Nearly 4 years after the death of Xin Wei, one of the founders of the Home of Mephibosheth, what is the status of the charity for the abnormal children? With this question in mind, I visited the Home located on a hill in Da Dian, Junan County, Linyi City, Shandong province on June 4.
The origin of the Home dates back to July 2001, when Xin Wei, a Chinese Christian, came to an orphanage in Hebei province where, for the first time, she saw so many orphans abandoned by their parents because of various diseases. The misfortunes of these children deeply touched her heart. From that day on, a belief to serve and take care of these poor children was rooted in her heart. Before long, she became a volunteer in a care home for children.
In 2003, she married Steve, who had the same goal in life. Since then, she and her husband had lived in the United States for four years, during which time their service continued.
In 2007, Xin Wei and Steve returned to China with their children to continue their work in serving children with disabilities. In August 2009, they used their savings and the funds of friends from all walks of life to start this home. It was established as Home of Mephibosheth in Da Dian town in Shandong province.
The first time I saw Xin Wei and her husband Steve was in April 2015, three months before her death. At that time she was in the late stages of cancer and sharing her faith testimony with several churches in Beijing. She said that she did not ask God to heal her, but to use her to attract 10,000 souls to the Lord through her testimony about the triumph of over cancer.
When I met Steve this time, he talked about this desire before she died, and he was sure that the wish had been fulfilled because when they went to churches everywhere to share, there were many who came. Xin Wei's memorial service was attended by more than 3,000 people. Others shared the story of Xin Wei through hymns, videos, articles and other forms.
Steve said Xin Wei left with a yearning for heaven, lifting her hands to the sky.
For Da Dian's Home, Xin Wei hoped for it to be a place for children to play, to release their nature. Steve also hoped that the children would enjoy it. After Xin Wei's death, the construction of the Home has not ceased, still being perfected and is expected to be completed in another year.
Entering the Home, I felt that the place was full of vitality, much like a mountain mansion. The house with some decorative stone exterior walls appeared vibrant. There were artificial caves, sheep, chickens, a peacock farm, swimming pools, flowers and trees, small bridges over water, and vegetable greenhouses... Steve excitedly said that the two big trees that had recently been bought had grown long leaves, and the fences made of twigs yielded long leaves too.
Apart from the exterior features, the interior was also very attentively designed. Some roofs were glass allowing light to come in so one still raise fish on the rooftop. The house had a tree-shaped pillar in an ordinary door. However Steve said there was a "secret". There was actually a small studio behind it where one could program to operate small robots and model airplanes. There were a lot of board paintings hanging on the walls..
The construction of the Home began in 2009 from nothing, and construction work had now been in place for 10 years. When the park was about to be completed, the number of children coming here has declined. Four months ago, for a number of policy reasons, most of the children living at the Home were sent back to their original orphanages, leaving only six adopted children in the Home.
Because of the departure of Xin Wei coupled with fewer children, there are fewer people coming there to visit. Steve said there used to be hundreds of people visiting every month, and Xin Wei's memorial service was attended by more than 3,000 people. A sister who came to visit said that the kitchen there used to be so full of food that you couldn't fit anymore inside.
Even so, Steve insisted on working at the Home, and he felt there was still a lot of work to be done. He hoped that in addition to adopting abandoned children, it would also be a place where homeless, hungry, depressed people could be treated.
Steve claimed that he does this ministry to experience the truthfulness of God's words. Isaiah 58 is the Scripture on which he depends, where God promises and interacts with people there.
The idea of the Home originated from the biblical story of the descendants of Jonathan, the teenage friend of David when he was still a young lad. It meant to look for children who were unwanted and felt worthless, and to give them a home. The Home mainly adopts sick children from all over the country who have been abandoned by their parents, such as those with cerebral palsy, autism, Downs syndrome, spinal bifita and congenital heart disease.
- Translated by Charlie Li