Today was….beautiful, wonderful, lovely, bittersweet… It was a day of high emotions and lots of love. We had devotions early followed by Breakfast and then headed over to the Orphanage for Sunday Service. The kids sang in Chinese and we tried t0 follow. It was actually quite lovely. After that we made sock puppets- and it was a hit! The kids loved it and after struggling to get the needles threaded with the yarn I got fed up and gave mine pipe-cleaner hair, it quickly started appearing on all the puppets. We came back to the hotel for lunch and a quick rest and I got changed out of my dress before once again heading to the Orphanage. We finished the sock-puppets and I started face painting some of the kids while the others made dumplings for dinner (one of our China traditions). The face painting was fantastic! It was easy at first since they couldn’t tell me what they wanted and I got to just be creative (or not so creative-lots of them were cats) I also did some dogs, and a panda and spiderman and batman and lots of flowers! However the kids learned quickly that they could tell David what they wanted and then he would tell me- some of the requests were crazy! One kid wanted a Dragon- and a Chinese one to boot! It honestly looked nothing like a dragon…I gave him a very apologetic smile afterwards. For the most part though the kids seemed to love it. One boy in particular kept getting something, running upstairs, washing his face and than coming back for another. I think I face-painted for a solid hour at least. By the end my clean pants were covered in paints and my fingers were black and gooey, but it was lots of fun! Meanwhile the dumpling making seemed to be a success and dinner tonight was fantastic!! We spent the afternoon and evening just playing and being with the kids- I got my butt handed to me playing Badminton, and I enjoyed every minute! We all got showered with gifts from the children-drawings and letters, they truly give with generous hearts and what a blessing they are! After dinner we hung out a little longer and played some more then came back to the hotel again while the kids were doing homework. Marilynne opted to stay behind after as she’s still not feeling well and really needed to rest, but the rest of us walked back to the Orphanage for one last night with the Kids. And what a night it was! We celebrated the Birthday’s of about 7 kids with delicious cakes-complete with dragon fruit, oranges, sheep shaped icing and -tomatoes! I know Tomatoes are technically a fruit but it’s still a little weird to have them on cake. After the cake we had fireworks! The lights exploded over our heads in loud bangs while the kids clung to us. I have never been so close to fireworks before- it was awe inspiring and I couldn’t help but laugh with delight. Of course after the fireworks came the hard part- the good-bye’s. Many of the girls started bringing out the t-shirts we had given them to sign. We also wrote lots of good-bye notes and gave out email addresses. Lots of the kids told us they didn’t want us to leave- a sentiment I share and some of the girls even asked David why they couldn’t come to Canada to visit us. All too quickly the night drew to a close and as we walked out the gates and down the little road with the kids still clinging to us a strange emotion crept over me. I was so happy because it was such a good night and I love these kids so much, and so sad because I was leaving. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I did a little of both to be honest. At the bottom of the little hill outside the Orphanage the kids stopped and we said our last good-byes. I’m pretty sure I hugged every kid there twice. At one point I had 4 girls clinging to me and crying, my heart broke. I whispered I love you and said see you again but that’s never enough, especially for the young ones. Eventually we had to pull away, and it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. It’s not as bad as I expected though to be honest- last time I sobbed uncontrollably for probably a good hour, this time I teared up a bit but was mostly fine. I think it will be harder tomorrow though. We’ll go back to the Orphanage one last time to celebrate Communion with David and the staff while the kids are in school. I think though that it hasn’t fully clicked in my brain yet that it was good-bye because I know I’ll be back at the Center tomorrow even though the kids wont be there. I’ll let you know tomorrow if I’m right. On that note though I’m going to say good-night, it’s been a long and emotionally exhausting day and tomorrow we travel! Blessings on you all, thank you for your prayers! Please keep praying for health!
Fire lights up the sky
in a million glowing sparks of light
there is laughter,
There is a love deeper than any earthly love
that connects me to these beautiful young faces around me
I hope and pray they know how precious they are.
Tears prickle at my eyes
as I look into the faces of the children who I love so much,
knowing that despite what I say and what I want to believe
I may never see them again
God grant them peace and joy
keep them safe from all harm
this I pray
because I can’t be here to hold them tight
and I can’t sing away their nightmares.
One last thing I ask Lord,
that they would never doubt the place they hold in my heart
and the fact that I love them with all I am
and all I can be through you.
Thank you for bringing me back
to this beautiful
And for reminding me once more
what true love
and true religion
really looks like.