Quality Down Time

I had the privilege of going to Dai Loc last Friday and what a blessed day it was. I had originally planned to go on Wednesday, which was a nice day, but Friday was amazing. The sun was shinning and the air was warm – which is a wonderful experience after days and days of rain, and a friend was able to come along with me. I was so looking forward to the experience and wasn’t disappointed.

It took us about 50 minutes to get to the orphanage and it was wonderful to see the kids. Most of them were still at school; between school and tutoring, the students are often working until 6pm or later at school. The children that were there we mostly older, and they aren’t always interested in what we’re doing, but today I had prepared for them. I had brought them some of their favorite fruits – green mangoes and pomelo (white grape fruit), to dip in chili salt.

I picked the movie Alvin and the Chipmunks for us to watch and we settled in. All of us sat and ate together, just the seven of us, with the caretakers peeking their heads in every once-in -a-while and taking a bit of the fruit to eat, too. It was really nice to catch up with them and see how their classes are going because they are often busy when I come to visit on Wednesdays.

After our snack and chat, we sat down to watch Alvin, and the kids really seemed to enjoy it. Of the five kids that were there that day, four of them stayed and watched the whole movie. I loved hearing them laugh and relax with me after such a long week of school. On the ride back to Da Nang, I just took my time enjoying sun and air and the whole day, and reflecting on the wonderful time I had just had with some great kids.

Birthdays in Dai Loc

Vietnam is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen, especially the city of Da Nang. Da Nang has everything most people would love to have in a place they live. It has beautifully lush, green mountains and an ocean that never stops, but one of the most beautiful sights I have seen since coming to Vietnam wasn’t found in its landscape or even in its wonderful people. It was found within the walls of the orphanage in Dai Loc.

It happened shortly after I started working with Orphan Voice and with the children in Dai Loc. I was told that it was part of my job to foster the love of the children and help them to experience love. To me there’s no better way to do that then to foster a sense of family and one of the first things I thought would help us do that was to celebrate the children’s lives. So along with the others who were working with me at the time, we decided to throw a birthday party for all the birthdays we had missed for that year. We started with games and then ate some cake, then we gave them the small presents we had chosen for them.

The presents were purchased and wrapped with care, but I was nervous about how they would be received. I didn’t know the children very well yet and I definitely wasn’t sure about the ages of the 18 children we were celebrating, but as we handed them their gifts, my eyes were opened. They had each received a different book to read and when I saw how old some of the children were and how simple the books seemed in my eyes, I thought for sure many of them would look on the books with disgust and think about how the books they had received were too simple for them and that they were too old for such childish books. To my great surprise and delight, they all seemed to like them. In fact, in that moment I was overwhelmed as I realized that each of the books were read with relish and that when they finished one book, they traded with someone else and read the next book. I had never seen children enjoy books so thoroughly. It made me stand in awe that something so simple could be such a delight to them and at the same time it made my heart break that they would be so desperate for books, while I had grown up reading any and every book I ever wanted. What would it be like to grow up it such a way that even the simplest of books would be a treasure?

I only hope that in the future, they not only realize the value of the gifts they received, but they would realize that each of them have value and worth. That they are the true gifts and that life is the most precious gift of all.

Children in Need

Knowing of Orphan Voice’s FAMILY PRESERVATION PROGRAM, local officials introduced Orphan Voice to these two families yesterday.   We are still gathering information, but know basic facts now.  The first child, Binh, went for a vaccination two years ago, but there was a terrible reaction.  This precious child was left paralyzed in most of her body and has multiple seizures daily.   Orphan Voice will pray for God’s intervention, deliver supplemental food to the family each month and look into ways to better control her seizures.

The second child, Oanh, is one year old and  has serious problems with two of the valves in her heart.  Orphan Voice can obtain a needed corrective surgery locally.  Please consider making a donation to Orphan Voice to help cover the cost of her medical needs.

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