Sunday, May 25, 2008

China Earthquake

Hi all, I am fine. Thank you to those of you who emailed, called or thought about me. NPR has done a wonderful job capturing the spirit of this disaster. These are some sound bytes that probably many of you have already heard, but some may not have. I don't have words for my feelings.

The quake hits as Melissa records a pastor's story. The quake was felt in Hangzhou, but on the 15th floor of an office building I was unaware as those around me evacuated:

Melissa visits scene of a collapsed middle school

A week later (yesterday) a three-day mourning period started. I was told about the mourning period but I was shocked to my core to experience the three minutes of silence (marked by air-raid sirens) while I was checking out at the supermarket. For three minutes the impossible happened, the whole nation of 1.6 billion stood stalk still. The hair on my arm still prickles when i think about those three minutes. Nearby the checkout a t.v. continued to play dreadful footage of children being pulled from wreckage. This is a taste of it:

And finally, fear still abounds as everyone waits, here to hear about loved ones and there to see what the next aftershock will do.

No word from Stone Gate Village yet, an update to hopefully come soon.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Ma Zhi Nan

In the Miao village called Ajigen, outside of Stone Gate, lives an 11-year-old girl named Ma Zhi Nan who has a benign tumor in her salivary gland. This picture was taken in August of 2007.

Ma Zhi Nan ‘s family and family home.

This picture was taken in December of 2007; the tumor has rapidly grown and continues to cause her significant pain and suffering. CNCP is currently looking for a sponsor who is willing to donate 140 USD per year for her schooling and family/life support and 550 USD for her hospital exams and transport to and from the hospital. In addition, CNCP, along with Shimenkan Connection, is currently searching for a hospital or doctor who is willing to do the surgery for free, as her family cannot afford such an expense.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Current needs

Being on holiday from work and school, I find most days working on projects started in China by SJA that could use a lot of support and prayer from the US. Right now, I desperately need old Christmas cards (both sides attached. When Christmastime comes, each student needs two cards to fashion a "Christmas box" which I use as a teaching tool about giving during the holiday season. (Other cards or holiday paraphernalia (pictures, window clings, storybooks, activities etc) about special occasions like Easter, Valentine's Day, birthdays and Thanksgiving are also welcome as teaching tools.

I am also seeking new and gently used children's books (age 0-12) for the opening of a free English reading corner in the Hangzhou Public Library. Groups, establishments and individuals will be listed on a plaque in both Chinese and English at the opening of the reading corner.

To complete these tasks, I also am asking for donations toward postal fees (as we all know, postage has gone up quite steeply lately)to ship both the cards and the books to Hangzhou, donars will also be recognized for their contribution.

Thank you very much for your continued support and prayers. If you are interested in participating in any of these drives, please call, email, drop by or leave me a comment on my page. Thanks again!!

Monday, June 25, 2007


Late this August, I will be travelling to Shimenkan with Cici. This is our general idea about our upcoming research trip to Stone Gateway (Shimenkan). Shimenkan is the home of the Miao minority people, which have held a very low status for generations, even amidst other local minorities. We have two main goals, local education and historical Christianity cultivation.

1. Local education.
- We will investigate the issues of poverty-stricken families needing their children at home to work rather than at school, endangered schools, and the quality of rural teachers. We have friend there who is a local teacher and devotes a lot of time and money to local charity work, she is already identifying families in particular desperation and making a list for our investigation. We will organize financial support in this field, using the resources of both OCEF (Overseas Chinese Education Foundation) and SJA, depending on potential funding.

2. Church Growth
-Furthermore, we plan to record local Christian history by contacting local church people (Miao Christians) particularly those persons belonging to the older generations. We will bring Stone Gateway stories and history to life to showcase Christianity in this area.

- We will investigate what is left of the church now, what sort of influence Christianity has on the community, and the possibility of creating a budget in order to build a new church.

- In order to raise money to support both the growth of the church and educational system, we will examine Miao handicrafts, such as Miao embroidery, in hopes that by selling local goods here and abroad, the community can rely on itself to create a better life for it's youth.

- We particularly plan to begin a women's class to learn the characters of the Miao written language, along with Christian vocabulary from the Bible or hymns. It is important to emphasize that classes will also be aimed at sanitation, childcare, family, health and agricultural practices.

We will investigate and survey the possibility, cost and requirements of the abovementioned projects. Many donations and volunteers are needed. This program should exist mainly on donations from abroad and the kindness of foreigners, as the program should be done in a covert manner in order to stray from political and social problems amass in China (beginning that it is such a sensitive subject).

Soon, we will open a webpage in both Chinese and English introducing Stone Gateway to the general public with general facts and information—not only concerning the village, but also the projects aiming at raising the living standard. Through the website, one will also be able to donate money toward the current projects and the overall local economic, education and spiritual development.

We are so excited to think about the come trip and all that the Lord might allow develop. We feel strongly lead (almost pushed!) to focus on Shimenkan. Please join us, there is much work to be done and we welcome you to join us.
peace:: Cici and Cammie

please see:

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sanjiang area investigation

The following is a translation from a Chinese link of a friend of Zheng SiSi (Cici), Hong Bo, who is the leader of the organization Ge Sang Hua (named after a common flower in Tibet). Ge Sang Hua organizes education-related support for Tibetan children. This post was written a few days ago about Hong Bo's trip to Yushu in Qinghai province to visit sponsored children, this May.

This photo is of a mother and child. You might not be able to imagine how they are suffering. The mother's voice box has been destroyed so she cannot speak clearly. When we visited her family she became distressed because she was unable to explain the family's situation to us. She has no husband, and her daughter no father.

When the mother opened her coat, we saw that she had two raw horrific sores on her leg. Despite her vocal disability, she was able to communicate that she had no idea what had caused the open sores, and had no money to seek medical care.

I couldn't bear seeing any more, I doubled over as if my heart had been cut in two. The only thing I am able to do for this small family is to record their story and publish it on our website. The daughter we sponsor is the one hope and joy that keeps the mother strong and alive.

Next, we visited another sponsored child's family. All three generations of women have lost their husbands to the various effects of poverty. The child we are financing and his mother live a bitter and hard life. The grandmother is elderly and trembling from sickness and the mother's children are still young and in school. The mother has never had a father-figure; she has never been to school and she has no husband. In this area, many single women raising families often leave government forms void of the children's father's names, rejecting the possibility of child-support preferring to bear the hardship of raising a child on one's own because the possibility that the child could belong to different men looms dauntingly. In this manner, many of the children we sponsor have no "official" fathers.

This is not unusual in Tibetan culture. In many Tibetan songs, most lyrics praise mothers but seldom fathers. I believe Tibetan women suffer more than we, Han people, can imagine. We cannot compare their strength and endurance of hardship to our own lives.

Tibet is such a beautiful and mysterious land. We believe that the lives of the children Ge Sang Hua sponsors will be much happier than their mothers' and grandmothers'. We know knowledge and education change change children's futures for the better. We hope for your prayers, thoughts, efforts and support.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Foundations etc.

I am learning about grant-writing, and I've learned one of the first rules is to use networking in order to find foundations that have similar goals as your organization. As so, I am asking for any suggestion of foundations you know of interested in overseas work, especially in the rural areas concerning education and basic needs. Also, a children's English reading room is being organized at the Hangzhou Public Library. New and used books as well as funds are welcome, a foundation or philanthropic organization interested in overseas children's education/literacy would be a great connect. You can email me or leave a message if you have any ideas or know of anyone with any ideas. Peace.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A day of Xiaolan


Shilan Kang, girl, 12 year old, address, Sichuan prov. Mabian county, Minzhu, country, Jinbu(progress)village, Hongcun(red village) group, school Minzhu village primary school five grade class 2.

Family members:

Xiao lan’s parents have worked in city for many years, and they haven't returned home in for two years. Last year they sent home 2000RMB (approx.250 USD) home as the living cost for their children and Xiaolan’s grandparents.

Now at home, is Xiaolan’s grandfather, 65, is in good health, so he does all the field work. Now, he comes to feel his age and he is not strong as before.

Their land is 3 and half basic unit. (Each unit has a field and hillside land). The layout of their land can meet the family’s need. But no, the grandfather is not strong enough as before to work the land, so they have to buy most of their rice. They keep a pig and sell in the end of year.

They seldom eat pork, mostly green vegetable, some times pepper with rice.

Xiaolan’s grandmother, 61, hurt herself once working in the field several years ago, and not has still not recovered. She is sick and often coughing.

Older brother, 13, Guanyu Fan, is in the 6 grade in same school, he is not tall as Xiaolan because he has been weak since he was very small, so by the local culture’s tradition, he has his mother’s name along with his surname

Xiaolan’s younger brother Shishuang Kang is Xiaolan twin, and in the same school, 5grade.

Xiaolan’s father’s sister and her husband also work in city all year round, and leave their two young girls to live together with Xiaolan’s grandparents. One is six and another four.

Xiaolan is a diligent student; she is silent in school and gets along well with classmates. In the home she is a very helpful hand.

Xiaolan gets financial support from an organization, 125yuan (16 USD) each semester. In her home in on the wall she has many awards for study and sport. But recently she is lagging behind in study.

Her family is very popular in local area.

Her family is among the average class. Poverty is widespread in her hometown.

We told her one day ahead that we will take pictures of her day.

April 25, 6am when we arrived, she is already making breakfast. Grandfather and her older brother are not home, the day before he was hurt when play with friends and so Grandfather took him to the doctor in county hospital.

Xiaolan’s morning is very busy. Making breakfast, feeding pig, making sure her brother and cousins get up, have breakfast, wash and dress, and clean up. (most pictures taken in morning) Xiaolan does all this work in good order one by one.

Finishing morning work, she brings cousin to school, now still has one hour before class begin, so she cleans the classroom with the students and then begins to preview lessons.

In class, she raises questions and asks teacher’s help.

At noon, she, her brother and her cousin go back home for lunch. The older brother has arrived home earlier so he warmed rice; lunch food is pepper with rice. Xiaolan’s cousin is tired so she has to carry her back home. Grandfather and the older brother are home now, and he is ok. Grandfather has brought home a piece of port fat, which is the only oil for the family this year.

At , 3:30 back from school, Xiaolan does her homework first for about one hour. Then she brings her cousins to a hill to cut grass for pig…

Dark coming, grandmother is already waiting them home ……

It rained, so we didn’t photograph more, we didn’t want to disturb more of their quite life.

We can imagine, Xiaolan needs to prepare her family’s supper, feed the pig, and she might watch TV with her family for a while, (a small white and black TV) but not for long, because they can’t afford to use money on electricity. She might phone her parents, (they have telephone, but once again they can’t afford much for telephone costs; to them it’s expensive wasteful).

When with Xiaolan came back home, we asked her, “What you will do in future?” She said, “I never thought of that. We said,“ Set yourself a goal and work hard for that”. She said, “I see…”

Sometimes, Xiaolan will pick tea in the hills and sell it for stationery and family cost.

(Article and pictures approved by Xiaolan, copyright by SJA. )

Photo links in below: 农村女孩小兰的一天