In October 2008 we became volunteers in China. For almost ten years now we have served the Chinese people, by Heavenly Father’s provision, we are amazed. We knew moving our family to China was going to be a new life of service; not something short lived. Now approaching this milestone, we are praising the Father who led us down this path.
We agreed to move to Hunchun City, China at CY Kim’s invitation to help him build an orphanage and senior home in a small village. This was our passion and desire to “take care of widows and orphans in their distress.” Within months of Dr. Kim’s invitation, the Father had provided enough support for our family of five to move to China. As we were preparing to leave, the Lord blessed us with another baby. We stayed in the States longer to deliver our new son. When Joseph was seven months old, we moved to our new home in China.
Looking back to the early years in China, learning the language, raising four children in a foreign land and learning a new culture, we only have fond memories. We had struggles, they only made us stronger. We met confusion at the bank, the barber, the marketplace pretty much wherever we went, but we always got tasks accomplished. The Father was truly with us each step.
We began forming relationships that remain strong. We were given a team of CRAM Worldwide volunteers that took our children under their wings, becoming their family and close friends. We met Chinese nationals that we have grown to love as family. We have met many short term volunteers from all walks of life. These priceless relationships are a big part of our life. We needed a family here and the Lord provided.
We are asked often what our life is like here. That is a tough question to answer. We are busy; cooking, cleaning, errand running and homeschooling our five children. We make ourselves available to help others and teach English to secure our visa, this keeps us engaged in our community. Hosting special events and holidays is a way we show the love of Jesus. Taking care of the three orphanage kids at the Little House can be a full time job in itself.
We praise God for the busy life. He provided this for us so we wouldn’t suffer from homesickness. From our first year to our tenth we have been one busy family; we are not a family that longs to be anywhere else. Homesickness has never lasted long with us. Of course our teens have occasional flare ups, but the Lord always has a quick cure.
After seven years of living in Hunchun City, we moved into a house built by CRAM Worldwide in the same village, on the same property as the Little House Orphanage. We are now villagers. We live at the foot of beautiful mountains and have a garden that provides produce for the orphanage and our family to share. We raise chickens and geese. We are now available to spend more time with the three Little House kiddos and our family; the three disabled kids act as an extended family. Village life brings about challenges as did city life several years ago. These challenges are overcome by the Father’s provisions. We were once told it would be impossible for our American family to move to the Chinese village. Now three years living in the village; nothing is impossible for our Father.
Our family dynamics have changed since moving to China. In 2010 we welcomed our fifth child. In 2015 our oldest returned to the States at age 19; her brother followed the next year. We now have three children with us in China. Living with children on the other side of the world is difficult but video chatting makes it a lot easier. We have always worked as a team and with two of our team members in the States took a lot of time to adjust to. Although their time in China ended earlier than the rest of us, those of us still here continue to do what we were called to do many years ago.
Despite the challenges we face, we thank our Father for this Great Adventure that He sent our family on ten years ago. It is a privilege to live in China. We strive daily to show the love of Jesus to those we meet. We have served in many capacities while in China, each one being an opportunity for growth for our family. We are thankful for the busy lifestyle and the privilege to live in a Chinese village. The Father had great plans for us and daily we realize He still does. So we continue.
Please pray for us as we do the Lord’s work in China.
The Howe Family
Jim, Andra, Selah, Joseph and Jeremiah