God is good, all the time – Karen Tse
I want to share with you something which happened during the trip to the China orphanage in 2012. It all started with a mobile phone.
I used to have an old Nokia phone which I absolutely love. All these years, despite iphone 1, iphone 3, iphone 4, iphone 4S and all the other smart phones out there, I have stuck with my Nokia. In September last year, I suddenly had the urge to get the new iphone 5 and through someone from church, without much effort, I became one of the first people to have an iphone 5!
Two weeks after I bought my phone, I went on the orphanage trip with the church. At the orphanage, I was told that there was a newly adopted baby who was abandoned because he was suffering from cleft lip and cleft palate. The baby was very malnourished; he was 6 months old but only weighs about 10 pounds! If you imagine, that’s about the size of a kitten! He had already been admitted to the hospital several times due to diarrhea and malnutrition. We were told that if he didn’t start to gain weight soon, he might not survive for long.
When I visited the baby, I found out that he was actually a very cheerful baby and was sucking the milk very well. Then came a moment when I was walking by the entrance of the baby’s room, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a nanny throwing away a diaper. Apparently the nannies there don’t wrap the diapers so I was able to see the content inside.
I saw green poo!!! Green poo? I don’t have any children but I was kind of shocked by the color of the stool. For the rest of that day, I could not get that picture out of my mind. I could not sleep, and at about mid-night, I was still thinking about why the baby had green poo. So I decided to ask my colleague in HK who’s a dietician through whatsapp with my new phone! It was already pretty late at that time so I didn’t expect any reply. But after about 10 minutes she answered! She was still awake as she was taking care of her new-born baby. I consulted my dietitian friend for over an hour, and she came to the conclusion that the baby probably has some problems digesting the milk made from conventional milk powder. So the next day Pearl and I went out to a market trying to look for soy bean formula. But there was no soy formula available! So we tried to feed him with rice cereal first. The baby was feeding really well with cereal and after we came back to HK, we got updates from the teachers in the orphanage that the baby’s poo has turned from green to brown just a couple of days after we left!! And after about 6 months, he was growing very well, he has climbed back to the normal growth curve, and is finally physically fit and nourished to receive the operation for his cleft palate. Praise the Lord for saving the baby!!
This orphanage trip has surely proven to me that God is with us all the time. There is no coincidence. Sometimes, even the most trivial action at present can turn out to contribute much in the future. God’s plan is meticulous and perfect. All we need is to be patient and wait for God’s calling.
Memories of a day in 2006 at the China Orphanage. – Jennifer Leung
It was a bright but cool day. My taxi pulled up on the slightly uneven drive-way of the orphanage. The moment I got out of the car, I saw a group of smiling children waving at me enthusiastically. Then the orphanage -in-charge came out to welcome me and led me to join the kids for lunch in their lunch room.
We all took our tin platters laden with food. The kids were chatty and eager to update me how they were doing. Their faces were full of smiles. A couple of girls were especially affectionate and laid their heads on my shoulders as we chatted.
That was the scene that I had hoped and imagined since March 2005 when the whole idea of the LOHA was born on a whim. It was a wild dream. It was a borne out of a miracle of love from a bunch of church friends who wanted to reach beyond their comfort zones and just leapt beyond, to help the orphans of China in a more formal way. To put love into action.
- To see the smile on the face of our children.
- There is joy from deep within your heart from the imprint of a child’s smile
I never knew I could love another person’s child. I already have 2 of my own. Where do I find the capacity to love any more kids? Then over 6 years ago, a dear friend, Helena Wong, brought me photos of a group of China child. I donated RMB 3000 for Chinese New Year celebrations. I got back a photo of the kids with the brightest smiles. It touched me deeply. Their smiles were imprinted in my mind. I could not forget those smiles.
A child will not smile if he or she is cold, or hungry or unloved. A child’s smile is genuine. It is simplicity in its most genuine form. A child’s smile is nature’s perfection.
Somehow, in the process, we realise that love is limitless.
I went that day with the intention to give love to those kids but oddly enough, when I left the orphanage , it was I who felt so loved. They gave me much more than I gave them.
February 20th 2008
On my first trip to the China orphanage back in 2006, I didn’t expect to feel much of the presence of God.
I met the children I was wrong. My heart broke as each rendered their personal story. The graceless system which this world operates in has infiltrated into the heart of these sweet and innocent orphans. This is so wrong on so many levels. I stood silently in the hallway with tears rolling down my face.
Then the unimaginable happened – I stood there and prayed to God wishing that I could take their place. It’s unimaginable for me because, sad to say, that I’m a relatively self-interest focused HK person. I assure you that while I may have been somewhat charitable with my cheque book to various good causes, the thought of “swapping places” has never ever come across my mind before.
While that noble thought of self-sacrifice that lingered, right there and then on the grounds where I thought God’s presence wouldn’t be as great because of man-made rules and constraints; God reminded; me of the truth that’s been head knowledge for me ever since I was a child in a brand new way through an epiphany – that Lord Jesus Christ not only felt pity for us emotionally, but He also actually went through the ordeal to suffer and die for all of us! In John 15:13 Jesus said to His disciples on the night of His betrayal that “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
The presence of God is everywhere – you just need to open your heart to those around you to feel it. I encourage you to visit any one of our Living Hope orphanages in China and see what message God has for your heart! May the peace and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always.”
My mum asked me to ” prepare Tian en for surgery”. This is because I had 2 surgeries last year in the same hospital. As a15 year old, the instructions kind of came as a duty. I did not mind but I really did not think much about it nor how to do it.
The day of Tian-en’s arrival in Hong Kong for the surgery finally came. I first met Tian en at a chinese restaurant. He was supposed to be 9 but he looked much smaller. I had no idea how to entertain him. So I just took mum’s new camera and started teaching Tian en to “paint” on the photos. He had a ball when he covered himself with coloured moustaches!?
We bonded. Then Tian en came to my home to play for an afternoon. We had to measure his urine volume which was kind of cool as there were measuring jugs every corner I turned.
The day before the surgery came. I went to see Tian en at the hospital. I stepped into the hospital ward. Tian en set on the bed. He looked worried. I sensed that he was scared. It was only that moment that I realised what I had to do. I shared my experiences with him. I told him I was also scared. I told him that it would not hurt as he would be sleeping. I told him that if I could do it, he could do it. Tian-en did not smile. He was still scared.
So I took some books out to read to him. In fact, he read very well for a kid who only had one year of schooling. I said he read well. He began to feel more relaxed. I told him that he was wearing my old bathrobe. I think that made him feel he was my friend.
After the surgery, I went back to see Tian-en 2 times. I still did not quite know what to say except that he would get better. But my seeing him made him feel that I care. Sometimes when the pain was not so bad, he smiled. I told him he was very brave and I meant it.
I hear from mum that he is better and safely back home.
I still do not quite know how and if I have helped Tian en. But knowing him touched my life immensely. I look forward to seeing him again and teaching him the rest of the English alphabets.
The following testimonials are from PRC University Students who volunteered to serve in the orphanage during their holidays.
Liu Fei Xia – Visit to the Shijiazhuang LOHA : Feeling loved and moved
“Shijiazhuang is truly a good place. To me, they were like treasure islands, for I found many treasures there. I found tears and joy, rediscovered my confidence and self-respect, and gifted with love from many. The love was not only from the children, but from the uncles and aunties from Community Church Hong Kong who were also visiting. This was probably the climax of my Torch Fire Project experience.
Every time I relive my memory of Shijiazhuang, I am thankful that it was where I took my first step with Christ, where I triumphed over my childhood nightmares, where I let myself go, drawing nearer to the uncles and aunties, as well as where I truly learned how to laugh and forgive.
Everything that happened there was amazing. The children and our interactions deeply touched my core. Their words and laughter gave me courage and energy to break out of my old self. Now, I only want to say “Thank you God.”
Jing Yu Liang – Trip to Shijiazhuang
“When I grow up, I’d like to be a NBA star because I love to play basketball. And at the same time as I realize my dream, I’d like to help other people who are in need as I am now…”
“When I grow up, I’d like to be boss of my own business and make a lot of money. Then I can live well, and help more people…”
These were a couple of extracts from the compositions I received from the children in LOHA, Shijiazhuang. When I asked them to write about their ideals. I cannot express in words the encouragement they put in my heart. There is a sad story behind every child there, yet I did not see sadness on their faces. I did not hear them whining about the injustice in life throughout the time we spent together. All I could feel was their thankful hearts and positive outlook on their future.
For someone like me whose head was full of academic studies and money-making careers, the children taught me the real qualities in life and what it meant to really love people. I witnessed the love they have for each other. I experienced their care and concern for me. I was very moved and my life started to change in many ways.
The children learned at such a young age that many people in this world are in need of our care. Yet looking at their situation, they are still living in basic conditions. They can certainly do better with more highly qualified staff to teach them. They need more interaction with the outside world. I regret that I did so little for them in return for so much I gained from them. But I thank God for so many blessings I received from the children and the uncles and aunties from Hong Kong. I only wish more people can visit them and share my experience. I believe if everyone shares a little love, the world will become a more beautiful place.”
Zhang Yu Sheng
“A cloud in the sky, a flower on the ground…”
Whenever I am happy, sad, or lonely, the notes of this song will ring in my head.
In 2007, I spent my most unforgettable summer vacation with the lovely children of LOHA.
That summer not only is my happiest vacation, it is also an unforgettable life-changing experience.
In the past, when I was in a group, I was always the one bringing laughter, while deep down, I was actually feeling lonely. I was filled often with sadness, feeling inferior, suspicious and uncertain. Then, I received all the gifts and love from the uncles, the brothers and sisters in the Torch Fire Project. I thought finally I was compensated for all the unhappiness and unfairness I went through. It was my time to get even. I kept thinking what more others can do for me, and what else I could get my hands on.
But now I realize, it should not be like that.
When I decided to go to Shijiazhuang, I meant to show some care and concern for the children. When I was there, the children embraced me, holding my hands and lovingly calling me ‘sister’. They melted the soft part of my heart, long-hidden behind walls. I often had to hold back tears so as not to cry in front of them. And in this genuine open-hearted sharing, I gradually became truly happy. I could see the beauty around me. And I began to think what I could do for others, and not what they could do for me.
I remember reading in the Bible that not everyone is meant to have great achievements, but we must all complete our part.
It may seem unlikely that I can do great things. But from now on, I will step out and start small with what’s around me, maybe with a smile, or by being more humble. I believe by doing so I will always feel blessed and full of joy and peace.
Because of this joy and peace, I will often ask: “What can I do more to help?”
Zhang Wei Wei