January 5, 2009
It seems like EVERY newsletter starts with me apologizing for not keeping in better touch with you all! I guess this is no exception! I have to go clear back to Thanksgiving to catch up from the LAST one!
A Thanksgiving tradition that I really appreciate is the one where all the participants at Thanksgiving share their personal list of reasons to be thankful. It was particular poignant to hear the youth at the orphanage express their “lists”. It seems like they have so little but they are very aware of all of their blessings, like their teachers and Migyeong as well as the abilities that they DO have. We are privileged to serve a special group of young people in our youth. Part of what we personally are thankful for is the huge help that you provide through your financial gifts as well as “real” gifts to your “special” kid during the year. It gladdens our hearts AND theirs.
A special Christmas present arrived the middle of December in the person of Leann Funk, our favorite PT from Kansas. She REALLY came to see her long-term “boyfriend”, WenXi, a five year old boy that is a unique character in our “little kid” group. He never ceases to amaze us because in spite of his severe handicaps (hydrocephalus, spina bifida, etc.) he is smart and has a somewhat pugnacious attitude if he doesn’t get his way! He is very cute and clever and visitors seem drawn to him so we all understand Leann’s interest. Actually, “interest” is too lame a word: she wants to adopt this boy and help him achieve the heights of his ability! We need your prayers that this will happen easily and quickly!
Not only did Leann spend most of their “day” time at the orphanage with the kids but she and Migyeong even brought the two buddies, WenXi and MingGe to our apartment one evening! A good time was had by all including a time of sitting around the table sampling home made goodies from Leann’s Mom’s kitchen after some local home cooking done by “Mama” Migyeong!
Of course, what’s Christmas without parties? This year, they just kept on coming! Our volunteers brought in special food for the youth which they enjoyed after a time of entertainment sharing. The youth had devised a skit that emphasized the importance of “family”, even among orphans and the visitors just sang and interacted with the kids. Later in the week, we went to a nearby restaurant for lunch and more entertainment provided by the kids. The food and the company were great and WenXi got his first try at “kuaiZi” (chopsticks) with mixed results. You might think that all Chinese folks are naturally able to handle them but if that’s the case, I think he is a natural American! We even tried breaking them in half and that was a little better but still not really good. Fortunately, there were plenty of spoons around so the little guy didn’t starve!
The Big Day finally came and we went to share it with the youth. Thanks to donations for that purpose, we had purchased enough rhythm instruments for everyone to have one and then some! We also had printed some photos from the previous year so they would each have keepsakes of their friends and activities! Leann had wrapped a present for each youth plus a Christmas stocking for each one, too! They were SO happy and so were we! We felt as if we had celebrated the most important birthday ever just as the “Birthday Boy” would have had us celebrate it!
The next party was in our apartment for our extended Chinese family and their families and guests. They were presented with the REAL story of the candy cane by an always well prepared Leann. The group included some new friends that were ignorant about the whole meaning of Christmas so we were happy to share. The fellowship was rich and warm which was good because the night’s temperature was close to 10degrees Fahrenheit!
Just when we thought we were through with parties, we received an invitation for the youth to spend the afternoon in the Karaoke Club where they had had their first experience with rhythm devices like tambourines and maracas. Again, the club provided snacks and soft drinks as well as lots of “canned” music to sing and dance to. This served as their New Year’s party and even included dinner before going back to the orphanage.
Our New Year’s Eve was spent with a few Chinese friends and then last minute packing since Leann was leaving the next day. Again, the meeting was very fruitful and meaningful to all. Because it was New Year’s Eve, most of the family folks stayed home so our group was a small one that allowed intimate conversation.
We were NOT ready to let Leann go back to the States, but she has promised to come back next summer! We will be SO happy to see her again and so will our kids! She brings so much when she comes, not only in her luggage but in her heart and it’s all intended to be given away! We are all so blessed to have her in our lives.
Migyeong and I wish you and yours a spectacular 2009 in every way! We thank you again for your support for our work here with the orphans. We believe that 2009 will be a year of stepping out in faith as we anticipate the opening of the Dream Home Shop along with the renting of an apartment for the advanced group of youth as they seek to gain the life skills necessary to live in Chinese society. As we’ve often said and fervently believe, we are a team, you and us. We might be “on the ground” but without YOU, we couldn’t do anything! Thank you immensely for allowing us to serve.
Love, Elaine and Migyeong
Please send your tax deductible donation to:
Ambassadors of Joy (China)
c/o Keith Ragsdale
4110 E. 85th St
Tulsa, Ok 74137
“Open Bible Fellowship”
1439 E. 71st. Street
Tulsa, Ok. 74136
With “mission/Migyeong Kang” in the memo of the check
Our mailing address in China:
#12-1 XinAnJiangJie, 22A #2-6-1, HuangGuQu
Shenyang, Liaoning 110035
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