Last December, I had the opportunity to join a service team to Guangxi from Hong Kong. We visited the children of Angel House and orphanage where the children with intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy or multiple physical disabilities came from low-income families. The service team consisted of 24 people. Some members like me joined as individuals, while others as whole families. I made a promise to join a service team lone time ago, but for various reasons, I fulfilled my promise after 7 years. Prior to this trip, I only heard about other people’s stories and experiences about going on a service trip, but now I could make it. Every day was an unforgettable day and everything was a new experience to me.
This trip lasted 5 days. Therefore, each day all the activities had to be tightly packed which included family-fun outdoor barbecues, drama performances, workshops for parents, family camp, movies and games, home visit to the poor and so on. We arrived on December 25 and joined the teachers at the facilities for the Christmas worship at night. To us, the atmosphere of celebration there was so different. The next morning, members of our team met at the Children Center where we had prepared some family-fun events. Parents and students participated actively with an attendance of about 100+ people at the center. We had used 3 buses to take the 140 people for the outdoor barbecues and games. The most difficult thing on that day was not how to host the event but how to take the children to the bathroom as most of them were cerebral palsy, bodies with multiple disabilities or handicapped. It took us lot of time and effort. We really appreciated the teachers and parents who helped the children day in and day out.
The next day, our team was divided into groups of 5 people. Each group would visit a family from the center. After the visit, one of the group members shared about her experience. She was so touched by the grandparents’ love and selfless sacrifice. Though poor, they gave the best they could to the children. They accepted the fact that their grandchildren had disabilities, but they did not abandon them. The elders gladly took up the hard work and went with them wherever they could. She personally witnessed how the grandparents carried their children on the stairs and was deeply touched. At lunch time, my group and a few teachers sat at the same table. From their sharing, we learned about the difficulty they met at work and in life. This deepens my understanding of local people’s livelihood. After our departure from Guangxi, one of the mothers from the families sent us a letter mentioning how our visit and support has been a big help to her:
“I am Jun’s mother. First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and great respect to you all! I took Jun to Angel House last year because he had cerebral palsy caused by premature birth, thus unable to walk. Fortunately, his cognitive aspect is still good. He is attending grade 4 now. He works very hard and makes me feel very happy. With your warm care and help, he has learned a lot at school. In terms of rehabilitation, he has improved a lot. Before, he cannot even climb. Now he can move around with the help of a walker. All this is due to your selfless contributions and love. We will continue doing our best to help him.”
During another outdoor event, our team members had a large ensemble with the students. We played different musical instruments. Although the students were physically defective and at different levels of performance, we were in tune and enjoyed the moment in music. When one of the students was performing a sing and dance, many of the team members shed tears because they were touched by the love of Lord Jesus and the lyrics of the song.
In this service trip, one of the students liked to lean on me. I felt that she was so enthusiastic and trusted me. One day, when she tried to lean on me, we fell to the ground together because of my tiredness and fatigue after a few days of service. The teachers immediately came forward to help. One said that this student can walk and stand on her own, and she might really like to get along with me.
This trip ended quickly. To me, it is like a vacation for rest and relaxation, making me forget all the busyness and pressures of life, yet still able to see and feel the needs of children with disabilities in Mainland China. When the team leader shared “When the world in need of a group, you can …”, I knew I can without any cause. What we feel most grateful for is: after working together for just a few days, team members were no longer strangers. They had got to know each other well and appreciated each other. These changes came so natural. I believed the spirit of the Lord was among us, helping us to merge into one body for His name’s sake. His presence has made this trip filled with energy, laughter and liveliness.
Every year, Rainbow Missions plans several trips to visit children with special needs in China. Not only will they be a blessing to the local people with disabilities, but also to each member involved. If you feel the call to join the service trip, please email email@example.com or call (206) 734-7000. If you want to support the rehabilitation of handicapped/disabled children in China financially, you can send a check to the Rainbow Missions, PO BOX 1526, Renton, WA 98057(in the memo line specifying CZ Financial Aids to Students).