Affectionately Yours

We were loaded!

So many bags of gifts as well as a significant cash donation for the heating fund for the orphanage. The American couple from Jinan arrived with H, right on time (8:30 am) and then we had a good idea - which went wrong then right (two taxis instead of one crowded one) would soon see the Americans left in the dust and lost somewhere on the highway behind us. After several cell phone calls to the orphanage our own taxi finally located the building, unloaded the partial goods and set off down the back roads and alleys to try and find the other driver and the lost Americans. I had given up hope and assumed with the couples small but helpful amount of Chinese they would be able to make their own way back to the University where they were staying.

In the meantime, there were the children.

I sat in the middle of the floor and was soon surrounded. One precious bundle of joy was jumping up and down on me, hugging, squealing and touching the glitter on the end of my nose. Her overactive enthusiasm and affection put all the other children at ease. They wanted a part of the "soo-chow" and they soon crowded in and found their own part of me to touch, and hang on to.

I was surprised to see S and J arrive, even though they often expressed interest in coming to the orphanage - to actually follow through is another story. J was soon surrounded and sat down to accommodate the affection of her new friends on her lap. S seemed to be trying to take it all in with good, but distant humor.

An equally astonishing arrival was the lost Americans. Turns out they got out of the cab at a place they thought they could be found and found they were.

There were only a few of the older girls there from prior years and the rest of the children appeared under 5 years old. I gathered them around and told the story of the "Farmer" with S dutifully portraying the "wiseman". One by one the children came up to act out the various farm animals, making noises in between their laughter. I limited the performance because of their age, and the fact they were ready to perform for us!

Several of the little girls were already in the traditional Chinese costumes. The director explained they had taught themselves how to dance and they created their coordinated movements. It was moving. The smallest dancer had severe scoliosis and would move through the dance motions with great but graceful care to maintain her balance.

We held back the tears but broke out in applause when they were through. The older girls performed a traditional Chinese fan dance with syncopated rhythms accompanied by fluttering fans. The grand finale was the "English" song. All the children gathered together from the youngest to the oldest and sang "Jesus loves me this I know." Some were even using sign language to accent the verses.

Yes, Jesus does love them. The Bible tells ME so!

And from time to time

He shows me just how much.

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