Winter Storms and the Chinese Orphanages

We’ve been watching the news sites (the BBC News site has had the most information) the past three weeks with more than a little anxiety as they have reported on the impacts of the winter storms in China and the massive problems those storms have caused the people of China. The storms have caused massive power outages — some still on-going, even at this point three weeks later — and disrupted pretty much all of the travel and transportation in large parts of the country. Those storms hit just as millions of people were trying to return to their families to celebrate the start of the Chinese lunar new year this past week.

With a little girl somewhere in China, possibly in the midst of this, we have been praying fervently (and asking for prayers) for all of the orphanages and the people of China as they struggle with this.

Our adoption agency posted a bit of information yesterday indicating that Li Zhong’s orphanage is doing fine and the children are all OK. Many of the other orphanages in the most heavily impacted provinces are still dealing with lack of power and/or lack of heat. Almost all of the orphanages in the impacted areas of China are dealing with shortages of supplies (e.g., water, diapers, medicine) as a result of the disruptions of transportation.

Knowing that Li Zhong’s orphanage is doing OK is a huge relief and an answer to our most immediate prayers, but there are still millions of people in China, including not just the orphans and their caregivers but also all of the families whose homes have been destroyed (one BBC News article indicated over a million homes had been destroyed or damaged by the storms), those who could not return home to their families for the holiday, and the Chinese government, who need our prayers and our help. Please keep praying…

Matched!

Cen Li ZhongThe telephone rang yesterday at about 12:30pm, and we have now moved from a waiting phase of our adoption journey to… a waiting phase. The difference is that we now know for whom we have been waiting: her name is Cen Li Zhong, born January 6, 2007 in the Jiangxi province of China.Those of you who might be liturgical types will notice that her birthday falls on Epiphany; just one more little miracle in this whole process.

The most recent medical information our adoption agency has is from late October 2007, and by all accounts, she is a happy, healthy, active little girl. I tried to scribble everything down as Kim from the agency told us everything they new, but my notes are pretty much illegible — there must have been something wrong with my hands. The agency has overnighted a package to us with all of the information they have on Li, so I will write more once we know it.

Cen, her surname, doesn’t carry any special meaning, according to Kim. “Li” in Chinese means beautiful. It fits.

In His Image

I came across something this past week in preparing to lead our Bible study at church. We are studying James and are moving from the end of chapter 1 into chapter 2. We’ve talked a bit the past couple weeks about how James’ writing is discussing how the way we live our lives, the way we treat people, the things we say all are a reflection of what we believe — and how there can be such a big difference between our actions and what we say we believe. One of the resources I am using to help be ready to lead this study touched on something that got me thinking. That resource mentions that, while Paul’s writings emphasized the purpose of faith (salvation), James emphasizes the results of faith: a changed life.

That led me to one of my favorite books: “God’s Blogs” by Lanny Donaho, and this is where my “Aha!” moment came from. Chapter 16 is titled “In His Image” and provides an explanation of what exactly it means that we are created “… in His image.” Donaho takes the perspective that this is not focused as much on how, but more on why. We are created to reflect Him, what He’s done for us, what He means to us into the world around us. We do that by how we live our lives, how we treat people, the decisions we make, the things we say — those are the things that show what we really believe and hold dear. Which is precisely what James is writing about…

I particularly liked the conclusion of that chapter:

BTW… reflections happen best when you are standing near to that which you want to reflect. (That which you were made to reflect.)