Tuesday, April 30, 2013

All is Well

Ron returned from China safely.   It was a long trip going because the airline apparently bypassed North Korea and went out of their way to stay out of the air space that might be dangerous.  He said the trip took three hours more than usual.  He had a couple of days before his guest arrived to tour two of the care centers.  They went to Wesley’s House in Pingguo and John Connor Brown in Tiendeng.   Apparently no pictures were taken of them at John Connor Brown but I’ll add a couple of them at Wesley’s House.  The children presented each of them with a bouquet of flowers.  They took the bouquets to John Connor Brown and gave them to the cooks there.

Steve, from Family Christian Bookstore, was impressed with the care centers.  A lot of their proceeds go to help orphans and widows.  We welcome the involvement to assist us with the work in China.

It was a very quick trip for Steve but I think he truly enjoyed meeting Ron and seeing the children and understanding how they live.  Lankui is presenting them with red hearts that they put on their clothing, a symbol of love.  Lankui was the little girl that had surgery on her jaw a couple of years ago in Nashville, TN.

Ron also met with Julia, a long-time sponsor in Hong Kong and their meeting went well.  She plans to get more and more involved in our work in the future.  We are very happy to see her love for the children and her desire to help.  We’ll have more information about this later. 
Upon return to the U.S., the elders at Lewisville began asking for additional information about our work because they want to be more involved and possibly find a person to assist Ron that can eventually succeed Ron and continue the work.  This is good news because we have tried to find such a person for several years.  We hope their search and involvement will be successful.
Ron came back to a lot of work waiting for him.  He’s kept going every day even though jet lag gets him in the afternoon.  It’s impossible to escape it.  Sleeping throughout the night is difficult and the body wants to revert back to China’s time zone. 
I came down with an allergy about the time he returned so we have both been dragging around like “sick chickens.”   We are both better today so maybe the tired feeling is behind us.
We relocated to the Lake Park in Lewisville for the next two weeks. 

We will be leaving in about two weeks to begin our travels to report to more congregations.  Ron has begun to schedule appointments so the direction of our travel depends on what appointments are set.  This is a good park.  It's convenient to church and we always have nice people in this park.  We also have good bathhouses and I enjoy getting a long, hot shower where I don't have to worry about how much water I'm using.  We are right over the air pattern for the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport so we have to just pretend we don't hear all the planes coming in to land. 

Ronald has surely enjoyed his two weeks with Gigi. We haven’t heard from him much but the beautiful pictures he sent said it all.  When Gigi’s VISA to China ended in January, she returned to the Philippines until he could finish up the construction of the charity hospital and supervise the rebuilding of the kitchen at Wesley’s House.  He had to leave China by the 15th of this month to renew his VISA so he went to meet Gigi at a resort on one of the islands in the Philippines where they celebrated her birthday.  They have been to several islands and will soon return to China.  Gigi renewed her VISA for another month to go back with him.  She has been successful in extending it for an additional two months after she gets there.   They really deserved this time together.  They have been separated a lot during the l-l/2 years they have been married. 

The work in China has been very hard and demanding on Ronald due to the construction of the hospital beginning in July, 2012.  Construction during the winter months is not easy anywhere but probably much worse in this remote area of China.  The hospital looks truly great and we look forward to the time when all the equipment is installed and medical teams can begin going to examine and care for the poor children.  Ronald’s part is done there, but the hospital work is just beginning.  I do not have the latest pictures of the completed hospital but I'll post them on a future blog.  The hospital is about a 12-15 bed hospital/clinic.  The administrator will visit the residents in the area and establish a record of the poor children that would not be able to receive medical care without our help.  They will be given medical cards so they can be treated at the new hospital.  Our first team of medical workers hopes to go in the summer, 2013 to begin the work. 

Plans are underway to reorganize the children at the North Canton Christian Care Center.  The buildings are falling apart, roofs are leaking and the facility is not worth spending money to repair.  Mr. Zhu, the director, has tried to locate another facility we could use but has not been successful.  In September, we propose to provide the cost of living and tuition for all middle school and high school students to live at their schools.  Our worker will pay their costs and keep in touch with the children at their schools.  Other arrangements are being made for the elementary children.  The government says they are building an orphanage and can care for them but if they have not even started construction, there’s no possibility they can do it any time soon.  We will just have to see how this plays out and how well we can handle the situation so the children are still cared for and able to attend school.  As plans are established for the care of these children, I will report again in regard to it. 
There is always a lot going on, changes being made and the work growing in many directions.  We are so blessed to have the many opportunities opened for us in China.  Our progress has been unbelievable, not because we are so great, but because HE has blessed the work and made possible the open doors of opportunity for us to do HIS work.  We would never have imagined that it was possible to do this work fifteen years ago.  We feel humbled by the fact that we have been merely the servants involved in this work.  We are unworthy to claim our own success because without HIM, it would not have been possible.
Anyone going to see the children at the care center would understand our great desire to help them.   Sam McLean, an American Airline pilot, wrote an article for one of our newsletters in regard to his trip to visit a girl at Neil Taylor Christian Care Center in Rongshui.  These are pictures of Sam with Mei Xue, who is now 15 years old and has a full life ahead of her with a completely successful heart surgery.
She was on Sam's flight when she returned to China following successful heart surgery in Memphis, Tennessee in May, 2012. Sam is now one of her sponsors and keeps in touch with her.  He is there now for his second visit to the care center.  They took a boat down the river in Guilin and visited many beautiful places, as you can see in these pictures. 
Sam says knowing her and getting to see the children has changed his life.  He knows and understands the drive we have to help the children.  There is hardly anything in life more important than helping others and innocent children make it so worthwhile.

A team of 20 workers from Buford, Georgia will be going to these same two care centers that Ron just visited.  They will be leaving toward the end of May to work two weeks there.  I think 10 will go to each location.  They will teach and play with the children and do whatever work needs to be done.  It will, no doubt, change their lives too. 
We have a precious little three-year old girl receiving burn surgeries in Cincinnati, OH.  She has many other problems that will need to be corrected.  My heart broke today as I read an email from her host mother, describing what she must go through in the next year.  Another little girl about three or four is returning to the U.S. for more surgery.   A year ago, a tumor about the size of an egg was removed from her eye.  The doctors knew they did not get it all.  They were concerned about damaging her eye but now they may not have a choice to save her life.  The tumor is growing again.
Please remember our precious children, workers, flight attendants, doctors and host families in your prayers.  We have a large team of people helping us.  It is not our work, it is everyone’s work that is involved.  So many people are sacrificing their precious time to help the poor children and without them, it would be impossible for our work to move forward.
Thank you for your prayers and interest in our work.  If you are on Facebook, Leigh Ann posts many pictures of the children we support; mostly those having surgeries.  Our name is listed as Chinese Agape Foundation on Facebook.   If you want to contact me about anything, my email address is patbrown10@gmail.com.
God be with you.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Update on my family

Although he is very tired, Ron is doing fine on his trip to China.  He only has a few days until he boards the plane to come home.  He has been to two of our care centers with a visitor, Steve Blondo.  They are visiting Wesley’s House in Pingguo and John Connor Brown in Tiendeng.   He has been to another city to meet with the government in regard to the registration renewal for the Neil Taylor care center.  He has two meetings in Hong Kong before he returns home.

Ronald is with Gigi in the Philippines.  Today is Gigi’s birthday so I’m sure Ronald has planned a special day for her. 

They are at a resort for a few days so they are surely enjoying themselves.  I got these pictures of them waking early to go down to the beach to see the sun rise.  I am so glad they are together and happy.  They have been apart too much since they married.  She is hoping to be granted another VISA to go back to China with Ronald.  They will go to the embassy on the island of Cebu in a few days to pick it up. 

I have much to be thankful for.  When I know my family is well, I can sleep and be at peace.  When I am worried about any of them, I have trouble sleeping.  I know, I’m not supposed to worry.  If I trusted God, I would not worry.  That’s true but every mother worries to some extent.   I am like the old hen with her chicks gathered under her wing.  I’m happy when everyone is in place and I know they are safe. 

It has been very quiet, staying in the RV all alone but I’ve made it O.K.  I have worked on the computer every day, including Saturday.   Sunday was my day of rest and attending services.   I have taken a walk around the park each day and spent some time reading and crocheting.   I have campers of all sizes in the park.  Over the weekend, there were some of the pull-out Nimrods and tents but it was in the 40's at night -- too cold for me to sleep out like that.  These are my neighbors:

I listened to talk radio last week with the bombings in Boston and the fertilizer plant fire in West, TX.   It was a very disturbing and sad week of bad news.  The owner of the fertilizer plant was an elder of the West Church of Christ and at least four members lost their homes.  I understand one family did not have insurance.  The church at Lewisville is taking donations to send to this congregation to help those people.
I heard people calling in to the talk radio shows and was appalled at some of the views expressed.  I decided I have lived pretty much in a "bubble."   I did not realize there were so many people with liberal views and agendas so totally opposed to what the Bible teaches.   Our country has really changed in the past 50 years and I don't think it's for the best.

We had another earthquake in Sichuan, China.  It’s been five years since the bad one in that area.  There are about 200 dead and 11,000 injured or without homes in this one.  Rescuers are still trying to get to the area with roads covered and impassable in some locations.   It was a relief to get emails saying our care center in Zigong felt the quake but there was no damage to the building and no one hurt.  I think it is about 200 miles from the center of this quake. 
We could get depressed if we let ourselves but in spite of storms, earthquakes, wars and rumors of war (as the Bible mentions), we still know that God is with us and in the end all will be fine if we trust Him and remain faithful.  My prayers have been with the families that lost loves ones last week. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Disturbing Week of Events

We returned to Lewisville on April 10th so Ron could meet with the elders on the 11th.   We had a few nice days in the Lake Park. 

The weather was perfect and our walks around the park were nice.  This facility has a coin laundry so I caught up on my washing.  I have a small washer/dryer unit in the RV but it does not hold much.  I washed our accumulated sheets, towels and heavy jeans.   Usually, I cannot wash more than two small loads each time we park because the water will fill up our tank and we prefer not to have to dump until we leave the park each time. 
On Sunday, April 14th, Ron flew to Houston to speak to a group of Chinese doctors and nurses interested in going on a medical mission to our new hospital in Wadian, Henan, China.  Barbara Scoggins from the church came to give me rides on Sunday.  I went out to lunch with her and Mary Burton. 

On Monday, we moved the RV to Pilot Knoll at Highland Village, about 5 miles further northwest.  
Ron left for China early Tuesday morning.  This is the location where I will stay alone for the time he’s in China.   He’s been gone three days and I have stayed busy.  Enough work has come in from China to keep me working about 7 hours each day.

The man going with Ron to China woke me up at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning.  I didn’t go back to sleep.  I saw there was work coming in from China so I began working.  I took a break for lunch and then worked until 5 p.m.    Tuesday I ate my lunch outside on the picnic table but a troublesome Grackle (a Texas blackbird) fussed at me the entire time.  I shooed him away so he’d shut up but he just flew into a nearby tree and continued his fussing.  Later that afternoon, I took a walk around the park.   I noticed that every empty spot has a ‘reserved’ sign so I guess the park will be full by the weekend. 

Wednesday was another full day of work.   I got ready for Wednesday night Bible study and walked to the park gate where Curtis Hays and his family picked me up for Bible class.  Afterwards, we went to a restaurant for his daughter’s birthday.  They tried to get me to spend the night with them because storms were moving in but I decided to stay in the RV.  It’s so much trouble to go somewhere else and I needed to be back early today for my computer work.  

Storms rolled in about 4 a.m.  I gave up going back to sleep so I got up and made a pot of coffee and listened to the weather news.   I fell asleep on the couch about 5:30 and slept until 7.   The rain had moved through and it was quiet.  I was dreaming that I was at a restaurant and reached for my purse to pay for my meal and my purse was completely empty.  Someone had emptied it underneath my chair.  I was actually happy to wake up from this dream.
The temperature was about 75 degrees at 7 a.m. but by 10 a.m. it had dropped to 45 degrees.  It was cool all day (high about 53).  It will be 39 in some areas around us tonight.  This has been a crazy spring with 80 degrees one day and then 53 the next.   It will be in the 60’s tomorrow and in the 70’s by the weekend.  

This week has been sad because of the bombings at the Boston Marathon and the Fertilizer Plant explosion in West, Texas.    They report that the blast in West leveled houses and businesses over a five-block area must like a tornado tore through.   The number of deaths is not certain at this time.  Almost 200 are being treated at hospitals.  With so many people losing arms and legs and injuries from these tragedies this week, I could not help but think of this poem that I received from Ming Paul’s blog (a Chinese brother that lives in Vancouver, B.C.))


Today, upon a bus,
I saw a very Beautiful Woman -
and wished I were as Beautiful.
When suddenly she rose to leave,
I saw her hobble down the aisle,
She had one leg and used a crutch -

But as she passed, she passed a smile.

Oh, GOD, forgive me

when I whine.
I have two Legs;

The world is mine.

I stopped to buy some candy.
The lad who sold it had such charm.
I talked with him, he seemed so glad.
If I lingered, it'd do no harm...

And as I left, he said to me,
"I thank you, you've been so kind.
It's nice to talk with folks like you.
You see,"
he said, "I'm blind."

Oh, God, forgive me
when I whine.
I have two Eyes;

the world is mine.

Later while walking down the street,
I saw a child I thought I knew.
He stood and watched the others play,

but did not know what to do.
I stopped a moment and I said,

"Why don't you join them dear?"
He looked ahead without a word.
I forgot, he Could Not Hear.

Oh, GOD, forgive me

when I whine.
I have two Ears;

the world is mine.
With Feet to take me
where I go..
With Eyes to See

the sunset's glow..
With Ears to Hear

what I know.

Oh, GOD, forgive me - when I whine.


 The Assistant District Attorney in Kaufman, TX was gunned down in a parking lot in January.  The District Attorney (and his wife) were murdered in cold blood in their home over the Easter weekend.   There was no forced entry and nothing was stolen so they knew it was someone they opened the door for and let in. 
This week, they arrested a former Justice of the Peace for making terrorist comments.  While he was in jail, they searched a storage unit that someone had rented for him and found the car that was spotted in the vicinity of the house at the time of the recent murders.  They also found 20 guns.  The J of the P had stated that he did not own any guns when questioned earlier.   The car was purchased in another name other than his. 

Yesterday morning, about 3 a.m. they went to his house and arrested his wife.  She’s not been seen out much in a long time.  She suffers with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.  When arrested, she spilled the story about how they plotted to kill the Assistant District Attorney and the District Attorney and his wife.  She apparently was involved in the plan and may have driven the car.  She said her husband actually did the shootings. 
While he served as a Justice of the Peace, he stole some computer monitors and was charged and tried by these attorneys.  He lost his job over this so he was seeking revenge.   There’s been a TV series on recently called REVENGE.   It is a terrible thing to hold grudges toward someone and even worse to act it out in a fit of revenge.  They may seek the death penalty for both him and his wife.  I wonder as they sit in jail if they really think it was worth it.   Did they really think they were smart enough to get away with it?   This hatred goes all the way back to Cain and Abel.   I am still amazed that anyone could actually take the life of another person.   

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Back in Lewisville, TX for a few Weeks

We visited the church in Palestine on Sunday and had a good meeting with Christians at Crocket Road.  Sam and Cheryl Ellis took us to lunch at a great Mexican restaurant.  We had a delightful time getting to visit with them and the food was exceptionally good.  The drive from High View to Palestine took 1-l/2 hours so we left at 7:30 a.m. and got back about 2:00 p.m.   We went to Bristol on Sunday night, just north of Ennis, which was a 30-minute drive.   They welcomed us as always and had a sandwich fellowship for us after services.    
Our week at High View Corp of Engineers Park at Ennis, TX was enjoyable.  The bluebonnets in this area provided all the beauty you could want and then we had the lake to boot!  

This park had WiFi connections so we used their internet for the entire time we were there.   The last day we walked around the park, I felt a little sad to leave there.    Monday and Tuesday were beautiful days but the threat of a strong storm had us watching the weather news on Tuesday night.   There was a possibility of 70 mph winds and quarter-size hail when it arrived in North Texas early Wednesday morning.   A cold rain was predicted for all day on Wednesday.   Ron got permission from the gate person to relocate the RV to a safer spot.  Tuesday night, before sunset, we hooked up the trailer and car in a boat ramp parking lot.   Ron turned the RV facing into the wind.   He read on the internet that it’s unlikely an RV of this weight could turn over in wind less than 100 mph.  The article said if the wind does not hit it on the side, there’s much less chance of it turning over at any wind speed.    We relaxed and talked until it got dark and then went to bed, hoping to get a few hours of sleep before the storm came rolling in after midnight.    We had heavy rain and wind but it did not seen too bad.  The next morning we ate breakfast and left to drive to Lewisville.   It was about 42 degrees outside with continual rain so we were happy the car was already secure on the trailer and we had nothing to do outside to get ready to move. 

We arrived in Lewisville about noon on Wednesday.  We are at the Lewisville Lake Park until Monday of next week.   We did have to unhook the car and trailer in the cold rain when we arrived.  Once parked and plugged in, we got the heat on and enjoyed a warm RV for the afternoon hours.  We went to Lewisville for Bible class last night but it was still very cold.  In some places near us, the temperature was in the 30’s last night.  It is going to be 64 today so we will walk around the lake this afternoon.  We try to get in as much exercise as we can each week.  Some days it’s impossible because of the weather.
We have some shopping to do before Ron leaves for China on Tuesday.  Monday, he will relocate the RV to Pilot Knoll Park because it’s a Highland Village Park and they will allow me to extend the time we stay there if Ron’s trip takes longer than expected.   It’s not far for some church members to give me a ride to church.   Since our son, Ronald, is in the Philippines, and this trip will involve a lot of traveling, Ron thought it would be better for me to stay here.   We have not been apart for more than one day in over eight years.  I’ve made every trip to China with him.   I always took one carry-on bag and tried to be ready to leave an area as soon as he finished his work   Ron schedules everything as tightly as he can so he can return to the U.S. and resume his normal work.   I think he’s afraid I might slow him down on this trip.  I got sick on the last trip but I tell him that’s not likely to happen every time I go. 

A friend of ours has bought the Family Christian Bookstores.   The CEO is meeting Ron in China to visit two of our care centers to get an idea about our work to see how they can get involved.  Most of their profits go to help orphans and widows.  
Pray for Ron to have a safe trip.  Thanks to my followers for your prayers and interest in our work. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April Fool's Day, April 1, 2013

No one pulled a joke on us on April lst.   We got up early Monday morning and packed up things, secured the car on the trailer and drove 45 minutes north of Hamilton to Stevensville.   Ron went to an area-wide meeting of ministers, wanting to make contact with some of them that he has not met.   He dropped me off at Wal-Mart.  I had about 30 minutes to shop for a few things before shopping for groceries.  I never have the luxury of 1-1/2 hours when Ron is with me.  Like most men, he wants to get the shopping done as quickly as possible.  He is not a patient person to wait for anything.   At 11:30, Ron picked me up and I quickly put the groceries away.  A few wives came with the men to the meeting and they wanted us to stop at a BBQ place to eat lunch with them.  We were able to find enough space to park the RV so we stopped for lunch.
The BBQ place was very busy.   It looked like a very good restaurant.  I got a chopped BBQ sandwich.  Ron just got the chopped meat and cold slaw.  You don’t have a choice of Pork or Beef in Texas.  It’s always beef.  Ron and I are used to eating pork so the beef seemed dry and tough to us.  It was not cheap either.  I think it cost $13 and we did not get drinks to go with it.  We never drink enough water so we always take water with our meals.  It was very hard for me to give up sodas (especially Diet Dr. Pepper) but I have because I know they are not healthy.

After we left the restaurant, we drove from Stevensville to Ennis (about a two-hour drive) due east.   It was a sunny day and there was not too much traffic.  We arrived at High View Corp of Engineers Park near Ennis about 3 p.m.  The park where we stayed before on Bardwell Lake is closed for renovations.   We are on another part of the same lake here. This is our first time at High View.  It’s a small park and most of the camp sites are empty.  I guess it is a little early in the season for a lot of people to come to the parks.   We saw kids in swimming at the swimming area yesterday but I am certain the water was very cold.  We have very cool nights and the days have not gotten warm enough to heat up a large body of water.  I remember us going to New Orleans and Baton Rouge one year in the early spring or fall and Ronald swam in the hotel pool but the water was cold.  I could not swim in cold water.

Ron enjoyed the view and waited patiently while I took pictures.

 It is bluebonnet season in Texas. It is the State of Texas flower. I have seen them from a distance but never in mass before. The park has fields of them and we were just in awe as we walked around the park yesterday. They grow along the sides of the streets and there are large patches of them everywhere, just like these pictures. It is very beautiful!

Rain moved in this afternoon and for about two hours we had very heavy rain.  It cleared off and we had sunny skies when we went for our walk after dinner tonight.   We may have rain again tomorrow with much cooler temperatures for a couple of days. 
We had not gone far on our walk tonight until we saw an armadillo.   I’ve never seen one that close before.  Most of the time, I have seen them lying dead on the highway.  Actually, this was in Georgia.  I recently told Ron that I have not even seen a dead one in Texas and I thought they were plentiful in Texas.  Well, seeing a live one today was a treat but wouldn’t you know it – I didn’t take my camera.  Such is my luck!
We will be here for 8 more days.  The park has WiFi but sometimes it only has a weak signal.  We found only one park before that had WiFi and they charged to use it.  We have been able to connect to the church WiFi in the places we have parked the last two months.  This saved us a lot of money.  We have to be careful not to go over our base amount because it then gets very expensive.

I still enjoy the luxury of emails with my kids every few days.  Leigh Ann and I were talking today about the word processors we used 20 years ago.   They were such antiques compared to what we have now.  Twenty years ago we would not be able to do this work in China and handle most of it from our desk in the U.S.  Communication is so different.  Although we get frustrated with computers or printers that don’t work well, we still have much to be thankful for today.
In spite of worries, difficulties and the stress of life, I am always very thankful to God for our blessings.   I work on my weaknesses every day, trying to turn things over to God and trust in Him.   I know He cares and if we are faithful, He watches over us and walks beside us.  We must always remember this when health fails, disappointments come and problems arise.

God bless you, my friends.