We have received several more updates from Beijing, where Bring Me Hope wrapped up the first of four camps on Friday. It sounds like week 1 went well, based on an e-mail from David, and one from Michelle Rusch. Here is what Michelle wrote:
“Today (Friday) is the last day of camp one. The time has gone by so quickly! The kids are packing and awaiting their last assembly where they will get to see the beach balls drop again and say their last goodbyes.
Last night the volunteers and staff stayed up very late to write goodbye letters and organize photos that will be shown in a video to the kids this morning. They love to see themselves in the videos so we were trying to get at least one shot of all of them in this last video. There was a video that was made for each day of the camp and all them will be burned to a DVD that will go out to everyone at camp. Editor’s note: see subsequent post for instructions on accessing these videos on YouTube.
Yesterday the kids enjoyed more time in the pool, at the water park, and doing crafts. The pool is a big hit because most of the kids have never been inside of one. In addition to these activities we discovered two others: balloon animals and face painting. These were things that were originally not planned, but turned out to be a major hit so they will be added to the schedule in future weeks.
The two photos in this post were taken by Michelle. In the photo below, the kids are arriving at camp for week one. The photo at the top is of a field trip the team and kids took to the Great Wall.
Lastly, we have a brief update from David, who writes about several “touching moments” that struck him during week 1:
“1. One of the kids kind of adopted me as his big brother. On the last day I wrote him a note that simply said, ‘I love you!’ I didn’t know if he could understand what I wrote, but he quickly grabbed my hand and wrote, ‘I love you too!’ Later that day, when my little buddy left to go home, he held the tears back until the last moment. I can’t describe what it does to your heart to see a friend go back to orphanage care.
2. We had three little kids come from a really poor foster home. Everything was new for them—brushing their teeth, seeing water come out of a faucet. But before they came to camp their foster dad bought them a bottle of juice. One of the translators said that one of the little boys was almost out of juice and went outside to the tap water to fill his juice again so he could enjoy it longer. When he got to camp he kept asking our translator, ‘Are we in America? We are in America right?’
3. One of the things we do at camp is have the kids dress up for a camp glamour picture. We have a large image of Snow White that some of the kids stand in front of when they take their picture. One of the translators asked an orphan if they knew who Snow White was. The orphan replied, ‘Yes, she’s my mom. And she is coming back for me.’
How many children are there in the world that are waiting for Snow White? And for so many it is just a fantasy.
We have just experienced one week of titanic emotional ups and downs but at the same time we love what we do with everything we have. Thank you all for your heart to help children.
— Tom Pfingsten