Glimmer of God's Glory - Interview With Head of Social Worker Service Center

Christian Orphanage in Zhaoxian, Hebei
Christian Orphanage in Zhaoxian, Hebei (photo:

In Xi'an, a historic city, there is a social service organization that quietly provides care to the community. It is committed to providing HLC (Holistic Lifelong Care) services for people in need and helping them integrate into society.

The head of the organization, Xile, is an ardent and devout Christian.

Her experience of faith is related to divorce. When her daughter was just in the first grade, she went through the pain of divorce, and since then, she has lived a struggling life of self-reliance while taking care of her daughter. Her sister, who was far away in a foreign country, had become a believer and often preached the Gospel to her, but Xile always refused to accept it because she felt that prayer was of little use and could not help her solve her real problems. She even felt that the story of Jesus was groundless and untrustworthy.

When Xile's sister came back to visit her family, she gave Xile a Bible. After her sister left, Xile put it away. Later, when her sister came back again, she kept asking Xile if she had read the Bible. After Xile was asked several times, she opened the Bible and read it. She came across Jesus' teaching about not worrying in Matthew 6, which gave her great peace. Later, when she was reading the Bible, she began to see clearly that she was a person with many problems and had made a lot of mistakes. Later, a couple who studied abroad came to Xi'an and led her in Bible study and prayer.

Once, Xile was particularly moved by God and determined to do something for exceptional children. Later, she was given the chance to work as a volunteer for two years with an organization that helped autistic children. Then, she planned to start a social service organization for exceptional children. At first, she went to the Civil Affairs Department to apply for the qualification of the service center for autistic children, but the application was not approved. The receptionist then suggested she work as a social worker, then it would be easier to get approved.

At that time, there happened to be a social worker training program, and she was recommended to attend. After systematic training, Xile was more determined to serve as a social worker. After that, she started putting together the necessary paperwork for registration and soon finished registering for the social work service organization.

Xile named the organization "Glimmer", she said, "Glimmer means the bright light in the dark night." This light will dispel the darkness, guide the direction, and bring peace and hope. "Jesus is the true light of the world, and we must help more people in darkness see the great light."

The day the agency was registered, she got a case. She got a list of all the poor families in a neighborhood, went to each one with a sheet of information, weeded out some that weren't really poor, verified the information, and turned in the report. Her hands-on approach to work was noticed by higher-ups, and she began to work with the community to help children with special needs.

The first time she started a campaign, she didn't know how to organize it. Her sister, who is also doing social work, introduced her to a couple who are social workers serving the children in Xinyang, Henan Province. This couple is also doing social work to serve local vulnerable groups. Later, they came to Xi'an to help her organize their first activity together. Because it was in the early stages of her organization, she had little money, and the warm-hearted couple didn't even ask for travel expenses.

After that, Xile started organizing events by herself, but only for those that lasted a day or two. Once, she and a couple jointly held a seven-day summer camp. During that activity, she saw that ethnic minority children in remote areas are actually living more difficult lives than exceptional children in the city, and they need more warmth.

Along the way, her path as a social worker was fraught with difficulties. When she could not make ends meet, Xile wanted to stop doing this after she finished one last activity and spent all the money she had, but God always prepared more than she could ever hope for. Every time, she would have a surplus.

She also shared a witness story at a social worker training conference. One of her friends invited her to meet a stranger. The stranger was holding a thick black Bible, which turned out to be an English Bible with a history of 200 years. It was left by the man's ancestors and kept safe for several years. However, he always felt that it didn't belong to him, so he always wanted to give it to someone. So he tracked down the sister's friend, Xile, and finally gave it to Xile. Xile has always regarded it as a treasure. She says it is the power of her faith that keeps her going.

During previous summer camp activities, she learned that some people in low-rent housing communities in Xi'an commit suicide by jumping off buildings. She did research and found a community to offer long-term social work services, and the results were amazing.

When talking about the current situation of the social work center, Xile said that in recent years, they have rented a house in the community and provided free care classes. Children who are different or have problems can come to the care classes after school to eat and do their homework. Social workers and parents would work closely together to create a good environment for the healthy development of these children.

When asked about the difficulties they are facing, Xile said they still do not have enough resources. For example, they need the support of a matching foundation, and they also need more volunteers to work with the social worker service team. After helping a lot of people during the pandemic, the social work center is excited to offer more services to people in the community. For example, they want to open a community bookstore, a pharmacy, and a center for rehabilitation therapy.

Speaking about her experience in the social work center, Xile said, "During the years of community service, we have come into contact with various groups with special needs and recognized the needs of various families in difficulties." We also often feel powerless because what we can do is very limited, and many difficulties cannot be fundamentally solved. And yet, in every visit, we share our faith in the Lord, and we do our best to share with them our own personal experience of life, the world, and society, in the hope that we can bring them the warmth of love and the hope of the future.

- Translated by Nicolas Cao

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