One of our co-workers, brought news from a trip to a country area to visit some of the children supported through our ministry. The families were so grateful for the support they receive. One grandfather insisted we take a gift from him for helping to educate his granddaughter. The gift was a pair of inner-soles embroidered by his mother many years ago. Such a precious memory from his own mother, yet he insisted we take them!
Sitting talking with these people reveals so many very sad stories. It is heartbreaking to hear them. Many tell us their stories with tears running down their cheeks. Chinese people don’t like to be seen as weak or not able to cope with things, yet several of these people cried on our shoulders as they spoke of their family’s plight.
Consider William* who lives with his aged granny and grandpa. William’s mother left him with his grandparents when he was just one month old! The grandparents, both in their 70s, have raised him since then and educated him.
When William was in middle school, his granny had to sell her old treadle sewing machine and rice cooker to pay his school fees. In high school, so his fees are that much more, but his grandparents have nothing left to sell.
Both grandparents are too old to work. In fact his grandpa has been very ill, but couldn’t stay in the hospital because the family was unable to afford it. William is a bright boy and wants to learn, but how can he go to school when there is no money for school fees?
To add to William’s pressure, his mother is now living in the next village. William would like to meet her, but his grandparents say no. What does a boy do when faced with such pressures? According to Chinese ways, it is William’s job to look after his grandparents now. He is just 15-years-old.
Kevin’s father died in a car accident a few years ago. His mother remarried and moved to another village with her new husband, but Kevin doesn’t fit into this new family. As is often the case when a parent remarries, Kevin was left with his grandparents and his mother has moved on to her new life.
Kevin now lives with his aging grandfather. He is a well-mannered, bright boy, but without help he will never finish his education. What does his future hold?
And what of Jenny? Jenny was abandoned at birth. A passerby heard her crying and rescued her. She has looked after Jenny ever since.
Her foster granny is in her late 70s. She used to make a meagre living mending clothes on a very old treadle machine, but she can no longer see to sew, so she now works for another lady making steamed buns. The pay is extremely low and granny’s hands are so arthritic that she cannot make enough steamed buns to earn a living.
A local villager recently offered a severely disabled boy to Jenny as a husband. In return for marriage, she would be required to look after this 16-year-old boy with severe brain damage. Jenny is only 12 years old.
Without someone to help her, Jenny’s future is very bleak indeed. These are just three of the families we came across during our recent trip to visit some of the children we support.
There are so many heartbreaking stories. Pray with us that the practical and financial support we offer through our mercy ministry will help.