I haven't shared this on the blog yet, but I'm beginning to get really excited about an upcoming mission trip I'll be taking in June. I'll be gone for twelve days to work in an orphanage in China. Because of the nature of the country and for the safety of the ministry there, I can't say any names of the people or the organization we'll be working with but I am getting more and more excited, especially as things become more real now that paperwork is complete, my passport is updated, my visa has arrived in Houston and is in process and I have my flight and hotel arrangements made. So this is really gonna happen! It's one of those things that the group of us have been talking about and planning for for many months but now we're in the middle of the reality of it all and it's getting us all pretty excited.
Over the past few months I've gotten together with several of the women who will make up the team of twelve so that we can get to know one another. We come from at least four different churches and are all connected personally to the ministry in some way. The couple who started the ministry were originally from Little Rock and attended one of the local churches here. Over 20 years ago they felt God calling them to China and they've been ministering to orphans and the community there ever since. Our main role will be for 4 of us at a time to cover three 8-hour shifts of caring for these special needs babies who require round the clock care. I believe my group got Shift #1 which happens to be 7:30-3:00, so unless something changes, that sounds pretty doable, although there will be the whole jet lag/time change situation going on. We do have a day to adjust and to do our orientation to the facility before we start our shifts which is nice. The ladies who care for these children non-stop only get off 2 weeks a year so I'm glad that they will have a little time to relax, go home and see their own families (who are mostly not believers). It will give them a chance to go back into their families and share what all God is doing in and through them. For most of the care givers their families think that they are crazy for spending time serving and caring for disabled, unwanted, unhealthy and pretty much discarded children, literally kids left on door steps. Because of the way the Chinese government has tried to prevent families from only having one child, the families want to have strong, healthy children, which is why the amount of "unwanted" babies is so overwhelming. Our team will be giving the special care room workers the opportunity to go back to their hometowns and rest but also giving them the ability to go back to their families and explain in first hand detail all that God is doing in and through them to touch the lives and heal these precious little ones, hopefully their hearts will be stirred toward God.
The women who work in the special care room don't have any formal nursing education (as far as I know) they've just been trained in what to do and how to do it and amazingly they've had all kinds of special needs from hydrocephaly and heart conditions to cleft palate and other disfiguring birth defects, so I'm in for a real education. We'll be learning how to feed a bottle to a baby with a cleft palate and what all we need to do for each child specifically. It will most certainly be a steep learning curve since I have no medical background and simply have the experience of being a mother (who uses lots of Hydrogen Peroxide, Neosporin and Bandaids). Thankfully, I do have had some experience with feeding tubes and wires and loving on a baby who is extremely fragile so I'm not too overwhelmed with that part of it, at least not yet!
I do have to say that filling out forms that are originally in Chinese but have been translated into English is quite challenging. I think I filled out my visa form 3 times before I got it totally correct. And there is a little apprehension that it in fact is filled out correctly because I'd hate to be the only one of us twelve to not get my paperwork and documents back in time! After checking and re-checking all the requirements and looking back through the stack of papers several times to verify, I finally got it!
The trip will be pretty neat for two of our group members particularly, because both of them were adopted through this ministry. One was adopted by the family that runs the special care room and this will be her first trip back home as a missions trip and another girl, who was also adopted through this ministry will actually be going back for the first time (as a Junior in college) to the town and country that she was born in. So I'm sure that will be a very memorable part of the trip.
I am getting excited but there are still things to figure out, like childcare for my own kiddos for the 12 days I'll be away. Thankfully we have a precious sitter, whom we LOVE who will be keeping them most days and Adam will take a few days to play "Mr. Mom". I need to come up with activities and a game plan to leave her with though.
Exactly two months from today I'll be there, it's hard to believe its just around the corner!
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