This week I was contacted by a young woman interested in volunteering for Bring Me Hope 2014. As we continued to talk, I squealed with joy when I found out this girl, Anna, was one of our past campers! There is something about reconnecting down the road with a kid that came to camp that makes life so real!
“My name is Anna Coiner. I attended Camp Bring Me Hope when I was in the orphanage in Jiangxi Fu Zhou . When we heard that we were going to Camp Bring Me Hope, we were all very excited. When we got to Camp Bring Me Hope, we did lots of fun activities. We went to the bowling place and played games, that was our first time went bowling. We colored our shirts and made key chains. It was so much fun. When we finished designing our shirts we all put the shirts on and take picture of us all together. We also went to the river to swim. I also remember that David Bolt jumped to the water because he saw snake but when he jumped in it was not snake it was just stick we all laughed. I really loved the volunteers. They were so kind to us. I felt loved by them. We all really liked when the volunteers said “Good Night” to us in English. We also played musical chairs, it was an awesome game. When Camp Bring Me Hope was almost over, we were all very sad. We all were crying because we didn’t want to leave Bring Me Hope.
The next year, a couple kids that attended Bring Me Hope at they got adopted by an American family. I was the last one to get adopted by an American family. My family loves me and is taking care of me now. I have been America for 6 years. Now I want to volunteer for Camp Bring Me Hope. I want to help the orphans just like when I was an orphan at Camp Bring Me Hope. I want to tell them about my story when I was in the orphanage and then I got adopted by an American family. I want to tell them all the fun things we did.” Anna Coiner
And here is Anna today…I already love this girl!
Thank you Anna for contacting me and sharing your story! We hope to see you next summer as a volunteer at Bring Me Hope Camp 2014 (woot woot, which will also be our 10 year aniversary)!
About a week ago we had a little girl named Suzi join us. Suzi was a kind & warm hearted girl who loved her camp family to pieces. One day Ciara, her Irish volunteer, brought her to the store and went straight to the shoe section. Suzi’s shoes were “in bits” and didn’t fit her anymore, so it was Ciaras intention to surprise her by buying a new pair. As they were looking at shoes, little Suzi began to cry and explained she didn’t have money and could never buy a new pair. It took her awhile to finally understand that Ciara was buying the shoes and that she didn’t have to pay her back. Ciara said, “She finally realized that I was going to give her a gift and her eyes got so big! She couldn’t believe that someone would buy her new shoes!” The rest of the day was all smiles from Suzi as she happily received the simple gift of new shoes.
One of our favorite parts of camp is giving out camp awards. Every night the ‘Award Fairy’ comes to our Assembly Hall (the Award Fairy is played by our crazy-fun staff member Keri) and each night new campers receive awards such as, “Most Generous” or “Biggest Smile.” We wish everyone could have the opportunity to see these orphans nearly burst with pride when their names get called to receive an award. They come up to the front of the stage and everyone cheers and claps for them as they hold up their awards. One of our little campers who joined us last year brought her award from last year which she keeps in a special folder because she is still so proud; even a year later!
This week we sent a few of our volunteers to ride back to the orphanage with the kids. They said as they looked around on the bus, so many of the kids had opened their memory books to the page of the ‘family photo’ and were just staring at the picture. Many of the kids looked at the picture and cried as they drove back to the orphanage. This really touched our hearts because we put a lot of time and effort into making the memory books, but we didn’t know how important they really were to the kids. These orphans cherish their memory books and many of them keep them in special places to keep them safe.
Although each week our little campers are carrying home lots of new things with smiles on their faces, our biggest hope is that they carry in their hearts the truth that they are special, important and very loved. Camp is so important for these kids and in many cases is considered one of the highest points of their lives. These are lives changed when you and I show love to these kids through volunteering at camp, sponsoring an orphan & standing alongside of them and advocating! We want to thank you all for the difference you are making in the lives of these kids…who now can see that they are loved and have a hope that can carry them through.
We love featuring updates for everyone about camp life. It is a great opportunity to share what HE is doing in the lives of orphans & volunteers and how you can change lives by sponsoring orphans and advocating for our camp kids! Who knows…maybe it will inspire you to become part of the adventure and adopt a sweet little kid or volunteer at Bring Me Hope summer camp 2014?
We had a crazy week here at Yantai but I guess that’s to be expected with a new location, constant rain and daily power & water shortages 🙂 However, the great part of all of this is that the kids didn’t even notice the number of times our schedule was thrown out the window. They were smiling and having the time of their life. What a joy it was to see them squealing when we brought the ocean to them (the rain prohibited us from going to the ocean) and they got to “go fishing” in a blow up pool. I think the comment that I heard the most throughout the week was, “Wow, I thought I was coming here to serve orphans and teach them life skills, but it’s the kids that are teaching me!” We’re super thankful for all the opportunities He gave us this week to learn what it means to rely on His enduring strength and unshakable wisdom.
This is one of our favorite camp transformations and we can tell from the pictures not only that she is loved but His daughter…she is so beautiful and deserves to be treated like a princess!
May (Chinese Camp Director) >“This beautiful girl is delayed and it is clear that she has received messages her whole life that she is not worthy of love. The first day of camp she was constantly looking down with hunched shoulders and cowering in the corner. It was amazing to watch the love of her translators bring about transformation to her whole body stance over the course of the week. They didn’t let her disability disarm them but instead treated her like a princess. They were true sisters to her. They taught her how to look up and face the world and created a safe place so she could!”
Is ^he^ not the cutest little thing ever!
Nancy (Volunteer) > “It was amazing to see how the children changed from Monday to Friday. Only He could bring that kind of transformation. I hope that they will allow this transformation to carry them through this year!”
Graham (Chinese Staff) > “I learned how discipline can bring two people together. I was afraid of disciplining Mike at first but then I took him aside and talked to him about bullying. He didn’t take it well at the time but by the next day and throughout the week he would always initiate interactions with me and constantly come find me to chat or hang out. These kids need LOVE – and it comes in many different forms.”
“She was crying all night and wouldn’t let me go. I whispered to her, “You can fall asleep in my arms.” She finally calmed down and went to sleep.”
Kate (Volunteer) >“I had two buddies, they looked so similar I could have sworn they were twins. The first one I bonded with really quickly, the second child was little resistant. We were sitting outside McDonalds one day and I was teaching the first one how to kiss me on the cheek (she had never seen this done before) and then the second girl randomly came over and planted one on my cheek too! What a privilege…teaching two little girls how to express love with a kiss on the cheek! It was definitely a highlight for me!”
Thank you for reading and letting us share our heart for the orphans…what the world deems as broken is made beautiful by sharing Him and loving on these kids! What a privilege it is to be part of their story!
Lance! A boy known for a huge smile on his face and who has captured the love of all the volunteers at Taiyuan Camp. Although he is diagnosed with CP and doesn’t have capabilities such as running, this hasn’t stopped him from having the time of his life at camp. He loves singing at the top of his lungs and like all other boys, squirting everyone in the pool with water guns.
While we were sitting outside of our apartment wondering how to transport Lance to the assembly hall (his legs were tired), a man who owns a business living in our camp apartments offered to give Lance and his friends a ride in a big van. Lance couldn’t believe we got to ride in this van and kept telling the business man “Thank You!” As we started to drive off, he exclaimed real loud with a big smile on his face, “Wow! It’s like we’re a real family!”
Below is a picture of Lance in the van with his “real family.” He’s definitely a keeper!
As Bring Me Hope begins the long awaited summer camp for Chinese Orphans, people around the world are finding ways to sponsor kids for camp and give them an opportunity to be loved and cared for.
This past month, two young girls (Layel & Christina) got together with the hopes to creatively raise money to send kids to this years summer camp. With a love of baking and all things sweet, they decided to sell cupcakes. They called their fundraiser “Hope Bakes” and offered some fun flavors…Banana Split, Peanut Butter Cup, & Vanilla Orange Buttercream. It looks like they had a blast in the kitchen creating massive cupcakes for delivery.
We all have gifts, talents & hobbies that can be used for a greater cause! Like these two young girls…they used what they loved and HE provided more than they could have asked for. They even exceeded their $300 goal and were beyond excited to be sending a couple of kids to Bring Me Hope camp. It wasn’t just these two girls but everyone that jumped on board and donated, your gifts are changing lived.
If you have a story about raising money for Bring Me Hope orphans, please let us know. We would love to feature you on the blog. We are also still looking for people to get involved with this years summer camp and helping kids come. If you would love to change a future please click HERE and visit our sponsor page.
We received this and thought we could share an update about Cong Cong. For anyone who does not know, Cong Cong is a friend of one our China side Bring Me Hope helpers, Kobe. He has been struggling with major health problems and needs to be lifted up. Some volunteers have done some fundraising in the past and we are still hoping to raise money for him now. He is in dire need of a Bone Marrow transplant. If any of you know of medical personnel or have connections medically, please let us know.
“About a year and a half ago, I learned about CongCong and his story and situation and my heart immediately went out to him. I was amazed at how much this life has gone through in being an orphan and now suffering with leukemia. He became a believing brother and needs love, support, and encouragement from his brothers and sisters all over the world. The university students gathered together to start and encouragement QQ group in which CongCong can talk to us anytime for encouragement, support, or just to talk…the students also have sent him many letter, cards, and a care package. I promised him that sometime this year I would visit him in Xian…so here I am :~).
I arrived to Xian on Saturday, and am SO thankful that HE provided the finances and this opportunity to visit CongCong. The timing couldn’t be any more perfect as Kobe just finished the school semester and is free, CongCong needs some encouragement more than ever as he going through another round of chemo and the next step is to receive a bone marrow transplant. On Saturday evening, Kobe and I went to visit him in the hospital and CongCong was nothing but smiles as we just sat there and talked…a friend from Qingdao that is also in the area visiting brought homemade cookies and he tried them and loved them. CongCong is a very ordinary guy who enjoys and is thankful for the simple things in life…it is very clear that he may only a couple friends that take the time to visit him…I hope that through being here, I can find some others who will go spend some time with him regularly.
Sunday morning, Kobe and I went to have some time of pr@yers and study with him. I was able to share what HE laid on my heart about running the race in H@brews 12 and also about how we need to see HIM first M@tthew 6. As we shared, there was a father/daughter also in the room and they were listening to us attentively…come to find out they are believers too so we were all able to talk together and how cool that HE arranged a believing family to be in the same room as CongCong…I think now that both know each other are believers that they can talk and encourage each other more as both are going through so much…Kobe said this is a miracle. Sunday night, we returned to the hospital to take CongCong out for supper and spend the evening together. Sunday, CongCong received a lot of medication through an IV, a blood transfusion as we were studying, and in the evening before supper a platelet transfusion.
My heart was burdened to do something REAL special for CongCong while I am Xian…knowing that CongCong is weak, I wanted to do something simple, but out of the ordinary and so I booked a standard room at a hotel located in the tallest building in Xian because I thought that it would be a place of comfort and rest, something special, and also if he wants to rest…he can…eat…swim, etc. Well, HE has his ways of arranging things even better than our plans…I sent an e-mail to the hotel and they are on board to make this “treat” as special as they can. I have tears in my eyes as I write this because I just know that HE loves this special brother, CongCong, and wants to wrap his arms around him in encouragement…and use us and others in Xian to do it. The hotel has upgraded our room to an executive suite on the 2nd from the top floor with access to a private lounge where we can get unlimited food anytime we want. They also want to throw a party for CongCong on Tuesday evening and said that I could invite whoever I want and if I know any of CongCong’s friends…they can come. Because I told them that CongCong has an interest in food and cooking, the French chef is going to do a private cooking class on Wednesday so he can learn to cook an Italian and French dish and the chef is also making a special cake for the party. I’ve received e-mails and phone calls from the GM, who is from Germany, his assistant, and the French chef…all saying they want to help as much as they can and that we can count on them making these days the best days of CongCong’s life…unbelievable…thank be to HIM! Finances are limited, but HE provided this special treat more than anything that I could do or arrange…wow!
CongCong is now in the hospital…and we just talked to the doctor on the phone about him being able to leave for a couple days. CongCong has to have strength and a certain level of something concerning his blood so that he can leave…I know that HE has arranged these special things and just want CongCong to enjoy them as much as he can…I know that powers all around the world can make a difference…so please, please, please PR@Y…that tomorrow, we can pick him up and that this “treat” will give CongCong and extra boost and that he will feel HIS love more than ever!
Thank you in advance for pr@ying and I’ll keep you posted on how things go. I wanted to send this e-mail as I have a busy day ahead…going now to pick out a new outfit for us to give CongCong (with money given from a USA brother), meet some friends from college, tour a little bit, visit CongCong, and prepare for the activities tomorrow.
HE is SOOO good!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!”