Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What God is Doing in One Orphanage

It had been a month since I had seen my kids at the orphanage. I enjoyed my Chinese New Year break but I sure was ready to see my little friends!

Allen* (name changed) ran over and jumped in my arms. I grinned and asked if he had missed my friends and I who usually come every week. He nodded seriously and said "It feels like a year since I've seen you!"

I suppose to a third grader, one month certainly could feel like a year. Allen's little statement warmed my heart. God is surely working in this place and in these kids' lives.

My first time meeting this mischievous, energetic fireball of a boy was back in January 2014. I fell instantly in love. Allen has grown so much these past few years. Sure, physically he's a lot taller as a third grader than he was as a first grader. But he's also grown in so many more ways than just that.

Our first English class at his orphanage...oh my. The kids went wild and it was obvious they weren't used to classroom behavior or discipline. Especially Allen. He behaved the worst of all ten kids. It became apparent that his attitude and behavior issues stemmed from his rough past. So in that first class, Allen got angry about something and hid in a cabinet. He refused to come out for quite a while.

But we just kept on being faithful, week after week. God kept pouring His love for these kids into my life and the lives of my friends. We kept praying. Slowly our class changed for the better. The kids learned that we care about them so much that we are willing to lovingly set boundaries and a few class rules.

After awhile, we started seeing small improvements in these orphans' lives. Sure, the other week they did bring rollerblades to class and got a little crazy, but they are learning. I often laugh and say our class shouldn't be called "English class" but "Love, Patience, Discipline and Grace class" because that's what God is really having us teach and exemplify for these kids.

So every week when my friends and I go to teach, we pray and ask God to work in ways we could never do or imagine.

Are our kids now little angels? No way. But God is faithful and little by little, He is changing and molding them. In the process, He's doing the same for me.

So when Allen says it feels like a year since he last saw us, I smile and know - God is working

~Joanna Suich

Joanna, serving with VOICE Missions on the Hualien team, has a heart for all things involving missions, orphans, aboriginal kids and adventures.  After 1.5 years serving on the Taitung and Hualien teams, Joanna went back to the US for a year, thinking perhaps God was leading elsewhere. But when she returned for a three week trip to visit students and friends in May 2015, God used one orphan boy to call her back to Hualien and she's so glad He did! Hualien is home now and she's in her second year of service there. If you're looking for Joanna, check the local village or orphanage, and you'll probably find her there, playing, tutoring and sharing Christ's love and truth.

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