From our rich history of mission efforts in China, to the Memphis Chinese Evangelical Church which meets on our campus, Christ Church has been connected in very significant ways with the culture and land of this great country.
In the next Serving & Outreach Equipping Series, join us for Understanding Our Chinese Neighbors on December 4 in Seabrook Hall from 6:30 to 8:00 pm as we discuss how we can all better relate to our neighbors of this very significant culture in the world and in the global church today. Register for childcare needs here.
One recent expression of Christ Church’s relationship with China is the week that members Cathy Wilson and Cari Baird recently spent at the Shepherd’s Field orphanage.
Cathy shares her thoughts about their experience:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
There is a tradition at Shepherd’s Field, an orphanage for children with special needs just outside of Beijing, China where Cari Baird and I spent a week in October, that guests sign the wall in the staff kitchen. The idea actually originated in
Memphis, when Tim Baker, the founder of the orphanage, was eating at Huey’s and saw all the graffiti on the walls. He took that idea back to China and now guests sign their name, date of trip and a Bible verse, quote, message or sometimes just a picture.
When I was thinking about what to write on the wall, the above verse is what came to me. While Jesus is speaking to the disciples and trying to explain to them what will happen after he is gone, I think it also applies to others in difficult situations. This world is a broken place and we will have trouble, but Jesus has overcome this world and our time here is not the end if we believe in Him! As we volunteered at Shepherd’s Field there were so many times that I could have fallen into despair if it weren’t for Jesus and his promises.
Shepherd’s Field is a unique, loving environment where orphans with special needs receive onsite medical care by trained doctors, live in home-type settings with Ayis (nannies) who care for them, attend school on the campus and have the opportunity to learn a trade if they are ultimately not adopted. At Shepherd’s Field I saw children who had obvious physical needs and children who appeared to have no special needs. I also saw children that made me cry out to God because of the severity of their needs.
While Shepherd’s Field is an amazing place, what these children (and all children) need are loving families.
However, Shepherd’s Field remains a place of hope for these children — that they will get the care they need and hopefully be adopted by a loving family. One story of profound hope that I saw at Shepherd’s Field was Aaron, an adorable 2-year old boy, who was born with several birth defects that have all been surgically corrected. He has been matched with a family in Idaho, who will hopefully be able to take him home some time in 2014.
I don’t know Aaron’s story or how he came to Shepherd’s Field, but as a mom of two children with birth defects, I can imagine the pain and fear his mother felt the day of his birth. Did she wonder what would happen? Did she despair over what his life would be like? I wish that his birth mom could see him now. He is an amazing little boy — so full of life, a great eater, and curious and friendly. I think about Aaron 16 years from now, going off to college or starting his first job, and the difference in his life from the moments of his birth until then.
Aaron’s story is possible because of people like Tim, the other workers and volunteers at Shepherd’s Field and families like the one in Idaho, who have decided to bring a child into their home who needs a family.
Come join Cari and me on Sunday, December 15th during 9:45 and 11:00 Sunday School as we share more about all we saw and experienced in China.
We will be in the Servants Sunday School Class at 9:30 in Wilson Ross 304/305 and the Trinity Sunday School Class at 11:00 in Wilson Ross 415. Both classes are open to any visitors that would like to attend.