We had quite an eventful week, serving in two cities and a countryside town. This blog post begins with our Saturday hike, at the countryside location where we conversed with a neighbor.
A few local friends joined our hiking group.
Here, my friend Hans and I are near the top of the small mountain.
This is Wei Wei, who is one of our volunteers. She lives in our city, but she grew up here.
We reached our final destination at a natural spring of water, which is famous in the area. Many people walk for miles to collect this water. For us, this trickling water is very special and symbolic.
Although our legs and feet were tired, even the hike back was beautiful and refreshing.
We gathered in the home of Wei Wei's parents for lunch.
Here, I am with Wei Wei's family.
This is a glimpse of a traditional northeastern meal.
After our return to the countryside town, we visited with a family affected by autism.
Here, we are visiting Wei Wei's grandmother in the hospital.
Other local families joined us for dinner.
David, the younger man to my right, was our team's co-leader. It was quite an honor to serve with him.
On Friday, a day before the hike, we had a formal dinner with Red Cross hospital leadership. Note that the vice-president of the hospital interlocked his fingers with mine. For the older generation, this is culturally appropriate, indicating a strong bond.
In our home city on Thursday before the trip, we visited young adults with intellectual disabilities.
They are a fun group to hang out with. Even though I hadn't seen them since December, they called out my name and came to welcome me with hugs.
This is Mr. Zhao's father. Mr. Zhao leads this day center for adults with intellectual disabilities. It is quite the honor to serve, pray, and love the Chinese people.
On March 23, sixteen younger children with autism and their parents attended the day camp. Like the day camp of March 19 for older children with autism, we had five new families join us. Also, since this was our first time to have a day camp on a Wednesday, we needed to find many new volunteers. Twelve of our sixteen volunteers had never volunteered anywhere before.
The children made art crafts by arranging ripped and shredded construction paper.
Those who finished early were able to play with puzzles.
This father and son were among the new families.
A local business provided gift bags for the children.
For many of the children, it was their first time to see Max Lucado's You are Special book.
Several of the families had to leave early, but we took a group shot of volunteers at the close of the camp, with the added smile of one of our joyful participants. The two young men to the left have both been participants on many occasions, but they are starting to serve younger children as volunteers.