I’ve been asking myself this question every day since reading the story of a television news anchor in Champaign, IL who’s facing the end of his life. Dave Benton has an inoperable brain tumor but he’s spending his remaining time on earth continuing to do the work he loves–reporting on stories that matter to the community he’s been serving for nine years. You can count yourself blessed if you get a paycheck to pursue your passion!
One of the great passions of my life is showing love to orphans. Two years ago I had the privilege of organizing a trip in conjunction with WCIC and Show Hope to Maria’s Big House of Hope, a six-story medical complex packed with 140 orphans, all with special needs. There I fell in love with Julia (pictured here), an affectionate pixie of a girl whose smile flooded my heart with sunshine. She almost died of malnutrition when she was discovered and nursed to health by the doctor who lives at Maria’s Big House of Hope to offer children like Julia round-the-clock care. I shed many tears over this child as I tried everything I could to adopt her, without success. I wonder if I’ll be seeing her sweet face when I return this week.
If I had six months left to live, I would hop a plane to China and spend a portion of that time with the precious souls who call Maria’s Big House of Hope home. I’m so grateful to have the chance to do just that tomorrow. Some well-meaning people have criticized me for choosing ministry over motherhood. I get it. It violates every good piece of attachment parenting advice to hop a plane around the world three months after you’ve just adopted a child from around the world! The guilt my mother’s heart feels is eased with the knowledge that my children are in the best care possible in my absence thanks to the love of their godparents, grandparents and, of course, their father.
But when Show Hope called in 2013 and asked me to consider leading a return trip to China, my heart was torn in two. The timing seemed terrible. I knew there was a possibility I’d have to complete my daughter’s adoption and do a quick turnaround to lead this trip. Yet in my heart of hearts, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to introduce a whole new group of people to such a special place and experience. It’s like introducing people who’ve never seen a large body of water to the ocean. It’s the grandest thing. So I hemmed and hawed for several weeks before saying YES! My head is still spinning and I hope my children aren’t scarred for life by this decision…but that peace that surpasses all understanding settled into my spirit when I answered Show Hope‘s call in the affirmative.
I’ve been praying in earnest for this trip and would invite you to do the same. Many of the children we’ll be visiting are very sick and in palliative care. The goal of the in-country partners is “to comfort always, relieve often and save sometimes…” We leave for China tomorrow morning and return in ten days. Please pray that our team members will be flexible, that we serve with a spirit of joy and unity and that the children and staff members of Maria’s feel loved by our presence. I hope the clothes and medical supplies we’re bringing with us are a blessing to them but also a tangible reminder that they are deeply loved, thought of and valued. And while I weigh the impact this trip will have on my daughter back home, I hope that in the long-run she sees that I’m doing this in honor of her beautiful home country.
China will be a part of our family’s past, present and future…forever. Thank you for your prayers.