May is always a difficult month for the Chapmans. It reminds us of what is missing, or broken if you will. Maria as most of you know, went to be with Jesus on the 21st of May, 2008. Since that day, May always presents itself with the dread of anticipating “the day”. Our family always comes together on that day to remember her life and eat a great meal because Maria would always say, “I love it when my whole family is together.” If she said it once, she said it a million times… So, that’s how our family remembers her… by being together.
This past May 2015, Steven and myself along with Show Hope, hosted the first ever Show Hope Care Centers Reunion! It was an event to honor the life and memory of our Maria. For me this meant dreaming and scheming of how Show Hope could invite as many children who have been cared for by one of the six Show Hope Special Care Centers in China to our home (well, actually a multipurpose building we call a barn), come together, connect, and SEE the goodness in the land of the living by fellowshipping and sharing the stories of God’s faithfulness in the lives of these little ones.
Let me just say, I was overwhelmed and amazed. I get teary and smiley all at the same time when I think about what I experienced by visiting and hanging out with about 80 kids and their families who had come from all over the United States! Steven and I had personally met many of these children on our many visits to China, and here we were with them, several years older, at home, healthier, and more whole with the family that God chose for them to be a part of!! What Steven and I witnessed at the picnic was not a miracle, but multiple miracles. Children who would not have survived without the life-giving medical care in China, and who would not continue to thrive without their forever families.
In my opinion, I was walking around in a portrait of heroes. These little people are truly miracles, but all the people surrounding them are heroes too. I think about the doctors, nurses, nannies, surgeons, teachers and support staff in China that are heroic and on the front lines of helping save these little ones, to the staff here at Show Hope that gets the message out and works tirelessly to care for orphans, to you, the donors and friends who help us make this all possible. It is real and tangible and everyone who had a hand in helping paint the portrait of these children being at this reunion are indeed heroes in my book!
There IS goodness in the land of the living…I’ve SEEn it! Psalms 27:13 says, “I would have fainted, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” When Maria passed away, I immediately had to cling to the hope of heaven that we all have as believers. I held fast to my belief that I will SEE Maria again in heaven. As time continued on, and my Momma’s heart hurt more and more for her here on Earth, God led me to the above verse in Psalms. I began to believe that God would allow me to SEE the goodness of the Lord here on Earth as well. God has given me glimpses of goodness here, and this reunion was one of them.
I (Mary Beth in honor of Maria), love it when my whole family is together. We, together in one big family honored a little girl from China, whose story changed the course and the lives of so many…