Saturday, November 24, 2007


After our trip to the village that Monday morning, volunteers and staff, both chinese and american, gathered in the courtyard to wait for the children. The excitment in the air matched the intesity of the humidity that hugged us all close.

Suddenly the message came down the treelined lane, they were coming. Five bikers rode in ahead of the vans, like they were little celebrities. And to us, they were.
As all the kids piled out of the van, we called out "Ni hao"! (hello)

The chinese staff members were calling out the children's names in chinese and pairing them up with their new 'family'.
When I first met Hope, she was very shy. I gathered her and the rest of our family and we headed to the cafeteria to eat our first meal together.
As we talked and walked, I found out that Hope was fifteen years old. When I met her on that hot summer afternoon, she was dressed in a black and white polka-dot shirt and a little ruffled black skirt. She was very shy but had a very sweet smile that she would readily share.
It took Hope a while to warm up to the activities we did that week. She would sit on the edge of the swimming pool and splash around. She made beautiful bead bracelets during craft time. Much of the time though, she was quiet and was slow to enter into everything we did.
The night that we did the 'Happiness Graphes', Hope opened up and shared that her parents both died when she was three years old and that she had lived with her grandpa for a while, but then was sent to the orphanage. The year she lost her parents was one of the sadest in her live.
Suddenly it made sense why she seemed more withdrawn and quiet. She had already experienced so much pain and hurt.
That pain that I felt that night after hearing her story through Sophie, was something I had never experienced before. How can you even attempt to make that better??? How can you scratch the surface??? I cried so much that night and begged God, "WHY??? What good is this week here."
The answer to that question was when Hope told me that her fifteenth year was one of the happiest in her life.
Because she was able to come to camp. That is the reason I went to China. That is the reason it makes it all worthwhile. That is the reason I want to go back.
Because whether or not we can see the difference it makes, it changes their lives forever.
It changed Hope's.
It changed mine.
And you know what??? It could change yours.


chelsy said...

Oh yeah! I get to be the first to comment!! (a rare occurance!) Lovely post....
Didn't we have such a blast last night?? Good times with good friends are one of a kind!! We need to do it again soon!!
Love you! chels

Anonymous said...

God did such amazing things through your trip

becca said...

Nicole, that was beautifully said! Thanks so much for coming to China. See you in brrrrr IA soon :>)

David Bolt said...

Sorry, that last post was from me :>)