Tag Archives: Camp

Summer Camp Update 1 of 6

Hi Everyone! Just wanted to share a few highlights (or unexpected moments) from China.

First of all, I am just AMAZED how God has opened the doors for orphans to come to summer camp. About 1 month ago we got word that all orphanages were not allowing kids to leave the orphanage in fear that they might get Swine flu from a foreigner.

The developing news looked so dismal that I was getting ready to fly to another country to see if we could set up camp somewhere else. But as I thought about leaving China, it was almost too hard to bear the thought. And so we prayed and asked others to pray and God did a miracle. I don’t even know what happened. But in the last couple weeks some of the orphanages started to be willing to send their kids to camp. Currently all camps are full!!!

But we are not out of the woods yet. Yesterday an orphanage canceled on coming to camp. A few weeks ago a friend told me about another organization that canceled their work with kids. And here at my camp locations we have to take our temperature everyday. So please keep praying!

Second… Kind of an EMBARRASSING story. but those always make the best. Last weekend all of the camp staff flew in to my camp location to connect before camp begins. We heard about a local park that had go-carts, bumper cars, and zip lines. Well, as you can imagine, things aren’t as safe in China. But this park seemed rather harmless. First was bumper cars. A little faster than usual and maybe a few sore necks but all went fine. Next we went over the zip line. This seemed a little more sketchy but the zip line went out over a lake and also had a safety net under the wire.

I waited my turn as most of the team went across the lake. I decided that when it was my turn I would make an effort to push off faster than normal. The Chinese man hooked my harness to the zip line and I pushed off. As I started across the lake I had another idea. bounce… so I started bouncing.

Everything was going well until I looked up to get ready for my landing. I saw the Chinese man waving at me quite urgently to pick up my legs. It was then that I realized that if I didn’t pick up my legs, they wouldn’t clear the dock. So I lifted them high into the air… But … the bouncing and my weight timed just wrong and instead of clearing the landing I landed on the landing in sitting posture.

Well apparently, I didn’t hear the back side of my shorts rip off. Maybe I was just too stunned because everyone was watching and I didn’t want to look like I was hurt. So I just calmly waited for the guy to unhook me from the harness. As I was walking down the stairs I realized that all the girls were gone.. And the guys were laughing. and that is always a sure sign that something is wrong. I went to feel my injury and realized that there was nothing back there. Just air. And on top of that, there were people everywhere!!! And I couldn’t really go anywhere. Eventually I figured out how to use my shirt for covering and decided that I’d be a little more careful on the zip line next time.

So, that started our summer off with the first of many more stories to come in the next month. that’s what I love about China, you never know what might happen next.

Good Times,

Here’s a note from a buddy I had last year. Looking forward to seeing the kids in less than a week:

Wanghai’s Goodbye letter:

David (Big beard :>)
You played with me, laughed with me. I think it’s the happiest time I have ever had this year. It is in the BMH camp where I played with you happily! :>) I hope you could send your photos to my email. Best Wishes! Keep fit!

Changes in the Air…

Control; It’s an idea and pursuit that the American culture holds dear. But when even a step is taken onto the mission field (even if it is on our own soil), that illusion dissipates and we are left with the truth that nothing is certain.

Bring Me Hope runs summer camps for orphans in China. But what happens when the Chinese Civil Affair Administration has told ALL the orphanages in the country that the children are not allowed to attend outside activities because of the Swine Flu (H1N1 virus)? And what do we do when a camp location looks like it might fall through?

“I don’t feel like this means that we should just give up,” David Bolt wrote to all the summer volunteers. “There are still lots of children that can benefit from summer camp,” he encouraged them.

Alternative plans include having camp for children in foster homes, on the streets, and whose parents are in jail. But the Bring Me Hope team doesn’t have to look too far back to remember how God brought just the right children into their path last year.

“We had been asking God all year to send us to the neediest orphans in China, and he took us right to them when our Beijing camp site unexpectedly was shut down,” Kristen Chase remembers.

“Everything seemed to be in complete chaos when the team relocated to another city, but in retrospect, we see that God was sending us to orphans who were in more desperate and dire situations than where we had planned to be,” she said.

So while some camp details remain uncertain, the Bring Me Hope team presses forward in faith.

“We are in a situation right now where we have to either give up or trust God that things will come together last minute, and that He will do a miracle,” David Bolt said. “And one week before we leave for China, things are falling into place,” he added.

Encouraging news came recently from Tim Hedden, the camp director in Kunming, explaining the opportunity to care for children found in bad home and family situations and who are on the verge of becoming orphans. Also, we just got news that a wonderful camp location that was in question came through!

“I’m really excited about this summer,” David encouraged the volunteers going to China. “Even though there are a lot of hard things happening, I REALLY trust that God is going to work it all together for good, and it will be much better than I could have ever planned,” he said.

Please be praying for everyone involved with Bring Me Hope this summer. We are after whatever God has for us, so please pray for willing hearts and His guidance! Thank you so much!

For more information: info@bringmehope.org

Children’s Performance at Camp

I was sorting through some photos from our ’07 summer camp when I came across this short movie clip that a volunteer took of some of the children performing for us.

They all looked adorable up on stage, and the lyrics from the song they sang were very touching, and spoke about being changed by other’s love.

But my favorite part was when the crowd erupted in applause at the end of their song. Like parents at their child’s recital, we were all so proud of these precious children that we had grown to deeply love in one-week’s time. And I’m so glad that the kids had that experience of a room full of people swelling with pride and love for them…


One is the loneliest Number

Difficult to not feel ashamed.

That’s the painful part of what goes through your mind as you watch the vans pull away. Not shame for what you have—who you have—but for what you have never done, or have not done enough of. My 25 years have been spent in the lush splendor that is the American lifestyle, and the orphans are riding a bus back to the relative loneliness inside of them. For a week, they have lived outside of that ache, warmed by the touch and smiles of Chinese and American volunteers committed to loving them at any cost. But a week, what is it, when I will spend the next fifty between the comfortable lines I have drawn for myself at home? What have I done? As the months stretch out into next year, then the next, will a week matter?

This morning, during breakfast, I pulled out my journal and wrote what I saw as I watched the hard shell of my most difficult child, Jake, melt and fall away.

“We’re eating our last meal together. John just told me he will always remember me. Jake looked sad; he was not talkative, as usual. I asked my translator if Jake was sad, and he said he didn’t think so. But, as we both watched the small boy slowly eat his food, we saw a lone teardrop roll to the tip of his nose.”

It is in such moments when your own grief surfaces.

But then again, you know.

You know a week is a week—no more, but also no less. Five days of joy Jake would not have had otherwise.

You know it means more to the kids than you can understand. Because they said so. Looked you in the eye and said the words in beautiful, tonal Mandarin: “I will never forget you.”

You know it is right. You know you have obeyed the One who sent you here in the first place, if only for two weeks.

And you hope that they have seen a fingerprint on you that they will recognize on someone else years from now—something intangible, yet unmistakable.

All these things swirl around for a mixture of emotions, bitter and sweet—the bitter more instructive, the sweet like little tastes of heaven.

As Jake wept inside the van, my palm pressed to his cheek, I thought, “How could I not come back next year?” I sense a feeling of accomplishment, but also that what I have done is not nearly enough.

Bringing the orphans hope has become a lifelong calling, even if I can only answer for a few weeks every year.

They are the weeks I will cherish the most.

Thank You Translators!

For all the time, money and preparation that was put into the four weeks of camp this summer, one thing is clear: we could not have done it without our translators. Language barriers make it difficult enough to visit a foreign country, let alone try to bond with a child you have never met.

I have found that some language is universal: hand gestures, tickling, smiles, laughs. Even games such as rock-paper-scissors, duck duck goose, and go fish span cultures. But specific communication is impossible without translation.

And for that, we want to say a special thank you to the translators who have volunteered their time to be with us. Many have come as much as 12 hours by train to join us in Beijing. They are a vital part of the team and we are grateful for their support.

Editor’s note: Indeed, the translators make the summer camp possible. They spend more time with the orphans than the American volunteers—up to 16 hours a day, seeing to it that the kids eat, shower, sleep, behave and have a good time. We have witnessed the love that our Chinese translators have for the children, the intelligence they possess and the dedication that, frankly, inspires us to work harder and love more deeply. Thank you, translators, for your tireless work and friendship. We love you all.

— Patti Diaz


On Tuesday, we visited a royal park in Beijing. The rain that had threatened all morning became a reality, dampening what would have been a glorious afternoon of walking and enjoying the sights. My family group had only one umbrella among the four of us. It was a wet experience.

My translator purchased several lotus flower centers, as they contain edible seeds. We peeled them on the bus back and my buddy, Lily, started to break apart the stem. Inside, translucent fibers kept the parts together. My translator explained to us that the action was significant. The lotus stem symbolizes something broken, yet still connected.

Lily continued to break the stem and finger the threads. As I watched her, I wondered if the symbolism meant something to her. Does she feel a mental or emotional connection to her parents? They are not only responsible for her existence, but also for the growing up process. A child’s need for love and affirmation does not disappear simply because her parents do.

The fibers of the stem reminded me of a spider web. It may be nearly invisible, but it’s strong and sticky and doesn’t go away. The idea the plant represents—being separated but still attached—applies to all of us, really. There is an eternal thread that connects us to Someone Else. Physically, we are not all orphans, but spiritually, we are. I am thankful for that adoption, open to everyone, which can make us whole again.

— Patti Diaz