Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Departure from Bolivar and travel to the Kansas City airport was smooth. When we arrived at the Kansas City airport the tickets were oversold and a couple of us did not have a seat. Eventually the seats opened up and we were able to all get a ticket. The manager of the airport also mentioned that medical assistive devices do not count as a checked bag. However, we were still able to successfully load all of our medical devices and luggage on board. The whole process of going through customs has been extremely and surprisingly smooth. We have felt God’s protection and guidance on the trip to East Asia.
Today, Naomi gave us a tour of the multiple building at SFCV. She is the coordinator of visiting groups and does a lot more. The architecture of the buildings are amazing. Seeing all these children with special needs made us think, “What would happen to them if this place was not here” They could be in the streets and abandoned. This place is working as the hands and feet of Jesus. The staff here are all caring. The nannies were not trained but are there for the kids 24/7. Today, we unwrapped and sorted all of our donated goods. We also put together multiple bunk beds. During the night we grabbed lunch at the market. We stood out and noticed many stares wherever we walked. At some point the locals would ask to take photos of us. We all felt like celebrities on the red carpet.
Today was the first day we worked with the kids. One of the kids called Kevin, Yeyah which means Grandpa. He did not like the name but will eventually respond to it. We walked across the street and took photos with local families upon their request. We are basically celebrities.
This was day two of treating the kids. The kids here are all bundles of joy that are fun to work with! We assembled two Go Baby Go cars and the kids were thrilled. Shelby and Kevin fitted Kennedy with a walker and he was ecstatic. He ran outside to tell all of his friends. Kevin accepted the name Yeyah (grandpa) given to him by one of the children we are treating. The kids and the team regularly call him Yeyah now. After treating the children, we assessed our own balance by setting up PVC pipes in the greenhouse garden at SFCV. The greenhouse will provide organic food and be used to teach the children how to garden. In addition, today we saw Shelby’s cousin, Micah and Isaac reunite with a child they were adopting. We are so grateful for SFCV and the work the organization provides for these children. Society may have forgotten these children, but God has not. The staff house of SFCV has a many handwritten notes on the walls of its past visitors. One of the notes reads “…people give away their broken Child in order to get a perfect child but God gave his perfect child, to receive the broken.”
The weekends here are very laid back. Today we had an off day and visited the great wall, Tianamen Square, and the Forbidden City. The Great Wall was absolutely gorgeous. We climbed a small portion of the Wall. Although it was tiring to climb, it was very fulfilling to do. The view from the top of the Wall was breathtaking. Being in the mountains was amazing, and being able to see the Wall continue out of sight was awesome. As we were leaving the Forbidden City we heard a projector from the government that said, “Danger street vendors be careful.” We ended by getting a great deal on souvenirs from a street vendor.
Today was spent bargaining at Pearl Market, and touring the Temple of Heaven. The architecture of the buildings at the Temple of Heaven were beautifully crafted and designed. Each building had a purpose and was used for the Emperor when praying to the heavens. Some of these buildings were used for prayer, sacrifices, music, etc., to plea with the Gods of heaven for plentiful harvests. We witnessed a very interesting part of this country’s history today.
This was our last official day working with the kids. The change we have seen in just a few days of working with them has been amazing. The kid’s nannies have also been watching us as they are their long term care takers. We have also left them detailed plan of cares to treat the children once we are gone.
We left at 11am for the airport and this was by far the most emotional day. Saying goodbye to the all the staff and kids was not easy! We remember all the hardworking non paid foreign staff and all that they continually do. SFCV is a safe haven for the lost. The kids here are loved and this place is a testimony of God’s faithfulness.
Reflections from student leader Shelby:
True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties and to keep the world from contaminating us. (James 1:27)
It is impossible for me to describe how I feel about this team and all I saw them accomplish during our week in East Asia serving orphans with special needs and those that care for them. If there was a perfect word, it would somehow encompass joy, awe, humbleness and servitude. A journey to the other side of the world to serve is a tiring one, and believe me we were tired. However, this team jumped right in from the moment we landed with a servant’s heart, ready to not only do therapy but do whatever was asked. We were able to work with 16 kids picked specifically by the head of the therapy department, Naomi. Naomi was truly a gift to our team by not only allowing us to come and work with her kids, but by arranging our many transportation needs and orienting us to SFCV.
Our team paired off and each pair took a set of kids to evaluate and treat for the week. Being strangers, we thought it would be a better experience if the kids saw the same faces during our stay versus trading every day. We really wanted to create a trusting bond with these kids. It was amazing to me to see the growth of our team while working with the children. At first some members were a bit timid. After all, some of these children have incredibly severe (and new to us) health issues. The kids mostly only spoke their native language, and with the exception of Shuyi, the rest of the team only knew a few basic phrases. We stretched the limits of the therapy space by having our team of ten, Naomi, three therapy ayi’s (nannies) and five kids at a time. However, our team was creative and adaptable. By the end of our stay each pair had become incredibly comfortable treating their kids. Under guidance from our professors, we learned new techniques and grew as future clinicians.
Our team stayed busy all the time. During our break while the children were taking naps, instead of resting, our team jumped into whatever project needed extra hands, such as setting up a hanging system in SFCV’s greenhouse or putting together bunkbeds at the inn. In the evenings after dinner, we came back and met for a devotion and then worked on treatment ideas or modifying Go Baby Go adaptive cars. On our weekend off, we traveled to historical sites to learn more about the culture and history of the people we were serving. We were able to attend service at the first Christian church ever built in this country. Our team felt so welcomed by the church members, and I was completely floored when we were able to join in and sing traditional hymns together. Our two languages blended into one song of praise and thanksgiving floating to Heaven. I personally believe it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever (and will ever) hear. Our trip showed me that no matter what language we speak or how we ability to communicate, everyone is fluent in love.