Contributing writers David and Rossana Lin share about their personal experience of sponsoring a poor boy from Gansu, the relationship that developed between him and their family, and the impact it made on his life.
It all started in 2005 when we requested to support the school fees of a poor boy from Gansu who was around our elder boys' age, was good at school, and loved math and sciences. Out of thousands of applicants, Town and Talent Co. (www.yellowsheepriver.com) found us a match and sent us his photo. His grandma and mother were both bedridden, leaving only his father to farm the little plot of land in a dry and arid land, barely eeking out a living for the medical bills. Without financial support, Will would drop out to help his Dad farm while his sister went on to finish high school and find someone to marry. For a bit more than $100 a year, which amounted to a couple of cups of Starbucks a month, our family became friends with Will's family. Will's father would bring him to our classes whenever we taught in Gansu for a week, staying with our boys. That memorable first time marked how far he has come. When we asked him to go wash up before we headed out for dinner, he stood paralyzed in the bathroom for 5 minutes, having never seen running water, a sink that had a hole in it, or a toilet. Our boys complained about his intolerable smell and taught him how to use the shower.
Since then, Will and his sister have exchanged regular letters with us, come stay with us during vacations where we found jobs for them as security guards or other hourly pay jobs. When we left Beijing two years ago, his sister was entering her first year master's of education preparing to become a teacher, and Will was finishing his third year in medical technician school. This time, we saw a completely different Will--
confident, speaking fluent Mandarin instead of a heavily accented dialect, and knowing the ins and outs of a big metropolitan city. He clearly articulated his reasons for decisions and confidently sought our opinions while holding his own positions. Next month, he will finish up his internship in one of the largest military hospitals in the country here in Beijing, and after finishing his thesis and passing his certification, will return to his home town of Gansu, where he will work as a medical technician and seek to help others.
Will has agreed for us to share his family's story so that other families can be blessed. Whether you have some extra cash to give to a poor student in need of tuition or a student in need of a bit of help, I hope that you will see how both families are so blessed because of our friendship throughout the years. We will share our story at an upcoming charity lunch in Guangzhou, where 10 families have stepped forward to commit three years of their family's time and finances to support one college student's college education in exchange for our mentoring them through this process. They are in for a treat! The blessing continues!
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