Li Caimei has worked with the paper-cut project since its inception in 2004. She still remembers when she attended her first paper-cut training classes. She was unable to walk by herself, and she had to rely on her younger sister to physically help her get there. Her physical limitations were caused by a serious illness she contracted in childhood. Though she lived by herself, she very rarely left her apartment, and was totally reliant on her sister’s weekly visits for nearly all of her daily needs. When we had paper-cut work for her to do, her sister came by our office and collected her needed supplies. When she finished cutting her cards, her sister returned the finished cards and picked up her wages.
Over time, her health condition deteriorated and she began to feel even more lonely and depressed. In spite of her shyness, one day she told us how much she enjoyed reading. Hearing this, one of our Evergreen co-workers introduced her to our Yangqu Library’s Readers’ Club and she joined. Gradually, and with help, she began to go out of her apartment and interact more with others—especially the Readers’ Club members. Soon we discovered a whole different side to Caimei than anyone had known before. She is positive and passionate, and willingly expresses her unique views during the Readers’ Club meetings. Caimei recently challenged herself to go out of her apartment—without anybody’s help—and she succeeded!
However, she was fearful about how others would treat her due to her appearance and her uneven gait. She discovered that people were nicer to her than she thought they would be. Caimei also realized that she had the ability to do more things than she had ever given herself credit for, so she decided to start doing them rather than just wishing she could.
Each day, Caimei is more confident, capable, knowledgeable, and is a beautiful young lady. Today, she does all of her own shopping, and comes to the Evergreen Cards’ office to pick up her supplies and deliver her finished cards by herself. She is now involved with several other community activities, and also helps the local Police Department with business matters. She is truly an inspiration and a blessing to all of us who know her!
Li Yumei is one of Evergreen Cards’ most skillful artisans. Even when she cuts our most elaborate designs, the quality of her cards is always perfect. Recently Yumei has experienced great loss; during this past year, her husband died from cancer. She is thankful for her caring children and the wages she earns from cutting cards. Please join us in praying for this lady’s life as well as for her heart.
Tian Runhua is an artisan who has been working for Evergreen Cards for the past seven years. About nine years ago, her husband became disabled due to a heavy-truck accident which resulted in multiple-leg fractures. Despite having several operations, he is unable to walk very far without the use of crutches. The Tian’s had three fairly young school-aged children at the time. As a result of their father’s accident, all of the family’s financial burdens were suddenly on Runhua’s shoulders and she felt as if the sky had fallen in on her. Her days now include the additional responsibilities of massaging her husband’s hurt leg, helping him with his rehabilitation exercises, and managing his medications, as well as taking care of the children, running the household, and trying to find ways to earn enough money for her children’s school fees and her family’s daily expenses.
She found out about Evergreen’s Scholarship Program and was encouraged to apply for help. After Evergreen’s scholarship staff checked out her family situation, they offered some help for her children’s school expenses. At the same time, they introduced Runhua to Evergreen Cards’ staff and recommended her for employment. Soon she and her family were able to move forward again as the income she earned from cutting cards and the scholarship help she received for her children’s school fees allowed her life to become manageable again.
Today, her oldest daughter has graduated from college and is working. Her other two children are in high school and college and their family’s economic situation is continuing to improve.
Zhang Guimei is one of Evergreen Cards’ fastest cutters, however, she has recently dealt with physical issues. Last fall, when she came into the office to pick up her card-cutting supplies, we found out that she had just had an operation to remove a tumor from her stomach. Fortunately, the tumor was benign and all of us were thankful.
However, at our annual Christmas card-cutters’ party, one of our staff members (who was at the same table with Guimei) was quite concerned when she noticed that Zhang Guimei wasn’t able to eat much of anything. Please pray with us for this wonderful lady’s complete physical recovery and good health.
Zhang Xianrong is another Evergreen Cards’ artisan who has worked with us for about seven years. She is married and has three children—two older sons and a 12-year-old daughter. The burdens that this dear lady faces each day are difficult.
In addition to having lost much of her hearing in one ear due to chronic inner ear infections, about 12 years ago her husband contracted ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). He is now completely disabled—unable to walk or work outside of the home. Her husband is an only child, so their family still has the responsibility of living with and taking care of her husband’s elderly parents. Her mother-in-law is 73 years old—and nearly blind—and her father-in-law is 77 years old.
Even more difficult, her oldest son—who is 27-years-old—requires full-time care. The only things he enjoys doing are eating and tearing up pieces of paper. Her son’s mental impairment was caused by severe spasms that began when he was only 23 days old. The spasms continued for nearly 50 days before they stopped. Many of her friends and relatives tried to persuade her and her husband to give their son to other people, leave him on a train, or take him to an orphanage. They started to do these things several times, but each time, when they were about to give their son away, they changed their minds. Even though they realized the difficulties and burdens they would face as a result, they decided to keep their son and raise him themselves.
Praise the Lord with us that Xianrong’s second son has recently found a job in Taiyuan and that her daughter—who has just completed the 6th grade and enjoys learning—entertains and delights the whole family.Their gracious perseverance and the dignity they have in the face of more hardship than most of us can begin to imagine are a large part of the reason why Evergreen Cards is here doing what we are do. We are privileged and humbled to be in relationship with this family.