Days of Christmas past….
So Christmas has come and gone. How does one explain to small children the excitement felt leading up to the day….. then the day it’s self and now the days after it’s over?
It’s so interesting watching the children express themselves in a million and one different ways… one little guy who is always quite the little mischievous trouble maker, just stood in the middle of our rec room and stared at the backdrop of the stage which shows the nativity scene as it was being hung.
Later, the same little guy asked how long before we did Christmas again.
Unlike previous years, we did not go out for our large Christmas dinner. We found a fairly popular restaurant in GongYi who agreed to come to the Home of Hope and provide our meal using our own facilities and equipment. The price was more reasonable than going out and quite frankly they did a great job.
We would like to make honorable mention for those staff members who put this all together since Ye Ye had been adamant about his not doing it this year. However, we refrain from doing so as so many did so much and it was truly a team effort on their part.
They took Ye Ye literally when he told them if they wanted a big Christmas like we have done each year in the past, the Home of Hope would cover the costs but they were going to have to do the work…. and they did.
We can recall maybe fifteen or more years ago when it was impossible to even find a Christmas tree here let alone any decent decorations.
On occasion we would run across a store or market which had bought out another store and in the process they had to take the entire purchased inventory and sometimes we would find some type Christmas ornament or decoration buried back in the corner all covered with dust.
Those days are long gone now as most of the larger stores here carry everything from artificial trees to Santa suits (see how many of our children are wearing them this year) to fancy “star” shaped tree toppers.
Of course in writing this letter and attempting to present a small idea of how truly enriched the celebration of Jesus’ birth really was, we can never forget the fact that it is because of you, our distant co-laborers in this endeavor that make these kinds of things even remotely possible.
We so appreciate your sacrificial support. We know how funds get tight at Christmas time…. there is always that one fellow at work we forgot and need to go buy a tie for… or slippers for the lady down the street who drives the kids to school each day… and last minute this and last minute that… so we clearly understand and remain gratefully amazed that you remember us here during this time in helping make all this happen. We truly NEVER allow this to slip our minds…. and we often find ourselves whispering a short prayer of gratitude for you.
In our last letter we wrote about Ruthie Xiong Shan and her bout with what they are now saying is a form of dementia.
In the group of photos above we have attempted to show Ruthie through the years. She was the 2nd abandoned baby to come into the Home of Hope, coming to us about one month after Moses. The picture on the far left is at a little less than one year and the one on the far right was taken yesterday… a span of about sixteen years.
We are thrilled to report she is home now and is doing great. She needs to return to the doctor once each month for review and she will be on medication twice a day for several years at least, but she is pretty much her old self and we are so happy to have her home! It thrilled my heart last night as she sat down at the piano and began to play and later I didn’t’ get upset at all when she beat me to “stalemate” in a game of chess!
It seems the only long lasting situation that we are currently facing is she will lose one year of school which she does not want to do. She is asking the school to give her some type testing to allow her to go to her regular class. This is a little worrisome because we have learned that her problem is not an isolated case… many Chinese young people go through this and it is thought to be brought on by school pressures. The scholastic pressure on these kids is truly unbelievable. Please keep Ruthie in your prayers.
The other part of this is the ongoing expense. Her medicine is quite costly as are the required, continued doctor and hospital visits. If you wish to contribute directly to Ruthie’s medical needs, please earmark your donation “For Ruthie”.
We wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year! With a grateful heart.
Miscellaneous snapshots, Christmas Season from around the Home of Hope and GongYi, China