Please Look After Oldster and Child

8:14 PM

     So there we were in the middle of China, in the middle of a refugee camp, standing in the aftermath of a natural disaster. We had just finished our concert, complete with Disney theme songs and that particular favorite of the Chinese, “My Heart Will Go On,” when a family approached us with a little girl no more than three years old. My friend Kristen and I smiled at her, and after some gentle coercing by her proud parents, she began to sing her ABC’s in both Mandarin and English! We beamed at her, gave her a hug, and took a picture before the family walked away. It was then we noticed that, that sweet little girl who had just taken up a wee place in our hearts, had only one arm. Feeling the tears well up in my eyes in shock, I turned to Kristen.

“Do you think that’s from the earthquake?”  

“There’s no way of knowing,” she replied.

     Only a few weeks before I had woken up to the news that a 7.9 earthquake had struck the Chinese province of Sichuan, killing almost 70,000 and injuring about 400,000. To top all that, 4.8 million people were instantly homeless.


      That was the day before our planned missions trip to the Sichuan Province. As I drove from my parent’s house to Orange County to join the rest of my team, I wondered if we really would be leaving for China the very next day. The odds seemed unlikely.

    As we met with our director that evening and discussed the bleak news, we all seemed to feel the sense of ,“For such a time as this." The Lord had known that those earthquakes would come long before we had any idea of visiting China. The next day, after what had to be the worst plane trip of my life, (bronchitis and traveling simply do not mix), we arrived in Hong Kong and then we took a much shorter flight to Beijing. It was rather eerie as we entered customs with one guard in a booth and other police officers standing close by.  It made you feel shifty, to say the least, as if you actually were doing something wrong! After they questioned us as to our intentions in entering China and looked us harshly in the eye, we laughed in relief as we all made it through. Standing on one of the moving walkways, we were to see the first of many hilariously funny signs translated into English for your reading pleasure. 

     We spent those first few days in Beijing, getting used to the culture, and seeing some of the many sights. The city had been newly renovated, we heard, as the Olympics would be there in about a month. One day, we visited the Great Wall. Dragging my wheezing body up the steps, one couldn’t help but ponder the many lives lost in making this great work of mankind. It was history, tragedy, and art all rolled into one; much like the story of China itself. 
     After the pictures were taken and my wheezing had finally subsided, I dreaded the walk down which would surely prove the death of me. (Judge all you want. I had bronchitis, doubled by asthma and still managed to climb the Great Wall. BOOYAH!),  Visions of my wheezing, sputtering body gently rolling off the steps into the thin air and hitting tree, tree, tree, tree, and rock, assaulted me. However, instead of going down the way we came, we turned onto a little walkway and found, waiting before us, a toboggan slide! I am not kidding. This was seriously one of the best moments of my life. Below is a You Tube of the slide, not from our team, but apparently from some Germys . Before I knew it, I was rocketing down that baby with all the plummeting joy of a two year old on their first seesaw. Chinese guards, stationed at different points of the slide, screamed as I flew past what I can only assume meant, "Slow down you crazy white lady, you gonna get killed!" I laughed at my toboggan prowess and careened my way forward. That is, until I pretty much rear ended the girl in front of me!

For more about the crazy trip, wait for my blog on China part 2! You can also like my page on facebook where I'll be posting more China pictures over the next few days. 

Images via: Aaron Letinsky

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