lack of confidence. But when she says that, she doesn’t appear upset or really unconfident. She studies hard and gets good grades, but she said she will not do well. She is not bad at playing ping pong either. I told her “Never say that, be confident, you are smart, you can do many things well!” She just smiles. She is always happy.
(Pictures of the next little girl will not be accepted by the blog - they are in Word and not compatible.)

Mei Feng is a girl born on March 23, 2001. The information sheet on her, according to Mark, states: “Father died of disease in April, 2005. Her Mother who was mentally ill, left after that. Her grandfather who is 87 years old died November, 2010.” It was Mark’s friend’s friend that told Mark the situation of this girl.

She came to live in the care center in February, 2011. She was shy and even didn’t know how to speak in mandarin. Instead, she spoke in her local dialect and she couldn’t be understood. But she is now outgoing and she talks fluently in mandarin! Whenever a class is over and before another class begins, she runs back to the care center and tries to find us to talk to her. She likes holding the workers’ hands.

For all the blessings she has now, there is something that is in her way of having a might-be bright future. She is 10 years old and in the second grade. When her relative sent her here, her relative said she should be in second grade. When I got to know her well, I was so surprised that she is extremely, unbelievably poor in Chinese and math. She almost doesn’t know how to read or write any Chinese characters and doesn’t know basic arithmetic! I feel painful when I am teaching her basic Chinese and basic arithmetic sometimes. Not because I am complaining, but because most of the time she learns in school (and she sits in a classroom and can’t learn anything I guess, because what the teachers are teaching are too hard for her to understand!). Even I want to help her, this process takes a very long and it will go slowly. We know that small kids love playing after spending most of the time in school. This girl naturally wants to talk or play with other children or the workers, so even though I have tried to find every chance to teach her new words, the time for me to help her with her study is limited. What's more, some other kids want to talk to me and this makes it harder. She is not the only one who is terrible at study and that makes my trying to help Zhang Mei Feng with her study much harder.

Both of Zhang Mei Feng's parents died. According to Zhang Mei Feng, her dad often beat her when she was at home. And according to director Lu, before she came to live in the care center, sometimes she went to school and sometimes she didn't for whatever reason. I guess it was because nobody cared for her. I can't imagine how much pressure this little girl will have when she is in class knowing nothing and being looked down upon or made fun of by her classmates and being not considered good by her teachers. The good thing is that she seems always joyful in the care center, but I absolutely think school has put a shadow somewhere inside her mind and heart that has a bad influence on her. I have taught her some words, but it goes slowly because of the reasons I mentioned above. Homework is much too hard for her because she should be in first grade, not in second grade. "But I am already so big, how can I be in second grade?" she says. She feels embarrassed to be in first grade as a ten year old girl. She is a little bigger than those who are in first grade.

When this girl came to the care center this March, I was in another care center. It was after she had been there for over a week and had settled down that I came here and got to know her gradually. When I told Lu that I think this girl should be in first grade, Lu said when her relative sent her here, her relative said she should be in second grade and it was done like that to please her. Actually I don't know if it's a good idea for her to be in first grade. I wish she could be in first grade, but considering the pressure of being in the same grade with those that are three, or at least two years younger, she may be very unhappy. I asked Mei Feng again if she wanted to go back to first grade this September after I explained to her why she should be in first grade and she said ok. But I don’t really know if she really meant it or not.

I talked to director Lu about my idea, and he said “she would be ok wherever we put her because she will learn something even if she keeps going up to third grade when the new semester begins. Actually I am not confident about my idea of putting Mei Feng back to first grade. I prefer to let her go back to first grade, but I have to consider other factors and I just don’t have one hundred percent confidence about that. Your advice and suggestions are welcomed. Choice matters because it will influence a person’s life a lot. I am very clear about that. And this is China. In our schools there are no special or extra tutors who will help students like Mei Feng.

……..The other night

I had some conversations with Mei Feng again, and she told me that before she came here, she was often late for school in her hometown. Her teachers often scolded her. Her classmates disliked her because she wore dirty clothes and smelled. She told me, “I was always dressed dirty. I didn’t have clean clothes. Sometimes I went to school, but after two days I might not go to school, and then after another two days I went to school again but they often scolded me. Finally I didn’t go to school at all.”

……..The other day

She got to know and believe in Jesus here. As a small girl, she will say words like “Jesus loves us” as she is taught when she has an opportunity to say it. She has such a sad past life, but she is so joyful every day. You may say, “That’s just a kid”, but it’s also a good quality for an adult to live like that, to smile even during times of trouble. She is grateful for a better life. I know that for a fact.

If you let me tell only ONE child’s story, only one, I would choose Mei Feng to show people that Agape Foundation is really doing something to help poor orphans.

(These stories are written by Max, our worker in Tiendeng).   You can feel his love and concern for these little girls.

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