Volunteer on short-term mission trips to provide orphan from orphanages and foster homes with love, hope, a sense of worth, and long-term advocacy. Check out our volunteer page to get involved!
One of the most common questions we get about our our mission trips to China to help children from orphanages and foster homes is, “What does a week look like?” We decided to give you a glimpse of what YOU could do for a week, to change an orphan’s life. Whether you are planning on volunteering or sponsoring an orphan, here is a week at Bring Me Hope camp!
Day 1: “The kids are coming”
This is one of the most exciting parts of camp. Seeing the little faces peering out of the bus as they pull up to your camp location. One by one these kids, both excited and nervous, exit the vehicle and are paired with you. Their little hands slide into yours and you make your way back to your lodging, preparing for the rest of the week.
Day 2-4: “We are family”
Congratulations, you and your Chinese translator are now proud parents for the week with your amazing and beautiful child! Your responsibilities will consist of making sure they are bathed, dressed, fed and physically taken care of throughout the day…this of course includes a bedtime story and tucking them in.
Throughout the day you and your family group will go out to experience many firsts. These include swimming, going to the beach, eating ice cream, singing songs, coloring, crafting, shopping for snacks, playing games and of course your nightly dance parties. While this is fun and an incredible experience, it’s the in-between moments that change lives…the times of comforting your child when they are sad, the times of carrying them around when they are too tired to walk and moments of just listening and loving them in the midst of the days events. This is what brings healing and shows your child what it means to be loved and valued.
Day 5: “The last day is just the beginning”
The last day of camp is just the beginning. We have seen how camp not only impacts the orphans while at camp, but continues long after camp. We have seen children adopted, advocated for, and helped in many different ways. Your job is just starting…and you are responsible to make that child’s voice heard, advocating for their needs!
For another awesome picture of camp, check out our documentary, Hannah’s Story and also don’t forget to check out our website to sponsor an orphan or volunteer in China. www.bringmehope.org
For the kids!
Caitlyn & Bring Me Hope Team
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!
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.
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!