By Kathleen Wong
When Director Jung first started Sarang Orphanage, she envisioned a place where kids could experience the freedom to play and run, the freedom to learn, and the freedom to worship. At the center of the orphanage lies a forest-like garden with all sorts of trees and flowers because the Director wanted the kids to have a taste of what heaven is like. Sarang (Korean for Love) Orphanage is home to about forty-five kids as well as a number of staff members. The kids’ ages range from five years of age to high school age and majority of the kids have some sort of physical or mental disability.
In June, I embarked on a journey with a team of six other women from Westmont College to serve and build relationships with both the children and staff at Sarang Orphanage. At the orphanage, our typical day consisted of morning exercises, craft time, prayer, VBS, body worship, English lessons, and worship service.
My story of China is about learning to love others. I was convicted as I discovered the beauty of each child’s life despite their tragic stories of poverty, abandonment, and neglect. I found myself broken for these children, and I longed to love them the way they deserved to be loved. There was one child in particular that God placed on my heart to do just that. Before coming to the orphanage, Lu Da, a five year old girl, had lived on the streets where she fended for herself and was constantly abused. All she really wanted was to be loved since that was something she had never experienced before. She was physically abusive which made it difficult to love her. It was this little girl, however, that stole my heart. With burn marks on her knees, her one crossed-eye, and saliva all over her hands, Lu Da would run to me screaming Jie-Jie! This memory is forever imprinted in my mind and I can still hear her calling for me to pick her up and hug her. Despite how difficult Lu Da was, I saw that she indeed is beautiful and I knew that God delights so much in this little girl. It was through Lu Da that God taught me how to look past what I saw on the outside and discover what it is on the inside that makes a person so special.