Volunteer in China this summer with Bring Me Hope! Bring Me Hope camps give you the opportunity to provide orphans with love, hope, a sense of self-worth, and long-term advocacy. You could be the only person to ever show a child love. What an opportunity!
Information for our 2017 camp is now available here. Make your summer count and begin changing the world one life at a time.
“So what exactly does a week at camp look like?” We’re glad you asked! Here’s a week-in-the-life of a Bring Me Hope summer camp volunteer.
Today is the last day to enter our first Bring Me Hope contest… > HERE <
This is a first of our giveaways for the year with the intent to bring more exposure for people interested in Orphan Mission trips and coming to China. We also are interested in providing a way for creatives to donate work who are passionate about giving back and serving. So if you are a creative and are interested in partnering with Bring Me Hope, please feel free to contact us…we would love to hear your story (contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
Our first creative I would love for you to meet it Saray Gray, who is the owner of Crystal Raindrop. Her jewelry creating began when she was a little girl. Sarah and her sister would make different things for their Mom and Grandma together.
It was in Sarah’s Junior year of highschool, after making jewelry for her friend, thoughts of how she could turn her love for creating into a business began. Her shop opened when she was a high school Senior and she has continued ever since.
What inspires you to create?
One of the many reasons I love making jewelry is, I can pick the style I create. I like very simple, elegant jewelry, and that is not easy to find. All the jewelry I make is something that I would wear myself, and know that there are other people looking for the same thing.
How do you serve the community/others with your business ?
I love to be involved in raising money for good causes. I enjoyed being able to help with my friends fundraiser for the Bring Me Hope Foundation. It was not only a great experience, but it was a lot of fun as well. It was a blessing to see everyone give their all to raise money for this wonderful foundation.
What was the inspiration behind the piece you donate to BMH & what is the pieces name?
The piece that I have made to donated to the Bring Me Hope Foundation is a good representation of the style of jewelry I make. When I was asked to make a piece of jewelry to donate I honestly didn’t have any idea what I was going to make. So I just sat down one evening and got to work. Cutting wire, trying different ways to bend it, to get an eligible look to it. Eventually I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like.
The name of the piece is Blue Ellipse. I picked this name because of its rounded shape. The calming blue and hints of crystal that remind me of the moon on a cool night.
What piece of advice would you give to people who are creatives and want to use their business with a purpose?
If I had to give advice to someone looking to start their own business out of a hobby, I would tell them to have fun and really enjoy what they are doing. It is also very important to give what you are doing to the Lord. Seek the Lord’s guidance in your business always. I think that is the most important part.
Sometimes all you think about is what you have to get done and your deadlines, but that takes all the joy out of what you are doing. When you no longer find joy in what you are doing it shows in your work. So, take your time and enjoy what you are doing and thank the Lord for giving you your abilities.
Random funny facts about you?
And a random fact about me is I have a weird obsession with clocks..I Love ’em!
We loved having Sarah on the blog. To find more of her work send her an email (CrystalRaindropShop@gmail.com) or visit her website www.CrystalRaindropShop.com.
I love it when I have the privilege to interview another company that is passionate about orphans, especially when it is a huge movement making a difference around the world. The Christian Alliance for Orphans is the company behind “Orphan Sunday!” Orphan Sunday is a DAY that allows all of us to come together and speak about the needs of children throughout the world…a special Sunday dedicated to trying to change their futures and letting their voice be heard. I love what CAFO is doing and how adoption builds a team…those advocating, those adopting, those giving, those caring & altogether these people change the world and a life. I love what Sandra said in this interview, “Not every family is called to adopt and not every orphan is adoptable, but we are all called to care for orphans.” This can mean going on an orphan missions trip through Bring Me Hope next summer, volunteering in local foster care group or using your talents to raise funds for a family adopting…the possibilities are endless! Reading this has me thinking of what my next role is in the world of orphans and I hope is also motivates you to think of ways you change a life as well!
The roots of Orphan Sunday and where it all began:
The seeds of Orphan Sunday come especially as a gift from the Church in Africa. While attending a church service in Zambia, an American visitor was struck by the pastor’s passionate call to care for orphans in the local community, which had been ravaged by AIDS and poverty. Members of the church faced deep need themselves. But as the service ended, one after another stepped forward with money, food and other goods-some even taking off their own shoes and placing them in the offering for orphans. The visitor, Gary Schneider, was so impacted that he began to help Zambian leaders coordinate Orphan Sunday efforts across Zambia. These efforts spread to the U.S. in 2003 with help from Every Orphan’s Hope and other organizations. (Orphan Sunday is licensed to the Christian Alliance for Orphans as a registered trademark of Every Orphan’s Hope). The Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) honors the church in Zambia for the gift of Orphan Sunday. We pray the church all over the world may be as faithful as our Zambian brothers and sisters to reflect God’s heart for the orphan, both near and far. To view the history of Orphan Sunday, we invite you to watch “Zambia’s Gift to World”
What have you found is the best way to get people involved in orphan care?
Orphan Sunday, is a perfect time to stand for the orphan. Christians are a people called to defend the fatherless…to care for the child that has no family…to visit orphans in their distress. Each Orphan Sunday event is locally-led. Sermons and small groups, concerts and prayer gatherings, shared meals and youth activities—each rousing believers with God’s call to care for the orphan, and what we can do in response. From many sources, one voice. Each November, thousands of events will echo across America and around the globe, all sharing a single goal: that God’s great love for the orphan will echo in our lives as well. Orphan Sunday is your opportunity to rouse church, community and friends to God’s call to care for the orphan.
How can people who have no desire to adopt be involved in orphan care?
Not every family is called to adopt and not every orphan is adoptable, but we are all called to care for orphans. There are lots of ways folks can get involved from the littlest Sunday School kid to the most senior of senior citizens! Prayer, child sponsorship, food/clothing drives, short-term missions trips, volunteering at foster care group homes, doing adoption fundraisers, the opportunities are endless!
Do you see a need to invest in the lives of orphans after they “age-out” or once they turn 18?
There is absolutely a need to invest in the lives of orphans after they age-out. As older orphans and foster children age out of care the trends are heart breaking: homelessness, substance abuse, trafficking, crime and incarceration await many who lack adequate support networks. We believe that the Church is called to step into that gap, opening doors to promising futures for these children through holistic life transition programs including: Life Skills Training, Spiritual Care and Mentoring, Transitional Housing, Career development, and Lifelong Church and Community Support Networks. The Aging Out Initiative works to identify and share successful models from CAFO member organizations that show how the Church can help create healthy life transitions for those aging out of international orphan care and U.S. foster care.Go to christianalliancefororphans.org to learn more about our Aging Out Initiative.
What’s the greatest way to assist those who are adopting?
The Church can wrap around adopting families in many ways. Adoptive families need prayer and financial support during the adoption process. Churches can establish adoption funds to assist their families and even organize fundraisers. Supporting families when their child/children arrives home by bringing meals, diapers, clothing, etc. are all ways to bless an adoptive family. In churches where there are several foster and adoptive families the development of a support group can be an integral part of a church’s orphan ministry.
Give us a peek behind the curtain of the emotional journey that someone who is adopting goes through.
I can share from my personal experience as my husband and I have adopted 4 siblings from Ukraine. Any adoption – international or domestic – is a walk of faith with many ups and downs. It’s emotionally draining, physically exhausting, and long – and that’s before the child/children come home! After we completed a dossier aka “mountains of paperwork,” submitting it to the Ukrainian government, and getting approved to adopt in late 2005, Ukraine closed down their adoption program for 9 months to reorganize it. During that long wait, the documents in our dossier expired and we had to re-do the entire file. We finally traveled to Ukraine in late 2006. I was in-country for 6 weeks completing our adoption (my husband returned home to work and our biological children after 4 weeks). Traveling for an international adoption is different for each country. For Ukraine we only needed to make 1 trip and opted to remain there until we could leave with our kids. Being away from home so long was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but as I look back on that part of the journey, I cherish those memories. Once the child/children are home – the adventure really begins. Every family is different, every child is different, and every adoption journey is unique to each family. There will be difficulties before, during and after the child comes home. It is an emotional journey for every member of the family, therefore it is crucial that families have good support systems and access to post-adoption resources.
Do you ever see adoption “burn-out”? People who have a desire, but aren’t familiar with the process and wind up getting discouraged to the point of quitting?
If so, how do you assist these people? Yes, I’ve seen adoption burn-out. The adoption journey can have many ups and downs and heartbreaking turns. If adoptive parents are not properly prepared and equally committed to the adoption things can unravel quickly. I’ve seen adoptive parents travel all the way to Ukraine and not be on the same page, nor were they adequately prepared by their agency. After 2 weeks in country and a difficult process they were not equipped for, the family returned home without a child and never attempted to adopt again. When a prospective adoptive family is committed to the adoption, well prepared, and trusting God for the outcome then burn-out doesn’t win. Recently I spoke with a pastor who shared that he and his wife finally brought home a new-born baby boy after 4 failed adoption attempts. First they were weeks away from traveling to Russia in late 2012 when Russia closed it’s adoption program closing the door to the little girl they’d hoped to bring home. The family then switched to domestic adoption where they came close to being picked by 2 different birth moms only to not get chosen. The 4th try brought them just hours away from a child. They had plane tickets in hand to fly to another state when their lawyer discovered the agency they were adopting through was not licensed to operate in their state of residence, closing the door to that child forever. I asked the pastor why, after so much heartbreak, would they continue to try to adopt. His answer, “There is a war for children and we need to fight.” This family knew God had called them to adopt, so they walked by faith and now hold their newborn son in their arms. Adoption, whether international or domestic is not for the faint of heart, but it is worth it! It’s crucial for families to partner with a reputable adoption or foster care agency as they navigate through a grueling process. For a list of agencies that meet our high standards of excellence visit our website at christianalliancefororphans.org
Thank you Sandra for allowing me to interview you! You are changing the world! If you haven’t done anything yet, you still have time to get together some materials and get your church involved in Orphan Sunday this weekend, November 2nd.
Sandra Flach is the Media Coordinator for Orphan Sunday. She is a Mom of 3 biological children and 5 adopted (1 domestic & 4 international) from up-state New York. She’s also the Executive Director of Justice for Orphans at justicefororphansny.org.
We all know the horror stories people tell you when flying to another country for the first time. With those things flooding our minds, we sometimes get a knot in our stomach as we jump on the plane…only our imagination to accompany us for the next however many hours.
This has been the experience of countless people, as they head on a plane marked with the country name CHINA! I myself had heard the horror stories of the culture shock that was awaiting me. But like anytime you hop on a plane and fly around the world…there are going to be people living a life that is foreign to us…but that is definitely part of the adventure and what makes traveling around the world glorious.
And now without further ado…9 things people traveling to China should know!
#1 The first is one of the most important! Invest in your trip ahead of time. Read – Prepare – Pray. Especially, if you are going on a missions trip or working closely alongside the natives and orphans…you don’t want to just show up and hope for the best. You need to be prepared for both a culture and spiritual shock. Find scriptures that will carry you through each day and have them there to meditate on. Find a prayer partner that will keep you accountable on your trip. Prepare to be part of the culture…learn about their culture/traditions & learn some Chinese (even if they are simple phrases and compliments for your Chinese friends). Having this basis for your trip, will help you dive deeper into building new relationships with the people and learning to LOVE China! It’s not like the West… and that’s okay! In a world of increasing globalization and homogeneity, it’s refreshing to visit a place that is so foreign. Exciting new sights, sounds and smells will greet you at every turn. Keep an adventurous mindset and you’ll experience the trip of a lifetime!
#2 While driving, remember you’re not in Kansas anymore. In many places there are driving rules and regulations…in China, well they are more like suggestions. Believe me, it feels like the old video game Frogger and will be an experience can both terrify & excite you…giving you a road trip/drive you will never forget!
#3 Being stared at is to be expected and not considered rude but normal and very common in the Chinese culture.
#4 If you are going to be working with orphans, or kids in general…learn the song “Xi Yang Yang (Pleasant Goat)”. It’ll get you places with the little kids. It’s their jam. Not to mention that grown ups will be impressed that you know it.
#5 Squatty potties. Just the thought of them can make a person cringe. Sure, sometimes they’re gross and stinky but so are some American public bathrooms too. The trick to the squatty, is to pack a travel pack of Kleenex in your purse, backpack or pocket and then to go to the very last couple of stalls. It’s a secret but most of the potties in the back are the handicap ones and those are American style potties. And if you’re a germ-a-phobe, then you’re already packing gallons of antibacterial wipes and sanitizer, so you’re set to go.
#6 Shopping spree. Buy your favorite snacks before you leave. Snacks in China are not the same as America. Bring something along to curb hunger and keep you energized. Having said this…I love CHINESE snacks, so be open to finding a new favorite to bring home with you!
#7 Whether you’re adopting or volunteering or just being a tourist, tour the orphanage and give as many hugs and kisses as you possibly can. Step out of your comfort zone and find a way to love those who need to know that they are loved. From an adoption standpoint this statement is somewhat controversial, but these trips are never about us and always about the children. These kids want, need, DESERVE to know that they’re loved!
This is a snippet from the experience one of our friends had while visiting an orphanage:
“Last year, I toured our daughter’s orphanage and saw a beautiful young girl who was so sweet and clearly played a role in my daughter’s life. I took pictures of the two of them together, hugged her, immediately fell in love with her, and as soon as I was back at the hotel, e-mailed our agency and begged them to find her file. This sweet, beautiful girl has been deemed unadoptable though and will never know the love of a family. I’ve been given permission to write to this sweet girl and every letter, she tells me that she doesn’t understand why someone like me would care about an orphan like her. I love because God loved me first. If I could bring this little girl home and into my family, I would. Show love!”
#8 Practice your best sorority squat pose, duck face & learn a couple of Chinese words/phrases because chances are pretty darn good that you’ll be approached to be in a picture that will later float around on Chinese QQ. Have fun with it and take it all in stride. You can also take it to the next level and swap pictures…take a picture with them if they agree to take a “silly picture” with you!
#9 Last but not least, the food is remarkable! Try it! Break out of your comfort zone and give it a whirl! You never know what you will discover and crave for the rest of your life…or until you return to China. Oh, and while on this last point…please, please, please LEARN how to use chopsticks. It will be a lifesaver and make eating way more fun!
Last week’s Night Walk fundraiser was an incredible success! With 166 people walking in 26 locations, there were people supporting orphans in China all over the world! During the walk, we hosted a live stream of two of our locations in China. It was so fun to see the excitement on each of their faces! Some of the kids featured have been coming to camp for five years and are anxious to return!
Today I had the opportunity to go and visit the lovely kids from a local private orphanage who we met at camp.
My Aussie friend, Hollie and I packed our vegemite sandwiches and boarded the jeep for a China day of many varied experiences.
We were met with big smiles and cuddles from Lily – 4 year old Down’s syndrome girl who is also deaf. She seems really happy and as bubbly as ever.
The highlight of the day was seeing Wei Wei and presenting him with a “stimulation tent” and a piano. As you may remember he is the blind boy who at 5 years old still weighs less than the average 1 year old.(but still managed to steal the hearts of BMH volunteers and staff.
He laughed and smiled when we presented him with his piano and all the children loved the tent that Hollie made them.
We treated Wei Wei at camp for worms and his terrible diarrhea has stopped and he looks like he has gained some weight!
We also got to see the little cleft palate/lip baby who was found in July. He was abandoned at a few days old in this box but is now a happy, chubby baby boy who loves his “grandpa”.
On a sadder note we got to meet another newcomer…
He is a little boy between 2 and 3 who was left at the door at 11PM a few nights ago. His legs were tied together so he couldn’t follow his parents after they left him ! Because he has had spina bifida he is incontinent of urine which must have become too much for his parents.
Thanks for your continued interest in these children – hopefully they will return to camp next year.
Currently we continue to pray for them and their carers – an elderly couple who now look after over ten kids.
“A Mother’s Love’s” own Jeff Knipe brought a team from Florida to Bring Me Hope’s Camp in Xi’an this summer!
(Jeff Knipe with FangFang (above), WenWen (below) and translator at camp in Xian!)
Here is an excerpt from their newsletter:
Bring Me Hope Camp
From July 12-16, the AML team volunteered at Bring Me Hope camp in Xi’an. Each volunteer was assigned one to two children from nearby orphanages in Ankang or Fuping along with a Chinese / English translator. In total, there were 20 orphans, 18 volunteers, and 15 translators who bonded quickly and had an incredible 5 days together.
We visited museums, played in fountains, made crafts, ate meals together, and even had a talent show! Words cannot express the impact this 5-day camp had on all of us and our translators. One of our immediate projects is to get medical help for Wen Wen here in the United States. She’s a beautiful 20-yr-old girl from Ankang (Karly Knipe’s orphanage) who has never walked and we are committed to helping her in any way we can!
Our Current Needs:
Surgery for Wen Wen – We are working hard to obtain a medical visa to bring Wen Wen to the U.S. for surgery. Wen Wen is 20 years old and has never been able to stand up or walk! Please pray for this difficult process. You can see a video of Wen Wen on our website.
Adoptive Families for Si Jie and Fang Fang- We are praying that we can find families for these two precious girls. Si Jie is an adorable five-year old with club feet and Fang Fang is a happy and smart 14-year old with Hepatitis B.
(Sie Jie waits for a family.)
For more information about A Mother’s Love, please visit our website: www.amotherslovechina.com
Donations can be done through PayPal on their website or mail to:
A Mother’s Love 224 Chestnut Ridge Street Winter Springs, Florida 32708
My name is Susan. My daughter Alexis and I went to one of the BMH summer camps last year–what a great time that was! Perhaps because they were older and I am a Mom, I bonded especially with my two campers ZhangYan (16) and Qingqing (20), and it broke my heart to watch the vans drive away that last day. Lily, my translator, spent an extra day after the camp before we all parted ways…and we solidified a friendship that had been growing that week as God broke both our hearts for these orphans.
Both Lily and I had signed up for Becca Bolt’s email after-camp course (for campers & translators) on Relationships; I think it’s purpose is to encourage growth in friendships begun at the camp, but Lily and I didn’t need a reason to email…by that time we were emailing each other a couple of times a week. ZhangYan and Qingqing were continually on my heart, and–although she is not yet a Christian–I could see that God had put the girls on Lily’s heart, too. We talked a lot about them, and I told Lily that I felt I would be back in a year so that we could all be together again.
As the months went by, God provided money for my “China Fund” again and again. Although I was dismayed at how the cost to return to China more than doubled, still God brought the money necessary to make it happen for Alexis and me. Lily explained to me that she had told her family so much about the girls & her experience at Camp that her Father was interested in meeting these orphans and the Americans who seemed to care about them so much. I asked her to call the girls’ orphanage and ask if it was possible for us to travel with them; Lily called and the Grandfather agreed!
The most important part of our time together was spent at Lily’s home. I don’t believe her family had ever met a Westerner…but they welcomed us into their lives and treated us as Honored Guests. By the end of the first day together, God had grafted us into this wonderful and caring family. My greatest desire was to see God bond ZhangYan and Qingqing’s hearts to the hearts of Lily’s family–and that is exactly what He did! Lily’s Father announced that the girls must come and spend their future school vacations with the family from now on, and every one of the apx. 20 of us was crying on the day that we left Lily’s home. My heart longs for the day when Alexis and I can return to China, but I know that, should this not happen, ZhangYan and Qingqing now have family who love them.
In an email that I just received from Lily’s sister Violin (who, along with Lily and her best friend Nancy were translators at one of the BMH camps this summer), she wrote, “Your coming have changed my whole famlies a lot! We were curious ,joyful, my families have understood love deeper…Dad and mum often talk about you. There is no difference between Chinese and Americans to some degree! We love you all and hope for another wonderful together-meeting !” GOD is SO good!
When we returned to the Orphanage–through God’s miraculous timing–both Tim and William (Alexis’ two buddies from last year) were there to meet us! Alexis brought gifts for the boys, and we spent the day with them before reluctantly returning home. Lily and I have decided that next time, we need to bring TIM ‘home’, too…..is God awesome, or what??
Alexis, with her translator Yang,& buddies Tim and William, last year at camp.
We held a surprise Birthday Party for ZhangYan, Qingqing and Lily’s Father the last night we were at their home, complete with party hats, gifts and birthday cake. I’ve never seen the girls smile so much!
Qingqing, ZhangYan and Lily’s Father with the birthday cake.
At Grandfather’s Orphanage (L-R) Qingqing’s brother, Tim, William, Alexis, Qingqing, Susan & ZhangYan.