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Fallbrook organization brings hope to Chinese orphans

The troubles of the world can be overwhelming to anyone with a compassionate heart and an eye on the global situation. However, because it is so overwhelming, it would be easy to ignore the pain of others and go on with our safe lives. For a family living in a comfortable Fallbrook home to suddenly travel to the other side of the world to live in cramped quarters and listen to heart-wrenching orphan tales is not something that one would expect to happen. Yet it did.

In 2005 the Steve Bolt family of Fallbrook traveled to China to live in a small apartment as they hosted a summer camp for 28 orphans. Because the sharing of Christianity is not permitted in China, the love of Christ was demonstrated in other ways, such as hugs and verbal encouragement, a clear demonstration of Christ’s love.

The idea took root in the mind of David Bolt, Steve’s son. David was still a student at Biola University in 2005 when God first planted in his heart the desire to minister to Chinese orphans and eventually establish an orphanage. He received his epiphany while mowing the lawn. After that the family of seven traveled to China for the summer.

In the course of a few years David’s parents had adopted two Chinese girls and David and his family were well on their way to establishing an organization that would reach hundreds of children.

David, now 28, has “a personal passion” for the Chinese orphans and serves as the executive director of the ministry, now called Bring Me Hope. With a Master’s degree in organizational leadership from Biola and his heart for orphans, David is well-qualified to lead this ministry venture.

In contrast to the first camp, the 2008 summer camps drew 350 children and 200 volunteers from the United States, Canada and Australia. Close to 100 Chinese college students served as interpreters. This year, several Bring Me Hope staff members are making a trip to Italy in an effort to draw volunteers to their 2009 camps.

I could write volumes on how the children are positively affected by the summer camps, but a story David related says it all. Two boys who had attended a camp left the orphanage and walked for a day and a half just to get back to the place where the camp was held. They did not understand that the camp was over; all they wanted was to get back to the place where they felt warm and loved and happy.

The establishment of the summer camps has mainly been a seamless adventure; however, the organization had a bit of difficulty with the Chinese government last summer. With hopes of generating interest in the orphan situation, Bring Me Hope spent six months preparing for a summer camp which was to be headquartered in Beijing during the Olympics. Just before the camps commenced, though, they were given four days’ notice to evacuate the premises because the site needed to be used for Chinese soldiers working in Beijing for the duration of the Olympic Games.

However, the group promptly found suitable headquarters in outlying areas and the camps went off as planned. Bring Me Hope was even given permission to take five of the orphans to Beijing for the Olympics and NBC of San Diego was there to document the event.

The next phase for David and his crew is to set up transition homes for orphans who are 17 and 18 years old. Older orphans are not allowed to live in the state orphanages. Bring Me Hope has already secured two apartments in the city of Kunming and David is planning to spend six months there to establish the new organization. The young adults will be tutored privately and taught skills for surviving in today’s society. “We will help them launch into life,” David explained.

Bring Me Hope is now looking for volunteers for their 2009 summer camps. “We have had all ages participate,” said David, “from kids and their parents to a 70-year-old from Australia.” The camps are bringing hope to many children. But don’t take my word for it; here are the words of Kip, a 2008 camper: “Thank you for spending five days with me. I have not been so happy for a long time.”

To volunteer, call (760) 723-5885 or send an e-mail to [email protected]. For further information access http://www.bringmehope.org.

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