The Arrows Go Public

The Arrows Go Public

When I was being prayed for at a conference in 2016, there was the image of a quiver of arrows at my side. I shot each arrow in a different direction. Then I collected all those arrows and shot them, all together, in one direction. I immediately knew what that meant.

I believed God was telling me to contact our adopted children and ask them to return to Qinghai and serve in our Children's Homes. That was the beginning of our Back to Serve programme.

Four girls expressed interests in returning to Qinghai, and two of them, Abigail and Bingjie, joined us for the programme.

Last December these inspiring young women shared their stories and answered questions from our CA colleagues. At the end of a time of prayer, my husband Marlon saw these girls each wearing a full suit of armour. "You are spiritual warriors!" he said to them.

After the girls' returned to the US, they were interviewed by Public Radio International, one of the larger US-based radio companies. The piece was featured on a segment called "Across Women's Lives", in which the girls shared their stories. Take a minute to listen and read here.

Abigail and Bingjie faithfully responded to God's call on their lives, going on an emotional, healing journey to reconnect with the people they grew up with and love. Pray with me that there will be many more ‘arrows' going out and returning to help serve and build bridges.

-Siew Mei Cheung
Christian Action Executive Director

Abigail Anderson - Back to Serve Reflection

Abigail Anderson - Back to Serve Reflection

In September of 2016, Mrs. Cheung-Ang Siew Mei, Executive Director of Christian Action, contacted my family and asked if I would be interested in joining a pilot program called “Back to Serve” that God had put on her mind; inviting former adoptees to return to Qinghai and serve for six months. Bingjie Turner and I answered her call, and we arrived in Hong Kong early last year on April 29th to begin our one-month orientation and training, to be better equipped to provide the orphans of Qinghai the care they deserve and need.

“Back to Serve” has been an emotional and self-healing journey for me since from a young age I learned to keep all my feelings to myself because I had no one to talk to about them. It was an emotional journey because it meant that I had to come face to face with my past, the past that I had buried so long ago. It meant that I had to relive all those memories, the good and the bad.  During this entire journey, sharing my story with other people has been the most difficult part for me.  During my first sharing in a public gathering, I started to cry even before I began sharing. In the end though, it turned out to be a good thing, as my crying during the presentation left a huge impression on the audience.

When I started this journey, I thought that service at Qinghai would be easy breeze for me; I would reconnect with old friends, meet new friends, brush up on my Chinese heritage and just enjoy my time there. I was not prepared for the emotional roller-coaster that followed.  At first, I was very excited to meet up with all my old friends, especially my foster grandmother and the young adults that live at the Bridging Program. But I broke down completely when I met my foster grandmother for the first time, as I was shocked to see how her health had deteriorated over the past ten years.  In fact, I was so scared and sad to see her in that condition that I did not go back to see her again for several months to emotionally prepare myself before I saw her again.

When I met the young adults for the first time, they could not believe their eyes that I was physically there and were super excited to hear that I was going to spend the next six months with them doing volunteer service.  Due to my petite size and my love of art, they placed me at the Special Education Department in the Xi Ning Children’s Home (XNCH) and the Social Welfare Institute (SWI).

At the Social Welfare Institute, I really connected well with the young adults. In the beginning, we just talked and tried to reconnect. As time passed, they opened up more and shared some of their more personal stories with me; some of their stories just broke my heart. It was difficult for me to leave them again, knowing how much work needed to be done, even though I felt like I hadn’t accomplished anything during my stay. I suppose my being there physically gave them some comfort. 

The more time I spent at the Social Welfare Institute and Xi Ning Children’s Home, the harder it got for me. I was constantly retelling my personal story to strangers in order to promote and advocate for the children at the children’s home. Everywhere I walked, I recalled roads that I used to walk on with my two foster grandmothers during my childhood.  The memories of their unconditional love and devotion they showed me brought me to tears every time I thought about them. 

At the children’s home, there were memories both happy and sad, especially the sad memories that I had buried so long ago. It was very difficult for me to reopen those old wounds after all these years. My greatest takeaway from this trip is that I ended my journey with a lighter heart than when I first began, having summoned the courage to come face to face with my past, and coming to terms with it by sharing my story with other people.

After my time at the Social Welfare Institute with the young adults at the Bridging Program and the children at the Xi Ning Children’s Home, I am more determined than ever to lend a hand to those in need. Despite all the emotional baggage that I encountered on this journey, it was a wonderful experience.  It was a truly self-rewarding feeling to be doing something good for those in need.  This trip gave me the opportunity to reconnect with my Chinese heritage, my foster grandmother, old friends and connect with new friends along the way. Most of all, it was an unforgettable experience, and a constant reminder of how blessed I am with the life I have right now.

20 Fruitful Years!

20 Fruitful Years!

Christian Action is now celebrating its 20th Anniversary of helping to rescue and serve the orphans, disabled and abandoned children and youth in Qinghai Province, Northwest China. We have been privileged to partner with the Chinese government to help bring about life and hope to hundreds of children in China’s second poorest province.

During this time, orphan care has been vitally transformed in many ways:

  • In 2007 Christian Action signed a co-operation agreement with the Qinghai Civil Affairs Bureau to co-manage the first children’s home, a loving place for orphaned and abandoned children.
  • In 2007 Christian Action partnered with the government to open Qinghai’s first child rehabilitation center. This state-of-the-art facility serves the children in the home, as well as the entire Xining community, as parents are educated and trained to care for their disabled children. Child abandonment is decreasing as a result!
  • In 2008, the Xining Children’s Home was recognized as one of the Top Ten Child Welfare Institutions in China. Christian Action is currently co-managing five children’s homes in partnership with the local government, caring for about 800 children in five of Qinghai’s eight prefectures.
  • Since 2008, the China Government Ministry of Civil Affairs has been using Xining Children’s Home and Rehabilitation Center as a model for other children’s homes across China for training their directors. This includes on-site visits to observe “The Xining Model” and CA’s commitment to offer our very best to those considered to be “the least of these.”
  • In 2008, Christian Action launched the Education Grant Program. Since then, 1,775 grants have been provided to almost 700 poor Tibetan students (including many from some of the children’s homes where we serve), for high school and tertiary education. Many have graduated and become thriving adults in society, helping to stop the ongoing poverty cycle.
  • In 2014, the Qinghai government once again invited Christian Action to help address a great need: The care and development of mild to severely disabled youth, who, when they turn 18, are “aged out” of the Xining Children’s Home and have to be transitioned to the Xining Social Welfare Institute. In the past this has been a very traumatic transition because the Social Welfare Institute includes residents from the age of 18 to the very elderly and specialized care-giving is very new. The Bridging Group Home was established to provide care and a family community for these young people.
  • The hospital serving the ethnic minorities in Qinghai Province, Charity Hospital, is partnering with Christian Action to enhance its commitment and capacity to provide holistic, preventative and emergency care. Charity Hospital primarily serves Tibetans who live in Xining and throughout the Tibetan Plateau. A medical bus provided by Christian Action goes to remote places on the Plateau, where there is little or no medical care.

Over the past 20 years Christian Action has also:

  • Built 462 winter homes for poor ethnic families, as well as ten schools and two medical clinics.
  • Helped facilitate over 200 international adoptions, as well as local adoptions and foster care.
  • In 2017, CA began its “Back to Serve Program.” Abigail Wrynn Hu Yang Anderson and Liu Bingjie Turner returned this year to serve six months at the Xining Children’s Home where they lived before being adopted by U.S. families fourteen years ago!

Ten-Year Agreement

In October 2015, CA signed a ten-year Cooperation Agreement with the Qinghai Civil Affairs Department designating Christian Action as a “Strategic Partner” to address the rescue and care of Qinghai’s 8,000 orphans and another 28,000 at-risk children and youth throughout the province; more than 50% are Tibetan and Muslim children, as well as other ethnic minorities in Qinghai, while the others are Han Chinese.  This new challenge involves helping to establish a community center in every village in Qinghai to meet the needs of so many children. The government has asked Christian Action to help train the child welfare workers who will manage the community centers and be caseworkers for the abandoned and marginalized children and youth.

New Pediatric Physical and Occupational Therapy Training Center

Christian Action is also in the process of working with the government to build, equip, and co-manage a Pediatric and Occupational Therapy Training Center, which will provide much needed training and therapists for so many disabled children who are desperate for these therapies.

Christian Action is a Registered Foreign NGO in China!

Last November, Christian Action was given foreign NGO (Non-Government Organization) status. Christian Action became the first NGO in Qinghai Province and 235th in all of China. This NGO certification will enable Christian Action to more effectively work towards the goals of the Ten-Year Agreement mentioned above.

Thank You!

Thank you for your interest and for considering partnering with us to serve the Children of Qinghai, some of China’s most needy children and youth!