Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We won a trip from famous author Jason Wright

I hope everyone had a wonderful Blessed Christmas and are ready for a Happy New Year. We had a great time with Family this holiday and enjoyed watching Hannah experience all of the magical fun of Christmas while also teaching her the true meaning. We are so blessed and I am enjoying these times with my daughter. Nothing beats watching her face light up when she opens something she asked Santa for or putting together toys and playing on the floor amongst all of the wrapping paper. It brings me back to my childhood. Precious times are these....
Jason Wright The Bestselling author of " Christmas Jars ", " The Wednesday Letters ", and " Recovering Charles " recently held a contest to win a trip for a weekend up in Woodstock Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley.....Kim loves his books and I am reading one now as well....Well, long story short, Kim entered the contest and won!! We are so excited. It looks like we will be traveling up there in March to visit with Jason and his family and tour beautiful Woodstock Virginia. Check out the video and link to his site. We could not believe that she won. What a nice Christmas gift. If you have not read any of his books, you need to pick them up. Great stuff!! We will let you know how the trip goes. Kim and I are really looking foreword to it.


http://www.jasonfwright.com/

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A letter from Jesus

Merry Christmas one and all! Pay attention to the first paragraph.........

Dear Children,

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival. Although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own.. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15:1 - 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing George complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her .

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary-- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions (rather than your words) that you are one of mine.

Don't forget; I am Jesus and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember:

I LOVE YOU,

JESUS

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to all

I hope everyone is doing great? We are doing fantastic and getting ready for the Holidays which are fast approaching. I wanted to take this time to say that I am so thankful for all that the Good Lord has provided me. First he gave me himself. He sent his son Jesus for me. He cared that much to die on the cross for me. He promised me everlasting life and salvation for following and believing in him. He gave me a wonderful family who raised me to know what is right and showed me this through God's examples. Thanks Mom and Dad and little Brother Dave. He gave me my precious wife Kim and my wonderful daughter Hannah. He has given me my Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and dear friends who all love me despite of me. he has provided us health, jobs, a home, clothes, food and many other things that we don't need but that make life easier and more convenient. I hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and have much to be thankful for. As you make your plans for Christmas I hope you will watch this video and take the time to really love one another and remember what Christmas is truly all about. God Bless! blog to you soon.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I'm still here!

I everybody. I hope you are all well. I just wanted to let you know that I am still here and have not forgotten to blog. Life has just been real busy lately. Work is getting busy and crazy for Kim and I. I have been a cleared Medic for almost a month now and I have been learning a ton and experiencing some extremely challenging calls. I take each shift one at a time and I have never worked harder in my job until now. It is tough but rewarding. Kim has been bombarded with all kinds of new requirements for teaching this year. She feels so overwhelmed lately. I pray that she has peace at work.

My Mom had her Appendix out recently and is home recovering very well. My Brother was back home for a short visit with us. It was nice to see him again and spend some time with him before he is off to his next assignment with the Air Force.

Hannah has started dance recently and of course loves it. She is ever the Princess. Kim and I had a nice date night and went and saw the movie Fireproof and it was really pretty good. So... to all of the Husbands out there, take it from me, if your wife has been wanting to see this movie, just go take her. It was a very good film. Your marriage will thank you.

So... that is probably the last month in a nutshell. I Hope to have some more in depth things to share with you all in the very near future. Oh.. Please say a prayer for my Grandma as she has shoulder surgery tomorrow. Thanks and bye for now! Love you all.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chinese Mid Autumn and Mooncake Festival

Kim and I took Hannah to the Chinese mid autumn and mooncake festival this past Saturday. It was an annual event put on by SACA, which is the Suncoast Association of Chinese Americans. They had all kinds of tradional Chinese food much like I had when I visited China. There was Chinese dancing and Hannah wore one of her Chinese dresses. It was a real fun night. I remember when Hannah was younger she would get so excited when she saw the moon. She loved the moon shining in her room so I figured this festival was right up her alley. She liked the dancing mostly. We think it is important to give Hannah an oppurtunity to expierence some of her cultural heritage. She is young and maybe does not understand much now but I think she will appreciate it one day. When she is older she might not want any part of it. That will be her choice and we support that.
The Mid Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the Chinese calender usually around mid or late September. Mooncakes are the Chinese pastry traditionally eaten during the festival. Typical mooncakes are round or rectangular. The filling is usually made from lotus paste, but sometimes other fillings as well. It is surrounded by a thin crust which may be made with yolks from salted duck eggs. Mooncakes are rich and heavy compared with most Western cakes and pastries. They are usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by Chinese Tea and are eaten at night by the light of the moon. Unfortunately, we did not get to have any mooncakes because there were not enough for non-members. We might join SACA so we can taste some maybe next time. I posted a picture so you can see what the mooncakes look like. The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the two most important holidays in the Chinese calender (the other being the Chinese New Year), and is a legal holiday in several countries. Farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvesting season on this date. Traditionally, on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomelos (chinese grapefruit) together. Accompanying the celebration, there are additional cultural or regional customs, such as: Eating mooncakes outside under the moon, carrying brightly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns on towers, floating sky lanterns ,burning incense, planting Mid-Autumn trees ,collecting dandelion leaves and distributing them evenly among family members, and the always popular fire dragon dances.
So, there is your Chines culture lesson for the day. I found most of it on wikipedia . That is such a great source for about anything you want to know more about.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Birthday!!


9-10 was my Birthday and I turned 37. It was a great day just spending time with my family and just being together. We had fun all day and enjoyed a dinner of all you can eat shrimp, YUMMY and cake at Red Lobster. Having Birthday celebrations are not really what it is all about for me anymore. Just having Birthdays is good and sharing them with the people that mean the most, is what really matters. I am so thankful for our time as a family. Especially since 9-11 is the day after my Birthday. It really makes us aware that it is so important to tell each other that we love one another. How many people on 9-11 or any other given day for that matter do not get a chance to tell their loved ones how much they love them? They are gone in a blink of an eye and it is too late. How many don't have anyone to tell "I love you" ? 9-11 is a day that has forever changed me and it saddens me how so many have forgotten. We take our freedoms for granted. We are not appreciative of all of the sacrifices made daily on our behalf. Heck we are not even appreciative of the sacrifices that Jesus made for us. All God wants us to do is love one another. I wish I knew why it is so hard for that to happen. Well anyway, take this opportunity to really love your neighbor. Even the one you can't stand. Do something nice for someone. and tell your family you love them and care for them.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

It has been awhile

Sorry that it has been so long since I have blogged. There has been so much going on in our lives. Our family has had many memorable moments and one sad moment recently. First my Maternal Grandfather died on August 22nd. He was 82 and his health had been failing in recent years due to Congestive heart failure. Thankfully he died peacefully at home with his wife by his side. I am thankful he did not suffer or die in a hospital bed. He would not have wanted to go that way. I saw him last September when he came to Florida to visit with us. We had a very nice visit. He met our precious Hannah for the first time and he enjoyed every minute he spent with her. Hannah loved her GG and I am glad that she was able to meet him and spend time with her Great Grandpa. He went home to California and went on and on about Hannah which did not surprise me when his wife and her children shared this with me at his funeral. Hannah has that effect on people. We traveled to New York for the funeral where he wanted to be laid to rest. The Fire Department that he gave almost thirty years to, provided an honor guard and an Engine transported his casket to the national cemetery where he was buried. It was a fitting tribute and I am thankful that The Fire Department was allowed to pay its respects. He would have loved that. Above is the last photo that we took with him. We will miss him dearly.

On September 4th almost 18 months of Paramedic training officially came to the end. I tested out in front of the Medical Director and was officially recognized by my Fire Department as a Paramedic. It was a great feeling to be finally finished with the Provisional program I started in June. I took a written exam and did a table top scenario based practical exam and I passed with flying colors. I know that my training has not really ended. It has just begun. There is so much to learn. I now go out on the streets and work on my own. I will continue to learn and study as the field of emergency medicine is forever evolving.
Soon after testing out we loaded up the van and traveled to Mississippi as a family to celebrate my little brothers achievement. He received his Pilots Wings in The United States Air Force after 52 weeks of Pilot training. My Brother has had a dream to fly Fighter jets since he was about five or six years old and for those that know him, realize what a hard dream this was to finally fulfill. God has graced him with tremendous courage and endurance and perseverance to get to where he is today. We are all so proud of what he has done and thank God for making a little boys dreams come true. Not only did he get his wings but He graduated top of his class . He receivied multiple awards for performance. He also got his assignment. After some more training, He willbe flying the premier jet in the USAF today, The F22 Raptor. That is so amazing. We could not be more proud of him and his service to this country. We all got the chance to help pin the wings on his chest and it was such a great moment. I remember him wanting to do everything with me and my friends when he was a little kid. As a typical big Brother I was not always very nice to him. At times I treated him pretty bad. I guess in a way I helped toughen him up for his future. I would like to think that anyway. Dave I love you Brother. I am so proud of the man you have become and the service to our country that you are providing. You are an American Hero and I feel safer knowing that you are on the front lines protecting me and my family. May God Bless you and keep you safe in your journey.
I almost forgot. I would like to wish my Mom and Dad Happy Anniversary today. 38 years of marriage. They have been such a great example to Kim and me. Thanks Mom and Dad!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Chinese Christian Pastor Released

Your Voice Was Heard!
We just received word from Pastor “Bike” that he has been released from Chinese custody. Pastor Bike was in good spirits and extended thanks to all those who prayed and were willing to sign the petition for his release. He believed this petition drive was part of the reason the officials released him along with his wife and co-worker.

We will still deliver a printed copy of all the signatures collected to the Chinese embassy next week, along with a THANK YOU LETTER to express appreciation for the release of our Christian brothers and sister. Continue to add your voice, and encourage your friends, so that we can let the Chinese government know how many Christians care about persecution in China.

We will have a full update next week.

Praise God for answered prayer!

--The Voice of the Martyrs and China Aid Association

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Getting the word out about Orphans

The St. Petersburg Times did an article about my trip to China. It made the paper Saturday. It was written well and I am grateful that Gail Hollenbeck gave me the oppurtunity to share my story. I hope it touches some lives and leads people to care for orphans where ever in the world they may be, and in whatever way that they are led.



He brings gifts of heart, hope

By Gail Hollenbeck, Times Correspondent Published Friday, August 15, 2008 7:47 PM

SPRING HILL — While thousands of people were traveling to Beijing to see the 2008 Summer Olympics, Pete Paolillo was just passing through. His destination was Xinzheng City in Henan Province, almost 500 miles farther south.
The games he would witness would not involve the world's greatest athletes. They would be games played by 73 orphans during a week of summer camp as part of an orphan outreach program.
Paolillo, a 36-year-old firefighter/paramedic with Hernando County Fire Rescue, decided to spend 10 days of his summer — July 24 to Aug. 2 — volunteering in a program sponsored by Bring Me Hope, a nonprofit Christian organization based in California that is dedicated to bringing love and hope to orphans in China.
Paolillo's China adventure actually began several years ago, in 2005, when he and his wife, Kim, an elementary school teacher, adopted an infant girl from an orphanage in Nan Chang.
"I believe it was God that directed us to adopt Hannah Joy," Paolillo said. "She was a week shy of her first birthday when my wife and I went to China and adopted her. It was an amazing experience."
Touched by the plight of the many orphans in China — as many as 15-million, by some estimations — Paolillo felt he was being called by God to do more.
"A month later, I was searching the Internet, looking for links about orphans and adoption," he said. "I came upon Bring Me Hope. I thought it was neat that they helped orphans that were sometimes special needs or older kids that maybe didn't have the chance to be adopted like my daughter did. I felt this was a good opportunity to give back and do something for some kids."
Paolillo made inquiries about the organization's first summer camp, planned for 2006. He was unable to go that year or the next.
Then he received a call from a friend, Bill Byrne of Tampa.
"Bill called me one day and asked me if I was interested in going to the camp. I said, 'Wow, Bill, it's awesome that you mention that, because I looked into that camp a couple of years ago, and I've just kind of been putting it off.' When he told me he was interested in going, that confirmed it for me. So we went together."
Camp was set up in two cities, Nan Chang and Xinzheng City at Sias Unversity. Not wanting to return to Nan Chang until his family could go with him, Paolillo chose to volunteer at the latter, an area largely unaffected by the May earthquake in Sichuan province to the south.
Between 400 and 500 orphans from several orphanages attended the camps for a week during a four-week period in July and August. More than 200 volunteers from several countries helped. Each volunteer was assigned two "buddies," between the ages of 5 and 18, and a translator.
Paolillo's buddies were Stone, a 17-year-old boy with Down's syndrome, and Dominic, a 12-year-old boy with behavioral issues. His translator, Eric, 22, was an English-speaking student from the university.
"We were there to hold their hands and take them from event to event and spend quality time with them," Paolillo said about the orphans. "We started in morning assembly after breakfast. They'd have dancing and singing. Then we'd go to either arts and crafts time or to the water park, where the kids had a water slide and water pistols. They loved that. Then we'd go to the pool. Most of them had never been swimming before. It was a great time."
It was a week of deep emotions, and Paolillo couldn't help but become attached to the orphans. Eric did as well and told Paolillo that in the future he plans to visit the boys at the orphanage.
"It was extremely touching the whole time," Paolillo said. "They're great kids, and you could see them transform. You could tell that they weren't used to being loved on. They were shy at first and kind of standoffish. But at the end of the week, they had given me hugs and were telling me they loved me. It was really touching."
Paolillo said even though Chinese law kept the volunteers from sharing their Christian faith with the children, he could see God at work in the camp in the lives of the boys and even Eric.
"At the start of camp, Dominic was definitely a tough kid," Paolillo said. "I found out that he'd been at the orphanage four years, and before that he'd been living on the streets. I can only imagine what his life was like and what kind of experiences he went through. But I saw God transform him into a sweet little, kind boy. I will always hear Stone calling my name. I don't think there is a kinder soul that I have ever met. I'll be continuing to pray for them."
Paolillo said saying goodbye to his buddies was the hardest thing he's ever had to do.
"Since I've been home, there hasn't been a moment that I haven't thought about them," he said. "It was sad to see them go. But they went back to the orphanage happy and with hope that they would have a family some day."
On the day he left to return to the orphanage, Dominic gave his new friend a letter.
It read: "Dear Peter, Thank you so much for the hamburgers. I liked it and I am so happy to be with you. I will remember you forever. I will miss you, too. I hope I can play with you in the future. Thank you and I hope you are healthy and everything is okay."
Paolillo said that he will definitely go back to China and that he and his wife continue to pray about the possibility of adopting again. He hopes that others who hear his story consider adoption, too.
As he wrote in an online blog to his friends: "The trip is over, but the journey will continue."
http://www.tampabay.com/news/religion/article772807.ece



To learn more
To learn more about Bring Me Hope or to sponsor a child to go to camp, visit

http://www.bringmehope.org/

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Inspiration for Olympic Prayer Band Arrested

The below article was sent to me, I thought I would pass it on.



Pastor Zhang “Bike” Mingxuan, known for traveling across China on a bicycle to evangelize, was arrested by Chinese police just two days before the Olympics began. Pastor Bike was the inspiration for the recent partnership between The Voice of the Martyrs and China Aid Association to create the Olympic Prayer Band.
Learn More about the Olympic Prayer Band here
Pastor Asks for Prayer BandEarlier this year, Pastor Bike pleaded with VOM staff to ask Christians to pray for persecuted Christians in China during the Olympics. The pastor voluntarily preaches the gospel openly in China despite being persecuted. He has asked for his identity to be revealed to bring continued attention to the persecution of Christians in Communist China.
Thanks to Pastor Bike’s inspiration and the commitment of concerned Christians across the United States, more than 800,000 prayer bands have been circulated. On Aug. 6, Pastor Bike was arrested while trying to deliver medicine to his ailing wife. His wife and another pastor were also arrested. We have also learned this week that Chinese officials are opening a full investigation of the Olympic Prayer Bands that were distributed to house church members within China. Despite this increased pressure from Chinese authorities, Chinese Christians continue to ask for prayer and to make their plight known.
Order your Prayer Bands today!As the Olympics goes on, the harassment of Chinese evangelists continues to increase. Please help remind others to pray for persecuted Christians like Pastor Bike by ordering your prayer bands today!
More about Pastor BikePastor Bike, president of the Chinese House Church Alliance, rode his bike more than 10,000 miles, visiting 24 Chinese provinces to introduce nonbelievers to Jesus Christ. Armed with a Bible and his business card, which declared “Believe in Jesus, Earn Eternal Life,” Pastor Bike brought the gospel to thousands of people. He and other Chinese evangelists have been repeatedly harassed by Chinese officials during this Olympic year. Please pray for the release of Pastor Bike and his wife.

Order Prayer Bands

To order resources about the persecuted church or to donate to VOM, visit http://www.vombooks.com/.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Coca Cola Olympic commercials

Here are a couple of great commercials from Coca Cola and the Olympics. I thought I would share them.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

God's Confirmation

Kim and I had a much needed date night last night with a nice dinner , OK movie, great ice cream and excellent conversation. We talked about everything and we really were tuned in on adoption. Kim wanted to go for it last year and I did not . This year I have been wanting to and Kim has not. We both have been so scared for a lack of a better term. We both want to be on the same page with each other with God leading the way. I pretty much told Kim last night that we need to just do it and not worry anymore. God will take care of it. He is in control. He has already told us once. He will reveal himself again. We talked about special needs and healthy and age of child etc. etc. As I told you all in an earlier post, I came home from China recently feeling blah. I felt like God would have put adoption on my heart real heavy but when I got home it just was not there. I was depressed and in the valley. I explained how we are so heavy under all of our stuff and how we need to clean out the clutter and excess in our home and our lives. Well, today after we got home from Church Kim, Hannah and I started just that. We started with our bedroom, bathroom and closets. We collected and sorted and discarded and came up with three boxes of items for a garage sale, A huge bag of clothes for Goodwill and about 2 bags of just plain garbage. It was a good feeling but we still have the rest of the house to conquer. A little at a time I think will be the right course of action. We will move to the next part of the house during the week or next weekend. Kim and Hannah called me during the cleaning of the closet and showed me a piece of white paper with a paragraph typed on it. Kim does not remember where it was from or who wrote it, but it is very powerful and I know God is telling us what He wants us to do. So here it is and tell me what you think......;)

(click on image to enlarge or you can just squint to readit LOL :) )

Friday, August 8, 2008

The 2008 Summer Olympics from Beijing China




Don't forget to watch the taped Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics tonighht from Beijing China on NBC . It looks like it will be tremendous. I hope that the mascots make an appearane. They are a favorite of Hannah's.

New Special Needs Home built by Shaohannah's Hope

This article from Christian Today was passed on to me by my Friend Bill Byrne. I had to share it considering that children from the state-run orphanage in Luoyang came to the Bring Me Hope Camp that Bill and I were at recently. God is so good!

Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter remembered in new children's home

Posted: Friday, August 8, 2008, 11:29 (BST)

Shaohannah's Hope, the adoption and orphan care ministry founded by Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, has named their new special needs children's home in China after their five-year old daughter, Maria Sue Chapman, who died in an accident earlier this year.
Located in Luoyang city, eastern China, Maria's Big House of Hope will care for orphans with medical impairments such as cleft palate, clubbed feet, blindness, and urological and neurological disorders.
Maria's Big House of Hope is currently in the building stages ahead of its October opening. Funded by Shaohannah's Hope and managed by New Hope Foundation, the six-floor, 60,000 sq ft facility will be equipped with everything required to care for orphans with special needs. This will be the biggest of its kind in China, able to provide for over 100 children at a time.
Luoyang, which has a population of around six million people, is located within the Henan province of China and is one of the poorest provinces in the country. The state-run Luoyang orphanage currently takes care of nearly 700 children and tends to most of the special needs orphans from all around Henan.
"To care for the specific medical needs of these orphans, Maria's Big House of Hope will provide the much-needed surgeries and medical attention, as well as be a bridge to give them hope and the love they deserve. In turn, there is hope these children will then be adopted into forever families," said Shaohannah's Hope.
The Chapman family chose to build the healing home in Luoyang, because of the area's desperate need for special needs orphan care as well as wanting to give back to the country that has given so much to them - the Chapman's adopted three girls from China, Shaohannah Hope, Stevey Joy and Maria Sue.
"We are not in the business of building orphanages, but rather building hope in the lives of orphans and vulnerable children in a way that honours God," states Scott Hasebalg, Executive Director, Shaohannah's Hope.

Is there a need? YES!!!!

Here are some amazing Adoption statistics borrowed from the website journey to me.

Did You Know?...

Every 15 SECONDS, another child becomes an AIDS orphan in Africa
Every DAY 5,760 more children become orphans
Every YEAR 2,102,400 more children become orphans (in Africa alone)
143,000,000 Orphans in the world today spend an average of 10 years in an orphanage or foster home
Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but…
Every YEAR 14,050,000 children still grow up as orphans and AGE OUT of the system
Every DAY 38,493 children AGE OUT
Every 2.2 SECONDS, another orphan child AGES OUT with no family to belong to and no place to call home
In Ukraine and Russia 10% -15% of children who age out of an orphanage commit suicide before age 18.
60% of the girls are lured into prostitution. 70% of the boys become hardened criminals.


Reliable statistics are difficult to find, even the sources often list only estimates, and street children are rarely included. But even if these figures are exaggerated by double, it is still an unacceptable tragedy that over a Million children would still become orphans every year, and every year 7 Million children would still grow to adulthood as orphans with no one to belong to and no place to call home.

Here is an article below written by Steven Curtis Chapman. Thanks Debbie for emailing it to me I hope it touches someone!!

By Steven Curtis Chapman
Special to CNN
FRANKLIN, Tennessee (CNN) -- According to UNICEF, there are 143 million children in the world who have lost one or both parents.
In America alone, there are half a million children in foster care, and approximately 120,000 of these children are waiting to be adopted. In many countries, children are too often orphaned or abandoned because of poverty, disabilities and disease; every 15 seconds, a child loses a parent because of AIDS. These are staggering facts that can seem overwhelming and discouraging, but I believe that God has a loving plan for each child, and that plan is you and me.
Caring for these children is not the job of governments or institutions; instead, it is the job of families, people and communities. As Christians, our compassion is simply a response to the love that God has already shown us. Mother Teresa would constantly remind those who worked with her that the Bible clearly teaches that whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Jesus. So in a very real sense, caring for orphans is a chance to meet the person of Jesus in "the guise of human suffering." This is an invitation from the heart of God to know him and to experience his love.
Nine years ago, my wife and my eldest daughter, Emily, traveled to Haiti on a mission trip. Having been exposed to extreme poverty for the first time, Emily returned home with a determined passion to make a difference in the lives of at-risk children.
Only 12 years old, Emily went on an all-out campaign to persuade us to adopt. She bought a book on international adoption with her Christmas money and would read it to us regularly. She began fervently praying and writing letters to Mary Beth and me, encouraging us to consider giving a waiting child a home. Emily knew God was leading us in the direction of adoption; however, Mary Beth and I were not yet convinced.
My wife and I had always supported the idea of adoption, and as Christians, we understood the importance of loving and caring for others. But what I had not yet grasped was that adoption is a physical picture of what Jesus has done for me. I did nothing to deserve God's love; in fact, I was living as an orphan, without hope. Yet God chose to pursue a relationship with me, and through the death of his son Jesus, I was adopted into God's family.
My wife and I began moving toward adoption with fear and trembling and asking all the questions people ask. I remember Mary Beth crying herself to sleep at night saying, "What are we doing? I can't do this." However, God kept reassuring us that this was the direction he was leading us. It was a huge journey of faith for us.
In May of 2000, we found ourselves in a hotel room in China's Hunan province, welcoming the newest member of our family, Shaohannah Hope. From that moment, we began our journey into the world of adoption, orphan care and Shaohannah's Hope.
We went on to adopt Stevey Joy and Maria. Recently, our youngest daughter, Maria, passed from life on this earth and is now safely in the arms of Jesus. We have been completely overwhelmed by the love and support of so many during this time of deep, deep sadness. Through all that we've experienced, one thing we still know is true: God's heart is for the orphan.
Don't Miss
In our travels to Latin America, Africa and Asia, we have visited many different orphanages. If you look past the surroundings and into the eyes of the children, they all have the same look. They seem to convey, "I don't think this is what I was made for. Where do I belong?"
These children are crying out for the hope of a family, for the hope of community, for the hope of a permanent love. Our mission, and the mission of our adoption charity, Shaohannah's Hope, is to show hope to these children and to mobilize people, families and communities to be living examples of God's love for them.
We started Shaohannah's Hope in order to connect willing families with waiting children, but the reality is that there are many orphans who cannot be adopted. Even though we may not be able to bring them into our homes, we still have the opportunity to show them the hope we have.
If only 7 percent of the 2 billion Christians in the world would care for a single orphan in distress, there would effectively be no more orphans. If everybody would be willing to simply do something to care for one of these precious treasures, I think we would be amazed by just how much we could change the world.
We can each do something, whether it is donating, adopting, fostering, mentoring, visiting orphans or supporting families that have taken in orphans. You can change the world for an orphan

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Kid with a Camera

I had to post these pictures. Hannah took my camera yesterday and was taking some pictures around the house. They were mostly of herself. I thought I would share some of them with you. She is way too funny. I always wonder what she is thinking and what she is seeing. I always want her to see only good things. She got a great shot of my cross tattoo. I did not even realize she took that one. I love that little munchkin. I pray that she continues to focus on the cross and realize that Jesus died for her and that she can be saved by him. As Kim and I are watching The Chapman family explain their tragedy on Larry King Live tonight, I can't help but think how precious of a gift our daughter is. She belongs to God and she has been entrusted to us by Him to care for her. I just pray that we can be awesome stewards and do all we can to ensure that she grows up to love and serve him. Life is precious and life is short. It is so important to enjoy all that we have while we have it. God I pray that you protect us from evil and keep our Hannah safe! We know that we will not be whole until we die and join you in Heaven. Just help us to be filled with what we are missing while here on earth. I plan on letting Hannah have the camera more often. I love to see things through her perspective. God gives us cameras, our eyes, to do that as well. He can see things through our perspective. It is up to us to choose what we look at carefully. Love you all!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Chapman family on Good Morning America

For those that missed it, here is the Chapman family's first interview since their precious daughter Maria passed away. Robin Roberts did the interview on Good Morning America which aired this morning. It was very touching and I think Marybeth Chapman was so real with her comments. Asking a parent to give up a child for God's good is a price that no parent wants to pay. I do not want to ever know that feeling. I pray for God's continued grace and mercy for the Chapman family as they recover from this tragedy.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Helping Bring Me Hope.

Some of you inquired about volunteering at a camp or helping this organization financially. Here is some info for you. I hope that you will look into going and helping in this amazing cause. This link is to sponsor a child to go to camp http://www.bringmehope.org/sponsor.html

This link is for volunteering and inquiring about more info. This is a 2008 form but I imagine you can fill it out. http://www.bringmehope.org/campapplication/volunteer.asp

Or you can contact them here. Please remember though that most of these people are all in China right now so give them some time to get back to you.
http://www.bringmehope.org/aboutus.html


I also posted a video that BMH put together that was from our week in China. You can't possibly fit an entire week in a 4 minute clip but it is a pretty good representation of the fun that is had.

Feeling the blahs!

I am so happy to be at home with my loving family. I missed them so much. They along with God are my foundation. Without them I am a purposeless man. I am feeling kind of sick (stuffed up, sore throat)since I have been home. I am so thankful God kept me healthy while in China. This time though I am unable so far to get my sleeping patterns adjusted back. I get up at 4am and drag the rest of the day. I guess I have real bad jet lag. I also feel a little bit of a let down after spending so much time in God's presence the last 10 days or so. It was an amazing experience going back to China and helping those kids. I went through so many emotions while there. Now I am experiencing some depression I guess. I know it is normal but when you come home and you realize that we are so distracted sometimes it is hard. I realize I have a home that is full of stuff we don't need. We have comforts that keep us from spending time with him. As I type this and get my thoughts down I can't help but think..."Do I need this computer and Internet? No I sure do not, but as long as I use it for his glory it is OK I guess." Here I go justifying my belongings. Kim and I talked about going through this house room by room and having a huge garage sale. I think we will put it in an account for a future adoption if God calls us to do that once again. I feel so loaded down sometimes by all of the things that we have. Some of it makes a house a home but a lot of it just weighs you down. We really want to simplify things in our lives. That is so hard to do but it is what we want to do. I am sorry for rambling but I needed to get my thoughts down. In fact, I feel a little better now. I have to admit, I am not looking forward to going back to work though. As much as I need to, it sometimes seems to pull me away from his presence even more. I can't let it though. Even though I see people at their worst and share the experience of their horrible tragedies, I need to do it for Him. I am supposed to go back tomorrow but I am not feeling 100% so I think I will take another day to recuperate. Pretty soon Kim and Hannah will be back at school and life will be back to normal. I am not sure if that is a good thing or not but it is our lives. Thanks for all of your continued prayers. Please also pray for the Bring Me Hope team as they are in their third week of camp this week. They have one more to go and are doing amazing things. I miss them. Love you all.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I am home!!! 33 hours of travel to get there.

I am so home!!!... Bill and I finished the evening and packed up all of our stuff and said our goodbyes. We headed to bed and slept pretty good. Eric had told me the night before that he would see me off. At 6:30 Eric gently shook me and said "Peeterr it is time." He did not want me to go but it was time. Eric and I hugged and said our goodbyes. We will be keeping in touch. It will be a lasting friendship. Thanks so much for all you did this week. Eric, you are very special. We left the University by van at 7:00 am China time and headed to the airport in Zhengzhou. Our flight was on time and uneventful. This time there were no people screaming at the attendants because the AC was not working, so that was good. We arrived at Beijing and Bill and I had our last Chinese lunch. We made our flight and it went pretty well. It was on time and smooth but long. There were a few families on board with newly adopted Chinese orphans so that was nice to see. I pray for happiness and peace for those families. We made it to Newark New Jersey with plenty of time to make our 7:20PM flight to Tampa. We made it through Immigration and customs very fast and headed to our departure gate. We saw the flight had not arrived yet and was delayed to 7:50 than 8:11 than we finally boarded and as we were waiting for air traffic to clear so we could taxi we were told another hour longer. UGGGH. Finally we started to taxi out and the plane was making a strange noise. Then we stopped. The plane headed back to the gate. The Captain got on the air and said "folks, this is your Captain. We will be slightly delayed as we seem to have had a flat tire. we should be back in the air in under an hour." Well after deboarding the plane and then finally switching planes we did not take off until after midnight. At this point it was comical. We finally landed in Tampa at 2:45am. I was greeted by my lovely Kimmie! She was so beautiful. I was finally home. Bill was met by his Brother and we hugged and parted ways. What a trip it had been! Kim and I headed home and finally made it. It was right around 4am. Exactly 33 hours later. The age of Jesus's death and resurrection. That is pretty signifigant because this trip had a little of both elements for me. I expierenced death of self and joy, happiness and hope resurrected in these children, on this trip. It was such a powerful trip. All I can say to those that are sitting on the edge of the pool and saying" I don't know if I can do this" just know that you can and God wants you to dive in and get wet! I love you all! Thanks to all your prayers and support. The trip is over but the journey will continue. ;)


Here are some pictures from our last evening and morning in China.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Camp has ended, But God's work continues!

I love you all. I could not have done this without your prayers. The camp has officially ended as we wind down praise and worship time. All of the children have returned to their orphanages and we are all left here a little broken but hopeful and full of God's love. as I type this "How great is our God" is being played on guitar and 20 or so staff, translators and counselors are singing. I am inspired right now and I wanted to start blogging while God was talking to me before the thoughts left me. Today was going to be the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It started with Dominic leaving his room and coming to my room to wake me up at 6:45am. He pinched my nose shut and put his hand over my mouth. What a boy!! I woke up to a mischievous little guy that I have come to love like my son with the biggest grin on his face. This was the first time he came to wake me up. He had dressed himself and left his room without Eric even knowing. How he got passed the hall monitors is beyond me but where there is a will there is way with this boy. Nothing can stop him. I just hope and pray that God reels him in and finishes the precious work he started in him. He pushed me to get up and get dressed. He was so eager to be with me. A first this week for him to show me so much attention. The boys van was to arrive at 8:30am so we packed all of his belongings along with Stones and we headed out to breakfast. For this meal he held my hand tightly on the way to the cafeteria. He did not want to let me go. He knew that he was leaving and I am sure he wanted to spend more time at camp. I guess he thought that if he was good he could stay longer. I am not sure what he thought but he was an angel this day. We got to breakfast and Dominic only picked at his food. This is from a boy that went up 2 and 3 times for more food at most meals. I asked him if he felt sick and he said no, that he just couldn't eat. Eric told me that he did not sleep much either. Like I was on the first night of camp, his little mind must have been racing all night with all kinds of emotions. God only knows what this little boy is going through right now. During breakfast I told him I loved him as I had done every day. Stone always responded with OK like he always had, but Dominic looked at me square in the eye and told me he loved me for the first time. It felt so good but it hurt so much. I almost started bursting in tears right in front of him but I held it together for a little longer. After breakfast we headed to a small grassy area and waited for the boys ride. I gave them the gifts that I brought to camp for them and that made them smile. Of course the van was right on time. I was praying that it would break down on the way and that they could stay longer but the inevitable was here and it hurt more than I ever thought. My heart just sank when I saw them gather their stuff. We hugged and kissed and took some pictures and said our goodbyes. The boys never cried. They smiled at me as if they were saying, we knew this could not last. We have been down the road of disappointment so many times we are used to it. That is the way it felt to me. As I watched the van pull away the dam burst. I just started balling. I could not even look at them. I mustered all I had to continue waving with my other hand over my face. It was so hard. Then Eric comes up behind me and puts his arm around me and says it will be alright buddy. I will pray for you. That of course made me cry even harder. Thanks Eric! You are such a great friend. The look on his face was priceless. He was feeling real bad for me, I am sure he felt helpless. Eric told me later on that Dominic told him that he will look at my picture when he misses me. That made me feel real good. I pray that we wil meet again. If not in this life, than in heaven would be nice. I will always love you boys. You will always be in my prayers. Always have Hope and Love in your hearts.... After the bus left I started to feel better. I knew that they were survivors and would be fine. They were going back to their home. It is all they know. This was Disney World to them. We all have to leave Disney after awhile. I just hope they have more trips to Disney in their lives.... Eric and I decided to have a nice free day together. we decided to go over to the pool and have a nice shower. The pool shiower were the place for showers this week. They were very nice. I appreciate hot water and this place has plenty of it. Afterwards we explored the city together. We walked to a couple of stores where Eric wanted to buy some gifts for Hannah. It was very sweet that he wanted to do that. We went to an awesome park and talked about our relationships with girlfriends, spouses, parents, friends and God. God is working on Erics heart and I expect something profound soon. He treated me to a lunch of Dumplings, noodles and beer. We were stuffed and spent a grand todal of 2.20 USD. It was by far the best meal I had ever had in China. He took me to the real China. There were no tourits there. I felt like I was on an episode of Anthony Bourdains, No reservations. There is nothing better than exploring a foreign land with a local to help you and show you things you thought you would never see. We really talked allot and it is abundantly clear He and I will be life long friends. After visiting many shops and getting an authentic one hour Chinese massage that was fantastic for 5.00 usd, we headed back to the campus. The staff had a ceremony for all of the translators where we got to present them a certificate, say some kind words about them and have some cake which turned into according to Chinese tradition some face smearing with icing but it soon got out of hand and turned into an animal house style cake fight. It was a huge stress relief and allot of fun. After the festivities. I went and took another shower at the pool and headed back to a volunteer meeting. Eric and I decided to skip it and head out to dinner. He treated me for lunch and I agreed to spring for dinner. We had some grilled mutton (adult sheep) on skewers and these giant pitas with onions that they fry right in the street. It was another fantastic meal. Eric and I finished our meal and headed back to the office for praise and worship. I invited Eric but he was tired and headed to bed. He said he would see me off in the morning. This was a great week that I will never forget. As the guitar music stops, all you can hear are the voices lifted up " How great is our God, How great is our God?"
video
I love you Buddy!! I love You!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The kids leave tomorrow

Today was the last full day with our kids and I am so sad that it is about over. Our kids will be leaving at 8:30 tomorrow morning. I am not looking foreword to saying goodbye. It seems that today was the best day with Dominic. He was such a good boy today. Although he was getting sick, He was so outgoing and happy and he was sitting on my lap, hugging me, holding my hand everywhere we went. He is just starting to come around and now i have to say goodbye and pray that he will have people continue to enter into his life to continue the work that has begun. Stone told me loved me and he calls my name where ever we go. Peeterr, Peeterr! I will miss it but I will always here him calling my name. I don't think there is a kinder soul that I have ever met. I will miss them so much.

Today Dominic spent his whole craft time busy and into the project. They were making memory books of their time in camp and writing letters to me with help from the translator Eric so I could read it in English. I will share them with you tomorrow. I know I will ball my eyes out when I read how this camp affected them. I just hope they are not distraught when they leave us. I don't think I could handle that.

Eric had a real rough day today. First thing after breakfast I took him and Dominic to the Chinese medical clinic. They both needed medicine because they have sore throats and were running a fever.They started taking their medicine and by the afternoon they felt batter and the fever was gone. I have no idea what they took but it seemed to work for them. I was so nervous that our last full day together would be ruined and Praise God they were able to enjoy their day and feel better. On the way to the clinic, Eric and I were talking on the way and I was telling him how upset I am that the kids are leaving and that it is sad that this might be the best week of their childhood. I started tearing up thinking about it and Eric said to me I will pray for you and them. He also said that he has a Bible which he got from his theology class at the University. He said that he has not read it much but he will read it again when he got home. I exchanged emails with him and I have built the start of a great friendship with him and I know that God is working on him. It is so awesome to see.

At the water park today, Eric dropped his glasses and they were broken. He did not seem too upset about it but when I talked to him later on, he was concerned because he only had 200Yuan on him which is about 30USD. He needed money for the long train ride home on Saturday.He told me he would call his father in Beijing and he could wire him money.He said he would just wait until he was back at school to do that. I felt terrible about that, because he could not see that well without them. We found a local eyeglass store in the area thanks to a translator who lives locally. I told him go order his glasses here. He said he did not have enough money. I told him that God told me that " You need to see and he asked me to give this to you." I gave him the money he needed and he almost cried but He stopped himself. He is very proud and I know I would have had trouble taking any money as well. Glasses are amazingly inexpensive here. He got a very nice pair of prescription glasses that they made for him in a little over an hour for less than 30USD. He was very happy. I am so happy that I could do that for him. He is a good friend and I know he does not have much. I know that if he could he would do the same for me. I just thought I would share that. I am sorry if I am all over the place but it is pretty much the story of our week here. I have been all over the place both physically and emotionally.

A little note about the girl Hannah I was telling you about. It turns out she is not an orphan. Her mother actually works at the orphanage and her Mother sent her to see that there are people who care about them other that the people at the orphanage. What an awesome lesson to teach your daughter. She enjoyed camp as one of them and really shined in her own way. She never left Marie's side. She is the little person in the pictures. She was always with her. She is a sweet caring little girl, just like our little Hannah.

Dominic ran away from us like usual today but the difference today was that he would just run ahead than he would wait. It is a game to him and it is actually expected now and it does not phase me anymore. I know that he will be back because he would not miss out on all of the fun stuff and meals. The kid eats more than I do.

I have really been enjoying the pool, but so much for the pool even though that is great too. The showers there are a treat. It is a big shower that has very hot water, so I along with some others have been using pool time as our shower time as well. The bathrooms here leave allot to be desired in the size and cleanliness category.

Assembly tonight was great as usual. The kids performed for us again and were so much fun to watch. It was a great time. Dominic has been loving using my camera and I have been letting him take it and he has taken some real good pictures. He figured out how to take photos, video and go back and review them. I did not even have to show him. He is very smart. I am glad though that he was not able to figure out the delete function.

After assembly We stayed with the kids and watched Tom and Jerry with Chinese subtitles while the translators and staff had a meeting. It was nice to spend some quiet time with the kids just chilling watching a movie. I wish we would have had popcorn. The kids would have loved that.

After the meeting we said goodnight and headed to the office for a volunteer meeting. We were all telling our stories and ended the night in prayer followed by praise and woship. There is something really powerful about singing praise and worship in this country. It is a freedom that is not enjoyed here. Everything we do is and has been very subtle and discreet until this. It was the most amazing and powerful singing by thirty or so people. I know that the translators and kids had to have heard us. It was incredible to spend some time with God and fellow believers in a traditionally Atheist country. Words cannot describe the power.

The following verse was on the board in the office and it is the perfect verse for this camp. It has sustained me.
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power.Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly,Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary." Isaiah 40:28-31

Most of this batch of photos were taken by Dominic. He is quite the little photographer.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Progress and setbacks!

Hey all today is day three of camp and things are moving along so fast. The children are having fun and and the translators and volunteers are learning so much. I have been so amazed by the energy that we all have. These kids have Eric and I running around in circles. Hannah does not require that much energy at home thankfully, but I guess I do have a bunch in reserve when needed. When I saw Dominic this morning he ran up to me and hugged me. That was a first for him. That felt really good. He was so excited to see me. It reminds me that, I don't think I told you about the sleeping arrangements. My poor translator Eric has 9 boys with him in his room including mine. So, in the morning, Eric is real tired and I have to take over for him. I think they do that so they know that when we leave at night they learn that we will be there in the morning. It helps build trust and it shows the volunteers that the kids do miss you when they are gone. I think Dominic actually looks foreward to seeing me now. We all went to breakfast this morning and on the way Eric asked me if I was a Christian. I told him I was and asked if he was. He said no but he took theology at the University. He said that his professor said that it is important to be good and that is Okay. I told him that there was more to it and that he needs to seek the truth. God obviously opened a door and I pray that he gives me the wisdom to guide him. I have a couple of bible verses to give him and I will be praying for him that he becomes a Christian....To be continued. I have not written much about my translator Eric but let me just say that He is an extraordinary young man. He is 22 years old but mature beyond his years. He comes from a rural farm home. His father worked construction and was gone most of the time. he has a younger brother who he worked on the farm with alongside his mother. As a child he worked in wheat, corn, pea and cotton fields. He came from a poor village much like the one I visited in Nanchang two years ago. He got very good grades in schooldespite that and was one of the first in his family to go to a University. He is extremely intelligent and he talks of how he admires his Dad for physically working so hard but yet he does not want to have to work so hard. He wants to continue his study and be a successful business man. I know he will be. He is a driven young man. Pray that the Lord leads him to do great things. We arrived at breakfast and had a great time talking and laughing. Stone continues to fill the table with laughter and the more we laugh the funnier he is. Apparently there is a famous musical conductor in Beijing that has down's syndrome. All of the Chinese girls come up to him and talk to him and than they tell me he is famous. He gets a charge out of it. He is quite the hit with all of the ladies. I have been praying at meals silently to myself. At first the boys laughed at me because they thought I was sleeping. Now Stone copies me and prays with me. He is such a sweet spirit. I am reminded that the least of us here on earth will be the greatest in Heaven. He will be too. I know that God has a special place in his heart for children like him. Complete innocence is what comes to mind when I think of stone. After breakfast we had morning assembly and did allot of singing and dancing and games. I really let go of my inhibitions and danced like a complete idiot. It was fantastic. The kids loved it. One boy, Bruce calls me elephant in Chinese and at first I thought he was calling me fat. Apparently he was telling me I was very strong according to the translator. The kids are always jumping on me and they love when I throw them around in the pool and when they saw me dance this morning and being crazy they were amazed. I guess strong elephants are not that graceful on the dance floor. Ha Ha Ha. I love to let my guard down with the kids. It makes them so much more comfortable with me. After assembly we had craft time, which is Dominic's least favorite time of day. He does his craft in record time and wants to leave. This is usually what will start him off on his bad behavior. He does not like to be told what to do. He was angry and it carried over into lunch time later in the day when he ran ahead of us and went to lunch and tried cutting ahead of some other kids. I took him by the arm and brought him to the back of the line and he started to cry and threw quite a fit. He ignored me through the whole lunch and it broke my heart. I felt like I lost so much progress. After lunch we went to the pool and yesterday he ran ahead of us. Today he held my hand the whole way and he looked at me and smiled as if to say I am sorry for letting you down. I got to the pool and helped him get ready and I just hugged him and said I love you over and over in Chinese and even though he did not say it back, he hugged me hard and it really told me he felt the same way. I learned during our quiet family time that Dominic does not know who his parents are. He arrived at the orphanage four years ago. He was on the streets before that for who knows how long. Eric even used the term street urchin during the translation. That hurt me deeply that this child's survival skills were learned on the streets. I could only imagine the horror that he experienced as a small boy living on streets to survive. His behavior is because he does not need me at all to provide his basic needs. He does not know he needs love yet but I think he is wanting to feel that now. It is happening and God is working in him. I just wish I had more time. Please pray for Dominic hard today. our time together is about to end in a short while and I just pray that he finds a home. He is two years away from the age when he is no longer adoptable. Fourteen is the cutoff. I hate that. It is so wrong. I must move on, I am torn up emotionally here. We skipped dinner the four of us and we went to the American cafe on campus. We ordered Burgers, club sandwiches and cokes and the kids liked it. What they liked even more was that they had wine glasses of water and we were all doing cheers over and over. It was a nice time just the four of us. I did it more for Eric because he loves everything American and no one has bought him dinner like that. It was special. He loves ketchup. He put some on his burger but he started eating the rest of it with his spoon. he said I really like this. He was so funny. After dinner we went to evening assembly and tonight the kids performed for us. It was so nice to see all of these children's hidden talent. I captured some on video. the highlight of the evening for me was both of my boys were nominated and won awards for kindness and joy. They were both so thrilled especially Stone. You have to see the video to see his reaction. It probably is the only award he has ever won. What an awesome time. I sat there like my kids were graduating college. I was so proud. There is a little girl in camp, I am not sure if I mentioned her before but she reminded me of Hannah for some reason. She just acted like her in some situations that I observed. She is about 5 or 6 and such a beautiful girl. I finally had the courage to go and talk to her. Her translator Buddy said "say Ni Hao Hannah!" I was like what? Her buddy named her Hannah. I had absolutely no idea. How awesome is that? Just some of God's little miracles that happen here that continue to amaze me. I pray that this camp continues to reach orphans for years to come. The need is great and this ministry must continue. I am pretty drained today but still strong! Enjoy the photos and videos from today. I love you all.

videoDominic getting his award for kindness.
videoStone getting his award for joy.
video
The camp song, It's a beautiful day at assembly.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Metamorphosis has begun

" I'm finding myself at a loss for words and the funny thing is that's OK. The last thing I need is to be heard, but to hear what you are saying, word of God speak, would you pour down like rain washing my eyes to see your majesty, to be still and know that your in this place and let me stay and rest in your holiness. Word of God speak." I have never heard these words ring more true in my life. I always liked this song from Mercy Me but I never let the words sink in and take hold of me. God has thrown so much at me this week, I feel stronger than ever. God is changing these kids while he transforms me as well. This is an amazing experience. It has been even harder than going to China for Hannah. Hannah was such an easy baby and has continued to be a Joy in our lives. I am so missing my baby girl. Every time I hug these kids or hold their hands I am thinking of her. Hannah.. if Mommy reads this to you, please know that You were so well cared for in your SWI. You were obviously loved and cared for so well. Some of these children have not been so blessed. Please pray with Mommy for these kids that He will provide them safety, comfort an nourishment once they go back to their orphanage and until they can possibly be adopted. Kimmie, Thanks for being such a fantastic Mommy to our Hannah. She is so blessed to have you as her Mother. You are also a great wife. I have not always shown you how much I appreciate you but please know that you are directly responsible for me being here. You helped lead me to Christ, you have obeyed God and you have let us adopt our daughter. I do not where I would be if you never came into my life. so thank you, I Love you. My little Dominic is in desperate need on dental care. He has very bad tooth decay and painful sore inside his mouth. I have been giving him Tylenol for pain and I am taking him to a Chinese clinic tomorrow. He has really started to transform. He has only ran away from us twice today but he knows the schedule and he shows up for the next ac tivity right on time. He is so smart, he is used to being his own boss. He is smiling more and more now and when I hugged him today, it was a little tentative but he definitely hugged back. I keep telling him I love him in Chinese. Most of the time he won't look at me but today he just gave me a yeah right look. That is progress. I am so excited to say that I can see God working in this kid. three more days with him should really show us more of them. Stone has been an absolute doll except for the fact that he is so strong. He nearly drowned me today, accidentally of course. He just grabs you so hard in the pool when he gets nervous. Thank God all of these kids are in life vests which is a godsend because it would be so difficult to have all of these kids who can't swim without them. Most have never been exposed to swimming much less in a chlorinated pool. Sorry to get off track. Stone has been so easy to manage. He is like having a helper because he will yell at Dominic if he misbehaves. Dominic also takes care of him. Stone likes to eat and Dominic will give him food off of his plate. Stone also likes to steal food off of my plate. I let him because I am not eating allot of my food. It is pretty good but it is getting a little old. It is real Chinese with no western influence of taste whatsoever so I am missing some good home cooked food. Mom, I am putting in my order for some eggplant parmigiana.I would also love a steak right now. The cafe has been virtually unavailable to us since we have been with the kids but I am taking my family to it tomorrow for an American meal of hamburgers, Cokes and fries for dinner. I hope they will like it. They are excited about going. It is not something they typically allow at camp because it is not possible for eighty kids to go to a restaurant. I have found favor with the staff here though and they even made a vague proposition of being on staff as a Paramedic for future camps. If it is formally presented I will prayerfully consider it. I was honored that it was even mentioned to me. Some of the highlights of today was playing at the water park that we built and the pool. It is a gorgeous pool and the kids as well as us look foreword to it. Craft time is a little long. The boys do there crafts in about a half hour but get antsy quickly. They want to run and jump and play.....I am pretty lost for more words at this point. I will post pictures and videos from yesterday and today soon so check back. I love you all. Thanks so much for your comments. I wish I had time to answer them. Please know that it brightens my day to read them and I have read and cried over most of them, so keep them coming. They are like candy for the soul. Please continue in prayerful thought for me. I am pretty healthy physically and emotionally, I slept last night pretty solidly and am full of energy even though I have been running constantly. Please pray for my foot. I hurt it and I am having trouble bearing all of my weight on it. I think it is just bruised. I must have strained it sometime falling off the water slide or being drowned by Stone in the pool Ha Ha Ha!!! But I will press on. I shall not waiver! :)))


videoThis was Dominic and assembly last night. It was such a joy watching him smile and laugh.
videoStone and his friend singing after playing at the water park today.
videoDominic was laughing at the way I used Chopsticks today so he taught me and I captured some of it on video. Thanks so much Dominic for teaching me about your culture. You are a sweet little boy in a hardened shell. You will break out of it.. It is starting to crack now.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The first day of camp was a success!

It was the longest day of nonstop kid chasing fun that I think I ever have had. Of course I was up all night before it all started. We met for breakfast at 7:30am. We received our camp itinerary and we headed to assembly. We had an orientation which explained when our buddies would be coming to camp, the sleeping arrangements, needs of the kids, Rules of the camp etc. There are only two rules for the kids. Nobody is allowed to leave campus during the week and never leave your buddies. Of course those rules sometimes are broken with these little ones. The campers started arriving at around noon. They were mostly special needs but they all were bright and cheerful. One little girl about 5 or 6 arrived with major scars on her face from serious burns she suffered as a baby. Her nose and lips are gone. You wouldn't know it though, She is such an outgoing princess with such a beautiful spirit. There are 80 of those stories today as that is how many kids are in camp. We waited until 4pm until the last batch of kids arrived and our little buddies arrived. Dominic 12 and Stone 17 got of the bus and they were obviously tired having taken a 4 hour van ride to the camp. Stone has down syndrome but he is the sweetest little boy. He understands some English too. He is also very self sufficient and helpful. He is full of Joy. I think some of the pictures show that. Dominic is 12. According to his report he is not special needs but he has displayed many behavioral issues. He has already run away from us, hit us head butted a female translator and scratched my arm. Even with all that he is a great little kid and he actually is sweet. I have been seeing the silver lining in him in every moment together today. He has hugged me, rubbed my back and has shown compassion to his fellow orphans. He is aleader and is very protective of the weaker ones. He takes care of himself entirely and is not used to structure. He is a great artist and is extremely intelligent. I know that we will have a major breakthrough with this little boy. We will see him bare his raw emotions and he will see ours. Not to take anything away from my Stoney boy he is such a sweet kid. When he sees us he lights up. What an enjoyable and loving soul he is. When he sees that I am not liking something on my plate he will give something to me off of his and take mine. He cracks me up. .....Honestly guys I could go on forever but i am totally wasted now. I will let the pictures and video do all of the talking. Love you guys. Good Night!!! eating luch with the boys.
videoSome of the kids arriving at camp
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