How China Changed My Life

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A panoramic picture I took on Great Wall of China.
Have you ever experienced something that has deeply impacted you and changed your perspective of the world? This post today is very special to me. I had the amazing opportunity to travel to China last summer and, like the title says, it truly changed my life forever.

Visiting China was an incredible blessing. The family that took my brother and me wanted to invest in us through this once in a lifetime trip across the world. I’m eternally grateful to them. For real, y’all, I can’t thank them enough.

If you’ve ever visited a foreign country, you probably know the amazing feeling of that place you’ve heard about in Geography class becoming REAL. The culture, food, music, and atmosphere is so exciting. Speaking of food, Chinese food in China is a special experience! It’s so much better over there! I wonder why…. 😉

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Some noodles that almost killed me! They were Korean style (spicy) and something went to the back of my throat and practically tried to kill me in the restaurant… That’s one reason they provide the watermelon you see in the corner of the photo.
I had always heard about Beijing, but being there was a whole new perspective. We also visited two provinces I had never heard of: Zhengzhou [Jong-Joh] and Guangzhou [Gwahng- Joh]. I got to see real people living their lives and going about their daily routines. Not so exciting to them, but for me I was electric just watching some men eat corn on the front steps of a local business! Anybody else like people watching? Maybe I’m just weird.
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A favorite photo of mine- The men eating corn! Corn is a snack in China. Just lie you may get a hotdog in New York, in Beiing you get corn on the cob!
The moment we stepped out of the airport and into our taxi, I loved China. Even with its humidity, smog, sewer smells, spitting, and personal space issues! I knew God was going to use this trip. There’s a reason I was there. From that moment forward, China has been on my heart as a place to go back to serve. So many people in communist, Buddhist China need Christ.

One thing that changed my perspective for the rest of my life was visiting our second stop after Beijing: the province, Zhengzhou. It was so amazing and life changing for me. We took a bullet train from Beijing to Zhengzhou, which was really fun! The authentic food was incredible, Walmart had 3 stories, and at night the people would gather in the square and do a Chinese version of line dancing. I got to participate!

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Zhengzhou Province- a picture I took from a bridge near our hotel. We crossed this bridge many times a day. Gorgeous view!
Our visit to the Zhengzhou orphanage is an experience I’ll never ever forget. We visited a couple of orphanages in different parts of China, but this one struck a chord with me. Let me take you through my experience.

We pulled up to the orphanage gate in an old van. The atmosphere felt depressing and lonely. The playground was empty and everything was oddly quiet and dismal. I, for some reason, had half expected to see children playing outside or walking around. No such children were to be seen. The air was eerily silent. Flowers were planted around the grounds and murals were painted on the walls in an attempt to make the place more approachable, I guess.

I could honestly write a book about the sadness that I was about to behold. Hundreds, upon hundreds, of children laying in cribs. There were probably twenty children to a room, maybe more or less. Hundreds of rejected Chinese babies waiting silently. Most of these precious children aren’t even up for adoption because China has not gotten their paperwork completed or even started in some cases.

Some of the children were abandoned out on the streets and have no record of their family or where they came from. Every last one has their own sad story of how they got to this miserable place. And now they only lay there in their beds or on the floor. They lay there so long they have what’s called “crib head”- the backs of their little heads completely flat from never being held and never being loved.

Our guide told us that the reason the babies never cried was because they had eventually learned that no matter how much they cry, they’ll never be picked up. The sad truth is there’s not enough staff at the orphanage to care for all of them the way a baby needs to be cared for.

So they wait. They suffer silently.

We walked down the dark halls and viewed the rooms we were permitted to see (We only saw babies and toddlers). Cribs upon cribs, babies upon babies. There were toddlers that were so weak they couldn’t walk. Rooms full of needs, wants, stories, and souls. Some rooms were nicer than others, but all of them shared the same dreary atmosphere that will haunt my heart forever.

Neglect.

Many of the rejected children have disabilities. Chinese families are only permitted to have 2 children MAX. Many Chinese mothers will reject a baby that is not perfect or, just not the gender they wanted. Abortion is rampant and birth control is extremely accessible (We saw it everywhere!). On top of that, the Chinese culture is very superstitious. They will reject anyone with a disability or physical blemish because they believe they are unlucky and bring a curse. This especially hurts my heart. God loves all children, not just the healthy ones. No child is unloved by God. Buddhism has warped the hearts of the Chinese mothers who had a responsibility to love and cherish their children. But they didn’t. Now innocent lives are suffering for the sake of superstition and communist rule.

As sad as my story has been so far, there is some hope for these children. The whole reason I made the trip to China with the aforementioned family was because they were going to adopt two boys: one blind teenager and one toddler with a liver condition. Meeting these children was my favorite part of the entire trip. Words can’t describe the feelings I had seeing two precious lives change radically for the better. These two boys are not lucky. They’re just finally getting what every life deserves, and that is love. God has a plan for them and there are no coincidences in the stories of adopted children. No luck.

These two boys are now thriving here in America with a family that loves them like God loves them. They hear the gospel and they are happier than children that have grown up with a family all their lives. All of the children in China, and the whole world, deserve to be loved and have a family of their own. Every last one of them needs the gospel. Even though many of them will never have a family (a sad, but horribly true, statistic) they can all have a Heavenly Father who loves them more than any earthly parents ever could.

2 Corinthians 6:18 KJV ” And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
The Zhengzhou orphanage visit is an experience I can go back to when I think things are hard here. I am so incredibly blessed to have a family and live in a free country . I hope someday, Lord willing, I’ll be given the opportunity go back to China. God put China on my heart for a reason. I’m ready to find out the reason, in God’s timing.

Please pray for Chinese families and especially Chinese orphans. Most of all, pray for the entire nation of China to repent and turn to Jesus. The Lord can change even the communist hearts of stone. Ezekiel 36:26

Never, ever, take your family for granted! God gave you your family for a reason.

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A Chinese family walked past while I was taking pictures of some bicycles. I’m glad they did because it makes it more special!

May God bless all of the people who have adopted or ministered to orphaned or abandoned children from near and far. I hope someday God will let me join them in changing the lives of children in need.

Seek Adventure!

Ashley

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3 thoughts on “How China Changed My Life

  1. The best but saddest story yet. One suffering child is one too many. Thank you so much for opening my eyes Ashley. I will be praying for China and her people.

    Like

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