Category Archives: Bring Me Hope News

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

 

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. 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
 
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

 

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)!

New Shoes │Taiyuan Recap

Today is story time from camp Taiyuan.

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pinkflowerphoto_0049 pinkflowerphoto_0050About a week ago we had a little girl named Suzi join us.  Suzi was a kind & warm hearted girl who loved her camp family to pieces.  One day Ciara, her Irish volunteer, brought her to the store and went straight to the shoe section.  Suzi’s shoes were “in bits” and didn’t fit her anymore, so it was Ciaras intention to surprise her by buying a new pair.  As they were looking at shoes, little Suzi began to cry and explained she didn’t have money and could never buy a new pair.  It took her awhile to finally understand that Ciara was buying the shoes and that she didn’t have to pay her back.  Ciara said, “She finally realized that I was going to give her a gift and her eyes got so big!  She couldn’t believe that someone would buy her new shoes!”  The rest of the day was all smiles from Suzi as she happily received the simple gift of new shoes.pinkflowerphoto_0052 pinkflowerphoto_0053 pinkflowerphoto_0054

One of our favorite parts of camp is giving out camp awards. Every night the ‘Award Fairy’ comes to our Assembly Hall (the Award Fairy is played by our crazy-fun staff member Keri) and each night new campers receive awards such as, “Most Generous” or “Biggest Smile.” We wish everyone could have the opportunity to see these orphans nearly burst with pride when their names get called to receive an award. They come up to the front of the stage and everyone cheers and claps for them as they hold up their awards. One of our little campers who joined us last year brought her award from last year which she keeps in a special folder because she is still so proud; even a year later!pinkflowerphoto_0055 pinkflowerphoto_0056 pinkflowerphoto_0057

This week we sent a few of our volunteers to ride back to the orphanage with the kids. They said as they looked around on the bus, so many of the kids had opened their memory books to the page of the ‘family photo’ and were just staring at the picture. Many of the kids looked at the picture and cried as they drove back to the orphanage. This really touched our hearts because we put a lot of time and effort into making the memory books, but we didn’t know how important they really were to the kids. These orphans cherish their memory books and many of them keep them in special places to keep them safe.pinkflowerphoto_0058

Although each week our little campers are carrying home lots of new things with smiles on their faces, our biggest hope is that they carry in their hearts the truth that they are special, important and very loved.  Camp is so important for these kids and in many cases is considered one of the highest points of their lives.  These are lives changed when you and I show love to these kids through volunteering at camp, sponsoring an orphan & standing alongside of them and advocating!  We want to thank you all for the difference you are making in the lives of these kids…who now can see that they are loved and have a hope that can carry them through.pinkflowerphoto_0059 pinkflowerphoto_0060 pinkflowerphoto_0061 pinkflowerphoto_0062 pinkflowerphoto_0063 pinkflowerphoto_0064 pinkflowerphoto_0065 pinkflowerphoto_0066 pinkflowerphoto_0067 pinkflowerphoto_0068 pinkflowerphoto_0069

For The Kids,

Bring Me Hope

Cupcakes for Orphans

As Bring Me Hope begins the long awaited summer camp for Chinese Orphans, people around the world are finding ways to sponsor kids for camp and give them an opportunity to be loved and cared for.

This past month, two young girls (Layel & Christina) got together with the hopes to creatively raise money to send kids to this years summer camp.  With a love of baking and all things sweet, they decided to sell cupcakes.  They called their fundraiser “Hope Bakes” and offered some fun flavors…Banana Split, Peanut Butter Cup, & Vanilla Orange Buttercream.  It looks like they had a blast in the kitchen creating massive cupcakes for delivery.

CupcakesforOrphans_BMH_0001 CupcakesforOrphans_BMH_0002 CupcakesforOrphans_BMH_0003

We all have gifts, talents & hobbies that can be used for a greater cause!  Like these two young girls…they used what they loved and HE provided more than they could have asked for.  They even exceeded their $300 goal and were beyond excited to be sending a couple of kids to Bring Me Hope camp.  It wasn’t just these two girls but everyone that jumped on board and donated, your gifts are changing lived.

If you have a story about raising money for Bring Me Hope orphans, please let us know.  We would love to feature you on the blog.  We are also still looking for people to get involved with this years summer camp and helping kids come.  If you would love to change a future please click HERE and visit our sponsor page.

Forever Families

Fu Xia is a sweet, ten year old girl that Bring Me Hope staff and volunteers at the Yantai location had the privilege to meet and grow to love. Fu Xia’s special need is dwarfishness; and, she loves to sing, dance and play just like every other child. She lit up the room with her sweet smile and loving personality. But the resounding echo, the one we hear for every child, is that she needs a family.

 

Our hope is that through camp and raising awareness about the orphan crisis, forever families would be led to the precious children that we have the privilege of working with.

 

The victorious news for Fu Xia is that she now has a forever family and will be going to live with them soon! More than that, her parents have also decided to adopt a little boy! They hope to be able to bring the two kiddos to their forever homes together, but with that come a heap of expenses. The biggest barrier between this family and their newest additions is money, that is where you come in! Depending on where you feel led to give, the Parker family would so appreciate donations to help bring their kids home.

Heartsent Adoptions, Inc. China Waiting Child Fees
-HAI Program fee (part 1) $2,750
-HAI Program fee (part 2) $2750
-Beijing Service Fee $500
-I-800A Approval $2,850
-Visa Processing Fee $380
-Post-Adoption Service Fee (part 1) $1,800
-LSC $2,180
-China Travel Coordination Fee $2,000
-Article 5 Submission $2,000

In-Country Travel Expenses
-Orphanage Donation Fee $5,500
-China Notary Fee $550
-Registration Fee $325
-Application Fee in Province $95
-China Passport Fee for Child $110
-Flight from Province to Guangzhou for 3-4 people $1,000
-Incidental Fees: medical, photos, etc. $100

Heartsent Adoptions, Inc.
140 Brookwood Rd.
#100
Orinda, CA 94563

 

The vision of Bring Me Hope:
“To convince orphans of their incredible worth and value, and to inspire volunteers to use their influence, skills, and resources to help orphans”

 

What a joy it is to serve the children for the one who loves us. We must never forget that we can cover these kids in love and trust that there is a greater love than even that, one that we cannot in and of ourselves give to them, one that only the Father can provide. We can trust him with their forever families.
So many more orphans are in need of forever families, and we want to do everything possible to bridge that gap, from the families to their kids.

 

Rally Day through Bring Me Hope is coming up December 1, 2012. This is the FIRST EVER Rally day in which the volunteers and staff will join efforts in their own cities, states, and countries, and raise awareness for the orphan, for their buddy or buddies froom camp. The goal is that our voice might be loud enough to be heard.

 

That resounding echo does not go away when we leave camp. It gets more intense. Living here knowing that our kids still don’t have families is heart breaking. This is our chance to really do something. Please continue looking at our facebook page, website, and twitter. Videos for several of these children will be posted on www.defendfoundation.org

We Declare His Love

As our tired tears watched the bus full of little ones drive away,

all we could do was declare His love over them in faith.

Knowing that His love is more satisfying and steadfast than anything

we could give these precious kids we had grown so close to.

This was the emotional departure that was shared among volunteers, translators, and staff across each camp site, each week of Bring Me Hope Camp.

Bring Me Hope had camps for four weeks in Xinzheng, Kunming, Taiyuan, and Yantai; and, one week of camp in Nanchang.

Week 2 of Xinzheng camp: after having a paper fashion show!

96 Volunteers from around the world came together for one purpose….to give China’s children HOPE.

Taiyuan Week 1
Taiyuan Week 1

24 staff members and 31 Chinese staff gave support and encouragement throughout the many weeks of camp.

Yantai Week 2

274 translators helped immensely with the language barrier and had opportunities to be poured into by the staff and volunteers

All of this…

For the kids!

Bring Me Hope held camp for 347 Chinese Orphans this summer!

The goal of BMH camp is to show orphans their incredible worth and value, and to inspire volunteers to use their skills, resources, and influence to help orphans. Everyone that was part of the summer camps grew as a family and enjoyed crafts, swimming, and family time. Seeing the smiles as the children got into the pool, the first time for many, filled our hearts with a joy that is hard to describe; and, seeing the kids slowly begin to trust that their volunteers would protect them was such a beautiful picture.

The children and the volunteers wrote good-bye letters to one another; and, the responses from the kids show just how much love the children were shown and learned how to show while at camp.

“Dear sister, I really enjoy your laugh because it makes me feel that you love me and have fun with me.  I love you.  The happiest thing is that we went to the swimming pool together and you kept holding me all the time without any rest.  Thank you.  I was so happy with your company.  I really don’t want to go home.”

“I’ll be a good example of helping people.  If you have any difficulties, I will help you.  Because you helped me, I should also help you. Isn’t that fair?”

“I like to draw pictures with you and swim together.  I cannot swim, but you are here and make me feel safe.  I am so thankful.  I will miss you.”

“Thank you for taking care of me this week.  I know you are tired sometimes but you are always smiling.  You are a good sister.  I really wish we can meet together again in the future.”

Hearts were forever changed by these precious children. Hearts break because their value and worth is not always recognized.

The goal of Bring Me Hope is that these kids would see their worth and beauty in the way they are created; and, that we would be a stepping stone for forever families to be united with these little blessings.

…FAST FORWARD…

Bring Me Hope has a follow-up program in which the life of each child that attended camp is looked into and examined. For some of the kids it is addressing a medical issue or working on improving their living conditions. For others, it means contacting their orphanages and asking officials to start on adoption paperwork.

Since August we have:

–moved several children into foster homes

–researched medical treatment options for the kids

–helped find several adoptive families

–provided many adoptive families with information and photos of their little ones waiting in China

For children who are ready to be adopted, many volunteers have been actively trying to find families for their children. An outlet making it possible for voices to be heard is Defend.

Defend is an extension of Bring Me Hope that seeks to defend the poor and needy.  Through videos, social media, and word of mouth volunteers spread the word about specific needs; and, raise up teams to meet those needs through awareness, prayer, and financial support.

Right now we are featuring children from our camps who need families or sponsorship.  Eventually we hope to expand to feature needs from other non-profits and help people defend needs around the world.

www.defendfoundation.org

Our heart’s cry is that families would be led to these children who are in such need of a family that will give them the unconditional love that we seek to show them through camp!

Thank you to everyone who made camp happen this year!  We look forward to continuing to work with you to show love to Chinese orphans – both at camp and year-round!

Camp Spotlight: Kunming

Week 2 of Bring Me Hope Summer Camps in China has passed and this week we are focusing on camp in Kunming!  The stories coming out of camp at Kunming are nothing short of incredible.  We are so thankful for the dedicated staff and the great volunteers and translators at this location!

 

Check out the Bring Me Hope YouTube channel for Kunming’s weekly videos by clicking HERE!

To find more photos from camp in Kunming, click HERE!

 

Here are some stories from this year’s camp at Kunming!

 

Leah came to Kunming camp and was with her foreign volunteer and translator at a park participating in a photo scavenger hunt.  Her volunteer noticed a man in the park who was begging so she ran back to give him a water bottle.  Leah was carrying noodles that her volunteer had bought for her that she hadn’t finished eating and after seeing her volunteer give her water bottle to the man, she ran back as well and started talking to him and gave him the rest of her noodles to eat.  What a precious act of “love like an ocean” from a little girl, named Leah.

 

Joshua is a boy with a smile that lights up the whole room.  While playing a game of musical chairs, Joshua gave up his chair for another little girl so she could keep playing the game.  Smiling the entire time.