Sunday, June 26, 2016

Farewell, John and Ellie

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
-Mother Theresa

The world is full of different kinds of amazing people. There are those who make big splashes, and others who cast tiny stones; both are used in immeasurable ways. John and Ellie Gao are two people who have faithfully cast tiny stones, occasionally made big splashes, and the impact that their faithful service has made is beyond anything any of us could ever dream of quantifying.

Ellie studied nursing because she had a dream to care for orphans in China. In 2005, not long after graduating, she arrived at New Day and was a vital and critical and amazing member of the medial team at New Day's Beijing location. 

In 2007 a fun-loving English teacher from Northern China was hired to the PR department at New Day. His name was John and the two of them , John and Ellie, fell in love over games of badminton during lunch break and baby cuddles and delicious dinners out on the town. They were married in 2009 in the backyard at NDFH with some of the cutest flower girls and ring bearers there ever were. 

Over the next few years these two served so happily and faithfully at New Day. Ellie looked after and loved on and saved the lives of SO many of the little ones at New Day. John gave tours to hundreds of Chinese sponsors and businesses and celebrities. Without the two of them? The place wouldn't have run as well, and it certainly would not have been quite as much fun.

John took older boys on fishing trips... Ellie spent hours figuring out how to help a little one get the nutrition she needed to grow big enough for heart surgery... John told a group of stern-faced businessmen miracle stories that made them cry... Ellie conquered pneumonia one nebulizer at a time and then sat down to give a little baby boy his most needed medicine- cuddles. 

Micah was born in 2012. In 2014 John and Ellie left their comfortable home in Beijing - it had been almost 10 years, for Ellie! - and joined the team that had just journeyed up to Inner Mongolia to start New Day North. There is no way we at New Day North could have done all we did starting a new project in a new province without the many indispensable things John and Ellie did as part of the team.

 And those of us up in Hohhot got to watch the adorable little Micah grow up...

...and welcome his little brother, Matthew. Their faith grew as their family did and John and Ellie opened up an English school in the apartment complex - a dream of John's for years! While they taught so many little ones how to say, "How are you?" they continued in faithfulness and met the needs of New Day North and our projects that were also growing at a surprisingly fast pace.

Today? John and Ellie have just left upon another adventure. They are going to the USA, and seeking opportunities to be house parents in foster homes for older orphans. They are leaving home and going to a new place; leaving familiarity and adventuring into some unknowns... and we are going to miss them dearly.

Thank you, John and Ellie, for your many years of faithful work in China for the fatherless. Thank you for the fun that you've brought to our families and our communities, and for the incredible example of obedient risk-taking. You are going to touch lives deeply wherever you go. New Day is not the same without your family, but we're all cheering you on from China. 

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