There is so much I want to say, but, as usual, the words betray me. Not because I can't think of the words to write, but because the words are too many.
I have met someone fantastic who wants to help me with Sixteen Small Stones. Slowly, one by one, the right people come along. I am so hesitant to reach out to these people, to ask for their help, or to accept their offers to help. However, I am learning to put aside my inhibitions and GRAB onto these people with all the hope I can. I NEED help with Sixteen Small Stones. I NEED Sixteen Small Stones to be a success, and I can NOT do it alone.
It is hard for me to ask people to help with something that is no more than a dream...a wish...a vision. You can't instill your ideas and dreams in someone. You just have to hope and pray they have the faith in you that you have in your dream...in your God.
My greatest wish is that their efforts come to some great end and they can feel pleased in the work they have done. I wish there were some way to thank the people who are willing (maybe even excited??) to help with Sixteen Small Stones.
I guess the important thing to remember is that Sixteen Small Stones is NOT my dream...it is someone else's only chance at life.
So, for the sake of someones life, I put aside my inhibitions...and jump.
Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed. I have been so sick the past several days. I go to work, I go to school, I take care of Taiger...I am so, so sick. My head pounds. My throat aches. My body is shaking and tired. Today, I was thinking about my idea of doing an internship this summer and then staying for a study abroad this next fall, and I got this overwhelming feeling of, "China? Really? WHY?!?!?!" I think, "I can't do it." I think, "It is too big for me." I think my Chinese isn't good enough. I think I will be worn out. I wonder who will tend Taiger. I wonder how going to China may affect/RUIN his life. I get scared thinking of WORKING for a BUSINESS as an INTERN. And how will I do my homework in Chinese? I can't even read the simple homework I have now, and it is meant to teach me Chinese. What happens when I have a chemistry class in Chinese, huh?! How will I have time to study? How will I study, period? How will I know the words on the homework? Why would a company want me for an intern? What happens if I get sick? Who will take care of Taiger? Who will take care of ME?! What if I get REALLY sick and Taiger is without someone to look after him while I am sick? What about when it is really, really cold in the winter? What if I don't understand my employers? How will I understand them? How will I understand my professors? Who will help me study? How am I doing this? Why am I doing this?
And then I remember that little boy's hand pressed to me. That Chinese boy, begging for money, his face down-turned, his hand raised to me, begging for money for food. I remember the man with the bone sticking through his leg, staring at the sky, waiting for God to take him away, and his wife begging for food for them. I remember the woman with her baby in her arms, trying to use the ends of her jacket to shield her baby from the wind and biting cold. I remember giving her my blanket. She grabbed my hand. As a Mother, I now understand even more what that brief moment of holding my hand was expressing. I remember crying as I walked down the street after giving money to a family who was begging for money to pay for their daughter's heart surgery. I remember the tears in the mother's and father's eyes. I remember one of the first beggars I saw in JingMen. A little girl, maybe 7-10 years old. She had written her story on paper and laid it out near her, with pictures of her parents on either side. I remember the yearning I had to bring that girl home with me. Of course, when I asked her to come to my home, she refused...I am sure she was scared out of her mind of the crazy white person saying in a mix of English and "my-first-weeks-in-JingMen-before-I-spoke-Chinese" Chinese saying something about going to her house. I remember the little girl from the countryside, who, on the eve of Thanksgiving, pressed her face to the window of where GaoFei and I sat inside the warm KFC Restaurant eating dinner. I motioned to her to wait a moment. I am sure she was afraid, but maybe a glimmer of the hope of warm food kept her waiting. In the end, as I set the bag of food near her on the sidewalk, she wouldn't take it from me. She was scared and wanted to run away...again, maybe the warmth coming from the sack, maybe the smell of warm food, kept her there. I motioned to her that the food was for her. She didn't believe it. Because she seemed afraid of me, I left the bag and hurried back into KFC, but I watched the girl and the food from the corner of my eye. She went to the food and reached in the bag as a woman and a small boy approached, clearly her Mother and brother.
They were no doubt country children, come from their farms to beg in the winter, as their farms lay quiet and fruitless under a skiff of snow. The hot streets of summer held quite a few beggars, but nothing like in the winter, when the farmers were completely without money. The women, the children, dressed in thin clothes, their eyes cast down, their hands reaching up, longing, yes BEGGING. for something, for anything.
It is for those people, each life I couldn't save, each mouth I couldn't feed, each hand I couldn't warm. They are why I must return. They are why I must face the fear, the unknown, the risks, the loneliness, the homesickness. They are why I face the anxiety of an internship and study abroad. For them. And for the people waiting for me and Taiger to take them in our arms and to love them.
I admit, it is for me and Taiger, too. To save us from the dangerous life we could lead...the life of comfort, of complacency, of apathy. It is too risky to stay here, to be too comfortable, to have too much. I worry about Taiger growing up and never being on a T-Ball team. I worry about him never going to birthday parties. I worry about him never having a large house with a big back-yard and a comfortable bedroom with a big bed and toys. I worry I will never have "that" house...you know, the one you always want, with a big door and eye-ball lights. With soft colored paint and natural wood colored kitchen cupboards. But I worry more that Taiger will never grow close to God through serving His children. I am worried Taiger and I will live rich in the poor things, when it is better to live poor in the rich things. I worry Taiger will never feel that overwhelming joy, that REAL joy, that comes when you truly serve...or when you truly give of yourself. I worry about his spirit. More than anything else in this life, I want Taiger to have a strong Testimony in The Atonement, of The Book Of Mormon, of the Bible. I want him to know and have a testimony of God and Jesus Christ and The Holy Ghost. I want to live a life so full of The Spirit that he grows used to it, and if a day came when he wandered from the Straight and Narrow Path, if he let go of the Iron Rod, even for a moment, he would sense it, he would FEEL it in his heart, and he would MISS it. Serving so fully, living the way I did in China, turns your heart to God. You depend on Him more. You feel closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I believe when you serve people who are hurting for food, for items and for LOVE, you feel The Spirit so much closer.
Gosh, I know this is a messy post. I wish I could express myself better. I know if anyone ever reads this post, they will be, like, "WHAT?!?!?!?!" I just...I know that feeling that comes with serving so passionately. I want that for Taiger. T-Ball? Really? In God's Eternal Plan, do you think He would be happy if Taiger stayed in America and played T-Ball? ABSOLUTELY! He would be SO HAPPY that Taiger was in a loving home, with a good family, that he was safe and being raised in the gospel, and that he was healthy and able to play baseball. But don't you think that if it is God's will that we go to China, that he knows Taiger's FULL potential? That He knows all the good Taiger could do in the world? That if we turn our lives over to God, that He has a much richer, more meaningful plan for our lives than maybe we do?
I met with my professor today. Okay, so she said that I COULD study at the University in JingMen, but advised against it. In the end, I feel inclined to agree with her. The reasons for studying at the schools that have partnered with the U are these: 1) My prof. can PREPARE me for what to expect and what classes will be like 2) It is easier to determine what credits will count toward my graduation when the U knows just what I have learned 3) The classes they offer are GEARED toward Chinese language students, rather than being classes geared toward Chinese students 4) The classes I would be taking would be TEACHING me Chinese, rather than just being IN Chinese, but being topics irrelavant to learning Chinese (such as science, math, history, etc.)
So, I was sad I will not be going to JingMen, but all in good time. Why am I not discouraged? Because something really, really wonderful happened durring our conversation! My Prof. ASKED ME about my goals in China, about my food program, AND SHE DID NOT LAUGH, SHE DID NOT THINK I WAS CRAZY, SHE WAS SERIOUS AND REAL about it! She didn't get "fake" excited. She didn't start going crazy with unrealistic ideas. Instead, she was supportive and had good advice about which school in China could help me most, about which classes at the U would help me, and about other things that could help me. She gave me relivant and pertanant information about how I could go about achieving my dream. In the end, she said TWICE that this conversation would continue! Meaning, SHE wants to talk to ME about it! (Rather than what usually happens: me yammering on and on about my dream of going to China.) She also said she would CONTINUE TO THINK about what I can do to get on the right path to my food program!!!!!! SHE is going to think about it! Not me alone! She is going to HELP me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so thankful to Heavenly Father for guiding me and helping me, and I am so thankful to Heavenly Father for softening her heart towards me and my plans (which is really His plan). I am so thankful to Professor Wan for listening and guiding me. How blessed I am!!!!! Small Stones could be real again!
Um, I just filled out an online application to a university in JingMen!
Okay, I'll back up. My professor and I had a good heart-to-heart on Friday. We had just started discussing the possibility of me studying in China when she had to go. However, I am meeting with her this morning to further discuss my options. I THINK I have to study at one of the partner schools in China...but I am going to see if I can find a way around that. Until today, I didn't know there even WAS a university in JingMen. Thanks to Google, I learned there IS one! So what did I do? Filled out an application. I will pray my heart out about if that is where I am supposed to continue my schooling...but in my heart, it just makes sense. I will only be there one semester, but it may give me the experience and connections I need to get my foot in the door for my food program!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am going to pray that the U will allow me to study there, if it be God's will, so I can get the ball rolling for Sixteen Small Stones' Feeding Program in JingMen, China. Wouldn't that be a miracle??!?!!?!?!?!