Author Archives: admin

Love in Laurel

Taylor traveled to Laurel, Mississippi for a two week internship and after it was completed she said,

“The trip makes me realized that life can be amazing.  They all taught me how to share, how to help others, and how to love!”

Click here to watch the trip video

Here are some pictures from her trip:

An amazing host family that loves me and took care of my every need.

An amazing host family that loves me and took care of my every need.

Trying new foods every day!

Trying new foods every day!

Wow, the laws about buying guns are very different in Mississippi.

Wow, the laws about buying guns are very different in Mississippi.

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American libraries are fascinating to explore.

American libraries are fascinating to explore.

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Time for an American BBQ!

Time for an American BBQ!

Relaxing in the pool on a hot summer day.

Relaxing in the pool on a hot summer day.

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Cooking Chinese food for my host family.

Cooking Chinese food for my host family.

Trying on the firefighters uniform.  I feel safe!

Trying on the firefighters uniform. I feel safe!

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Practicing my ability at shooting an arrow into a hay stack.

Practicing my ability at shooting an arrow into a hay stack.

Learning how to resuscitate.

Learning how to resuscitate.

A picture after an interesting workshop on occupational therapy.

A picture after an interesting workshop on occupational therapy.

Cooking for a non-profit organization that gives meals to elderly people in need.

Cooking for a non-profit organization that gives meals to elderly people in need.

Taking a tour of the fire station.

Taking a tour of the fire station.

Eating a corn dog- which is a delicious cornbread over a hot dog.

Eating a corn dog- which is a delicious cornbread over a hot dog.

Jet skiing over the beautiful water.

Jet skiing over the beautiful water.

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Riding a tractor on the farm.

Riding a tractor on the farm.

Playing laser tag- a game that you play in the dark and try to "tag" people with a light shining from a gun.

Playing laser tag- a game that you play in the dark and try to “tag” people with a light shining from a gun.

Singing at church!

Singing at church!

Riding a horse for the first time.

Riding a horse for the first time.

My fire training certificate!

My fire training certificate!

Visiting a local therapy center.

Visiting a local therapy center.

My CPR certification card!

My CPR certification card!

Night Walk Thank You & Live Stream

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!

 

On behalf of the kids, THANK YOU!

NWThankYou

 

Girls Will Be Queens Part One – Bring Me Hope


Becoming a Princess - Carlee
Boys become kings, girls will be queens, Wrapped in Your majesty…When we love, when we love the least of these.” (Audio Adrenaline)

In 2013, Bring Me Hope was asked to visit the lovely state of Indiana and speak about our work.  It was a joy to connect with everyone but especially to meet one of my favorite adoptive Moms, Jenny.  She had 4 kids and was in the process of adopting another child from China.  What made this adoption hit close to home, was that her new daughter was one of our sweetest Bring Me Hope campers.  As we talked life, I knew Carlee was going to have an amazing family and would love every minute of life with them.

With the chance to talk to Jenny again, it was time for an update!  We are going to be featuring Carlee again in a couple of weeks but wanted to give you a chance to hear from her Mom first.  We are so excited to have this opportunity and again so blessed to see how Bring Me Hope and our advocates can change lives!  1982263_10202130735004651_670835339_n

What is one piece of advice you would give adoptive parents?

Go into each adoption with realistic expectations.  Not just where the new child is concerned…..but for other family members, and the parents themselves.1939892_10202130746804946_1050126276_n

What has been the easiest and most fun parts of adoption?

Getting to watch all the “firsts”.  New experiences are a blast.  For example, the first time we took Carlee shopping after she came home, she saw a frilly Rapunzel princess nightgown in the store.  Even at age 13, her face lit up when I took it off the rack and handed it to her.  She couldn’t WAIT to put it on and twirl around the living room in it that night.

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What has been one of the biggest challenges?

Adoption does not come without it’s challenges.  I would be lying if I said it did.  In our case, we brought home a 13 year old.  That is 13 long years of never having a family.  The biggest challenge has probably been the fact that Carlee was not used to “rules”……now she has parents that insist she follow rules.  It’s been a bumpy road at times, but we’re getting there 🙂1922328_10202130746644942_1239552410_n

How did you find Carlee & how did you know she was your child?

We found Carlee on the Waiting Child page of our agency’s website (WACAP).  After we brought Reese and Hannah home, we had a strong feeling that we had another child in China.  We still felt like God was calling us back there.  When we saw Carlee’s photo…..we knew.  We prayed about it and God made it very clear that we were to GO and bring our daughter home.1237065_10202130746244932_1907964661_n

 How was Bring Me Hope involved?

Some of Carlee’s fondest memories of China were at Bring Me Hope camp.  She talks about it all the time and LOVES to look at photos from camp.  While we were waiting to bring Carlee home, BMH was awesome about taking photos of her while she was at camp and even helping us skype with her.  Huge blessing for us.

Thanks so much Jenny for chatting with us and sharing a few thoughts 🙂  Below is a picture of Carlee at Bring Me Hope camp and their weekly video!  If you haven’t gone yet, help us celebrate our 10 year anniversary and volunteer for a week!DSC_0220

For The Kids!

Caitlyn & Bring Me Hope Team

Walking to Support an Orphan – Night Walk 2014

It’s that time of year…NIGHT WALK 2014, has come around and I beyond excited to tell you more.  WHY is this year completely amazing?

  • I love this years camp theme, “Jubilee”
  • I want to beat last years number of Night Walkers, we had approximately 155 people
  • And last but not least, Bring Me Hope is celebrating their 10 year anniversary (can I blow my party horn to celebrate?)

Oh, and I almost forgot one more reason, they are not only introducing a new T-Shirt but are bringing back 3 others from their “Vintage Tees” collection. So, if you can’t decide on what design you like best, feel free to order all 4 (the “Vintage Tees” collection are limited in number and are a first come, first serve product).  NightWalk_2014_Blog-FacebookAd

So, now back to the logistics.  For any new people reading this, let me give you a little background.  Night Walk is a chance for us to show orphans love.  On May 2nd, we will gather together in the evening and walk for an hour, while Chinese orphans walk during the day.  Our goal during this time is to get as many people together to raise money for orphan sponsorships.  Each walker that signs up (you get a free shirt when you sign up before April 19th) provides Bring Me Hope the funds they need to send orphans to this years summer camp.  The more walkers/sponsors we have, the more kids get to leave the orphanage and go to summer camp…the more kids that come to summer camp, the more lives that are changed and get to be advocated for.  This is a chance for those who can’t volunteer at Bring Me Hope to be a megaphone for the voiceless and help fund these kids.auburn_kunming

What does Bring Me Hope need?

Leaders!  They had 31 groups last year…let’s try to double those numbers.  If one person from each state would lead a group we would almost be there.  Leading a group is pretty simple…it requires getting people together and finding a location, that’s about it.

Walkers!  They need people willing to get together with an awesome group of friends and walk on May 2nd.  You can walk at a local park, through the city, on a bike trail or at your local school track.

Sponsors!  They want anyone that can’t walk or lead to sponsor someone else to walk or buy a T-Shirt.8789296496_b24bea9639_o

I want YOU…if you are reading this, you can take part.  Click HERE to see more about a walk that happened last year in the Alamo.  Visit bringmehope.org to sign up or sponsor another walker or click one of the buttons below.  If you are interested in leading or need more information, contact Regina (regina@bringmehope.org).

Night Walk Sponsorship Night Walk Sign-up

For the Kids!

Caitlyn & Bring Me Hope Team

Ideas to Raise Money for Orphans│Bring Me Hope

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” 
― Mother Teresa

This past Christmas, a group of young women got together to raise money for Bring Me Hope.  Together they used their talents and love of crafting to raise $600 for camp, quite a large sum for a 3 hour Christmas Bazaar.  We are so excited to show you some of their work and hope it gives you ideas on how you can make a difference by doing something you LOVE!bringmehope-girlsfundraising_0001

Do you want to be featured on the Bring Me Hope blog?  Send us your stories from camp, fundraising, etc.

For the Kids!

Bring Me Hope Team

Love & Defend Orphans

Volunteer on short-term Christian mission trips to provide orphans and orphanages with love, hope and long-term advocacy.

One of the most common questions we get about our our mission trips to China is, “What does a week look like?”  We decided to share with 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”

Kids coming to camp Kids hugging new volunteer

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.

Happy Kid at Camp

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.Kids with VolunteerSleepy Boys

Throughout the day you and your camp group will take your children out to experience firsts.  These include swimming, eating ice cream, learning songs, coloring, crafting, 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.Funny Glasses holding hands pool pushup sign swimming sword

Day 5: “Goodbye is the hardest part”

This is by far one of the hardest days emotionally.  It’s when you have to let go and know your child has to leave and return to the orphanage.  It’s the day when you read aloud the letters you write to each other…it’s your last hugs…it’s the final moment you get to say to them “Wo Ai Ni,” I love you and will never forget you.  Their belongings are packed up, tears are shed and you watch YOUR child drive away.  You are now left with memories and a passion to do something about this.  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

Blind and Beauty

“I’ve never met a person who was ugly, unless they wanted to be. I’ve never seen my wife’s face, but I’ve listened to the sound of her smile.”
– Tom Sullivan
“During the last week of camp I met a little boy named “Timothy.” He was blind. His face, where his eye sockets should have been, was flat and kinda empty, and on one side the eye was missing completely. When I first met him, it was really hard for me to look at him…I was disappointed with myself that I couldn’t love him instantly the way I had with all the other kids. I remember emailing a friend one night and expressing how sad I was about this little boy – I felt like he didn’t just have a minor disability but that his disability actually defined him. Eyes are so key to a persons’ soul, and to hardly even have eye sockets just seemed so unfair. 
 
On the first day i went up to Timothy and his caregiver to see how they was doing. She was sitting their crying. Tears streaming down her face. Timothy couldn’t really engage in the art activity that we were doing so she had her iPod out and was letting him listen to her music. She was clearly overcome at the intensity of his disability too. 

As the week went on. I got to know Timothy a bit. He was a pretty passive kid, in his own world a lot of the time, obviously had not received much education or one on one attention. He seemed very oblivious and quite removed from the real world. But still, I fell in love with him. I started teaching him guitar and just kinda interacting more with him – figuring out ways to include him and make his surroundings come alive to him. I ran his hand over the contours of my face and through the length of my hair. I started to explain about how my skin was a different color to his…but then i stopped – does color even exist to him?  We connected through touch and he could tell instantly when it was my hand he was holding and when it was someone else’s. 

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Then on Thursday – this was the highlight of my entire summer – we took him to the ocean. At first he didn’t want to go in, he kept saying he was scared, and so his caregivers just let him play in the sand. But I really wanted to try taking him in. I knew he would love it once he got in, its just that he didn’t know what the ocean was – and how would he? He’d never been there before, he couldn’t see it and I’m sure the sounds of crashing waves weren’t the most inviting.
 
I held his hand and explained that i was going to take him down into the water. He said, “姐姐我不要,我害怕,害怕” – “sister! I don’t want to go in, I’m scared.. scared”. But we went nice and slow and I explained all the sounds and textures and smells to him. When his feet first hit the water he was a little surprised and kinda hesitated but I kept reassuring him, and then, he decided to trust me. We went further in. His face showed a mixture of raw curiosity and deep peace. He seemed to be enjoying it. When he was in up to his waist he was still holding both of my hands, but visibly starting to relax. Then I put his hands in the water and rubbed them together,  he let out a little giggle and started saying 洗手洗手!”I can wash my hands!”  He put his hands up to his face and giggled further, exclaiming 姐姐!看看我!我在洗脸!”sister look at me! I’m washing my face!” it was the coolest thing – so innocent, so pure. 

We ventured in further. It was incredible. He was in awe of all that he was sensing. The way the waves gently lapped against his body, the saltiness on his lips, the all encompassing presence of water. When we were deep enough I told him to lift his legs up and that I was going to teach him how to float. He tried it immediately, trusting me fully, and relaxed onto his back. The look on his face was one that i’ll never forget. He was so delighted and kept doing his little giggle thing. He could have stayed there for hours. 

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I think it was then that I realized he didn’t need eyes to communicate delight. I didn’t need to be able to look into his eyes to understand what he was thinking/feeling, his voice and facial expression was plenty. It was also at that moment that I stopped defining him by his disability, but by his name – Timothy. He was no longer the little blind boy with no eyes. He was Timothy, the brave adventurer who I had the privilege of taking to the ocean for the first time, the innocent child who was so willing to trust, the young man who had no qualms expressing emotion and embracing freedom.
 
I hope that next time I see a little boy with no eyes I don’t have to wait a few days before I start seeing his heart. I hope that I will be able to remember that he is not defined by his physical features or lack there of, just as I am not. I now see that beauty is not only something seen with the eyes, but it is the delight that seeps out when you allow yourself and others to embrace  freedom.
Timothy, thank you for redefining beauty for me, and for revealing something of my own beauty to me.”  -Rach 
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We meet so many kids each year at camp that from the worlds view are “flawed” and “unlovable.”  These kids are more than a number, more than a face and more than their disability.  Timothy is like so many other children, is longing for someone to show him he is beautiful, he is loved, his life has purpose!  Through HIM, we see the beauty of this boy and so many other children!
For The Kids – Bring Me Hope
P.S. Below are all the videos from this week’s Yantai blog features!

Foreign Perspectives

Every year BMH camp brings around a new set of volunteers that are pumped to fly over to China and get camp started.  But some people don’t realize, there is another huge group of volunteers that make camp possible…our Chinese staff.  They are a group of amazing college students that make our communication with the kids possible but also add the extra energy and fun needed for our summer adventures.  It is amazing to be able to form a relationship with them, become part of a camp family and leave at the end of the week with a new friend.  Personally, some of our favorite memories with our translators were being able to bond over life experiences, learn about the culture differences, be parents together for the week and attempt to learn some Chinese (attempt being the key word).

How we would sum up camp life with our foreign volunteers, “The beginning of the week brought a bunch of confident university student eager to practice their English.  Five days later we were looking at a tight knit team of people who had been broken and transformed by these precious children.  Childen who needed constant diaper changes, who always pushed the boundaries, who didn’t act like other children we’d seen before…Children who needed love!”  Thank you to all of our foreign volunteer staff that help make camp possible!  pinkflowerphoto_0005

“I learnt this week that love is not about what you can receive in return, but what you can give. Love doesn’t have any expectations.” – Vivianpinkflowerphoto_0004

“Today at lunch, my little boy said “I would really love to become your son”. After I heard him say that, all the things I previously thought were important no longer seemed important. I no longer simply want to pursue academic achievement and a good job, I want to pursue a life of significance.” -Lunapinkflowerphoto_0003

“I learnt so much looking after my buddies this week. When I saw them being thankful for seemingly insignificant things, I suddenly realized that I haven’t ever really thanked my parents before. When camp is over, I’m going to be intentional about expressing my love and thanks to my own family.” Heysonpinkflowerphoto_0006

“Before I came to this camp I was afraid of kids with disabilities. But after this week I see that they just need more love, they need us.” -Reaganpinkflowerphoto_0007

“This summer camp changed me a lot, I feel like I learnt the definition of love for the first time.” – Olivia pinkflowerphoto_0002For The Kids,

Bring Me Hope

 

Running From Love

Summer Camp 2013 has come to an end.  Although goodbyes have been said, there are stories waiting to be told.  This year Rena (one of our volunteers) shared her personal thoughts about working with orphans and running from love.  I highly encourage you to get your box of Kleenex before you start reading.lokasari_pinkflower2013_0028For the past three summers, I’ve attended Bring Me Hope summer camps for orphans in China.  Going to camp has left me with some of the sweetest memories and some of the deepest sorrow my heart has ever known.  Getting to know and love some of the orphans I’ve met has had such a deep impact on my heart.

For the first two summers, I went enthusiastically to meet with these children who have experienced much suffering and abuse.  Many have attachment disorders, which keep them from forming deeper bonds with those around them for fear of being hurt again.  They run from good and from love because they are self-protecting.  Most of them have no idea how to receive love because they’ve been abandoned and mistreated.  They run from the very thing they need because they are afraid.

Summer after summer, I meet these children. I have attempted to purse them with as much love and faithfulness as possible.  I have made it my goal to bring them hope, show them love and tell them they have value. I have formed deep connections with many of the children. I’ve placed them on a bus on a Friday afternoon and have waived goodbye to them with tears streaming down my face and theirs.

This summer, I realized something.  The children and I are not so different.  I’ve been hurt. I run from love and I lack hope.  I understand them.  I know what it’s like to keep locked inside because more heartbreak seems unbearable. During a volunteer meeting Kelly, one of our camp directors read a description of attachment disorder to us.  For the first time, I realized that I’m prone to the same.  I was never orphaned but I’ve been neglected and mistreated and I carry those scars with me and sometimes they ooze with pain.  Self-protecting has also been my tendency and this year I’ve done it more than I’ve desired to. lokasari_pinkflower2013_0027Earlier during my week at camp this year, I communicated with Kelly that I thought it best not to connect too deeply with the children because the tearing when we said goodbye would just hurt them more.  I didn’t want to hurt them more.  I wanted to bring them a little hope not more pain.  In some way, this thought made sense but I was not opening my heart as wide as I possibly could to these children and that is not love.  I was acting and thinking in my own wisdom, which failed me.  Here is a description of love that Kelly’s kids recited from memory.  Here is my rock when my own wisdom fails me.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.   If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b]6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 

 “Love does not keep locked inside.  It is not afraid for “perfect love cast out fear.”.  Love endures forever.  It is the only thing that makes any sense.  If we are acting in love and laying down our lives for the sake of others we will gain more love and hope will rise. Self-protection makes sense but self-protection is not love.  I’ve been guilty of trying to protect myself from good.  I understand, but thankfully my week at camp did not end in self-protection but with love, the patient kind that waits.

I waived goodbye to one of my little boys.  He hugged others as he began to weep. I drew near and hugged him.  He lost more control of his emotions with that hug and his self-protection was crumbling. I could finally see hope rise in his heart.  I hope love continues to bear fruit in his heart. I hope the love he received he will pour out on others. And I hope that love would fall right back on him.  lokasari_pinkflower2013_0026My time at Bring Me Hope has been a journey.  I’ve learned what love really means.  I’ve seen it in the faces of each of the orphans.  I see the Father in them.  My heart both rejoices in them and mourns with them.  I see the Father more now than I ever have.  Caring for the unloved, the orphan has healed my heart from self-protection. I see this pure and blameless religion washing over me.  I’m so thankful for the wonderful opportunity to have gone to China for the third time this summer.  I went in brokenness and came back whole.  Thank you Father and thank you little broken beauties.  I’ll never stop loving you.  I’ll never give up hoping for you.  If you desire a family, I’ll hope that with you and mourn that with you.

 Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) -Rena

Past Camper to Future Volunteer

This week I was contacted by a young woman interested in volunteering for Bring Me Hope 2014.  As we continued to talk, I squealed with joy when I found out this girl, Anna, was one of our past campers!  There is something about reconnecting down the road with a kid that came to camp that makes life so real!2013BringMeHopeSummer_0045v

“My name is Anna Coiner. I attended Camp Bring Me Hope when I was in the orphanage in Jiangxi Fu Zhou . When we heard that we were going to Camp Bring Me Hope, we were all very excited. When we got to Camp Bring Me Hope, we did lots of fun activities. We went to the bowling place and played games, that was our first time went bowling.  We colored  our shirts and made key chains.  It was so much fun.  When we finished designing our shirts we all put the shirts on and take picture of us all together.  We also went to the river to swim.  I also remember that David Bolt jumped to the water because he saw snake but when he jumped in it was not snake it was just stick we all laughed.  I really loved the volunteers.  They were so kind to us.  I felt loved by them. We all really liked when the volunteers said “Good Night”  to us in English.  We also played musical chairs, it was an awesome game.  When Camp Bring Me Hope was almost over, we were all very sad.  We all were crying because we didn’t want to leave Bring Me Hope. 2013BringMeHopeSummer_0046 2013BringMeHopeSummer_0047

The next year, a couple kids that attended Bring Me Hope at they got adopted by an American family.  I was the last one to get adopted by an American family.  My family loves me and is taking care of me now.  I have been America for 6 years. Now I want to volunteer for Camp Bring Me Hope. I want to help the orphans just like when I was an orphan at Camp Bring Me Hope. I want to tell them about my story when I was in the  orphanage and then I got adopted by an American family.  I want to tell them all the fun things we did.”  Anna Coiner
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And here is Anna today…I already love this girl!

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Thank you Anna for contacting me and sharing your story!  We hope to see you next summer as a volunteer at Bring Me Hope Camp 2014 (woot woot, which will also be our 10 year aniversary)!