My name is Du Na, and I have been working with orphans and young adults with special needs in Shaanxi, China for the past 9 years as CEO of Shaanxi Agape Community Care Association We provide professional services like nursery, rehabilitation, special education and vocational training to orphans from five different orphanages. All the children and young adults under our care have suffered physical and emotional trauma and they are struggling with bonding and relating to people in ways we would consider normal. Treatment is difficult because they are so troubled that they can’t control their behavioral and emotional problems. In order to serve them from our hearts, God opened a door for me to come to America to study and get my Masters’ degree in Clinical Psychology. With this degree, I will be well equipped to provide training, counselling and mentoring to both the staff and to those who are in desperate need.
I came to America in August and almost completed my first semester in the Graduate Psychology program at Vanguard University of Southern California, planning to graduate in 2 or 3 years with a Master’s Degree. I am learning in-depth psychological treatment techniques that will help me when I return to China. For instance, I will be able to diagnose what is going on with each of our children and teenagers; provide proper treatment for them; train our staff and people from the community who have similar hearts to advocate for those in need; provide counseling. I would also like to promote mental health awareness in the community so our people, at least in Shaanxi, can recognize the benefits of counseling rather than hiding their issues. Also I am trying to build a network with my current classmates and professors so they can be my resources as I continue to work with Agape after my
graduation. One of my goals after I return is to facilitate and transition Agape into a training organization since I will have my degree which will be recognized by our government. Then I can take the lead to train our staff and expand our children’s opportunities. I am also planning to invite my classmates and professors to China to provide services together with me for our people, in continuation of Agape’s international cooperation and services.
I am also still actively involved in Agape’s work even while studying in America. Praise the Lord for technology. Currently, I am working as a liaison between overseas and Chinese people. Because most of our staff do not speak English, I help overseas professionals and volunteers to communicate with local people, raise funds for the organization and give advice to our mid-level managers about how to run different programs.
My life in America is just great. At the very beginning, however, it was stressful, as I needed to learn many new skills and there were lots of cultural differences. However, Jennifer and Jon have acted like my parents and have been so helpful and supportive. They provided a car, free accommodation, food and other things that I need. Jon taught me how to drive. Jennifer taught me how to add gasoline.
Now I am able to drive on the highway to go to school every day. I am so blessed that wonderful people like Jennifer, Jon and all of you are caring, loving and supportive to me. Of course, there are still some difficulties and challenges for me in coming to America. For example, working for Agape from a distance is difficult because it is hard to relate to people emotionally, especially when I know our people in China are suffering. My English is improving a lot, but it is still not good enough for me to fully participate in class discussions. Sometimes I feel isolated, because I can’t communicate as fluently as I would like. At times I doubted if I made the right decision to come to America and wanted to give up, but I know Jennifer and Jon have made a lot of efforts to support me in so many ways. As I prayed, I asked the Father what was the point for him to bring me here? He showed me this scripture that I share with you: “I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.”— Amos: 9:14. I feel that Jesus is trying to restore me first, as he knew what I have been through physically and emotionally. I was nearly burnt out after working for nine continuous years. In order to be more fruitful, he wants to work in me first so I can be totally healed and restored from my terrible back pain and emotional agony. After that, he will use me to minister together in his spirit to heal others who are broken-hearted, and restore not only relationships but possessions and land back to His people in China. Therefore, with prayers and his encouragement through scriptures, I am continuing on in faith to obtain what I need to achieve.
I spend most of my time in study. I try to be a good student and there are loads of new words in each subject. Before classes, I need to check up each term and try to understand their concepts. This is one of the disadvantages of learning in a second language. I have also made some friends at school. They are very helpful in various ways. We sometimes have meals and study together. They invited me to their churches a few times, but currently I am still going to Jennifer and Jon’s church. I also take walks with Granddad (Jennifer’s father). He is so sweet. Every day as we walk, he tells me historical stories which are just amazing. I sometimes drive him to have breakfast or lunch in Tustin. On the way to various places, he is like a tour guide telling me about different things that we see. Another joy I have is to share with Jon about what I have learned at school. Talking with him, it helps reinforce my learning. I also enjoy going with Jennifer to her Fridays’ women’s Bible Study group. We share and pray together, which was something I didn’t have in China. During my birthday, Jennifer and Jon took Granddad and me to the Grand Canyon which is spectacular.
School is challenging, but I am doing well. So far, I have two As and one C which was caused by the language barrier because I couldn’t finish the test in time. But I will catch up soon, because I got 100% for my presentation, and I did a good job on an etiology paper. However, you should know that psychology has a lot of specialized vocabulary and psychology in America is way ahead of where we are in China. There are many technical terms that we don’t even have in Chinese. There is a complete ethical code which I had never heard of before, which has inspired me so much that I look forward to taking all this knowledge and skills back to China to contribute and advocate for the development of psychology in my country. In order to achieve all these goals, I am asking for your support. Jon and Jennifer have helped get me started in the Fall and Spring semesters, and they have provided a car and my room and board. I need to raise funds to pay for my tuition.
Please also pray for me in the following areas:
* Please ask for wisdom and insight for me as I am learning all these advanced knowledge and skills so that I am able to form my own philosophy in counselling and therapy.
* Please pray that I will have more opportunities to share with various people about the work we are doing in China and build up more networks with them.
* I am going back to China on Dec 9 for 2 weeks to connect with staff at different sites; please
ask for discernment and insight for me as I find out how I can better support them.
For those who want to help financially, here is my budget:
Tuition: $23500 per year
Health Insurance: 3220 per year
Auto insurance: 1968/per year
Gas: 1200 per year
Food, clothing, health needs: 1800 per year
Flight fees to and from China: 2000 per year
Required counselling: 1500
Total: $35,188 per year
This is an overwhelming amount to me, but I know that it is an investment that will benefit many people in China and lead to positive changes in the lives of all those connected to Agape’s work. I will be happy to send anyone who is willing to help with my education a receipt for their donations. I am working very hard to get good grades and I am very excited about applying all this new education to our specific situation in China.
Thank you so much. I look forward to hearing from you.
I am so happy to be in the world God made and learn about His plan for me. We serve a big God! Thank you for being on my team and supporting me.