My name is not David Pat in Chinese. My family name is actually Bi but my parents had to go to Hong Kong where the Cantonese pronounciation made it sound like Pa. The only reason my parents had to go to Hong Kong was because the US was not accepting immigrants from Shanghai but Hong Kong was under British rule so the entry process was different. Immigration officials chose an Americanized version of my Cantonese family name and that’s why you all think it’s weird that my last name doesn’t sound Chinese 😅. I was born in Phoenix, Arizona and my birth name is very American because Chinese Americans want to fit in. Shanghainese are very practical and a lot of them know the history of the Japanese internment camps during WW2. You will rarely see Chinese Americans with a Chinese sounding name because we were taught to fit in and the consequences that happen when you don’t. When I learned the history of my family in America, I thought a lot about the discrimination my family has gone through but also the great life I have now. One of the reasons why our family loves working with ethnic minorities is because we feel the struggle of new American families. We have friends who just arrived in Southern California and are learning about what it means to live in this country. I feel hurt that immigration has made me lose a piece of my identity but I am thankful that God has made me a person of many names. My family struggle has taken away a part of me that has existed for generations but this journey has allowed us to write new chapters in a story my ancestors would not believe possible.
I feel dad guilt. I work so hard to balance being a dad with bodybuilding and ministry but I never escape the feeling that I’m failing. I’ve been praying a lot about what God’s plan for me looks like. It feels pretty terrible that the results of my one year prep for Greece and Budapest was a bottom placing and the ending of our Mission trips to Hungary. The sacrifice for all these things doesn’t feel worth it. I want to be a good dad for Jeremiah and be true to who I am as a person. It’s been a hard year trying to learn about my son and learning about myself. When I wrestle with my feelings I take hope that God is with our family. I know that God loves Jeremiah and God loves me. He’s going to be with me on this journey. I have faith that Jeremiah will grow up to be a great person. I have faith that God still a lot in store for me in bodybuilding. I have faith that Jesus will save the orphans in Budapest. I can’t see it now but that’s what faith is.
We are finalizing our kids book! “Jeremiah Lionheart” will hopefully be ready for the Fall. Please 🙏 for us. We are going to send our files to the printer soon and this is the trickiest part of the process where we try to figure out costs and specs for the book. We created this book to help families see more stories about adoption and inclusion of those with disabilities. This book will feature both English and Chinese so that we can distribute it to our friends in China!
Thank you for seeing me the way I am. I’m not a muscle head who only thinks about sports. I’m not a nerd whose only love in life is video games and engineering. I’ve been stereotyped my entire life and it was a blessing to me when @tilda_garancsi drew me as a regular person. (Go follow her on IG!🔥👍) I love it when people in Budapest ask me questions and are curious about who I am as a person. I’ve spent my entire life in America or China where I’ve encountered a lot of preconceived notions about what I must be like. My friends in China are shocked when I tell them that I have a Master’s degree in Theology (not bodybuilding). I had someone at the dentist office in San Diego ask me if I was a scientist for a living 🤔❓🤣 God made my story unique and I believe yours is too. I love Missions because I learn about stories for a living. I learn about how orphan kids in Shanghai can grow up wanting to be architects. I learn about how different refugees found their way to San Diego. Thank you to all the people of Budapest who have taken time to learn my story. Thank you @bluebirdcafehungary for having this fun free drawing for customers. Thank you @agota.colnar @papa_roland for teaching me about your culture.
I was hoping that these trips to the orphanage in Budapest would introduce our Chinese partners to the needs of abandoned and hurt children in Hungary. It was my dream that the Chinese living in Budapest and our partners in Shanghai would catch a vision to help these kids. But after this last trip, I realize that this dream will probably not come true. On our last trip to the orphanage, none of the Chinese in Budapest wanted to come out and serve the kids. There has also been no interest from our partners in Shanghai. While at the same time, I have been asked to bring teams to serve Han Chinese kids in different parts of China. I’m writing this update last because I am super thankful to all of you who have partnered in serving these hurting children of Hungary. The staff of the Hungarian orphanage really appreciated the work of our team and the kids wanted to continue to follow up with us after we left. They really enjoyed the Gospel of John comic book and are thankful that we came to serve them. But I can’t shake the disappointment I feel from this trip. My Chinese partners in Budapest and Shanghai are not interested in learning about the Hungarian culture nor are they interested in learning about why these kids are living in a group home. I’ve tried multiple times over these last few years to share the needs of the Hungarian people but my follow up conversations have always ended up about when I would be able to bring another team to China. I’ve talked with my missionary co-workers and they understand my frustration. They are experiencing similar issues when they have asked their Chinese partners to serve in mission to other fields. There has been no interest in serving those who are not Han Chinese and who are not Mandarin speaking. I brought my first team to Shanghai 15 years ago. I’ve seen a lot of people get saved and the church grow in numbers. There are still a lot of areas in which the church needs to grow. I don’t have a clear path forward about what to do in Budapest. Please pray. There are a lot of hurting kids in Budapest who still want our help but right now we have no workers.
I have to hide faces of both the kids and the workers because this children’s home is a shelter for kids from abusive families. There have been threats made against the staff and the kids here 😥. I call this place an orphanage because some of the kids have lived here for years and there no plans for them to be reunited with their families. I’m at a loss for how to write about my thoughts and feelings from this trip. I always left the orphanages in China with a lot of hope but hearing some of these stories from Budapest made me really sad. I think the staff here are some of the best I’ve worked with but kids are not meant to grow up in a shelter. Most orphans in the world have parents who are still alive. In China, kids are abandoned at birth with no way of contacting their parents. Here in Budapest, they have information about these kids’ families but reuniting them can often be dangerous. I’m praying through how I can best serve these kids going forward. Please 🙏 with me.
This trip was sown with the tears of late nights trying to coordinate with our Hungarian and Chinese partners. This was early days of OMF work meetings and feeding baby Jeremiah. The hope is that our Hungarian comic book might speak some truth and love into the life of a 6 year old who has been living in this children’s home since he was born because his dad was abusive. My hope is that somehow all these months of work might somehow be worth more than a fun afternoon for these kids. May God bless small things done for a big Savior.