This Summer

So I decided to take a break from study *groan* and think and talk a little about what I'm going to be doing this summer! My exams start next week, and end the 12th of May. That gives me exactly 2 months until I depart for China!!!

So we spend a whole day flying, a short flight to London, a long wait, and a long flight to Beijing. We arrive on Friday morning, to a city with nearly 20 million people which is 4-5 times more people than the whole of Ireland!! We have just two days to 'get the Beijing experience', we'll stay in a hotel in the city and roam around - see the main sites (Tienanmen Sq, Forbidden City etc.) and eat lots of good food!

We then take a 7/8 hour train to Zhengzhou. We will be exhausted at that point - and likely sleep the whole way!! So we arrive at camp with Bring Me Hope on Sunday evening giving us just a few hours until the KIDS ARRIVE on monday morning sometime!!! Hopefully we will have recovered by then from jet-lag and travel fatigue. So we will be matched with a translator (chinese student) and one or two orphans, and we spend Monday to Friday as a family group. We will basically just be pouring love out, playing games, doing activities, buying presents, eating food... All sorts of things, to really just show them an amazing time! Then Friday afternoon will be time to say goodbye. The hardest part about it all - having to say goodbye. I'm not even gonna think about that now, or i'll just cry remembering saying goodbye last year.

So we then have the weekend to recover emotionally, and rest. We will also have the opportunity to tour around ZZ and hopefully do some shopping at local markets - which is always fun bartering!

Monday will come again, and we will be matched with a new translator and orphan. Same routine again, well, in China things never go to plan, and it will be a new kid - so it will be the same yet oh so different. Friday will come again and we will say goodbye yet again.

Then will be one of the most difficult parts for me, where I will say goodbye to my sister and two friends who will head back home to Ireland, and I will board a train by myself for another city closeby. There, I will be working with International China Concern (ICC)  for a further two and a half weeks with orphans again. This trip will look a little different as we will be in the actual orphanages.

The most exciting part about this leg of the trip is that I will be working in the orphanage that the kids from my second week of camp last year came from. So i'll hopefully get to see some familiar faces!!

Then back to Beijing, and the long flight home by myself. At that stage, I will most likely be physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally exhausted. It will be difficult to return to 'normal life' after 5 weeks of serving.

I'm certainly excited to see what God has in store for me!!

Life is short

A lot has happened recently to make me really evaluate what matters, and what life is truly about. To cut to the chase, I have emotionally been involved in two different cancer stories to different extents.

The first is a close family friend of ours, a mother of three young children, who is battling a cancer which is spreading over her body and which won't respond to chemotherapy. Even the thought of her dying makes me just shudder, and want to curl up in a ball and cry. Just thinking about it causes my heart to skink, I cannot describe the feeling in any other way. I think some of it must be to do with the fact that this could happen to anyone, and that it has happened to someone I know. And there is nothing that I nor anyone else can really do about it other than pray. Pray for a MIRACLE. It has been a real test of my faith, whether I believe with all my heart that God can perform miracles. He COMMANDS all of our hearts and for us to trust him fully. Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list'' (Matt 22:37). The first on any list, eh?. I wonder if this is the first on all of our lists...

The second case I heard through a friend in China. A friend of his - CongCong is an adult orphan, now 24. He grew up in the orphanage after his parents died when he was very young. He left the orphanage to find a job and worked really hard, bought a house, even married. But then he was diagnosed with acute leukaemia 6 months ago. His wife left him, and he had to stop working. His life has been tough to say the last these past few months. I was asked to help with a Care Campaign for him, to try and raise support for him to cover general expenses and medical expenses, and to ask people to pray for him. I made a video which i will post below. The thought of a 24 year old orphan suffering from cancer is heart breaking. He doesn't have parents to sit by his bedside and encourage and cheer him on, to pray with him and cry with him. 

So these two cases made me really think about how fragile human life really is. If not for God, then what is the point. Life is short, even if I live a full life. Who knows whats gong to happen in the meantime. It just makes me want to be in China all the more quickly. Waiting here seems so pointless, like why waste the opportunity to change orphans lives here at college or something. I know what the answer is to that, but its still not an easy one. Either way, God is teaching me to trust Him more. To have deeper faith, mountain moving faith. And above all else to love Him. 

head over to a blog for CongCong here or check out the video below.