Well a few days ago I asked my lovely readers if you guys had any questions for me, and to my surprise I received a few. So this post will be in response to your questions and I hope that you all know if you ever have any questions for me always feel free to e-mail me or contact me on blogger.
Q. What has been my most difficult experience in China thus far?
A. I would honestly say without any hesitation my most difficult struggle has been dealing with death. I thought about what my answer for this question would be for several days and I always came back to death and my grieving process. It's not a fun answer and I always struggle on whether to share about that part of my journey on my blog but it's my honest answer. I never dealt with death very closely while living in the States. I've lost people in my family and I've lost friends. But although death is always an unexpected and sudden reality, I had never dealt with the death of children.
I have a very distinct memory of the first baby I grieved while living in Luoyang. While living in China I have worked with orphanages and foster homes that cater specifically to unhealthy children and unfortunately death is not an uncommon thing. But I had bonded with this specific child and felt a strange connection with her.
And after her death I found myself struggling to breath or just do daily tasks without crying.
I called my Mom on skype and I broke into a million pieces.
All I could get out of my mouth was that no child should ever die alone.
And I sat in front of the computer and wept with my mother on the other side of the computer weeping with me.
We cried over the baby I lost but we never lost sight of the reality that precious baby was in a place of peace and joy with our Jesus.
Like I said before, I'm always very hesitant to share about death on my blog. Children and death should never have to be in same sentence but due to sin being in this world, they are.
And God brought me to a place where I would be loving those babies, but not loving them in and of my own strength but through His endless love. His love is the stream that flows through my hugs and my kisses. I am simply the grateful vessel.
Without Him and His truth I can honestly tell you, I would have been utterly ruined.
He is my hope and He is my rock. And I am thankful for every moment I have with these precious children.
Q. What has been my most rewarding experience thus far?
A. My faith has grown so much while being here. As with most faith building experiences, it hasn't always been pretty or easy but my faith has grown tremendously.
I've grown up in church and I've always been the "church girl" but I've realized that I learn so much more when I get my knees scratched up and my face planted in the ground. The reality has become so clear to me over the past few weeks and I continue to marvel at this thought: Jesus came to me when I was spiritually filthy, a liar, a fake, a thief, a hypocrite and completely unworthy of His touch. He met me in my mess, and He touched my life. And He saved me at age 15. I didn't deserve His gift of salvation but He gave it freely anyways. And even now, I am still completely undeserving of His touch but I have the keys to the thrown.
Being completely undeserving I still can approach His thrown and ask for a fresh touch of Him.
Everyday, I can approach Him and say that I am hungry for Him- and He gives Himself and His presence away freely.
When I sit and think about that I find myself utterly speechless.
So my most rewarding experience has been that I get to live a physical life of worship to my Jesus.
Q. Did I prepare by reading books before moving to China, and if I did what would I suggest?
A. I was completely ignorant to China before moving here and I didn't read any books to learn more about this country. I think researched China on google once before moving here but that was the extent of my researching. (Words of advice, don't be like me) I'm embarrassed that I handled moving to a foreign country so naively and I wish I could say that I was fully relying on Gods call and not worried about being as prepared as I could be. But I think the truth is I was just flat out lazy. I did trust that God placed a call on my life, but I should have been a better steward of His calling.
I would completely suggest reading as many materials as you can on China before moving here but I showed some serious irresponsibility by not choosing to do so before moving here.
My my words of advice, don't be like me. Learn as much as you can.
( I will tell you that I would swear by my - Lonely Planet/China book. If your planning on traveling internationally or moving to a foreign country I would suggest you purchase a Lonely Planet book to help you navigate through that specific country. They are an amazing resource to have with you and they cater to the tourist in all of us)
Q. What would I do differently through this whole experience?
A. I would have packed a LOT less when I moved here. I brought 3 huge suitcases full of stuff and it was way to much. I've learned now how to live with a lot less and looking back I kind of picture myself appearing as ridiculous as Paris Hilton would arriving to China. The only thing I was missing is a little dog that I carried around in my purse.
But other than that I don't know if I would change anything. I wish I would have sought out Godly friends advice before moving here, just to help get a better perspective of what to expect. But you know honestly, I don't have a "big" thing that I would do differently. I've learned from my misjudgments and my mistakes. And they've all been part of the whole experience.
Q. What are my plans for when I return home?
A. Truthful answer, I have no idea. I've considered everything from:
a. finding a rich Christian man that would be open to adoption- and marrying him. :)
b. going to school (finally) and getting a masters in social work and working in the foster care system as a social worker
c. working in any position available at an adoption agency to learn more about that side of orphan care
d. going to seminary or a spirituality school of some sort
And those are just a few of the options that have been flooding my mind when I think about returning to home.
I have no car, no phone, no job, no degree and no man when I return back to the big Oklahoma so I have a clean slate to build on.
I know God has a plan for me when I go home and I hope to understand it soon. I've been thinking a lot lately about this "finding a balance between waiting on God as if everything depended on Him while working as if everything depended on me."
So I will accept any and all prayers in this area of my life. And I'm always open to Godly counsel or input.
I know I want to stay heavily involved with orphan care when I move back to the States and I'm praying God opens a door for me in that line of ministry.
Also if you know any rich, single, young men that love Jesus or if you have an extra $50,000 laying around that could help put me through school, feel free to contact me. :)
(I hope you guys know I'm joking about the "rich" part. I'm content with the reality that I will be living a life of ministry for the remainder of my life so I'm content with having a ministry salary. I'm just praying that ministry salary is enough to help our family adopt of few kiddos.)
Q. And the last question, What made me want to move to China to work with orphans?
Funny story, when people would ask me what I wanted to do after I graduated high school I always told them I wanted to travel. But I also always told them that I had NO desire to travel in China. Now I live in China.
Our God has a sense of humor.
But orphan care has always been something I believe that God laid on my heart. When I was 9 I can remember playing "orphanage mommy" with my "orphaned teddy bears". All through out junior high, high school and even after I graduated I was constantly looking for a way to get involved with orphan care. I believe that God was faithful to provide the passion for orphan care in my heart and to provide an avenue to serve Him in this arena.
God was faithful to open certain doors and close other doors to allow me to be sitting in China writing this blog post right now.
I believe that God plants desires in our hearts to serve other people and He is faithful to give us an opportunity to do just that. But it might now happen as quickly as we had planned or in the way that we would have pictured it but He is faithful.
I now live in China and I work with orphans almost 10 years after I started my search on how to get involved with orphan care.
He gives us dreams and then gives us the opportunity to make our dreams bring Him glory.
But He has a sense of humor along the way. :)