Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chinese New Year

Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. Psalm 149:3

Xin Nian Kuaile! Yes, that is Happy New Year in Chinese! And yes, I am a little late...imagine that! Though it seems late you may be surprised to learn that they are still celebrating here in Ch*na. Though we may celebrate on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in the states, it is a much bigger festival here in Ch*na.

Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice which is why it varies in dates from year to year. It is also known as Spring Festival. It starts on New Year's Eve and goes for 15 days. Each day has a special event.
They often celebrate with dance troupes. They are to usher in the new year as well as ward off bad spirits from the area. This dance troupe was outside of Shepherd's Field on Friday. They have been dancing their way throughout the Da Wang Gu Development Zone. Nate and I saw them the other day in the town while on our daily walk.

You will see many dressed in red. All the children here were dressed in their best red weeks before the holiday. Children will also be given red envelopes with money in them.

The dance troupe had portable musicians. They rolled the drum along and continued to dance throughout the village. As they went, they also let off fireworks. I have heard fireworks daily for the past two weeks.

It appears that some of the men even join in. They too put on makeup and dress up to join the dance festivities. This man resembles our gate guard but I wouldn't swear to it. I don't know if he would swear to it either. :)

According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian or "Year" in Chinese. Nian would come on the first day of New Year to devour livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, the Nian never came to the village again.

In our region there is also the tradition of eating jiaozi on New Year's Eve and then again on New Year's Day. It is supposed to bring you wealth. They eat on New Year's like we do on Christmas. They cook so much so they do not have to cook on New Year's Day. This is due to some believe that lighting fires and using knives on the first day of the New Year can bring bad luck.

Throughout the holiday, family is very important. All of Ch*na has traveled to where their family is. They will see all their family members throughout this holiday season. I love how important the family is to the Ch*nese.

Joy in our Sorrow

Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.

Jeremiah 31:13

I have some news to share. Initially it made me sad but then I realized there was joy in the news. Let me share it with you. A week ago, I introduced you to some of our new babies here at PHF. One of them was Patti. At 3 months old, she had needed a colostomy. I don't know all the information but she needed this and the hope was she would eventually be able to have this reversed.


On Chinese New Year's Eve, she started having some difficulty. She wasn't eating. By Tuesday, her stomach was distended. Although she had the colostomy, it appeared she had a blockage. The doctors took her into the hospital in Beijing. She was to have surgery to take care of it. On Thursday, her suffering ended and she went to lay in the arms of our Sav*or. For those of us who know Him, we have joy in knowing this promise...that she is absent here but is present with Him. What a comfort that has given us. Not all our staff though knows that comfort. I ask you to keep the ayis (nannies) in pr*yer as they deal with their loss. May they come to know Him through this challenge. It is hard for the ayis in the Samaritan House. Their children are often medically fragile and this is not the first loss Shepherd's Field has dealt with. Continue to lift them up as they grieve her loss.

It is amazing that while we are dealing with our loss, G*d sends us a blessing. Pam Baker's assistant, Donna, left on her maternity leave before the holiday. On the same day our L*rd took Patti home, He sent us another baby girl. Donna and her husband were blessed with the birth of a baby girl. I have no pictures yet but as soon as I get them, I will share them with you. As I was writing this, I was listening to a song that fit all of this: Blessed Be Your Name. Part of the lyrics are "Every blessing you pour out, I turn back to praise When the darkness closes in, Lord Still I will say...Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be your name Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be your glorious name You give and take away You give and take away My heart will choose to say Lord, Blessed be your name."

If you too are going through any challenges in your life, may you take comfort in knowing He is in control. His name is blessed! I am so glad that He knows what I need and what I can handle, especially when I am NOT liking those challenges. He is molding you and I into the people He desires us to be. The person He is molding you into will need some challenges. The refiner's fire isn't easy but think of the beautiful gold that comes from it. Do you desire to be beautiful in His eyes? I do. As He removes those nasty things from me, I become beautiful. I become more like His son. My friend, take comfort in knowing He loves you enough to allow challenges, NOT PROBLEMS, into your life to make you more like J*sus. May that help you to find joy in your times of sorrow.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New faces at PHF

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our G*d and Father is this, to visit orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27

I would like to introduce to some of the newest faces here at PHF. Most have arrived in December but some just came a few days ago. They will all need pr*yer and sponsors.

Patti is 3 months old. She has a condition with her colon I believe. Don't quote me though.

Meet Sam. Sam is 4 months old. He makes this little old man face when he cries. I spent Saturday holding him. He has so much gas that even after being fed 2 hours ago, he still could belch as good as my boys in class can. I can't recall what he has. For the first time in my adoption journey, I finally wondered if I should have a baby instead of a toddler. He was just so precious.

Ellie just arrived a few days ago so I don't have her birthday. She suffers from a heart condition.

Jesse is also one of our newest arrivals so I again do not know how old he is. He does already have a nickname though. He has a heart condition and cleft lip and palate.


Shhhh! Joey's sleeping! He is already for Chinese New Year in his red outfit. He has Cerebral Palsy and is 1 year, 1 month old.


Teddy is ready for the New Year on Sunday too. He also has Cerebral palsy and is 1 year, 1 month old just like his roommate Joey.


This little man had alot going on. He is 1 year, 2 months old and has Cerebral Palsy. I just had to stay with him for awhile and pr*y over him. He also suffers from a condition where his eyes are constantly "ticking" back and forth.


I was blessed to meet Robert last summer when we were in Fushun. He is 1 year, 1 month old. He has club feet. He is also missing the radial bone in his forearm so his hands look like they are "club hands". He was named after a good friend of mine who is the reason he is here with us at PHF. His wife was also a big part of his journey tool. Patti, who you met earlier, was given her name to honor his wife as well.

This is PHF's Little D! Little D is only 2 months old and has cleft lip and palate. He also has a name sake. Big D is one of my first friends here at PHF when his team from Detroit came here. May Little D be as blessed as I have by having Big D in my life.


She is such a cutie! Meet Beth. She is Wes's roomie. She has Cerebral Palsy and is 1 year old.


This is one of our peanuts! Florence is only 2 months old. She has club feet and cleft palate.


Charissa is the sweetest thing. She has a smile that totally brightens your day. She is 3 years, 4 months old. She has Cerebral Palsy and has a tumor on her spine.


I just love Kasha's hair! She is 11 months old and has a heart condition.


Dawn is 7 months old and has cleft lip and palate. Can you guess who she might have been named after? Kinda funny for a cleft baby to be named after a speech-language therapist.


Justin is 4 months old. He has cleft lip and palate. If PHF keeps getting so many cute boys, I may just have a need to adopt a little boy too!


Fred is the last one I have to introduce you to today. He is 8 months old and has cleft lip and palate.
Please keep these children and all the other ones here at Shepherd's Field in pr*yer.

God provides

"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?" Matthew 6:25

Have you ever found yourself wondering "how am I going to do...?" I have. I think most people at one time or another have questioned how things would work out, where a payment would come from, where money for gas or groceries would come from this week. As human beings we tend to think how am "I" going to do it.

I had that same thought just last week. The funny thing is G*d used that moment to humble me. There are plenty of things that I don't know how they are going to work out while I am here and I was just questioning what "I" was going to do about it. I picture G*d chuckling to himself everytime that we do that. It isn't our job to provide for ourselves, it is HIS job. The funniest thing is that when we try to do His job, we tend to mess it up.

Fortunately for me, He loves me enough to remind that it is HIS job BEFORE I tried doing anything and messing up. He gently reminded me that it was His job when I received three unexpected packages. They all came from a loving couple I met here in the Fall. They are from Kentucky. I won't tell you their name for I desire them to receive treasures in heaven for what they have done in His name. This package arrived the very next day after I started questioning things. It was a blessing to be given so much! Far more than I ever would have expected. It was G*d's gentle way of humbling me and reminding me that providing my needs, ALL MY NEEDS, is His job. It is a job that He loves to do. It is also a job that can be done so well when He does it. Thank you L*rd for loving me the way you do. Thank you for bringing amazing people here to PHF. Through them, your work continues to be done long after they have left Ch*na, I am blessed abundantly to be a recipient of your work. Thank you Kentucky.

This is all they sent. They included all my favorites that are expensive here in Ch*na: Nilla Wafer, pretzels, Splenda, microwave popcorn, instant oatmeal, and crystal light. They also included some bibs and gloves for the babies. We all have periods of doubt and trying to "fix" things on our own. I ask you now though to give those over to J*sus. He wants to provide ALL YOUR NEEDS. Lay those needs at His feet and wait and see what He can do when you let Him do what only He can do best. He is our provider. He is our J*hovah Jireh.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Looking for the Terracotta Warriors?

I am not a good blogger. Somehow since I started the original blog back on 1-10-09, that is where you will find the pictures you have all been asking to see from my trip to see the Terracotta warriors even though I just finished it today. Hope this helps!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

PHF Calendars

You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance.
Psalm 65:11
If you hadn't already noticed, the New Year has started. It is now 2009. This means you need a new calendar! Most of you probably already have one. If you don't, you should get one. Let me suggest one for you. This one would not only help you to record all those birthdays and appointments you need to remember, it would also help benefit orphans.

PHF 2009 Calendar
I know some of you have already gotten yours. I had a family tell me this weekend how they let their children pick which child on the page they prayed for on that day. Nothing is sweeter than seeing those beautiful face and knowing you are helping them. Leah Zimmer produced it and she did an amazing job. For those of you who have been here, you will see many of your favorite faces on these pages.

If you are interested in purchasing one, please contact:

Philip Hayden Foundation
40335 Winchester Rd. #E-115
Temecula, CA 92591
Toll-Free: 866-JAMES-127

Forever Family Day

G*d setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains
Psalm 68:6
Monday is a joyous day! It is the Forever Family Day for four children here at PHF! Let me introduce you to two of them.
Elena (in red)


Elena (4), Elijah (9), Carly (3) and Abby (2) will join the families G*d designed for them. G*d placed it on the hearts of these families with a longing and knowledge that their families were not complete without another child. Two of these children are going to AWAA families. This is the same agency I am working with for my adoption. What a blessing it is to see children joined with a family. We wish them all the joy, love and blessings a family brings to a little one's life!

Take a moment today to rejoice that you were given a family. They may do things that drive us nuts, but you were blessed with a family. Each person in your family has brought something to you life. Even when those things are challenging, may you have found yourself growing from those challenges. Tell them you love. If you need to forgive, forgive them. Whatever you need to do, do it so you can rejoice in having a family.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Terracotta Warriors

When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the L*RD your G*d is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt. Deuteronomy 20:1

I was given an amazing gift for Christmas. My father decided that it made more sense for me to have money for the holidays since shipping things cost so much. This allowed me to take a trip I have been hoping to do while I live in Ch*na. I was able to go to Xi'an and see the Terracotta Warriors!

Esther Baker accompanied me on this journey. We traveled by train to Xi'an, in the Shaanxi Province. After finding our hostile and figuring out the buses, we headed out to the location of the Terracotta Warriors. Emperor Qin, who ruled from 221-207 BC, had this army created so he would be protected in the after life.

Esther at the head of Pit 1

The warriors were found in 1974 by a small group of farmers digging a well. They had dug down only 1 meter when they started to find parts of the warriors. At 3 meters, they found a head of what they called a "clay man." When they turned it into the gov't, they received a 30 kuai reward for it. Although this was equal only to a month's salary at the time, they felt it was far greater to be known for what they found.

The warriors were created to look as the warriors did at the time. Their faces resembled Emperor Qin's army. The men were from all over Ch*na. They say they can see characteristics in the warrior faces that resemble men from the Sichuan province. The warriors were also from all levels of the infantry. There were archers, soldiers, generals and charioteers. You could tell who they were by what they wore.

This is the main entrance to the pit. They figured out that the warriors were assembled in this fashion. They had wooden beams across the top and woven mats over the top of that. After they were all assembled, they buried them with dirt so no one would find them until he needed them in the after life.

The sun was shining in the windows as we walked through this. It is to bad that Emperor Qin hadn't seen the light before he died. There is nothing that can help you in the after life. The choices have to be made before you die. Do any of us really know what day or time we will end our time here on earth? Now is the time to be prepared.

This is a charioteer. Each chariot was pulled by 4 horses. They were adorned with bridles and harnesses. The horses were carved so they looked as if they were in battled with ears back and nostrils flaring. Pit 2 was primarily all chariots. They calculated 100's of them.

You can see from this that reassembling each warrior is a time consuming task. Initially I was disappointed that there were not more warriors showing in each pit. As I saw this, I realized how much work goes into each one. Eventually, they hope to recover as many as 10,000 warriors.

I hate having my picture taken but Anna always asks to see pictures of me. So Anna, this one is just for you and your sister, Sarah!

There are partial remains throughout each pit. You can see how they painstakingly uncover each piece and another reason why it takes so long to reassemble each warrior.

In Pit 3, they assembled an area so they generals could gather and discuss strategies. As I was saying earlier, the best strategies any one needs to discuss HAS to happen before entering into eternity. He has a plan for you but G*d will not force it on you. His plan involves salvation. This is through belief in J*sus Chr*st. Many say they believe but don't trust their lives to Him. When He is your best friend, your savior, you have a promise of an after life that you don't need any warriors for. You have the promise of an eternity in heaven. Make sure you have decided where you want to spend your eternity, your after life. I know I am glad I didn't choose hell.