Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Starfish Thrower Orphanage, Xian, China


Have you ever heard the story or watched the video of the little boy who was caught throwing starfish which he found dying on the beach, back into the surf? He was told by an unsympathetic passerby that there were clearly thousands of them up and down the beach and that there were clearly too many of them to make any difference. He continued to throw them one by one, back into the ocean exclaiming: " It made a difference for that one!" You know that what he was doing, by himself, was indeed making a significant difference in the lives of a few of those where were in need that day.

Dana is excited about her new hair... Gray? Is she or isn't she?

You can tell which one stole Dana's heart. This is Carolyn. She needs a Grandma... Even more, she needs a Mommy. She has this thing she does, where she blinks both eyes at us several times and of course you do it back to her. She loves it. I think she is "double winking" at us. Then she laughs with all of us. This is Carolyn. She is one.

This is Amanda, who runs the place. She is the CEO. Last year she received the BYU humanitarian award and travelled there to accept it. She tells us what needs to be done. Some volunteers come for a month or two, and stay in the volunteer housing she had prepared for volunteers. Most volunteers come for a day or two or three.

This is Jack. We are here at the Starfish Foster home in Xian, China, where we are volunteers helping with the care and keeping of 53 babies at this time, all between one month and 3 years. They are so cute and quickly take hold of your heart. They are wonderful and so much fun. We love the babies and have been working hard to improve their environment and the volunteer/guest housing for the many volunteers who come here to help. We have been busy and have accomplished many projects that were needed.

This is Carolyn with Grandma Darling.

It is certainly a joy to help these kids. This is Anna. They are so loving and in need of love.
There are many Nannies. They each care for about three kids. Feed, love, change, hold, take naps with, and then do it all again and again.
This is Justin. Most of them have serious medical conditions and Amanda and her staff are continually working to get them strong, to repair physical defects, and to schedule as sundry life saving surgeries they need before they can be adopted and leave this place for a better life with a loving family.
This is Joseph.

Anna again. Volunteers love the babies and hold and talk to them as much as possible. The babies really like the volunteers. The volunteer is JoAnn Forbes from the BYU China EnglishTeachers Program in China.
This is a baby. What a cutie. He needs about three heart surgeries and a surgical repair of his exposed bladder -- then he is done and ready to go...

This is Julia being held by Gigi.
Six of these kids have been notified that they are being adopted and are waiting to leave and getting mentally prepared to go to their new homes all over the world.
Tristan and Josie. Their most serious need to for parents. They all want to be adopted and to live with a loving family. They have no family. The Nannies are hired to care for them and the volunteers fill their time with love and affection, but they need a Mommy and a Grandmommy.

They are seriously in need of parents. This is Carolyn again.

One of these is Alice and one is Justin. Our hearts go out to each of them as they struggle to live, grow, and develop in this temporary, seemingly crowded nursery/orphanage. There are babies everywhere. Try to Imagine 53 kids in your house at one time, all under the age of 3.

You can find out more about how to adopt these kids and about their nature and medical and adoptive issues at the websites for this agency. Need some more information???
Cell: 86.1348.812.4847

Beautiful Hong Kong

This is the entrance to the famous Stanley Market. We enjoyed a couple of hours here. Prices were really good, because they would give in to bartering. We are good at bartering after living in mainland China for a year and a half.

This beautiful tree hotel building is finally done.

This is another photo of the finished Tree Hotel.

This is the Tree they built the Hotel around. The Tree Hotel is finished. We saw it started last year and it is finished now. It looks great.

MONSTER BUILDLINGS. This is the tall tower in Hong Kong. It has a short tower next to it to befriend it. It is a happy tower. It is a Monetary, Financial Office Building.

Here are the two towers in Hong Kong. They are good friends. They are so high that it is hard to imaging building them...

We flew back to Jinan after our 10 day vacation and BYU China Teachers Conference in Hong Kong. We enjoyed our three days in Macau. We loved the conference. We had a blast. We really enjoyed the Hong Kong Temple every day for a solid week. It is good to be back home for a few days in Jinan (4 days). Today we flew to Xian to help at the Star Fish Thrower Orphanage and to see the sights such as the great wall and the Terra Cotta Warriors here. We are staying in the volunteer housing at Starfish. We will blog our experience here with the 53 orphans under 3 years old. Six of them have just been adopted and are waiting to be picked up soon. There are babies everywhere. We will help where we can to organize, move things, build things, do plumbing and cleaning, but mostly handle and hold and love the babies. We are in for a real treat. There is work enough to do here. See the websites to learn more about what we are about this next 10 days. We really feel blessed to get to do this! What a treat!

Monday, February 8, 2010

More fun in Honk Kong

WE met the missionaries in This beautiful place is Repulse Bay over the mountain from Hong Kong. This house on the far right is one of the branch members homes. It is white and on the beach and has several floors facing the beach. It is prime real estate. We were told that it's value is approx. $20 million dollars.

095 In Kowloon, we notices that many nice cruise ships park here and the ferries take them across to Hong Kong. We love the ferry rides.

094 Guess which one of these high rise Hong Kong buildings is the church...

075 This is the photo we took from their balcony, only 1/3 of the way up to the top floor. It is too high for us to feel comfortable.

019 We know that this is Spring Festival and that it is a lot like Christmas in comparison, but this is kind of ridiculous. Does this smack of Santa Claus or what? This man was selling something and asking for donations. Santa doesn't do that! Yes, he takes photos with the kids.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hong Kong Trip Continued

The New Building we saw under construction last year in Hong Kong is done and it is beautiful.

These are some strange little decorator squash which we came upon at the Stanley marketplace in Hong Kong.

At Stanley Market, we came upon the home of the Hong Kong Salvation Army, or at least one of their outlets.

On the rich side of Hong Kong, we visited these apartment buildings and met with some friends on the 13th floor of one nearby. The allowed us to take pictures from their balcony and invited us to stay for dinner. Yummy. The huge architectural hole in this apartment complex has a square hole which goes though the building, is an escape route or something like that we are told, to allow the evil spirits or bad dragons to get through the building and not remain inside or I guess try to get in...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hong Kong Trip

We are in HONG KONG. We bumped into an American business man from Provo, Utah. His name is Kelly Olsen. We talked with him on the ferry across the bay. He is one of the 5 principles of Tahitian Noni. He told us that Noni juice is being sold inside mainland China and Hong Kong. He was a kind and friendly man. We told him that we had attended one of our grandchildren's piano recitals in his Orem Tahitian Noni Business Complex. It was nice to meet him. Love that Noni Juice!

Chinese Spring Festival is upon us and love is in the air. We are on a two month winter vacation from our University English teaching. This is in Kowloon, across the bay from Hong Kong.

Jay and Dana in Xiamen on tour of that large Chinese city.

Hats like this are sold to tourist. You seldom see any Chinese wearing such hats. This one had my brother Ron's name on it. I saw this same hat at another vendor for the same price of about $2.00 American dollars, but it was spelled: Ronalddino. Which one is correct? Interesting to me as an English teacher and a personalized products man.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Leaving for the Orphange

Happy Valentines Everyone.
We have been home in Jinan for 4 days. When we set up our travel planes for Holiday break we planned on being gone for nearly 2 months. At the end of the Hong Kong Conference we decided that we needed to go home, regroup and then go to Xian to do some volunteer work at the a place called chinese.starfishthrower@gmail.com. We aren't quite sure what it will entail, but we know it will be a live changing experience. Those BYU teachers who have done it have told us this. We will be their for 10 days and then it will be back to Jinan and getting ready for our last 4 months of this wonderful Chinese adventure.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hong Kong Temple Trip

This is Temple patron housing. They are building a wonderful new one that will be ready the first of March, but this is what we were able to stay at. It was really great for a number of reasons. First it was free.
Here is the kitchen in Jays apt.

2nd we got to exercisers. We had to walk about a 1/4 a mile up a hill from the Temple to get to it. Of course that meant when we left we did not come back until we were ready to go to bed at night. This place had no internet so we would go to Festival Walk Mall and look at our internet.
This is my room(Dana). I was able to have my own little room that I shared with another person. I got to sleep on the bottom bunk.

3rd we were able to stay with the most humble special individuals. They had all travel far to get go to the Temple and were so eager to go to the temple every day. They came from Beijing, Outer Mongolia (where the church is really growing), and India. It was a little crowed but very sweet and were very grateful to be able to say there. 4th we were able to go to the Temple every day. We did at least 2 sessions a day plus family and marriage sealings. There are a lot of senior missionary called to come to hong kong to work in the temple. Dad was in the men apt. and I was in the womens.

Here is a picture looking out of Jays apt. group from Mongolia, 519 is my room. I was able to have my own little room that I shared with another person. I got to sleep on the bottom bunk.

With the Mongolian group there were these darling children. two of them were 9 and 11 and they had never seen the ocean so we took them out of lunch with their Mormon tour quide and then we took them to the other side of Hong Kong with the most beautiful beaches/
Our first night at patrons housing there were just 5 of us. Myself and wonderful girl from Beijing and a girl getting married to a young man from SLC. she was from Taiwan and had attended BYU Hawaii and her mother had come to Hong Kong for the marriage. Dad had stayed in the mens apt with the young man and his father and the next day we attended the sealiing and dad was one of the witnesses.
This last picture was Dad and I leaving our patorns housing and heading for the BYU conference. We were really excited about being together again, but so grateful to have had that special expereince with such fine people.