The past two months have been very blessed. Please join me in thanking Him for a good start to life and work here in China!
The month of August was largely spent in meetings and in planning for CWEF’s projects here in Shanghai. The month of September was largely spent ‘on the road’.
In early September, a coworker and I spent two weeks in India working with the pastors and leaders of the IELC (India Evangelical Lutheran Church), doing evaluation and planning for the final distribution of the "Cows for Widows" project there. This project, including my travel to India, is funded by the Wheat Ridge Foundation, a pan-Lutheran grant-making organization that focuses on health and human care projects. The "Cows for Widows" project provides the gift of a cow for hundreds of young widows in the church who are still supporting their children. Through the sale of milk or future offspring, this gift provides a way for these struggling families to earn additional income, making it easier for them to feed their family and in many cases to eventually save enough money to put their children through college. The project also makes it possible for the IELC to provide much-needed physical support for some of their poorest members, in addition to the vital spiritual support they are already receiving.
A few days after returning from India, I headed back to the airport with a group of 20 students and three teachers from Concordia International School Shanghai, a wonderful K-12 school that was founded by the LCMS and which caters to the large international community here in Shanghai. Every September, every CISS high school student takes part in what is called Interim, which is a series of trips around Asia. Many of these are service trips, while others are historical or cultural learning experiences. Over the years, CISS has been an amazing partner of CWEF's work with the rural poor in China’s southwestern Yunnan province. This year, CWEF administered three Interim trips to Yunnan, and I helped to lead one of them. We spent the week teaching English to middle school students in a small mountain town called Dashanbao. Experiences like this trip can really have an amazing effect on the Concordia students, opening up their eyes and hearts to the joys of Christian service. As a result of being on this trip, several of the students and adult leaders expressed interest in getting involved with CWEF's English workshops at the migrant school we are working with in Shanghai, which is a huge blessing and an answer to prayer.
I’m writing this note during China’s National Day holiday, which celebrates the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. This week is one of two “Golden Weeks” in China, the other being Spring Festival (also called Chinese New Year). Many people have the entire week off work and spend it vacationing or traveling to be with family.
After the holiday week is over, I’ll be kicking into high gear here in Shanghai. Everything is set for beginning work on the computer lab project CWEF is funding at Shanghai Children’s Home, a large orphanage just outside the city. This work is set to be completed by the end of October.
This month, we will also be taking our first group of volunteers to Mengshan Middle School, the migrant school south of the city that CWEF is working with. The Spanish Honor Society from Concordia International School has raised funds for a library upgrade at the migrant school, and a group of these Concordia students will visit the school this month to meet with Principal Zhou and several of the students. The hope is to make plans for a return visit in November for a full-out Saturday English workshop.
Please remember all of these things in your ‘thoughts’, asking Him to guide and direct our work.