2020 September Heartbeat
From the Founder
As we prepare for a group of expectant teens to arrive on our beautifully renovated 7Acres Campus, I’m reminded of our humble beginnings of working with older kids. One of the first teens to arrive at Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV) was Stacey (Huang Zhongyu) in March 2007 when she was 17. Soon after she arrived, we paired her with 16-year-old Wendy (Su Ying), and together they became our first older students to receive an education, as well as vocational and life skills training. This was quite a change for us, considering that up until then our campus was comprised of about 70 children, from infant to 12 years old. Stacey loved the younger kids and quickly became a big sister to them. She was also very excited to learn – she studied hard and was highly motivated to find independent work once she finished her program here.
Stacey Enjoys Success
After successfully completing her studies, we helped her find a job in Shenzhen at a factory making wooden crafts. A few years later, she moved back to SFCV, and began work at the nearby Bread of Life Bakery. All of Stacey’s training and experience came together as she learned the ins and outs of baking, and she has recently begun training other teens how to bake. We couldn’t be prouder of Stacey and how she has excelled beyond expectations.
In fact, she was married last year, and just welcomed a beautiful 7 lb. 8 oz. baby boy named Liu Yichen! Stacey is a shining role model to other overlooked and marginalized teens, of someone who has overcome the numerous obstacles that stand in their way of living independent lives. who has overcome the numerous obstacles that stand in their way of living independent lives.
Back at 7Acres
Back at 7Acres, we’re preparing to update our security by installing new cameras in three of the buildings on campus, replacing the old rusty front gate, and beefing up the perimeter wall with added safeguards. All of this is being done to make our little “village” as safe and secure as possible for the new kids, teachers and staff. We’re very grateful for your previous and continued support as part of our big family, and thank you for sticking with us through the recent transformation of the work here. The future looks bright, and Stacey’s example encourages us as we begin welcoming and working with the first group of new kids as soon as they arrive. More updates to follow!
We are Making it Official!
After a lively – and life-changing – last couple of years, we’re very excited to announce that we recently signed an agreement that makes it official – Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village (SFCV), now known as 7Acres – will formally be working with orphaned teenagers to educate, train and prepare them for life outside of an institution! 7Acres has received the support of the local government, the area social welfare institute and the wider community. This is a huge milestone, which comes as we celebrate our 25th anniversary of serving China’s orphaned children. We’re looking forward to this new and exciting adventure.
Blackberry Stains and Cleansing Rain
“One of the first things I noticed after arriving at Shepherd’s Field were the scores of luscious, ripe blackberries that had just fallen from the bushes and littered the walkways across campus. In the days that followed, I watched as children played, walked, ran and wheeled over the berries; workers crushed them underfoot; and visitors who arrived to see the inner workings of the organization inadvertently added to the concrete-staining carnage.
And Then the Rain Came…
“The colorful result resembled a sea of beautiful fireworks that had been frozen in mid-explosion – they left behind deep bluish-purple stains that I thought would never wash out of the winding paths. A few weeks later, however, the first rain arrived since the blackberries had fallen. After a day of steady showers, the deep discolorations were a few shades lighter, much less noticeable, and looked as if they would soon disappear with more rain.
“That first day of rain also happened to be the day that Oscar, one of the children who previously lived at Shepherd’s Field met his Forever Family for the first time. Like countless orphans in China, his circumstances were certainly difficult – many would liken them to permanent stains on the fabric of his life. Thankfully, God doesn’t view Oscar as being stained or permanently marred, and brought him to a loving place where dozens of compassionate people treated him like the complete, worthy, beautiful and dignified person he is. Just as the purifying rains washed away the ‘indelible’ stains left behind by thousands of crushed blackberries, God used the people at SFCV and the loving acceptance of Oscar’s new family to begin washing away his past hurts, rejections and unfortunate circumstances.” – Ireland Gibbs
Corey’s Enthusiasm is 100%
Corey (Song Yike) is an amazing youngster who joined our Shepherd’s Field family in 2016. He’s cheerful, kind and loves sports, and eagerly signed up for every event in our 2018 Shepherd’s Field Olympics – I had never seen anyone raise their hand so quickly or with such enthusiasm! When he first arrived on campus, our swimming pools were filled with water and kids, and Corey jumped right in without skipping a beat. His outgoing personality and his love and care for those around him inspired him to be an amazing older brother to the younger kids on campus, always going the extra mile. His Ayis are grateful for his generous heart, which he showcases on a daily basis in school and at home.
Corey is an excellent student and loves to dance, which he showcased at more than one of our many talent shows! His teachers report that he has a natural gift for reciting poetry, and is known for his neat handwriting and math skills. He’s brilliant, takes his studies quite seriously and is very independent in this area. He cares for himself with ease, and always lends a helping hand to those who need assistance. Corey is compassionate, respectful and intelligent, and deserving of the pride and admiration we have for him. He celebrated his 12th birthday in August, so we’re enthusiastically working to find him a Forever Family well before he turns 14. Will you help us by sharing his story? For more information or to help, email [email protected].
His Name has Changed, but Timothy Abides
Kennedy, Yangyang or Ling XuYang (however you knew him) is still the same boy now that he goes by Timothy. If you spent any time working at or visiting Shepherd’s Field in recent years, you’ll always remember him. Life of the party, always smiling and singing, funny with a great laugh and lots of hugs, quick to help and full of compassion – those all describe the son we’ve come to know and love.
Timothy is the same boy that many of you knew and loved well before we ever met him. He came home to us in July of 2016, and his transition was seamless – mostly due to his loving nature and spirit of strength in adversity. We share countless laughs every day, no matter the occasion, even though we’ve spent most of this year homebound with COVID, like the rest of the world. But that doesn’t stop the fun.
During his four years at home, Timothy’s terrific English has only improved, and he’s also learned to read, write and spell. We’re a big family, so he never lacks for a playmate and loves to play soccer, racing the others in his wheelchair as they bike just to keep it fair. Our adoption story with him was full of twists and turns, but no doubt Providence was at work in our journey. Timothy misses his Shepherd’s Field friends and family, so feel free to reach out to us and say hi. Our family is forever grateful for the love and care he received prior to finding his way to our home, and we’re thankful many of you played a role in his young life.
Did You Know it’s so Easy to Help?
Facebook Birthday Fundraisers
You can change the life of a teen on our campus while celebrating your birthday! Facebook birthday fundraisers offer you the opportunity to Be the Change, and Facebook sends 100% of your funds to Philip Hayden Foundation (PHF), our parent organization. That’s right – no fees! Last year, PHF received over $1500 through these events. Even better, scores of your friends learned how they can make a difference in the life of an orphan in China. With your help, we’re hoping to introduce PHF to more friends this year! Check out Birthday Fundraisers on Facebook.
EBay Makes it Easy
Are you an eBay seller? Did you know that as you sell, you can designate a portion of your sales to help needy orphans in China? You can choose to donate between 10% and 100% of your proceeds to PHF. Your donations change lives. Just check the box for charitable giving and search for Philip Hayden Foundation. Your listing is marked as benefitting PHF – and the bonus is that anyone who looks at your listing is introduced to Philip Hayden Foundation, too. Join us today!