Today is story time from camp Taiyuan.
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.
For The Kids,
Bring Me Hope