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.

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