Christian Nursing Home in Henan Spreads the Lord’s Love

By Ding Dong , August 04, 2017 06:08 AM

Xiangle Nursing Home

Xiangle Nursing Home offers twin rooms for the aged.

Xinmi City is located on the east side of Mount Song in the central Chinese Henan Province. It has about 70,000 Christians and 73 registered churches and gatherings with a total population of 797,000.

A Christian nursing home named Xiangle Home for Seniors sits in the city. Han Dong, the founder, was once a church leader. She realized that the church preached too much while doing too little and many people were giants in words yet dwarves in deeds. Moreover, China's policy encourages Christians to join in social service that functions as a good platform to spread Christ's love to everyone. Seeing that a number of left-behind seniors in the church were not cared for, she felt burdened to solve their living problems.

However, the church didn't favor her idea in the beginning and many believers held that it was unnecessary to put efforts into opening an elderly home since it was good for them to stay in the church. Failing to receive support from her former church, she resigned from her position of leadership. Instead, she placed herself as Christ's servant to the seniors, starting the preliminary work of the nursing home in her own house in 2009.

People in mainland China believe that elders' living in nursing homes shows that his or her children are unfilial. As a result, senior citizens' homes don't win high recognition in society, and some young people who don't support their parents even forbid them from residing in nursing homes.Han promised in front of the elder's relatives that she would take care of elderly residents in her nursing home as if they were her own parents. Eventually, the first resident came to her home to try.

The news that an elderly person inhabited the home became widespread. Many locals considered the family unfilial, but later they discovered that the senior wanted to return to the nursing home at once whenever he went home for a visit. Gradually, the locals found out that it was a different home where the seniors were cared for like parents, so many elderly people wanted to live there. In the first year more than 20 seniors lived in her home. With the increase in the number of residents, Han rented a facility to serve more seniors, including non-Christians.

An unexpected thing happened, which almost destroyed her vision... In May 2011, several websites exposed an elder abuse incident by nurses of a home of seniors situated in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan. The issue aroused a high degree of attention from the local government, which ordered a ban of illegal nursing homes. The early-stage unlicensed home faced being closed. Praying to God to help her, Han went around crying for help. Meanwhile, some aged people claimed that it was better for them to live in the home than in their own houses. In the end the government yielded and gave her a license, adding that the home would be forced to close if there was any bad news.

The home has now relocated to a medium-sized nursing home, serving around 190 seniors with a roughly 90% occupancy rate that many local retirement homes fail to reach. The staff consists of over 50 Christians who have good faith. Although they are paid little, their service with love is accepted by many residents. All the residents live in twin rooms each equipped with a bathroom, an air conditioner, and a TV. When it is time to have lunch at 11:30 am, the staff brings meals to a desk in the corridor outside the bedrooms of the aged people who are unable to take care of themselves. The workers keep them company while they eat, and feed those who cannot care for themselves.

One senior who has resided in the home for a year and a half said that she couldn't talk to anybody and ate irregularly at home, but she likes the retirement home for she can chat with others, have dishes with varied flavors, and join in entertainment programs offered by the home now and then. She added that Han takes them to pass the winter in Haikou where the winters are warm for months and they return to the home when the warm weather comes.

-Translated by Karen Luo

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