Posted by: 1of10boyz | January 18, 2014

Luck of the Draw?

One of the unique experiences of living here in China, really living here not just visiting, is we get a chance to connect with the community. For me, an American, that means helping where folks need it. One of the things we have been able to do because of some of the connections we have in the community is to help in some unique ways. With the help of the Haiyang Women’s League and members of the government we have been able contribute money to help at some of the schools in the area.

A word on the schools in China, they are crowded. In America we talk about crowded classrooms and student to teacher ratios and effective learning; those are not the problems China deals with those are problems they wished they had. The American school is paid for through the taxation of properties and other government funds; China makes every student pay some form of tuition, though it might not be actually called that. The students are put into classrooms, likely the same size of room we have in the US but where we try for 20-25 students per room and teacher; here the numbers are closer to 50 students per room and teacher. In America, at least the one I remember, the students that struggled and needed the most attention in class, got a seat in the front, where the teacher could manage them better; in China the good learners go to the front of the room and the further back you go the less learning that seems to get done.

Today was one of those opportunities to give back and share here in Haiyang. It is getting close to the Chinese New Year and that is one of the most standard times for gift giving in China. The expat companies here got a bunch of money together and took it out to one of the little schools about 10 miles out from the “city” center. The little town where this school is at really isn’t much but it has an on ramp and off ramp from the expressway so it is likely bigger than most peasant villages in China. The money and donations from the others that “threw in with us” paid for some tuition (think of it like a scholarship), money for the kid and their families, some school supplies, a backpack, and a winter coat. Roughly 29 kids in all that we were able to help; their stories are rather pitiful.

Most of them are farmers; some are being completely supported by their grandparents. The stories are pretty sad and here are a few examples:

  • Mom has serious kidney disease, taking twice major surgery and incapable of work. Father supports entire family by farming.
  • Father suffered stomach cancer and took major operations, mother had no job and supported family by farming.
  • Parents divorced, lived with mom. Mom was sick during childbirth recovery and can only do some basic labor work. And she is now mainly supported by her grandfather.
  • Father ran away from home for mental illness, mom is sick all the year round, lives by farming
  • Father is sick and supports family by farming; mom was lost
  • Parents divorced, mom is with mental illness and is sick all year around, now lives with grandmother
  • Father disabled, mom run away from home, older granny was feeble and sick.

Those are sad stories and I have more than 20 others that are just like them. I know that the stories have been the same for the past 4 years that we have done this. Which got me to thinking about how close to the edge of disaster 100s of millions of Chinese actually live; is it the luck of the draw for some to have good fortune and so many others not to? Why is it that billions of people live in similar conditions and I don’t and my kids didn’t; is that the luck of the draw?

I think about that and see how some people might wonder how I can believe in God. How could God let something like these differences in circumstances happen? If God is fair, why isn’t life fair, why is it that bad things happen to some people and not other? Why is it we see terrible circumstances exist in one place but not others?

I am a God believing and God-fearing man. I believe that every man, woman, and child has a Heavenly Father and that we are all brothers and sisters, children of that Heavenly Father. So how is it that some of those brothers and sisters get born in America and others get born in China? Is it the luck of the draw? I wonder how it works when we get that assignment to come to this earth. Do we stand in line and jump into the next little baby body that needs a soul and it is the luck of the draw as to where we were in the line as to where we ended up? Was the line to get a baby body like the lines you see at Disneyland or were the lines like the ones I see to get on the Subway in Hong Kong and Beijing? Is it really that random? Its times like these that make me wonder how I can have it so good while others have it so hard.

You might know that some religions think that what happens to us in this life is because of what we did in a previous life, a reward or punishment for what they did and they keep getting reincarnated until they finally get it right. Now, as a Mormon, I don’t believe in anything like that. But it sure doesn’t seem fair that I got to be born into a family where Jesus Christ and the Gospel were part of my everyday life from the moment I was born when there are so many others in this world that have never had that opportunity. It doesn’t seem fair that they may never even get to know Christ; they may never know, in this life, that because of His sacrifice we can all be made whole. Is that just the luck of the draw? How is that fair?

I know that God is fair. I am grateful that I know that fair goes beyond our earthly existence; this existence is just a short time. There is an old rock song by The Righteous Brothers that says if you believe in forever then life is just a one-night stand. I know that fair means that in the end that all things will be made equal. That equal and fair means that for those things that are really important, eternally important, things are going to be made equal; that is what I love about the fullness of the gospel, what we didn’t have a chance to do here on earth we will have a chance to do before the resurrection and before the Final Judgement.

Now, it still doesn’t seem quite fair that I have that knowledge and they don’t, that I have this gift; it really is a gift you know, to know that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind. The Bible tells us in Luke 12:48, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required”. I have been given much and each time I realize the challenges that so many live with physically here in China, I can’t help but realize that their spiritual challenges are far greater. I hope that what I am doing and the way I am trying to live is enough to prove that I was up to the challenge of being given much. I hope that I did everything I possible could with that knowledge. I hope that what was required has been satisfied. I hope that if there is more that I still need to do that I do it better than I have done in the past. Because I see now, even better than I did before, how much I really have been given. If you believe in God, like I believe in God; then you know that it isn’t the luck of the draw, you know that there is plan. If you know that you are given much, then I challenge you to do more and give more and be more. It is what is expected. We that have been given much will have much more required of us than those that were given little in order to be on equal footing at that Final Judgement.



  1. There’s a guy in my home ward that said he’d like to think that he chose the trials in this life before coming down. Like he looked and said, yeah, I can handle that. Just an idea. Great to see how much help you are.

    • I have felt the same way before. I think that this experience is changing that just a little; can you imagine someone with a choice saying that they would do the whole earth experience without the gospel, knowing it would never be available in your lifetime. On the other hand, what were we thinking if we chose to be given it and understanding the responsibility that goes with living to the law you know and being held responsible for all that goes along with that? Would have seemed a lot easier and safer to just get it thru vicarious temple ordinances.

  2. […] know that I shared a story about giving back to the school in one of the little towns that is “managed” under the […]

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