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
What happens when you have a group of willing volunteers, helpful translators, agreeable orphans and a big God? We found that it leaves you with a pretty seamless week of camp!
The children loved making pottery, running through the city fountains, and going to the pool with giant water slides, but sometimes our more meaningful camp moments happened when we were simply hanging out together.
The more intimate times of making bracelets for one another, reading bedtime stories together, and watching people perform in the camp talent show are precious moments. Like spending time with family around the dinner table, we didn’t need anything fancy to enjoy one another.
One family group especially enjoyed a two-hour conversation about their life-stories. After the kids heard their volunteer’s story, one little boy asked, “Can you tell me more about Jesus?”
The Lord is opening hearts around here, young and old. We praise Him for all He is doing here in Xi’an.
First time volunteer Doug Stephens talks about his experience at camp in Kunming, China…
Oh my gosh, I’ve traveled a lot, I’ve been to some amazing places. Being at camp in Kunming was the best because it meant something.
It was cool to bond with my translator, develop that relationship and see how that progressed. One of the camp translators heard a few guys and I talking about God and so he went and talked to Tim Hedden, our camp director, and accepted the Lord. When we came back from the city that afternoon, the translator came up to me and said, “Guess what? I’m you’re brother in Christ!” That was awesome.
The other volunteers there were amazing, really stellar people. It was rad to be around a group of Christians who I could talk to and who challenged me.
Saying goodbye to the kids was really hard. And it was one thing after another, but it was great. There’s no other way that it could have been any better. It was perfect.
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that I want to adopt a Chinese orphan in the future. I want to go back so bad. I still think about China everyday even though I’ve been home for a while now. I look at my pictures, email the translators, and try to maintain friendships I made with people there.
What did God teach you about Himself? In China I met Christians who love God so much that they would put themselves at risk for their faith. The believers there have a thirst for God that inspires me.
One night in China I was talking to my friend Chris about how I was feeling ashamed for not stepping up and sharing my faith more when I could be. But I realized that God isn’t looking at me with anger but with love and readiness for me to grow.
What would of you have missed if you didn’t go to China?
I would have missed out on getting to see how blessed I am. My family and I have so much and yet the kids in China have that same joy when they don’t have much.
The friendships I made, with Josh and Chris especially. I would have missed out on being challenged and encouraged by them.
And I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to know the kids and work with them. I was able to meet my buddy’s caregiver and she told me how she could tell how much I loved this little boy and cared about him. It was really an opportunity to reflect Christ’s love.
What would you say to anyone thinking of volunteering at camp next year?
Aw, man. I would say “GO!” It was the best experience.
The kids are so awesome. Regardless if you have ‘Happy’ or ‘Juan’, (an easy-going or a high energy kid) it’s impacting their life. I got lucky because I had awesome kids, but it’s not how easy we have it during the week, it’s what can I do so that they know they’re special. The first time they take your hand you think, ‘this is rad!’ It ends up being a blessing to you to.
Doug with his orphan buddy and translator at camp.
I’m a new dad! At least for the next 3 months. I never thought that being a parent could be soooo hard!!! After this week, I respect parents everywhere more than I ever have. Especially if you have a teenager who doesn’t like to get up in the morning, is stubborn, wants his own way, tells lies, eats food he’s not supposed to, and thinks he can live on his own. E-mail email@example.com if you would like to follow the Ranch video updates.
REVIVAL of hearts- A little more about the miracle summer of 2009 Not only did God keep our camp open this summer, but He opened MANY hearts. We saw a mini-revival take place when quite a number of people made decisions to follow God with their lives. In the last 5 years of camp, we have never seen anything like it. We have also never seen such difficulty in keeping the camp open. I’m so glad that we fight on the winning team! Thank you again for all your prayers! —- When my tears drop- A letter from an orphan At night when I lay awake. I will think of you and my tears will drop. Whatever great difficulties, I will never give up. Trust myself and God… I love you very much and you are important in my heart. My English is not very good. I want to make you help me. Would you like to be my English teacher? I will be your Chinese student and Chinese sister. I miss you–that’s all Best wishes to you! I love you! Fiona
“Camps in China for orphans are CANCELED! Please try to get a refund from your airline.”
I came very close to sending that out to all of our volunteers. Here’s the story how God saved the 2009 summer camp…
Volunteer Update 1, May 23, 2009
I wanted to take a moment to update you on some changes happening in China. Just recently a few orphanages in Xi’an have told us that they are not allowing their kids to attend summer camp because of potential exposure to the Swine Flu.
Volunteer Update 2, May 28, 2009
We were really disappointed to hear that the civil affair administration has told ALL orphanages that the children are not allowed to attend outside activities. We ask you and your friends and your church to pray for the orphans in China. That God would do a miracle on behalf of these kids.
The other bit of news that I wanted to tell you about has to do with some of the plane flights going into China. Our camp director in Kunming said that someone was on a flight with another passenger that had a fever and everyone on the plane was quarantined for 7 days. Sooo…. that is a risk that I want you to be aware of before coming.
Other News- May/June, 2009
– One of our camp locations shut down because of Swine Flu.
– Another summer camp similar to ours canceled because of Swine Flu.
– Swine Flu declared worldwide pandemic
– 2 times I planned on buying an “immediate departure” plane ticket to find another country that might let us run summer camps.
—————– The first half of the story looked very bleak. No orphans, volunteers spending half their trip quarantined in a hospital, and no group facilities available to host a summer camp.
We asked our volunteers to pray for a miracle. We just couldn’t imagine closing camp. Then, just a few weeks before camp was to start, we got news that several orphanages decided that they would send kids to camp. Because other orphanages were not allowed to send orphans to camps, I kind of figured that these orphanages must have missed the memo from the government. Or maybe the mandate got lost somewhere. We felt excited, but we also felt that at any instant the mandate could arrive and camp would be over. We ran camp on a day to day basis in anticipation that a mandate could arrive at any time and camp would be over. But the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into over a month of summer camps.
We also found out shortly before camp started that the “shut down” camp location had decided to host our camp. We had to check temperatures daily for the first 7 days, but other than that, we were free to run camp as normal.
One of our volunteers did get quarantined the first week of camp. We made about 10 phone calls and found him in a small hospital in Beijing. The hospital was running tests on him. After a few hours they found out that he didn’t have a fever and put him on the next plane to his camp location. He didn’t miss even one day.
I hope this encourages you to PRAY and TRUST God with your life. Over 200 orphans came this summer that weren’t supposed to come. And the things that looked so bleak and dismal became a beautiful summer that changed all of us.
“The requirement for a great miracle is impossibility.” Faith Like Potatoes
Good Times, -David
p.s. Here are a few of the kids that came to camp…
See all lives changed: http://bringmehope.org/lives_changed.asp
Hey Everyone, We just started our last week of camp here in Xin Zheng. This week is going to be CRAZY!!!!!As soon as the kids got off the bus craziness started happening. Without warning, one of the girls had to go to the bathroom really bad and went on the grass. Many of them are incontinent and have diapers. I looked over and my sister was changing a diaper for an older girl who had gone poop.
When we got to lunch the bathroom lady started talking really fast and motioning for me to come in and see the bathroom. I told her I didn’t understand what she was saying but she insisted that I come in. Once inside she told me through hand motions that one of the kids used the trash can to pee in and that it had gotten all over the floor and people would be slipping.
And all that happened within one hour. Right now everyone is at the pool. Later we will have a team meeting and I’m sure there will be many more stories.
But, these kids have CAPTURED the hearts of everyone here. I’ll let you know how it goes next week! ———– Make sure to see the newest kids that came to camp. Their pictures and letters are really amazing! CLICK HERE ———– From Kunming Camp:
Goodbye day is always the hardest point of camp. Especially after loving the kids for a week and seeing them thrive in the love that a parent should be providing. One of the volunteers was explaining to his little boy that he was going home to America. The little boy named David replied:
“I can’t find my home… I can’t find my mom and dad…”
Hi Everyone, I hope your week went well. We had another full week with so much to tell you. Here’s a few hightlights:
253 Lives Changed (and counting): http://bringmehope.org/lives_changed.asp BMH’s new database that has a letter and picture from each orphan as they come to camp.
Here’s a few pictures and letters from the children last week:
———— I think, if I can use the sea water as the ink. use the big tree as my pen. I still can not write all the love between you and me. It’s beyond words… I’ll treasure this memory forever:
“Jim, I love you! … I very love you! … very very love you”
Although I can’t speak English, but I think you can understand these words, these simple words, but, which have deep meanings!
———— You’re my angel that God give to me. I believe love in the world never fails now. I get warmth and strength from your love. I’ll keep this experience in my deep heart forever. Your angel hands give me one hope that be with me forever.”
———— Your strength convinces me that love never fails and the greatness of love. Love can exist everywhere, love can make us become a family. The first person I want to see is you when I am admitted into a university. Aunt Susan, please allow me call you “Mother” here, Best wishes for you!!!
———— Desperate Love- (From Sam Vidler, director of Xi’an Camp)
When Simpson arrived at Xi’an’s BMH camp 2009, he was obviously an intelligent, quiet boy. His disabilities are only in the formation of his hands, but his mind is sharp – very sharp. In fact his translator often commented that he is smarter than she is. He still has a grandmother, but she is unable to care for him, and he has been in an orphanage for years. In this climate, he experiences bullying and theft, and knowing no other way, would repeat this to more vulnerable children. Within 2 days of camp, he expressed his desire to leap out of a window on the last camp day, to become injured and not have to return to the orphanage but a hospital instead.
So, it was set to be a challenging week.
He went through the usual emotions that many teenage boys experience in this situation, where they are bathed in love and compassion. There was initial distrust, then a softening and opening up, then as the week was drawing to a close, an anger and defiance, as the prospect of losing this experience grows more real and immediate.
With the wonderful work of Alicia (volunteer) and Jane (translator), he truly got to experience Chr*st’s love, and we know, from this, he will be touched forever.
And he did not try the window. Although sad to leave, a new light shone in a previously dark existence.
But, what about after camp?
Boys like this can either be destined for a life of anger and desperation, and maybe even crime, or a life in which valid role models exist, and his painful past can be recycled for good, and (prayerfully) for G*d.
It is boys like this that can be transformed – be given a real chance, that will effect the next 40-50 years of their life. It takes commitment, patience and perseverance. But it is achievable. He needs a program of consistent mentoring. This is another step in the BMH philosophy – The Ranch commencing in 2009. Let us know if you would like to be involved, receive updates, or help support the project!
The Ranch Video (intro): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f78k13USvYg&feature;=channel_page
Hi Everyone! Wow, so much to say! We had an incredible first week with the orphans. I’m attaching photos and stories in hopes of bringing you to camp as you read this email.
Biggest Slumber party ever! Bedtime stories, snacks, and late night talking. Hmmm… I wonder what topic the girls talked about? But I do know that the boys got in some good wrestling! Lots of fun!
Reunited for a week!—- Last year we had about 350 orphans come to camp. So much pain, sorrow and tragedy in little hearts. One of those kids was a young boy named Billy. We wrote about him in our 09 magazine. (Read the full story here) During camp last year Billy asked his American buddy why no one had adopted him. It broke the volunteer to answer him, Billy followed up the question by telling his volunteer that Jesus had adopted him and not to worry. When He got back to the orphanage Billy ran away in hopes of finding us. After he spent a night and a day walking the streets and country-side of China, he arrived at camp. But camp was finished. And the desire he had to be reunited with his friends was met with disappointment. Eventually a student found him and called the orphanage to come pick him up.
After waiting 1 year, Billy came to camp again this week!!! Here is an update from Sam Vidler, director of the camp that Billy attended: “Billy’s week was a rollercoaster – as many ups and downs, twists and turns, and always going at full speed. He arrived knowing what camp was about, and jumped straight into it. However, there are many aspects of Billy’s life that are tumultuous, and we had the challenge and the privilege to work through some of these. He left camp knowing that he is truly loved, and the darkness he has experienced in parts of his young life, can have a new light shed upon them.”
———– I Hate my Parents! I think everyone can understand when an orphan says, “I hate my parents!” One girl told her translator about why she has no feet. When her mom abandoned her, she left her in the snow. By the time someone found her, she had frostbite so badly that the doctor had to amputate both her feet. Because of her mom she has to spend the rest of her life in a wheel chair.
So it breaks my heart to hear them say, “I hate my parents.” But how can you tell them that hate and bitterness will poison their life? That they need to forgive and try to move on? I hope in some small way that we encouraged them this week. Also, I felt like this was a challenge for all of us that do have parents. If you bitter at your parents: FORGIVE & APPRECIATE THEM! Most likely they didn’t leave you out in the snow. And there are many orphans that would rather have the parents you have than the employees that take care of them. Fan Fan — This was Fan Fan’s second time coming to camp. Because of difficulties, she had to go back to the orphanage in 2008. This year, the staff in Xian perservered through some incredible challanges. And this year she stayed for the who week at camp. Here’s an update from Sam Vidler. Fan Fan – this is a girl who has developmental delay and difficulties with relationships, and the concentrated schedule of camp brought some of these out. But through G’s amazing power, and pr*yer, her week turned around, so that by the end, although her participation in large group activities had to be reduced, she had the time of her life. She literally transformed overnight (Tuesday night to be precise) from a girl who was wailing, sullen, trying to bite others, to hugging the staff and smiling all day. Incredible to see! ——— Photos from Kunming Camp:
——— From my blog:
David gets athletes foot? —— This week my feet started itching really bad. The first thought that came to my mind was Athletes foot! And oh no, I can’t tell anyone. I’ll be labeled. My friends and family will constantly be making sure that I don’t spread the disease. They won’t want to wear my sandals. They’ll make me clean the shower with bleach… etc. Then I started thinking about the orphans. They are labeled. And for them it means a lot more than athletes foot. Their label can determine their future: Where they work. Where they live. What schooling they get. What love they experience. All because of a stupid label.
Cupping! —– I walked into our office the other day and it smelled like smoke. A bunch of the staff were sitting around with the following items. – A Lighter – Glass cups – Paper As soon as they saw me they started shouting at me to sit down and experience Chinese medicine. At first I was confused. Then they explained… Light a piece of paper, stick it in the cup, and then quickly jam the cup with the fire in it against a part of your body. The fire burns up the oxygen and sucks your skin and muscle into the cup.
I looked over and saw one of the Chinese staff members with a huge burn on his back. They told me that they had learned from their mistakes. It wouldn’t happen again. I was looking for a reason to leave the office but one of the girls was sitting there with half her leg sucked into the cup and smiling. Of course I couldn’t leave.
They lit the fire and shoved it into the cup. Just as they stuck the cup on my leg my little brother told me not to flinch or it would let more oxygen in and burn more. Well, I didn’t flinch. But… the rim of the cup was burning hot. My skin cinched and I started yelling at the staff member. Which just mixed with everyone’s laughing. Afterward I felt really lucky compared to my friend. Only slight burns and blisters on my leg and arm. Here’s my friend’s burn-
Group photos —
More Photos: — http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonboltphotography/ facebook.com/bringmehope Closing: As I shared in the last update, Bring Me Hope came REALLY close to closing this summer. So many crazy phone calls, emails, and news reports along the way. But here we are in China, and more kids arrive tomorrow. It seems that every year the same thing is true, “Camp is disaster after disaster that ends in something beautiful!” This last week we covered the kids in love. Hugs, kisses, I love you’s, and for the boys, wrestling :>) When they got on the bus to go home, they KNEW without a doubt that they were loved.
They had a need to be loved and they soaked it up. It made me think about how God is sooooo willing to love us too, but often we don’t think we need His love. I pray that this week you need His love and know it!