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.
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Here's the video:

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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)

The Whys?

I've been thinking a lot recently as to why I'm going back to China this summer. WHY? Why would I want to travel to a place nearly 10,000 kilometres away, give up a few weeks of my summer, reduce the chances of getting a summer job which will then mean I'm poor for the following year, sacrifice lots of money in saving up for it, forfeit a 'summer holiday'...... I could come up with hundreds of reasons not to go, and that's not even including basic safety reasons, like I'm going to CHINA, who knows what could happen! So WHY am I still going?

God calls each of us, commands each of us, to take care of the needy (James 1 : 27). He also tells us to care for children:
''Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me—God who sent me." Mark 9:37 (The Message)
 It is clear throughout the bible that as Christians, we are expected to look after the poor, needy, fatherless, hopeless... But that doesn't mean we are all going to end up going to a distant land. God calls and commands us to do all sorts of things all the time, but that doesn't mean that we do them.

I believe that God has given me a passion for his children. He has been working on my heart the last few months and way before that without me fully realising. He has placed orphans on my heart. Earlier I was reading a book called 'No Longer a Slumdog' by Gospel For Asia (would totally recommend it), but it was talking about how we only have one life to live, and thats it's oh so short. There's so much that needs to be done. Thats how I feel about China, there are at least, and likely many more than half a million orphans in China. Somedays I feel overwhelmed by this figure, that I can barely making a dent into that by working with a handful of orphans. However, right now that figure doesn't seem so scary. It just makes me realise that I can have a purpose in life, a reason not to give up. Now that is a reason to return to China, in my opinion anyway.