Hey friends! So my experience in China was a little different… It was dark. Sad. A little scary. China honestly broke my heart. The things I saw and experienced were things I thought I would have never experienced in a million years. Writing this blog was really hard, but I am so glad that I am able to share what I experienced with all of you.
Here we go...
Jessie and I arrived at the airport were Pastor Liu picked us up. Arriving to China was exciting. A new adventure! A new place! New children to see and love on! A place where I thought I was going to experience so much joy! Well, shortly after we got there Pastor Liu told us that the police had been at the shelter multiple times trying to take the children. In China they don’t like Private orphanages, which is what Pastor Liu has, so they are trying to take all of the children out of the private orphanages and put them into the government orphanage. In the government orphanage they don’t take care of the kids at all. They beat them. They don’t teach them the gospel. It’s just not a good place for children to be. Sad right? Pastor Liu told us what the plan was for the next day, and we were planning on going to a museum with all of the children so that we didn’t get caught with them at the shelter. If Pastor Liu got caught with the children at the shelter he would have been sent to jail for up to three years, and if Jessie and I were caught with them we would have been sent back to our homes. Pastor Liu took us to our hotel and Jessie and I were finally able to get some sleep. I went to bed that night thinking about how crazy my experience had already been in China and I had just gotten there. I thought wow… God really is working on my heart on this trip. I woke up the next morning and got ready for the day. I was so ready to see the children. After getting ready, Jessie and I went outside to wait for Pastor Liu to pick us up. People in China must not see blond haired, blue eyed, white girls often because I got a lot of stares. Some of the looks I got were dirty. People took pictures of me. It was just weird all around. While Jessie and I were waiting we sat on this bench outside our hotel and I was trying to look through my emails when this man came up behind me and tried seeing what I was looking at on my phone. He was in my personal space… which isn’t something most people like. I looked at him really quick and kind of gave him a look like uhh what are you doing? He backed off really quick and just walked away. A few minutes later I was still looking at my emails and another man came up to me and did the same thing… and then tried taking my phone right out of my hands! I pulled my phone away really quick and said “NOPE!” Jessie told him to leave us alone and he eventually walked away, she said he just wanted to see what I was reading on my phone. Weird… right? i started asking Jessie questions about the shelter and Pastor Liu. We talked about the children and then she told me Pastor Liu's story about how he became a Christian. Wow... what a story. (I will be making a blog about Pastor Liu separate from this blog so you all can know his story.) Eventually Pastor Liu got there to pick us up and told us that the police went to the shelter again that morning, and that there were too many people at the museum to take the children there. He didn’t want someone calling the police on us, so he decided that we were going to go see the children at a village. I instantly got sad. Why were the police so concerned about getting the children? Why does it matter? Someone is willing to take care of them and love on them. Why can’t they just be left alone? We drove for about 30 minutes and then turned on this dirt road. After driving on the dirt road for a few minutes, Pastor Liu parked the van by this old abandoned building and we all got out. We were in the middle of the woods, and I didn’t see any children when I got out off the van. He told us that we needed to walk a little to get to where the children were. So we walked a few blocks in the woods, and then I saw some children playing and sitting on blankets. Tears came to my eyes. I was a little sad to see the children in the middle of the woods. Hiding from the police. I was a little shocked. This whole time I had thought I was going to this shelter to play with these children and take pictures of them, when I ended up hiding from the police with these children in the middle of the woods on China. These children were literally hiding from the police. Just think about that for a second... so crazy. Experiencing this was the saddest thing. I felt blessed in that moment. Blessed to even be there with the children, blessed to have a home, and a place where I felt safe. I got to the children and saw that there was only 12 orphans, and that some of them had mental disabilities. The children were all so beautiful. Pastor Liu and his friends fed us, and after Jessie and I played with the children, talked with them, and I took pictures of them. We did this for a few hours, and then pastor Liu, Jessie, and I went off to where the kids couldn’t hear us so that pastor Liu could tell me each child’s story. All the stories I heard were so sad. It took everything for me to not cry right there. But I couldn’t do that. I had to be strong. It’s crazy to hear what they had gone through, and to see them so happy in those short moments I spent with them. We didn’t get to spend much time with the children after I got the stories. It was time for us to go so we said our goodbye's and went on our way. It was a little sad leaving them because I didn't know when I was going to see any of them again. I remember wishing I had gotten more time with them. A few hours wasn't enough time. After leaving Pastor Liu wanted me to take some pictures of the shelter so we went there. We got there and before getting out of the van Pastor Liu told me to not talk because if someone heard me talk they would call the police. Since I speak English. We went into the shelter area and Pastor Liu showed me the kitchen area, and the rooms where the children stayed. Again, my heart was hurting. I saw were the children slept, and all that they had. Some of them didn’t even have a mattress, and they didn’t have much that they owned. We were only at the shelter for about 10 minutes and then we left. When we left pastor Liu told us that the police had been to the shelter twice while we were with the children in the woods. Jessie and I got back to the hotel and said our goodbyes to Pastor Liu. We went and got some dinner. Going out to eat I got more stares and people even pointed at me. I just smiled and acted like it was nothing. They were just curious. After Jessie and I ate we went back to the room to rest. Laying in bed all I could think about was the children. I thought about how they literally had nothing, and how they were still so happy. I thought how lucky I was to have a family that loved me and would do literally anything for me. I thought why me? Why was I lucky enough to have a family? To be loved so much. I am blessed. Forever thankful. I just wanted to take every single one of them home with me. Love on them. Play with them. Give them a chance at life. Make them happy. Let them know that they are worthy of love, and that they have a God that loves them more than they could ever imagine. But then I realized they have someone that already gives them all of that. They have Pastor Liu. He loves those children so much. He’s risking everything for them. So they can have a safe place to stay. So they are loved on. So they get a meal. So they can play and just be kids. So they can feel worthy. So they can learn the gospel. Pastor Liu gives the children all of that and more. I could tell in those short hours of being with all of the children how much they loved Pastor Liu, and how much he loved them. I prayed for what seemed like forever that night. The words keep coming out of my mouth. I just couldn’t stop. I thanked God for all that I had. Prayed that the children would be safe. That they wouldn’t get taken by the police. That they would know that no matter what struggles they went through that they had an awesome God right by their side. The next morning I woke up and got ready for the day. Jessie and I went and got breakfast and then pastor Liu picked us up. I thought he was taking us the the airport, but he took us to go see his family. I met his niece Mary. She was one of the sweetest girls I had ever met. She told me I was beautiful and that she would never forget me. Wow. We all talked for a while and then we went to get some lunch. After spending some time with his family Pastor Liu took us to the hospital where one of the little boys from the shelter was staying for a while. The little boy cut his thumb really bad and had to stay in the hospital for a couple weeks so it could heal. We got there and when the boy saw Pastor Liu he jumped right into his arms. He was so happy to see him. We talked to him, I took a few pictures, and then it was time for us to leave. Pastor Liu took us to the MRT station so we could go to the airport and head back to Taiwan. It was weird leaving, since I had literally just gotten there, but at the same time I was ready to be back in Taiwan. China was a dark place, but I am grateful that I got to experience what I experienced.
Please, please, please pray fro these children. Pray for their safety. Pray that they are able to find a forever home. Pray that they grow to know God. They need all of the prayers.
I am waiting to share all of these stories and pictures with you until I get back. I am working with my church on a new organization called "Project Nic" where we will be sharing their pictures and stories to help raise money for them. More information on all of this will be coming very soon and I am so excited to share all of these pictures with you.
To help raise more money for all of these children I will be planning on having a photography exhibit, selling all of the pictures I took while on this mission. More details on all of that will also be coming soon and I hope that all of you are able to make it. Even if you don't buy a print, come see all that I captured!!
My friend axe and I are now about to leave for Myanmar and India for 11 days. we will be visiting 3 other orphanages while over there!! How exciting!! Please pray for us while we go on this journey!!
Thank you all so much for reading!! Means a lot to me. I will be blogging and posting when I get back from my next adventure!!