A Small Gesture from the Heart

A Big Difference to a Child’s Future (Part 3)

World Vision Sponsors’ Visit to YongSheng ADP, China (25 Mar – 1 Apr 2012)

by Jesper Chang

Day 2 ADP visit:

This would be the happiest and most memorable day of my entire trip to YongSheng.

Why?

Because this was the day I was going to meet my sponsored child. After sponsoring her for 5-years (beginning in 2008), I was finally going to meet her for the very FIRST time.

We began our trip into Shui Jing village that morning. Thereafter, we entered a community hall where we waited for our sponsored children to arrive.

When I first saw her walking in with her mom, I knew that was her. My heart skipped a beat, I was lost for words and I didn’t even know how to react. She was so different from her photo – different in a sense that she looked very mature and seemed to have grown exceptionally taller. But she was still who she was – my dear sponsored child. I immediately shook hands with her, and took pictures with her and her family.

Jesper

Couldn’t wait & just had to take a shot with my sponsored child, Yu Xiang upon meeting her for the very first time at the Community Centre

We exchanged greetings before World Vision staff organised a lunch for us and the families. What a great plan! Thank you, World Vision for organizing it this way.

Jesper

Lunch time with Yu Xiang, her parents, child sponsors and World Vision staff

Jesper

A family portrait with Yu Xiang and her family

As I am illiterate in Mandarin, I was very lucky to have 3 sponsors who were very willing to lend a hand in becoming my “official translators”. I felt like a V.V.I.P that day 🙂

After lunch, we proceeded to her school in the township of Guanghua where again, we met up with the rest of the other kids and interacted with them through games and sharing.

But the time that I was really looking forward to, was the one-to-one meet-up session for every sponsor and his / her sponsored child. And when my time came, I was all too eager to proceed with it. We were ushered into an empty classroom, where the World Vision YongSheng staffs were at hand to act as translators too (due to the different accents of Mandarin). Together with my 3 “official translators”, we all sat down and I began to present her the gifts I bought for her. Her eyes beamed with joy when she opened the presents one by one. We explained to her what some of the gifts are and showed her how to play with some of the games, and she even wrote a Thank You note for me there and then itself.

Jesper

The one-to-one meet up session. Thank you Karen, Eloise & Catherine for being my interpreters!

Jesper

Karen, Eloise & Catherine being as helpful and patient as ever in helping with the translation throughout the session

Alas, like all happy journeys, all good things must come to an end. And the time to say goodbye and bid farewell came soon after. I took this opportunity to take a few more shots with her and used the last few minutes to give her a warm inspirational chat. At the last few seconds I shook hands with her and gave her a warm hug before she made her way back to her class. I promised her that I would come back to see her again when World Vision organize another trip to YongSheng in the future. Even as she walked back to her class, she turned and looked back at me a few times.

I’ve always been a strong person, but on that day, I felt really emotional and tears did flow a little. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay and talk to her more, I wanted to guide her through her studies, teach her new things, play games with her – but I know it’s just not possible. The time has come and I had to let her go.

Sitting in the jeep on the way down and back to the hotel, many thoughts raced through my mind. Visions of my sponsored child and the “very few moments” that we had together came flooding back. Tears started to flow again. I do not know when I’ll be able to come back to see her again. But one thing I know is, the events & memories which took place today, I will cherish forever in my heart.