Our community has more than twenty years of history in Dallas. What began as five or six families coming together to study the Bible and pray together, quickly became a community that regularly gathered at nearby churches for Masses and meetings. As the numbers grew, they requested that the Diocese of Dallas help establish a permanent Chinese Catholic community in 1990. In 1992, we put our money together and purchased a small office building in Richardson, Texas. By the end of 1993, we had renovated it to become our sanctuary and activity hall. With the guidance of priests seconded from Taiwan and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, our small community grew stronger in numbers and in faith.

人物專訪 - Garza Family Story

Deborah Garza

Our names are Ruben & Deborah Garza. We were both born and raised in Brownsville, Texas to working class parents who wanted more for us by encouraging us to get educations. I earned a Masters Degree in Library Science. Ruben earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration. Our daughter’s name is Mei Li. We adopted her from China on November 24, 2002.

Ruben and I were married for 12 years before we adopted Mei Li. One day we e-mailed about 20 adoption agencies. Two weeks later we made some decisions! I called everyone in my extended family: “I’M HAVING A BABY!” “Are you pregnant?” “NO!” My smile resounded over the phone line.

It was a long wait. It took us 6 months to put together our dossier and another 13 months of just waiting. In the meantime what to name her? We felt that since her surname is Hispanic, her personal name had to be Chinese. Unfortunately, I do not speak the language and baby naming is an art form that I know nothing about. So I started with what I know best: Books. I listed the names of beautiful, heroic, Chinese protagonists that I found in books in my library and we decided on one: Mei Li, which was written by Thomas Handforth about a little girl who celebrates her first Chinese New Year. It was perfect! Mei Li Garza. The name rolled off our tongues as if God had planned it for her since before we were born.

We traveled to China in November of 2002. We landed in Beijing and saw a country that no textbook could adequately describe. It was beautiful and fascinating. We walked through the Forbidden City and climbed the Great Wall! Three days after our arrival we traveled to Hunan Province, where Mei Li was presented to us. She was tiny with pudgy red cheeks. I couldn’t stop counting her fingers and toes, and I knew that God was smiling over a well-carried-out plan. We met people on the trip who looked at us and then looked at Mei Li and said, “Lucky Baby.” We walked across the threshold at the American Consulate in Guangzhou and made her an American. On the last day of our stay we literally “shopped ‘till we dropped”. The flight home was filled with excitement and expectation. We couldn’t wait to introduce Mei Li to her new extended family.

As we arrived home, her education came into discussion. She was going to Catholic School, that was a given. She had to learn the language of her adopted culture: Spanish, which we could teach her. But what do we do about the Chinese? She had to learn that too. The problem was that our knowledge of Chinese Culture was textbook, and we don’t speak Mandarin.

One day Ruben read “The Texas Catholic” and found that Fr. Paul Pang and his Chinese congregation was building a church on highway 544 and Los Rios in Murphy. Ruben and I looked at each other. How often does God drop a church, a specific church, in your midst? Did He do this just for us? Does Mei Li hold some divine importance that we are not aware of? My definition of God’s Glory changed forever. We started going and we all fit in like a glove. We are so much more alike than unlike. Then Mei Li and I enrolled in Chinese School. It was really hard at first. I knew it would be. My only intention was to do it for her. I am over 40 years old. My time to acquire a new language ended when I was 13. Research proves this. I couldn’t read the language so I could not help Mei Li with her homework. The ladies were really nice. They said, “Don’t worry about it.” We stuck it out, but I was beginning to feel it was a moot point especially since helping Mei Li was next to impossible.

Then one day I learned my sounds. Mei Li was saying words. Ruben bought us a Chinese dictionary. We began to make strides and I was able to help Mei Li with her homework! Is it possible for God to refute years of research? Yes! He does it all the time. Shortly after Chinese School one day I was quietly praying and God said, “Yes! I want Mei Li to learn Chinese, but I want you to learn it too. Forget the research!” So we study every night. Mei Li’s bedtime stories are in English, Spanish and Mandarin. She is perfectly content with that.

Mei Li is now in Kindergarten at St. Paul Catholic School. We still go to Chinese School and can converse in simple sentences. Sacred Heart is now a fixture in our household as is the Moon Festival and Chinese New Year. Even though she may not realize it, I believe Mei Li has a special connection with God who has big plans for this little Chinese, Hispanic, American girl who can only grow up in America.

Tsi Chien Tien Su

8/7/2016 Announcement
Monday, 08 August 2016
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