Benjamin (adopted in 2014!)

This post was originally all about Benjamin - to help find a family to adopt him! After lots of praying for him, sharing the post with adoptive parents, a family decided to move forward and adopt him. Benjamin met his forever family in October 2014 and went home with them to America. Thank you to all who helped advocate! One less orphan!










Send me

I think its safe to say they love my big nose! (da bizi)


Then I heard the voice of the Lord. He said, "Who will I send? Who will go for us?" I said, "Here I am. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8


    Lucas needs a family!

    2013 UPDATE:

    I got to spend two days at Lucas' orphanage and see him again! As soon as I walked in the gates he was the first one I saw. He was outside riding a bike around with his friends. I was so excited to see him! I slowly walked in wondering if he would recognise me and sure enough as soon as he saw me, he shouted 'gege' <big brother> and cycled over to me to give me a hug! The last time I saw him was a year before, when he cried saying goodbye.

    Please do not share this photo without permission: rob@bringmehope.org 
    Please do not share this photo without permission: rob@bringmehope.org 
    Please do not share this photo without permission: rob@bringmehope.org 
    This year I noticed considerable improvement in his speech. Last year I worried as I didn't hear him speak a lot. But he now talks a lot more and I do feel he understands everything people are saying to him. He is now much more confident too, he is growing up before my eyes. He has grown a lot since that tiny little boy two summers ago. He is growing up without a mom and dad of his own.


    ---

    ORIGINAL POST FROM 2012:

    One of the kids I was most excited about seeing again this summer was this little kiddo. This is Lucas, he is an adorable 10 year old boy from China who needs a mom and dad of his own.



    I first met Lucas last summer at Bring Me Hope summer camp. I instantly connected with him and quickly saw just how special he is! He has a sweet and easy-going nature which when mixed with his cute smile makes him such a joy to be around!



    My favourite memory of Lucas was from one morning when we were going to breakfast. I was walking with one of the other boys when I hear him shout across the courtyard 'gege' {older brother} as he runs over and grabs my hand to walk with me! Lucas is a boy who, like many young boys, loves his big brothers!!



    I then got to spend two weeks with Lucas at his orphanage this summer! I saw how much Lucas had grown up in just a year, how independent he had gotten and the new things he had learned to do. Lucas is one of the more capable boys in the room he lives. He is diagnosed as having 'dwarfism'. Though he is not far from average height for his age.



    When I think of Lucas, one word that springs to mind is potential. He has so much potential. All he needs is encouragement, love, and the right setting and stimulation. In these conditions I have no doubt that Lucas would blossom! He would grow and mature into the wonderful boy God has made him to be! Unfortunately, in the past he has been labeled as 'mentally retarded'. This in no way accurately describes him or his personality! He is a boy full of capabilities and in no way 'retarded'. Like most orphans, some delays can be expected and according to his special ed teacher his are due to his situation of being an orphan.





    Would you share Lucas' story, his photo, his video and maybe consider adopting him?






    Photo's of Matthew

    UPDATE: MATTHEW WAS ADOPTED THE DAY BEFORE HIS 14th BDAY IN SEPTEMBER 2013! PTL!!
    [read all about Matthew here.]

    I'm gonna talk through a few photo's of matthew!!

    They are all from when I met him at Bring Me Hope summer camps last summer! We spent 5 days together doing all sorts of activities as you will see now. 

    We brought the kids to an amusement park one of the days, here is Matthew smiling as always! Apparently that hand gesture means 'handsome'!!
    Matthew loved the bumper cars!!
    We took some silly photo's on the bus ride back from the amusement park!
    Matthew with his friend George, who also needs a family!
    He can still hold a ball and play despite limited use of his right limbs!

    He can run despite his condition!
    He can walk up and down stairs with the use of a railing!
    Matthew is really popular and has lots of friends!

    He loves to perform!

    He needs a family of his own!!




    Matthew needs a family!


    UPDATE: MATTHEW WAS ADOPTED THE DAY BEFORE HIS 14th BDAY IN SEPTEMBER 2013! PTL!!

    [Another post about Matthew here and here ]

    Matthew is one special kid! He is 13 years old and ageing out so fast. He has less than one year to find his forever family.

    The handsome always smiling Matthew!

    The reason I say that Matthew is so special is because honestly, he is one of the happiest kids I know! He is always smiling, laughing and having fun despite his conditions! Matthew loves playing games outdoors with his friends, from soccer to basketball and badminton he loves it all! He gets really excited when he knows we're going to do something fun - I have even heard him let out a squeal of delight!



    He currently attends a special education school with some of his friends where I am told he is doing really well. He has two special needs; a skull deformity and dyskinesia of right limbs. He has very limited use of his right arm and hand. However, this does not affect his life greatly. He will never be an Olympic athlete, but he is able to run around and generally play like most kids.

    Matthew can run around and have fun despite his condition!

    I spend 5 days with Matthew at Bring Me Hope summer camps in 2011 and grew to love him as my own brother. I had to say goodbye then, never imagining I would see him again. However God had other plans. This summer, He brought me back to China this year right to Matthews orphanage where I spent 2 weeks. Saying goodbye to him this year was so hard. I am hoping and praying that if I go back next year he will no longer be there, but with his forever family.



    Matthew has waited far too long for a family. He gets on with everyone and has lots of friends! I saw him grow and mature over the year, he truly is growing into a kind and generous young man. On top of that, He is an easy-going, handsome, bright and funny boy who needs a mom and dad of his own. I do not want him to have to face the future alone...


    [contact me on robmolloy93 <at> gmail.com]





    George (adopted 2014)

    UPDATE: George was adopted, right before he aged out in Summer 2014! He now lives with his family in America.

    This post was originally all about George. Since he has now been adopted, I have removed all of the other info.

    George with his 'big sister' Lucia (who made the video!)


    Great news!

    I just heard that the following boys, from the orphanage I spent two weeks at this summer are back on 'the shared list'. This means they can be adopted through any adoption agency, so in theory any family can adopt them! They are also very much on my heart to advocate for!

    Please be praying.

    I introduce you to...

    George, 12 

    Was adopted July 2014 right before he aged out!!
    (blog post) (video)




    Matthew, 13

    UPDATE: WAS ADOPTED SEPT 2013, right before he aged out!
    (blog post



    Benjamin, 10

    was adopted 2014!!
    (blog post)




    Lucas, 10

    STILL Waiting
    (blog post) (video)

    A taste of whats to come...

    Here's a little taste of what's to come on this blog over the coming weeks and months. I will probably share more of my heart on advocating later on but for now let me share this video a good friend from China made to find her buddy from camp a family!

    Laura herself was an orphan at the start of her life, in China, but was adopted! This summer she went back to be Jesus' hands and feet to chinese orphans and is now advocating!

    Check out her video...

    And her blog post here.
    This one little 4 year old boy has changed my life!  Going to China this past summer, really opened my eyes to see how these orphans live made, it really scared me that I in fact was once an orphan too. You see, fifteen years ago I lived in an orphanage in Anhui Provence, China, with no family, little care, and no love..........


    This Picture


    This picture... I don't know what it is... It captures every ounce of my attention every time I look at it.

    I have so many of my JiaBei laughing, giggling, smiling and plain-old messing!

    But theres just something about this one.

    Photo: Lacey Scott

    It has been a while since I've done an update, just want to quickly share a few things. Things are getting easier being 'home'. I'm now sort of ok with it. I still think about China all the time and miss my kids a lot.

    Today we presented out time in China at church. It was a really great sharing experience, we even managed to get a few tears during the video which we played at the end. You can check out my video below to the song Albertine by Brooke Fraser.


    --

    On a further note, today is my little boy from last year - XiaoFeng/Ian's 9 BIRTHDAY!! His family in America are throwing him his first birthday party!! 
    A year ago today I was mourning the fact that he was alone on his birthday, and now a year on, by the power of God - he now has a family to celebrate with!! Praise God!!


    Heart for the kids - by Steph Maxwell (part 2)


    (read part 1 first)

    After a weekend of sleep and renewed energy, Week 2 arrives in similar style, albeit with slightly heavier hearts as we know what the end of the week will bring; but that is pushed to the side as the bus drives up the driveway with all the wonderful kids from the state orphanage. There are slightly less children this week, most families only have one. As the kids are getting off the bus, a happy little shout rings out – it turns out that one of the boys had been here last year, and has been paired up again with his buddy from last year, talk about joyful reunions. As my name is called, I turn to find a little brown face with wary eyes looking at me and my translator Linda. I have to get the little girl’s name repeated to me a couple of times before I pick up on it, but once I hear it properly, wow, what a gorgeous name for my gorgeous little girl – Yin Cai (pronounced Yin Tsai)

    It takes her a little bit of time to warm to me, preferring to hold Linda’s hand, but once we get upstairs and put away her meagre belongings, my silly faces and my crazy hat break down any barriers between us. She tells us she’s 12 years old, but later says she’s 6; I’m still not sure exactly how old she is, though definitely closer to 6. She adores my camera – I have so many wonderful pictures taken by her, and she enjoys it so much that I feel not even the slightest apprehension at giving it to her.

    During the week I am constantly bowled over by my little girl’s compassion for others – she only has to hear somebody else crying and she seeks out the person in pain, and tries to help; whether that be by holding hands or stroking hair, she just wants to make everything ok. She has so little in her life and yet tries to do so much for all those around her. Milk teas feature prominently again this week; her face lights up every time we walk towards the shop.

    I get to hear a small part of her story this week – only a little, but after I hear it, I’m not sure that I want to know more. She tells Linda that policemen rescued her from the ‘bad men’. Linda and I look at one another and both turn our faces away to try and hide our sadness from her. She says no more about it for the whole week.

    It turns out our beautiful Yin Cai is a star performer with confidence by the bucketload – she is always the first to hop up in assembly, singing all the songs, doing all the dances with perfect timing, no fear whatsoever. Talent show time comes around and all she wants to do is sing ‘Beautiful Day’ (with me vainly attempting to remember basic guitar chords to accompany her). It’s also her suggestion that we ask her two little roommates to join in our talent show act, she whispers to Linda ‘as they haven’t got anything planned’; so our family groups are more and more intertwined, just one more expression of love from a special little girl.

    Letter reading is much harder than last week; Yin Cai is loving the letter I have written to her, telling her she is special and beautiful and wonderful, until the closing lines, where I have to say goodbye. Once she hears that word, that one simple, powerful, dreadful, awful word, the walls around her that have been crumbling all this week come crashing down. She turns to me and starts bawling her little eyes out, and just can’t stop. I pick her up into my arms, and we sit there together, both crying from the depths of our souls. Time seems to stop, and to this day, I have no idea of how long we sat there. We both eventually calm down, silence punctuated by occasional sobs or hiccups, and she takes my hand. We make our way to her memory book, and she sticks all the photos she can find into it, trying to keep the memories with her. Linda has had to leave the room during all this, the sadness too much for her to bear.

    After she sits on the bus, and it is waiting to leave, I stand by the side and wave. She keeps her eyes fixed on mine, and I blow her a kiss. As I watch, she takes her tiny hands from her sides, and forms a perfect heart with her fingers. My heart stops, and my mouth trembles. The bus pulls away and we are left standing in the dust, longing for our families, our children.



    All three of these little girls have taken up permanent residence in not just a corner, but in the whole of my heart. I can only hope that their happy memories will stay with them always, and they will know that they have a jie jie in Ireland who will always think of them and love them.

    God brought all of us volunteers to China, and He has worked in each one of us over the past weeks, changing our lives, breaking us, rebuilding us, making us new. We lift up each one of our children to Him, praying that they will feel His love all their days.

    I write this story so that we will never forget these amazing, wonderful, beautiful, special children who deserve so much more than they have.



    A very good friend of mine pointed a particular Bible verse out to me, and it seems appropriate that it should finish this story for now:
    ‘For it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure’Philippians 2:13

    Heart for the kids - by Steph Maxwell (part 1)


    The bus arrives, full of clamouring children. Wheelchairs are unbundled from the under-coach storage, children are passed through the door like parcels being unpacked. Somebody is reading out a list of names of children, volunteers and translators. Everyone is listening eagerly for their name, wanting the first glimpse of their children for the week, hungry for every memory in this week that is too short.

    Kids arriving!


    As they make their way off the bus, some of the kids are crying, some are laughing, but most just look a little overwhelmed by all the strangeness around them. I hang back a little, not sure of all that’s going on. Another name is called, suddenly I hear mine. My first little girl is handed off the bus, a beautiful, precious little girl; my translator April picks her up and we move a little away from the bustling crowd. April asks her name, but no response, I think she’s probably just feeling nervous or shy or anxious. I hear my name called again so I leave April with the girl with no name and head back into the crowd next to the bus. My next child is handed off the bus, she needs a chair to get around; we take one of the ones that were unloaded earlier. We make our way back over to April and see her holding hands with a now smiling little girl. Her name is Wen Jia and she’s been to camp before – some of the staff already know her, I am told a few times that we’re going to have fun this week, she’s a crazy one J. April tells me that the little girl in the chair’s name is Meng-ting (e pronounced like uh); she seems so excited to be around all these people. These two beautiful wonderful little girls have already stolen my heart and I know there’s no way it will ever be the same again.

    (best picture of them i can find right now!)

    As the fuss dies down and the bus leaves, we turn to make our way inside, a complete family group now. The first day passes in a kind of blur, getting used to everybody’s schedules, adapting to this strange but amazing place in which I find myself, even getting used to the fact that there is one lift for 80 people, about a fifth of whom are in wheelchairs (a game develops during the week to see how many people can fit into the designated 13 person lift; it turns out that the magic number at which the lift breaks is 22 adults who should have known better!).

    Swimming is a wonderful exciting experience, Wen Jia’s lifejacket is so big, she has to look out the armholes to be able to see, Meng-ting just wants to splash and move about, have some freedom from the chair for a couple of hours. There’s no nervousness left in me, it all just feels completely natural, and the first moment that I am called jie jie is one of the best in my life. These little girls who took my heart only a matter of hours earlier trust me enough to call me big sister.



    Assembly is crazy, funny, wonderful and all the kids love it. Those that are able jump to their feet, dancing, singing, smiling, laughing. Already God is touching their spirits, lifting them up. Storytime entrances them all, sitting there enthralled by a tale whose meaning will hopefully one day become clear to them.

    The next few days pass by far too quickly; we are all trying not to think about Friday when they will have to leave us. Filling their hearts with love and showing them they are special and cared for and wonderful is all that is on my mind. Each day brings new laughter, games, amazing times; my heart breaks so often I cannot believe it still beats. Even a simple thing like being able to buy them milk teas after lunch brings me so much joy that I can hardly bear it.

    Our talent show is a truly Irish affair – we have taught them Irish dancing, and one of the girls plays the tin whistle to huge applause. The face paint goes down a treat with the girls, especially once they see themselves in the mirror. Even the translators are asking to join in; there are a lot of Irish flags painted on cheeks that night.

    Friday rolls around, and I can see on everybody’s faces that they have all been altered this week too. Breakfast is a somewhat subdued affair, although we all try to keep up the façade so that our kids might not feel so sad. Letter reading brings tears, emotional outbursts and sadness from practically everybody. Finally comes pack-up time, putting all the gifts we brought them into their bags; ‘just don’t think about later on’ my head keeps saying, ‘just enjoy this moment, show them you love them unconditionally with all your heart, and through that, show them God’s love, for they are so wonderfully loved and don’t even know it’.



    Wen Jia is running around like a mad thing when the bus finally does arrive; she seems to slow down as she sees it, but I don’t know how much or even if she fully understands that she has to leave. I carry Meng-ting up the stairs and the two girls sit together on the bus, quiet now, possibly realising that camp is coming to an end. I had told myself all day that I wasn’t going to cry but at this point my resolve breaks into a million pieces. The tears stream freely down my face as I make my way off the bus. We wave and wave again and blow kisses until the bus is out of sight, and then the group of volunteers and translators each turn to one another, unwilling or unable to believe that our perfect families have been torn apart.

    Such an outpouring of grief among this group of people brought together by a single idea, by the need to show God’s love to Chinese orphans, was incredible, and I saw so clearly at that moment that God’s plan all along had been to bring us to China, to serve, to do His will and to love these children.

    As we sit in the corridor later on, crying, praying, singing quiet songs, everything seems so wrong but so right at the same time; that we should have been brought here to be poured out for these kids. They have taken root in corners of our hearts, and that love will never be destroyed. It really just brings home the message that God is great and powerful, and we need to trust in Him to bring us to where He has decided


    Home

    I've been 'home' now since Tuesday evening. 'Home' meaning back in Ireland. It wasn't without adventure, let me tell you that! Our flight to Beijing being changed without us being informed and having to come up with about 30,000 rmb instantly to pay for rescheduling! (that day is worth its own post soon!)
    And then me coming home with an eye infection and ending up in hospital for a few hours the next day!

    But its all good now. recovering physically from jet lag and emotionally from what I like to call 'China Withdrawal Symptoms'!!

    I may be 'home' but my heart is still in China. 

    one week left



    The thought of being home in just one week is looming... I've been here for almost a month. And it feels like a lifetime, yet at the same time it has gone so fast. Its like I have been here forever. I really don't know how I will be able to return back to 'normal life'. I know I can do all things through He who gives me strength- but I'm
    Gonna need A LOT of strength. 

    Yesterday I quickly checked my college email to see if there was anything urgent I needed to deal with - and i was just overwhelmed with the seemingly uselessness of it all. Much of it things i would have been really excited for a month ago but compared to my life here it just seems unimportant. 

    I feel like I live a double life- I have my deeply rewarding, fulfilling life spending the summer in china with orphans. 
    And my life at home, playing the motions of life, going from one step to the next. Don't take me the wrong way - i have a great life back home. I'm involved in lots of great things - but being out here serving God everyday is just so much special.

    -

    We have had some amazing experiences here at the welfare centre. It is truly a blessing for us to be able to work here, to be allowed in. We have had the opportunity to not only work with the kids but also spend time with their carers and see them change too. 

    This week we have brought the different sections of the welfare centre out to the zoo and local park. We bring them around to see all the animals which is lots of fun, and then we all sit down in a big circle on grass in the park and have a snack and play some games. Something interesting has happened at each of these times. We are a large group of people (30 +) so we naturally attract attention. But we also draw more people in as we have many kids with disabilities. Crowds gather around us. The first few days people just stopped and stared. But today they seemed to enjoy us being there and were smiling at our games and clapping along. 
    These are people who never have experience of these types of disabilities. 

    He can change peoples hearts when we dont even expect or plan to. 

    Latest update



    Finally back on my blog after no access for quite a while. I'm here in SMX with ICC right now. Just over half way through the program here, working hands on in the welfare centre. Its an amazing experience being right on the ground here.

    This is from a few days ago:


    Spend some time with one of the most down to earth guys I've ever met, who happens to be an orph'n. He's about 15, but seems much older. I met him last year at bring me hope camps. He is the big brother and father to many of the kids at the orph. He is perfectly normal, so can attend the local school. He showed some people from our team around the town today and I saw him in the lobby of the hotel. We talked for a while about our dreams and hopes for the future. He wants to join the army, as they will then pay for his education. His dream though is to either be free to travel the world or set up an organisation like ICC to work with orph's. What a great guy!! We played some cards in my hotel room after that. He's just a normal guy- who happens to be an orphn.

    Our days are long! We're up at 7, for 7.30 'thought' meeting. After that it's off to the orph. for 8.30 and we stay till about 12. Then lunch time and break until we return from 3-5.30. We're all exhausted by the evening time!

    Our days consist mainly of playing with the children. Our team is broken into different groups to work in different sections. There's a large play area outside with slides and stuff, just what you would expect to find in a playground at home! We also 'try' to do some music and arts activities! Try meaning they dont always work out!

    I've been spending most of my time with a deaf boy called ShuiShui (handsome). He was at camp last year. Let me just say that he likes to get his own way!! He very funny though - and laughs at everything I do. There's something special about being able to make children laugh!
    Best part is that he was adopted on monday!!! It's gonna be very quiet without him, but I'm excited that he will have a family!!

    Please 'think' for physical strength for our team! Definitely needed!


    He provides

    Finally got on wifi here at SMX with ICC.

    This is from a few days ago:


    Today I had the most terrifying yet faith building experience of my life so far. 

    Today was the day the rest of my Irish team go back to Beijing to fly home by train, and I travel BY TRAIN onto another city to work with ICC. It was only meant to be about an hour and a half. The whole time, I kept looking at the scrolling info screen at the front of the carriage waiting to see next stop smx. 

    Yet somehow I never saw it. I realised after about 2 hours that we hadn't come to it yet so I started to wonder what was going on. I kept watching the screen. 

    Soon enough I saw 'next stop xian' which was when I panicked!! Xian is double the distance I was going. I was freaking out a little bit, and thankfully had a Chinese cell phone to call Bring Me Hope staff to ask what to do. 

    I was so so scared. I speak VERY little Chinese and was soon going to be stuck in a different city to where I was going... I even started to tear up. 

    I just started talking to my Father, it was difficult but i tried to give all my worries to him. I cried out to Him saying I couldn't do this myself. 

    BMH staff were great. When I arrived in xian, they got me to hand the phone to a Chinese person and explained I needed to buy another ticket. This woman brought me to the ticket line and explained the situation to a girl in the queue. This girl was send by my Father. I have no doubt about that. Turns out she was going to Zhengzhou where I had just come from, so getting the same train I need to. 

    That CANNOT be a coincidence. 

    So this lovely girl helped me buy my ticket, and stayed with me the whole way and showed me were to get off. 

    My Father is so good. He turns out impossible worries into helping us simply trust him more. 

    I am forever grateful. Here's a story I wanna share first!

    Week 1 goodbyes

    Lacey, Bring Me Hope worker asked me if I would like to bring the kids back to the orphanage last week. I jumped at the chance without really thinking about it fully! 

     The kids from last week were special because they camp from a foster care system called Eagles Wings - run by an amazing American lady and her family. They take in severely disabled kids and put them in small homes of about 10 kids which means they get more care. Many of them don't even live in the orphanage but in apartments which they have some sort of control over, giving them independence. 

    So the day came to bring them home. We packed up their things and brought them outside to where the bus was waiting. Picture this, 35 kids plus their volunteers and translators hugging and crying. Noone could deny that much love was found there. It really dawned on me what I had agreed to do...

     The worst thing happened when one boy being put on the bus started screaming and bawling crying and shouting out something. I was told he was pleading to not leave. It was heart breaking. Heart shattering.

     We eventually had to leave and the bus pulled off with 35 screaming orphans and 4 adults to try comfort and manage them. I was crying as much as they were. Hearing those screams and crying will stay with me forever. It was a nightmare that I couldn't get out of. I had to face it. All i could do was walk around with tissues and wipe their tears away in an attempt to comfort them. It really dawned on me the fact that we CAN'T change their lives. Only our Father can do that and that is why we must lift these precious orphans up to him.  

     They eventually stopped crying and many of them fell asleep. we got to the main welfare centre where many of them live. They got off with their stuff and walked in. With a quick WO AI NI (I love you) they were off, back to their old lives, without turning back.  My younger boy lives in one of the apartments so we drove their next with the last 20 or so. I sat him on my lap savouring those last few moments with him. I just sang to him.  And they were gone. With just memories of an amazing 5 days at camp.  I'm still unsure who is changed more by this experience - the orphans or us.

    Week 2 quick update

    Just a quick update from week 2. We're just so busy! Had hope to be able to update more but haven't had the time. I have 2 boys this week. Both 7 years old. They're really great - though very energetic so there is lots of running around!! One is really sweet and quiet while the other never stops talking and messing!! They're lots of fun!! Ciara has one little boy this week, about 4 years old. He's the cutest kid at camp, and he knows it! Very stubborn and strong-willed!  He's very funny too! Jordon has a cute little girl, about 6 years old I think. She has been a handful as her moods swing from happy to crying. Its getting easier for jordon though as they get to know eachother. Steph has a little girl, about 7 years old who is just so excited! She claps at everything!! It's fun to watch! Please be thinking of us particularly this week as we share 'the message' with the Chinese translators. That Our Father would speak to their hearts! This is a tiring week - but the orphans are so worth it!!!!!

    Day 3 of Camp

    We are now at the end of day 3 of camp. Had you told me the things I would do this week beforehand, I likely would have really questioned whether I could do it or not. This week the kids are all disabled to various degrees. Some cannot walk and are in wheelchairs, others are mentally disabled. One thing that is for sure - working with disabled children is humbling.

    My seven year old - BeiBei has to wear a diaper. Before this week I had never changed one. But believe me when I say I am a pro at this stage! This evening I helped one of the brightest happiest young boys to have a shower - he is unable to walk but can crawl around. It's amazing what some of these kids have learnt to do without being able to walk.

    Stuff to 'think' about please:
    *Ciara who is sick. She was sick on our first day in Beijing but then recovered. Then last night she woke up feeling unwell and got sick a few times. She rested and stayed in bed all day and managed to join us for a bit this evening. So please be thinking of her.
    *I found out today that my BeiBei is currently not available for adoption. His foster home director - an amazing american woman - hopes he will be available in the next 6 months.
    *Strength for the last 2 days for the whole team.

    Tomorrow I'll include how the others are doing - I'll get them all to give me something to include. 
    And i'll get some pictures of us all at the weekend when we have some time!!

    My family group (Kevin, JinQiu, Me, BeiBei)
    Thanks to everyone for thinking of us. Our Father is doing amazing things this week - not just with the orphans but us and translators and even the local community who are amazed at what we are doing.

    finally this is working!

    I have been trying to post for a few days but it hasn't worked!


    oh my word!
    we are having an amazing time here at camp!I have two boys (aged 7 and 14). BB is the younger one,and he literally laughs at EVERYTHING! I mean everything. So there is never a dull moment with him. He is unable to walk, and they ran out of push-chairs at first, so I ended up carrying him literally everywhere for the first day and a half! Luckily he is small! And then when they got more push-chairs here, he didn't want to sit in it as he loved being carried!
    My older kid is Qiu, he is so independent and doesn't like us to do things for him! Infact he loves helping everyone out, particularly with carrying wheelchairs up and down steps and helping the younger children!
    I'll try post a picture of them later on in the week.
    Thanks to everyone for their 'thoughts', means a lot!
    Leaving in a few hours for the airport! Spending all Thursday travelling and will arrive in Beijing on Friday morning. We tour around for two days then head to camp!

    Will try update when I get to camp!!

    Thanks to all for moral, financial and prayerful support.

    Miracle please?

    I'm trying to put it to the back of my mind. But i just can't. I don't want to have to deal with the pain. I want it not to be true. So badly.

    A very very close family friend of mine, who I talked about here before has been battling for the last few months with cancer. Like seriously struggling. Fighting. She's done rounds of chemo which didn't work. Then she took on the Irish health system to get funding for herself and 60 other people with this type of melanoma, on a treatment called Ipi which is funded by countless other European countries and can have amazing results. She succeeded and is nearly finished the treatment. Though it seems every few weeks they discover the cancer has spread. Liver, Spine, Brain, Lungs... At this point I don't know where it isn't.

    Worst of all? She has three small children under the age of 12.

    Today I heard she has been given 2-3 weeks to live. I, I, I am speechless.

    Literally. Staring at the screen.

    How do you put it into words?
    Someone I have known my whole life. Wife of my dad's best friend. Over for dinner once or twice a year.

    She has 2-3 weeks. I'm in China for 5.

    I want to not give up hope.

    Oh God please. It's not too late for a miracle. Please Lord. I know you can do it.... 
    ...if it is your will. 


    Praying for God's will to come is hard. I almost want to pray for my will to come. But I know I can't. I have to trust He knows what he's doing however hard that might be.

    PLEASE join me in praying for Cathy and her family (particularly husband and 4 children). It's not too late for a miracle.

    1 week

    I don't know how this has come so soon! 11 months I have waited and it is finally coming, I am going to China in just ONE WEEK!

    Quick overview of what I'll be doing:
    *Two days sightseeing in Beijing (including the Great Wall!!) and meeting up with a friend from college from China who will visit us there!
    *Two weeks on summer camps in ZZ, Henan Province with Bring Me Hope. In each week I'll be paired with one to two orph'ns and a Chinese college student to translate. These weeks are all about loving. 
    *Two and a half weeks in SMX Orph., Henan Province with International China Concern. Working day-to-day and hands-on there with a specific group of kids. [most exciting part is that I'll get to see some of the kids from camp last year!! including this guy below - Meng Meng ] 

    Almost 5 weeks in all. 

    Please be praying for:
    1. Safety - in travelling, trains and in general. 
    2. Orphans lives would be changed. 
    3. Gospel shared with Chinese college students. 
    4. Amazing life changing experience for all!

    Meng Meng and I last year

    PS. I hope to update the blog when I can while away! So check back sometime and see if you're interested :)

    So Soon

    I can't believe it's actually just 5 weeks till I return to China. I also cannot believe that it has been nearly a year since I was last there! This year has flown by, though at times (many times) all I wanted to do was be back in China playing and spending with orphans, and July seemed so far away.

    I'm just thinking back on how I was changed last summer and the differences it made in my life. One in particular that stands out is in relation to adoption. I remember last year thinking about families who have adopted children (particularly from China) and to be honest, I found it quite difficult to imagine how one could love another child or how an 'added' child could really become part of the family. It was a rather foreign concept. One I certainly would never consider. However, even after my first 2 or 3 days with orphans I knew that I would adopt one day. I saw how quickly I had come to love these children and even saw XiaoFeng as my own little brother. It seemed so natural. I now truly believe something I once heard that if everyone was to spend a week with an orphan, there would not be any orphanages. You cannot spend time with orphans without being changed. Take that as a challenge!

    I have learnt so much about God, and seen Him work in ways I could not have imagined. I have learnt that he can exceed our expectations and requests many many times over, and he has done so this year! I have learnt that if we trust Him, He can work wonders.

    I can't do anything. I can't change the life of an orphan. I can't change the world either. Only God can do this, thus I must have his backing in all I do. If I allow him to work through me THEN orphans lives can be changed. As Francis Chan says 'God will ensure my success in accordance with His plannot mine.' in Crazy Love. 

    There are many more but finally I have seen the real need of orphans. They need love. I guess they're not all that different to us at the core, if you strip away everything else.

    5 weeks until I leave for the biggest adventure of my life - 5 weeks in China serving God and orphans!

    This Summer

    So I decided to take a break from study *groan* and think and talk a little about what I'm going to be doing this summer! My exams start next week, and end the 12th of May. That gives me exactly 2 months until I depart for China!!!

    So we spend a whole day flying, a short flight to London, a long wait, and a long flight to Beijing. We arrive on Friday morning, to a city with nearly 20 million people which is 4-5 times more people than the whole of Ireland!! We have just two days to 'get the Beijing experience', we'll stay in a hotel in the city and roam around - see the main sites (Tienanmen Sq, Forbidden City etc.) and eat lots of good food!

    We then take a 7/8 hour train to Zhengzhou. We will be exhausted at that point - and likely sleep the whole way!! So we arrive at camp with Bring Me Hope on Sunday evening giving us just a few hours until the KIDS ARRIVE on monday morning sometime!!! Hopefully we will have recovered by then from jet-lag and travel fatigue. So we will be matched with a translator (chinese student) and one or two orphans, and we spend Monday to Friday as a family group. We will basically just be pouring love out, playing games, doing activities, buying presents, eating food... All sorts of things, to really just show them an amazing time! Then Friday afternoon will be time to say goodbye. The hardest part about it all - having to say goodbye. I'm not even gonna think about that now, or i'll just cry remembering saying goodbye last year.

    So we then have the weekend to recover emotionally, and rest. We will also have the opportunity to tour around ZZ and hopefully do some shopping at local markets - which is always fun bartering!

    Monday will come again, and we will be matched with a new translator and orphan. Same routine again, well, in China things never go to plan, and it will be a new kid - so it will be the same yet oh so different. Friday will come again and we will say goodbye yet again.

    Then will be one of the most difficult parts for me, where I will say goodbye to my sister and two friends who will head back home to Ireland, and I will board a train by myself for another city closeby. There, I will be working with International China Concern (ICC)  for a further two and a half weeks with orphans again. This trip will look a little different as we will be in the actual orphanages.

    The most exciting part about this leg of the trip is that I will be working in the orphanage that the kids from my second week of camp last year came from. So i'll hopefully get to see some familiar faces!!

    Then back to Beijing, and the long flight home by myself. At that stage, I will most likely be physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally exhausted. It will be difficult to return to 'normal life' after 5 weeks of serving.

    I'm certainly excited to see what God has in store for me!!


    Life is short

    A lot has happened recently to make me really evaluate what matters, and what life is truly about. To cut to the chase, I have emotionally been involved in two different cancer stories to different extents.

    The first is a close family friend of ours, a mother of three young children, who is battling a cancer which is spreading over her body and which won't respond to chemotherapy. Even the thought of her dying makes me just shudder, and want to curl up in a ball and cry. Just thinking about it causes my heart to skink, I cannot describe the feeling in any other way. I think some of it must be to do with the fact that this could happen to anyone, and that it has happened to someone I know. And there is nothing that I nor anyone else can really do about it other than pray. Pray for a MIRACLE. It has been a real test of my faith, whether I believe with all my heart that God can perform miracles. He COMMANDS all of our hearts and for us to trust him fully. Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list'' (Matt 22:37). The first on any list, eh?. I wonder if this is the first on all of our lists...


    The second case I heard through a friend in China. A friend of his - CongCong is an adult orphan, now 24. He grew up in the orphanage after his parents died when he was very young. He left the orphanage to find a job and worked really hard, bought a house, even married. But then he was diagnosed with acute leukaemia 6 months ago. His wife left him, and he had to stop working. His life has been tough to say the last these past few months. I was asked to help with a Care Campaign for him, to try and raise support for him to cover general expenses and medical expenses, and to ask people to pray for him. I made a video which i will post below. The thought of a 24 year old orphan suffering from cancer is heart breaking. He doesn't have parents to sit by his bedside and encourage and cheer him on, to pray with him and cry with him. 


    So these two cases made me really think about how fragile human life really is. If not for God, then what is the point. Life is short, even if I live a full life. Who knows whats gong to happen in the meantime. It just makes me want to be in China all the more quickly. Waiting here seems so pointless, like why waste the opportunity to change orphans lives here at college or something. I know what the answer is to that, but its still not an easy one. Either way, God is teaching me to trust Him more. To have deeper faith, mountain moving faith. And above all else to love Him. 




    head over to a blog for CongCong here or check out the video below. 




    One Less



    This is a blog post I helped write to advocate for my buddy from Bring Me Hope camp last year! I've talked about him a few times on the blog already. It was posted on We Are Grafted In which is a resource site for adopting families.  After reading the post and watching the video, and of course lots of praying, a family have been going through the process of adopting him. Give this a read :) And of course check out We Are Grafted In too!

    Prayer has gotten XiaoFeng a family. I was honoured to be a small part of it, but it ultimately wasn't what  did that got him a family. Praise God for this.

    {Advocating} He’s Ready


    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.

    Waiting....

    China plans for the coming summer are coming along. After much thinking, prayer and brainstorming I have decided to go for four and a half weeks, the first two with Bring Me Hope the same as last year, and then two and a half weeks with International China Concern (ICC). I'm getting super excited about it all!

    Though right now I am in the waiting stage... waiting to get formal acceptance from the organisations which will then allow me to book the main flight. Once the flights are booked the trip will start to seem real as at the moment it is still planning stage, so i am anxious to move on! However, I must wait.

    It can be frustrating to just sit back and wait for that long anticipated email so say that yes Rob, you are coming to China this summer! Right now there are just so many uncertainties that I would like to be sorted out. Though maybe there are lessons to be learnt in waiting (something I am not always the best at)
    Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord - Chris Tomlin
     I just need to trust that God has had my summer plans all laid out before me since before I ever existed. It is somewhat comforting to know that He has a plan for my life. He will continue to strengthen me as I wait on Him, I just need to trust Him. One thing I've learnt the last while, is that His timing is perfect, something that can only be seen in hindsight!

    So if you, like I, feel stuck in a rut, unsure of what's to come and ultimately feel like you are just waiting... Take comfort in the following verse. Soaring like an eagle sounds alright to me ;)

    But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
        They will soar high on wings like eagles.
    They will run and not grow weary.
        They will walk and not faint.
    Isaiah 40: 31 (NLT)