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December in Shenyang

December 30, 2012

Dear Friends,

What a busy month!  Even if it is not exactly over, I thought I’d better get started letting you know all the GOOD stuff!

All year long, we are blessed by various groups coming to the orphanage for the purpose of working with the different children, some every week and some monthly or maybe several times a year.  Almost all of these groups visit around Christmas even though the weather is invariably cold and sometimes nasty!

The International Club was the first to come with a special program to present to all the kids including gifts for all of them.  They had even written a special story for them based on Hansel and Gretel!  We were all very entertained!  This is the group that contains several experts that come every week.  Their intervention with the kids has made big changes!

Every year at this time, to coincide with LiangLiang’s birthday, a special friend that owns a bakery comes with loads of goodies of every sort AND the biggest birthday cake anywhere!  This year, LiangLiang and LuPing came to the orphanage to join the rest of the kids there (they live in an apartment near Migyeong and me with a caregiver family) and a great time was had by all! 

Another of the groups that has become like part of the family: Bombardier visited next on a weekend when the temperature was VERY cold, even for here!  They spread out among the different rooms to indulge in some “one on one” time with the different kids and fed them lunch: sometimes, one volunteer feeding multiple kids! 

Next was a huge group of Korean people that arrived all ready to bless the kids with Santa hats or shiny rabbit ears that sparkled with little lights!  Then, they all got together to play and sing Christmas songs!  This was a wonderful treat for the kids, the caregivers AND the Koreans! 

There were also several small groups or even couples that came by to share the spirit of the season with the children.  One couple even transported me on Christmas Day and helped feed the children, most of whom must be hand-fed!  At a ratio of six kids to one room and one caregiver, it is also appreciated (especially by the caregivers) when visitors help with the “chowing down” of the kids. 

I saved the best for last, in a way: last Sunday, we had the privilege of witnessing LiangLiang get baptized!  He plus LuPing and YongEn (aka DaPing aka Sam) have been attending church here for years.  LuPing and YongEn were baptized several years ago but LiangLiang waited until now! It was a very impressive ceremony followed by Holy Communion!  I want you to know that every Sunday these three guys get up early enough to catch a taxi on their own and ride at least half an hour to arrive at the church by 7:30am!

The following day (Christmas Eve) we were back at the church for the annual Christmas pageant with LuPing and YongEn in the cast of characters (LiangLiang had already returned to the Financial School he attends)!  We started out for the church with snow coming down and the sun already set (it is dark by 4:30pm these days)!  Fortunately, we had hired a driver as it would have been too much for me to drive even if the weather had been perfect and earlier in the day!  This is because major road construction prevented us from going directly to/from the church!  The effort was well worth it, though, as the program was well done and we wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on seeing our guys perform!  We were so proud!  Everybody seems to like them so much.  They are obviously respected members of the congregation! 

Migyeong and I hope that your Christmas was a peaceful and blessed occasion for you and your families.  Fun, too!  We especially thank those of you who shared your Christmas’ with us by emailing or calling or even sending “stuff” to us or the boys!  We feel like the most blessed of folks to be included in so many fabulous families!  Almost like we’ve been nominated for “aunties of the year”!  The “perks” of this job are AWESOME!

Elaine and Migyeong

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