He loved to be picked up, especially to be put on our shoulders (where he must have spend half of the week!!) and on our backs. He quickly picked up on the fact that I couldn’t speak Chinese, so we played a lot of charades. When he wanted to go on my back or shoulders, he would point and pat at his back and say something like “ba” in an attempt to say back. And, of course, I had to oblige.I want to tell you about a little boy called Lei Xiao Feng (lay shou[t - without the t] fung). He is the most amazing boy that I have ever met, so joyful and energetic. I had the joy of spending 5 short but incredible days with him. Each day, I felt myself loving him more and more and, at the same time, realizing that I would have to say goodbye.
My translator and I met him on the Monday morning when we were introduced to a timid 8-year-old boy. He didn’t say much at first, but it must have been a scary experience – being taken out of his orphanage and meeting a Westerner! We can be pretty scary. But, he soon warmed up when we had lunch – his favorite, as he said – dumplings and noodles (they say food is the way to a man’s heart, right?). We played some games, like football and basketball, and watched him come alive. This boy’s got a real talent for sports. Throughout the week, he even took to some new sports like volleyball and badminton.
We asked him if he would like an English name since a lot of the older kids do. He eagerly said yes, and we started thinking of one that would suit him. I went through heaps of names but none of them seemed to work. We even thought of putting my name (Rob) with my translator’s name (Jeremy) to make a new name — Jerob. Someone gave the suggestion of Jacob, and I knew instantly that it was the one! He was a Jacob! By the end of the week, he responded so happily to Jacob — perhaps it made him feel more a part of us to have a new name with us.
When I think about Jacob, two special memories come to mind.
We were on the basketball court. He noticed the net, and other kids attempting to score. He made a few feeble attempts, but it was obvious to all of us that jump as he may, he was just too short to get it in. But, he kept trying…with no success. I scooped him up and put him on his favorite spot–my shoulders. After a few tries, he got it. He made his first basket. We were all laughing and smiling, enjoying his thrill of success. I know I will remember that moment for a long time — but I’m pretty certain that Lei Xiao will remember it longer.
During the camp, we took all the kids to a water fountain show. Picture a wide open space with water shooting up from the ground, synchronized to music. It looked amazing to us. And, the orphans who were with us were maybe even more amazed, having never seen anything like it. The image still playing in my head of Jacob spinning around in the water and simply dancing with his beaming smile is one I think about all the time.
Likely, because two of his fingers on his right hand are different, he became an orphan. But, what some may call a “handicap” has not handicapped him at all. He does everything an 8-year-old boy can do–except hold the hands of a mom and dad.
His name–Lei Xiao Feng–means something along the lines of “thunder of a small mountain peak.” We were told that it’s a very strong name, given in hope that he would be outstanding and find himself on top of the world. Yet, he waits. Alone.
I have no doubt that he would strive in a family, having people to love him, care for him. He is such a joyful, lovable, amazing kid. He really is a joy to be around. I miss him. I pray his family will find him soon. He’s ready to meet them.
Here's the video:
Rob is from Dublin in Ireland. He recently graduated from Secondary School and will be starting University shortly. This past summer, he spent 2 life-changing weeks in China with Bring Me Hope serving through summer camps for orphans. He fell in love with China and Chinese orphans and feels God has put these precious children on his heart for a lifetime.