Stories of Hope

Meet Our Staff: Xiao Juan

Sep 24, 2019

We told you in a recent post about the first of three people who have been an integral part of this work from the very beginning. Now we’d like to introduce you to the second among those three, Yang Ya Juan. Xiao Juan is the nickname she goes by, but because the second character of her first name is a little tricky to pronounce (something akin to the word “when” with a “j” in front of it), she has been a good sport and has allowed us to call her Xiao “June” all these years!

(And in case you’re wondering how to pronounce Xiao, think of the word “shower,” drop the “er” and you’ll be in the ballpark.)

Xiao Juan was first introduced to Robin Hill by her previous employer. She came on board in the late 90s, and she admits that it was simply because she needed a job—at first. As she observed the love and care that Robin and Dr. Joyce displayed toward the children and the type of people they themselves were—kind, loving and compassionate—her attitude quickly changed. Most impressive to her, she says, was the fact that the Hills never made her feel that they were above her or that she was “just an employee.” From the very start, they treated her like family, and she fell in love with this work because it never felt like “work.” She told us that when she would arrive at work, she felt like she was arriving home. Then she would leave “home” in the afternoons to go home! What could be better than that?

The epitome of versatility, Xiao Juan has done a little bit of everything during her time here. Cooking, cleaning, caring for the kids, guest relations, and even small maintenance projects, you name it and she’s probably done it. Her role changed and became more defined around 2010 when she began helping in the finance and accounting department. She’s been helping to balance the books ever since.

Xiao Juan and Millie

Xiao Juan at her desk

Xiao Juan describes herself as “not smart at all” (though we would beg to differ with that), and she explained that each time she was presented with a task she had no idea how to accomplish, she made it a practice to pray. The Lord would graciously give her the talent she needed, and people would often comment afterward what a great job she had done. They didn’t even realize she didn’t have a clue what she was doing!

We’re thankful that Xiao Juan had an opportunity to learn alongside a professional accountant and that she was gifted to excel in this area. As she was learning, she would figure things out on her own and later discover that it was in fact the correct way of doing things. She’s very thankful for how the Lord has helped her.

In spite of all that, Xiao Juan went on to say that prior to Dr. Joyce’s illness, she didn’t really have a close relationship with the Lord. She described herself as a lukewarm Christian. Then in 2014, she was faced with the reality that Joyce was at the point of death. She took it very hard because she had always considered her as family. Through his own sorrow and difficulties at that time, Rob reminded Xiao Juan that it was time to pray. She did just that, joining with countless other people from various countries who were also praying for her. Miraculously, Dr. Joyce started to get better!

Our petite Xiao Juan said she literally watched the miracle take place before her very eyes, and it impacted her deeply. She made the decision then to re-dedicate her life to the Lord and vowed to never leave Him again. Had it not been for this miracle, she says she would likely still be a lukewarm Christian today.

Though her work has not permitted her to interact directly with the children in some time, each one of them is in her heart as if they were her own. In this kind of work, there are always trials and triumphs, high points and low. As our tagline says, we can only save sometimes. But always we can love, and that is what changed Xiao Juan’s life. Looking back over the past two decades, it is obvious that she still loves this work as much as ever and that it is, as she puts it, “her life.” We are blessed and grateful to have Xiao Juan as part of our family and team!

To learn more about Dr. Joyce’s miraculous recovery from a massive stroke, please order her book, The Obedient Daughter.