I was nearly giddy with joy when we finally turned into a long driveway and saw a big, blue building adorned by clouds and flowers. I had waited so long to be there, at Maria’s Big House of Hope in Luoyang, China. But what I’ve found is that when you are told to be patient—whether for a short or long period of time—God is working out your story in his perfect timing.
I said I had waited so long. Let me explain.
My waiting began when I first heard about Show Hope in 2004. I loved their work because, even though I’d always had a family, I had several friends who had been adopted. Even as a 10-year-old child, thinking of kids younger than me in these situations broke my heart and sparked a fire in me. I wanted to help. My family kept up with updates from Show Hope, and my mom’s business became an advocate. Through our years of supporting the work, we watched Show Hope build Maria’s.
When I left home to go to college a few years ago, Show Hope was still on my heart. I’d wanted to go on one of their student trips for a long time, but it’d never quite worked out. In the waiting, I realized I could work to make a difference where I was. For the past two years I’ve been able to coordinate with Show Hope to host Student Initiatives’ events on campus and start an annual advocate project to fundraise for Show Hope.
Finally this past year after being an advocate, volunteering, and working with the Student Initiatives, I knew it was my chance to go to Luoyang and see Maria’s for myself. It was time to finally SEE Maria’s, to hold these kids who I feel I’ve watched grow up through Show Hope’s communications, and to experience the JOY that they find in the everyday moments. This experience has been long-awaited and nothing short of amazing. After all of the anticipation, I think I realized that every second, every penny, and every bit of sweat I had labored for was worth the moment to see even one of those precious smiles or to hear their laughter. There is truly nothing on this planet that could compare.
I think I can safely speak for my entire trip team when I say we would have given anything to stay at Maria’s even a day longer. But, in the meantime, we’ll just have to wait. Wait to return, wait to see these children come home to a family, wait to see the bigger story God is writing in each of their lives.
At the end of our time in China, we were left with one reminder: That after all we had the opportunity to see, God was inviting us to pray even bigger prayers, and to have great expectations of all he would do.
We may have to wait and be patient for a while, but that’s what hope is all about.