THREE WHOLE MONTHS. June 3 through August 28, I will be living in Chengdu and spending time with our kiddos in the orph there... finally. I bought my plane ticket a couple weeks ago, and I've already started brainstorming about what I need to pack. It has been a long three and a half years since HS began, and I cannot wait to get started on the ground in China.
Let me let you in on some of what I will be doing: building relationships with locals and our Chinese nonprofit, Chinese language study, learning about the local healthcare system, and more. My dear friend and co-founder Sara, who lives outside of Beijing right now, will join me for a few weekends--very much looking forward to hanging out with her! (Skype is wonderful, but doesn't hold a candle to a real in-person conversation.)
But as I'm sure you can all imagine, what I am most excited for is the time I get to spend in the orph with the kiddos. Two or three days a week, I will spend the day in the orph to lend a hand to the nannies, coordinate activities, and do some therapy with the kids who need it most. There is such a big need there, in all different areas of care; the possibilities are endless.
These three months will be a very important time for HS and our partnering organizations. In a sense, it is the beginning of our work on the ground, doing hands on care for the children. The relationships that we make this summer will have lasting impact on our opportunities in the future. This reality makes me excited, anxious, overwhelmed, and excited again. I'm already looking forward to looking back and seeing the hand of Father in all the summer happenings. At the end of August, I will return to the U.S. to continue fundraising. Unless of course, fundraising takes a drastic turn while I am away and we have the financial capability to open HS sooner than later. Only our Father knows that, and we choose to trust Him through it!
For now, I wait til June 3rd. Through all this waiting, Father's been working in my heart to help me trust that He "can do more in my waiting, than in my doing I could do" (from a Bethany Dillon song, "To Those Who Wait"). I could write an entire blog entry on that topic--maybe next month. I am prepping and packing and gathering everything I need to take with me. I want to bring along a little kit of stuff to use with the kids on my orph days, including therapy supplies (theraputty, sensory toys, skin brushes) and toys (beach balls, a parachute, baby toys, etc.). I know some of you really like to help out with tangible needs like this, so I've put together a Wishlist here on Amazon.com for my trip. You can shop directly from this list of things I want to bring to the kids, and it will ship directly to me before my trip! Happy shopping!
Please continue to think positive thoughts about our upcoming summer in Chengdu. I will update you weekly when I am there... I must admit, blogging is much more exciting when I am in China. Thanks for all your support, friends!