Sunday, November 16, 2008

Matthew visits from China

Four years ago , on the day in June 2004 that changed our lives - along with meeting our daughter in China, we met an amazing man who has become over the years a very special friend.

Matthew Xu from Nanning!

Little did we know at that time, that in the next few years we would be communicating regularly, working together to change the lives of countless girls in Guangxi Province, through GGEF and Hope4China

We had often talked of a visit to Scotland but were delighted when it was finally made possible this year in October

So Matthew arrived in Edinburgh on a dreich night October 13th, with his trusty bike all the way from China! It was so good to see him! And we set to welcoming him to our Scotland.
It was a strange role reversal as Matthew has been our guide each time we have visited China, arranging everything from where to sleep, shop, visit... as he calls himself our "Gofor"

He was a hard act to follow!

Now it was our turn.

Downtown Dunfermline the next day, seeing all our historic buildings and....

....Haggis & Neeps for lunch

Then some special girls came to visit

and Uncle Matthew was busy looking out "China things" for them all.

People in our church had heard of the work Matthew has been doing in China and were very excited to come and hear him speak about his experiences in China. A very informal meeting where much was learned about life in China and Matthew's work with abandoned children in China.

Then, hard as it is for a good Glasgow girl to say, we had to visit Edinburgh , where we nearly lost Matthew , so engrossed was he in taking photos of the castle and other beautiful buildings against a brilliant Autumn sky

He loved the bagpipes!

We were meeting friends there from Finland who have a daughter from the same beginnings as our Eilidh, and we thought we should greet them in true Scottish style?

Scary sight, I know!!!!!!

and a wonderful picture of two little girls whose lives began together thousands of miles away in China, one now in Finland, here together in Scotland with their families and "Uncle Matthew"

We could do not "do Scotland" without a trip back to Skye, where Hope4China began with the help & support of many friends there.

On the way we visited castles....

...and Loch Ness monsters......

Spot the Monsters??????

And of course, when we got to Skye, we had to have an Aros Scone :-)

and a traditional Scottish Breakfast( Thank you Barbara & Angie!)

Back Home again, Matthew did manage to escape the Greenshields Choas & cycle off into the unknown in peace & quiet. He made it to "our Bridge" - we can see it from our windows :-)

and only had to phone home "lost" once :-) !!!!!

It was actually so nice to have Matthew feel so "at home" in our crazy house!

He even got in to " Partick Thistle" and went along to all the games - a real education!!!

Iain & Matthew now communicate each Saturday to check the scores & Matthew is running the Nanning Thistle Supporters Club:-)

We also spent several nights discussing the "deep & meaningfuls".

Translating together some of the wonderful letters written by some of the girls we are privileged to have got to know over the years

Matthew also made it out with new friends cycling over new parts of Scotland

But when he got back, we made him work hard again. This time taking classes in Dunfermline High School.

Here he is with my 4th Yr Class (with a Chinese class in the background) who have been studying China with me since last year.

This class don't like "studying" much at school, but have really enjoyed learning about China. We followed the lives of the Huang family we have been helping for years. Their life has been hard.

I was amazed when one of my pupils interrupted Matthew straight away to see what had happened to the Huang sisters. As a result of that conversation Matthew emailed home & within days we had news of the girls to share with the class.

A true Lesson in Global Citizenship!

Matthew was also able to go to London and visit there. We are so thankful to members of the UK adoption community who also opened their homes to Matthew and enjoyed time with him

However the highlight of this whole trip for me was our Celebration of the Birthday & Baptism of the newest member of our family, Our Siona Rui Rui on October 19th

Our family has been so blessed by her addition to our family.

It was more than wonderful to be able to share it with our dear friend from China. other families with Chinese daughters who had travelled far to be with us. and those who were near, along with family, friends and members of our church family

One world, One Dream.

The Legend of the Red Thread....

....which connects us to all the people who will be important in our lives......

" Sisters" who grew up together in China and are still connected by the Red Thread.....

While we know that we have so much to be thankful for, we are at the same time aware of the many children who have not found their families yet, and so a major part of Matthew's work & our Celebrations, was raising funds to help the children in China still in great need.

One of the many things we loved about Matthew's visit , was that friends & sponsors got to meet the man they had heard so much about. It was wonderful to see sponsors being able to give directly to him, to take back to help the children in China

It was quite surreal to get up in the morning, when I often communicate with Matthew about what is happening in China, to find him sitting at my computer instead!

I did miss those emails:-)))

So many other things happened ...but if I wait any longer to add this blog.. we will be on our next visit! So I hope this gives you , friends & sponsors of Hope4China, a flavour of Matthew's Trip to Scotland

On our last night together we had friends round for an evening of Scottish Celebration, including beautiful Scottish singing( Thank you Alison & Rachael)., Haggis, Neeps, Shortbread, the works.....

Matthew even wore a tie!
It was Partick Thistle Tartan:-)

In fact, everyone, even our littlies wore tartan

and we ended the night singing Matthew's favourite...

...Should Auld Aquaintance be forgot.......

Well they definitely won't!

( I think we are already arranging the next trip?)

And just to make sure things continue as before...just before Matthew was leaving for the airport, Last Minute Linda was getting gifts & letters ready for our girls in the

Warm Winter Mission...

more on that later.....