Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Joy in the Journey

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them." Psalm 126:2

And what a journey it was in China! Daily performances at the University, visiting a local kindergarten class and of course the day we spent at the Jinan Orphanage for the Disabled. We were allowed to visit the 138 children because of the great need at the facility. While there is fear in allowing foreigners in to such facilities, the children’s welfare took precedence with the director. Before going, we asked, “what would you like us to bring, what is their greatest need?” We were told “bring anything, they need everything.” Sunshine After Rain donors contributed for just such an opportunity, and several of Ms. Phalen’s students gladly did the shopping. Looking diligently for bargains on socks, blankets, towels and toys, they even negotiated good prices for milk and basic food supplies. We arrived with boxes and sacks filled to the brim and hearts ready to pour into theirs.
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. Malachi 3:10

The children LOVED the clown, and she loved them back! The stories and tricks presented a problem for the interpreter. She was so caught up in the performance that she frequently just stood, mouth agape wondering what would happen next. At that point another student in the audience would make the translation for her, garnering even more giggles from the children. They enjoyed having their picture made with CARE EE and found the Polaroid pictures quite a surprise. At first unable to comprehend the pictures needed time to develop, they laughed with delight to slowly watch their faces appear on the photograph.

Although it has been a year since my visit, the ministry at the orphanage continues to develop as well. Sunshine After Rain left $250, used for purchasing 50 new pairs of shoes, 10 sets of long johns, 15 winter coats and 84 pair of socks. Just before the Christmas break Ms. Phalen held a silent auction for the orphanage. Students contributed a wide variety of items and then “auctioned” them. The two University classes were able to raise close to $200, enabling the purchase of even more warm clothing items and much needed basic supplies. The Phalen’s are now back in China and the clown is on her way in the Fall of 2004!