REFLECTION ON MSI’S 25TH ANNIVERSARY
Eugene & Anita Choi
Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere. (Song of Songs 4:16)
Riding a late night bus on Yunnan mountain roads some 16 years ago, I admired not only the full moon all the way back to the hospital, but much more, the hospitality of the villagers (our patients) we visited. Today in China, many MSI colleagues, with one mind and one spirit, share in living and serving the people we love.
It was one day in the fall of 1993, when the late Dr. JH Taylor III visited and urged us to consider joining the first China medical volunteer team the next year. Our love to serve China has grown since then, and some four years later, my wife and I took early retirement to volunteer full time with MSI.
During our time of service we have seen change after change. Up in Zhaojue mountain town, a primitive reception centre with dried leaves for a mattress has now been replaced by modern hotels; long winding roads through dusty marble excavation sites of Yunnan mountain are being replaced by short highways through tunnels; poor English levels in the schools contrast greatly with fluently bilingual young professionals today. The MSI service styles have also changed: Sunshine farm has replaced the sheep programme, and HIV & TB prevention, health education & holistic care, with rehabilitation programmes, now supersedes the previous medical exchanges.
Amidst all the bittersweet changes, the love of our colleagues has remained the same. Their life in China is The Message! Awake north wind! Come south wind! Blow into the garden of our hearts and of the people we serve. Let the fragrance of love spread in China!
In our theme song “True Love” (Love is patient… and Love never ceases), “patience” is stressed twice among the 15 facets of true love. May we persevere patiently to spread the fragrance of love through Truth and Joy for many more decades!