Ken and I arrived in Yiwu on the 19th March and the weather was quite cold, at around 5 degrees. This was much colder than we expected, however we coped with the little warm clothing we had.
We quickly renewed old friendships and soon found ourselves involved in ministry. But of course, this is never our main focus, because “service to the poor of China” is really our focus, though at times we often consider the broader vision – “the poor in spirit” as part of our calling. So hence our involvement in various ministries when we feel led.
The main challenge I had is to co-ordinate all our travel while in China. This at times can very difficult, as availability of our staff, Chinese-holidays, train-ticketing, timing of visits and hotel-bookings all have to be taken into consideration. This visit to China was much more challenging than usual, but I knew that we would spend much more time travelling before we left NZ. However, with careful planning we achieved all that we needed to on this 2 month China visit.
The new “Guoyang love house”-it’s just the right-hand side part – that’s Ken outside.[/caption]
We first visited our Guoyang Orphanage “Love house”. I was particularly interested to see progress on our “brand-new” orphanage and it is amazing that so much has been accomplished in just 8 months. Our lease will run out on the old facility in late August, but we are so thankful that we will be in the new building before then.
There is still much work to do, as there no internal-doors, flooring, stairs, plumbing and painting. However, we were able to supply the funding to complete this project. Also to those of you who give financial support, to “Share- Global and our on-going work – a big thank you!
I will now mention quickly, the other visits we made in China
Visit to Urumqi and Turpan We are planning to start a work in the Western Province of Xinjiang.
Huaibei Psychiatric Hospital We met Sandra King at Hefei Airport and took her on to visit the Hospital, then on to our Orphanage in Guoyang. (Sandra writes about this later in the newsletter)
Gaoshan Home for the Elderly My wife Beryl arrived in China for the last part of our stay, and she was keen to visit this facility. Beryl hadn’t been to China for 5 years, so she was delighted to see the progress in this Home. The Home now has 29 residents and new showers and toilets. These were all items requested by Beryl when we built the facility 7 years ago. So she was thrilled to see the progress.
We made several other trips, but there’s no need to mention these. Please find below articles by Sandra King, Ken McKay and Beryl.
Report from Sandra King
I was invited to go to An Hui with Brett and the team, under the covering of Share Global. Previously I had been in China for twenty years and in that time I have opened three orphanages – in Guangzhou and Beijing and Yang Chun. So I jumped at the opportunity to go with Brett and the team this time as I was free to do so. I had never been to An Hui before, so I knew it was time for me to go and see what they were doing there.
The first place we went to was the “Huaibei Social Welfare Centre” in An Hui. The Hospital gathered a few senior staff together with the director to sit down with us to take notes. I knew they were unsure of our intentions. Humber, (one of the Share Global workers) explained to the director what we could do to offer them. Then they saw the newspaper cuttings indicating the previous work I had done in China. I would say that in the beginning the staff seemed a little cool, but as we explained how we managed staff in relationship to dealing with babies and disabled children they changed and were most enthusiastic to have a relationship with us. I have since e-mailed them without response, so I feel in my heart this is going to happen – but not just yet. We need a lot more special thinking in this area.
The trip to see brother Ying and sister Esther in Guoyang was a real worthwhile experience. I was honoured to meet them. Seeing the children and the bond that they have with each other was all it took for me to know how special they were. I really enjoyed the concert they put on for us and we had a good time. Well, it all came to an end very fast. I was only there for a day and a half and it was not long enough.
If someone had told me five years ago that I would be involved in building some relationships with special people in China, I would have looked sideways at them thinking, how could that be possible?
Only ‘one’ knew what was around the corner, how my life would take a sudden turn and how I was going to turn to ‘Him’ for some answers. His answers were more like questions, like; Do you love me? Are you ready to surrender? Are you available? What are you willing to sacrifice?
I never thought I had much to offer, not a lot of confidence, often bumbling my way through, not sure how to accept encouragement from those around me. I guess I didn’t know how things can work out so I just had to start experiencing it for myself, as only He could really reveal His way to me.
So how did I come to be in China for the third time in about three years? One word – availability. It was time for me to be shown the way. Less than three years ago I had the opportunity to go on a short trip to South China to experience a taste of life a world apart amongst the lost yet found in the ‘House of Grace’ orphanage run by Sandra King. There is something special about being ‘found’ and also finding someone ‘special’. Orphans are so special. I think it is because they are a reminder to us all that we were all once lost and in need of being found, and also what a gift to someone of a small life in need of a home in someone’s heart. Remember that in giving, we receive and the love of an orphan is more than most of us would know. Once the barriers or anxieties are dispelled, these children are a joy and experience to be around.
In reflection, spending time in China amongst the orphans and others involved in enlarging the Kingdom, has and hopefully will continue to be one of the best experiences for me and my relationship with my children. I can only wait and hope in anticipation for what is on the horizon. His circle is growing as more followers are willing to ‘Go’ and serve Him. As I have been learning, it is not my ability that matters but my availability to be used by Him.
The opportunity to serve in China is tremendous and challenging, but rewarding, with people who are all special and all unique in what they bring. I have a sense that there are special times ahead for those who believe to venture out further and experience His hand at work in China, or anywhere we are willing to be led.
It has been great to see the initiatives of those before us come to fruition and be realised and built upon in China by other believers and even some authorities who gladly participate. Of course, care and consideration, respect and responsibility need to be demonstrated at all times but most of the time there is a willingness to allow cooperation or help to occur.
Love is the key that opens the door to relationship. I thank those whom I have met in the work of Share Global and those who have been a great influence so far. May you all be blessed. This also includes those who are encouragers, supporters or intercessors. You are all part of His plan.
Beryl’s Visit to Gao Shan.
As I had not been to China for 5 years, one highlight of this trip was to return to Gao Shan, a village in Anhui Province where the Elderly Home was set up in 2007 jointly with the Wuwei Charitable Trust and Share Global. Robert kindly took us and there we met up with a few Government Officials from Wuwei, looking keen to show us around.
It was a pleasant surprise to see all the buildings in good condition and the whole area around them fully fenced with a security gate at the front entrance.
The old Government building on the left hand side had a second floor added, accessed by an external stairway. It contained several small rooms and a large reading room. The reading room was complete with tables /chairs, T.V. and a newspaper rack; a quiet place for the residents to enjoy activities together. It is also apparently used by local village people when they have community meetings.
Downstairs a few more bedrooms had been built on the existing building. All of them appeared to be furnished the same as before with a new stand alone wardrobe added.
On the right hand side newer building, one end had a new dining room and kitchen. More bedrooms had been added with a whole new block on the south end.
The kitchen comes with a cook. She prepares all the meals for the 27 residents. When the food is ready she rings a bell and the residents come and get their meal and then have the choice of eating together in the dining room or taking it back to their room. A new upgraded toilet block and shower room had recently been added on also. Land at the rear of the buildings is all completely planted with vegetables showing a self sufficient life style.
Sadly, the first resident, Mr. One Tooth, had passed away 3 years ago, as had some of the first group to enter the home.
It was a good visit and pleasing to see the Wuwei Charitable Trust had fulfilled most of the plans discussed with Brett over 6 years ago. They are providing better quality and cleaner living conditions for their people to spend the remaining years of their lives.
We were able to leave them a small gift of basic medical supplies: an easy to operate digital blood pressure machine, a thermometer, reading glasses and walking sticks.