Saturday, 16 May 2015

Countdown - 10 days

The countdown is on. 10 days to go. Flights booked, visa collected, started thinking about packing.

You might be interesed in this video that New Day made, it gives a great insight into the great organisation it is and the great care the kids get.

I'm also excited to be joined by many more volunteers from Ireland! It's so great to see more people here being interested and called to come to China. In June, my sister Ciara and our friend Matt are coming to volunteer. In July; Sean, Amy Joy and Jenny are coming to volunteer and in August, Jumoke will be at New Day (though I'll only see her for a day before I leave). (In July Steph will join Ciara at Bring Me Hope summer camps for her fourth summer, and Emma will come back to China again in June and this time work at Elim Kids). It's very exciting that lots of Irish people are going out this year!

How much will this trip cost?
Flights, accomodation, internal transport and food will cost about €2300 / $2500 for two months in China. This doesn't include tourism or souvenirs which I don't fundraise for.

How do I fund these trips?
A mixture of personal savings, my parents helping me when they can, a very supportive Church, and individual donations from friends, my Church family and people I have never even met.

Why do I keep going back?
I think the verse in my blog heading sums it up quite well. I am really passionate about China and about orphans in China and I 100% believe this is a God-given passion.
"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act..." Proverbs 24:12

What am I hoping to do long term?
My long-term goal is to move to China. I'm not entirely sure yet what I will do, and before I move long-term I may do a masters in education/social work/therapy and study Chinese formally.

Pray for safe travels and settling in and for our team this year!

Saturday, 4 April 2015

This summer

I handed my undergraduate dissertation in this week, and had my last class. I now have the next month to study for my final exams at the beginning of May and then I will be finished at Trinity College! I am off to China at the end of May. 

What will I be doing in China this summer?
I'm heading back to New Day Foster Home for two months again. This is where I was last summer. I will be taking part in the summer staff program. My role isn't completely set in stone but will involve helping train other volunteers and helping with child development and foster families. At this foster home, each child's (both in the home and those who live with foster families) development is tracked by each of the 5 development categories (gross motor, fine motor, speech and language, social and knowledge). Each child's development can then be tracket and compared to a typical child of that age. Due to medical conditions, the majority of these children have some sort of delay and this helps the staff know what they can focus on.

Screenshot from New Day website.

Where will I be?
I'll be in a small village on the outskirts of Beijing. It takes about an hour to drive in, or 1.5 hrs by public transport to get into the city.

Who is coming?
My sister Ciara and our friend Matt are coming to ND for the month of June, they will then move on and help run Bring Me Hope camps in Zhengzhou. Then in July two other Irish girls are coming to ND for their first time for the month! (actually, there could be another guy and another girl coming too! I'll update this when I know for certain!)

Read Ciara's blog:

Could you pray as our summer plans come together and for my future plans after graduating!

If you would like to support me financially please click this link and donate at the bottom! Thank you!

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Sunday, 15 February 2015

China 2015 Countdown: 100 days!

Surprise, surprise, I'm returning to China in 100 days! This will be my 6th trip to China! I have half a semester left of university followed by exams and then I will be heading out for two months this time.

I'm very excited to be going back and about what I'll be doing! Exact details about what I'll be doing are still being worked out so I will share more later on.

Some people have been asking: 'Since you are graduating after this semester, did you just get a one way ticket? Are you moving to China now?' Good question, but nope. Right now, I think the plan is to do a postgraduate degree in education. Though in the short-term it would seem so easy to just move straight to China now, thinking more long-term I want to bring over the skills that I feel are most needed and that will most benefit my long-term goals, but more on my 'long-term goals' another time! ;)

Please be praying for me as I finish off my last semester (undergraduate semester anyway) and prepare to return to China yet again! Thanks for all those who have supported me (morally, prayerfully and financially) so far in this journey!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Crazy Foreigners Eat Scorpian

Back in June we went into Beijing and some of our team decided to sample some scorpian at Wangfujing Street market! I was happy to sit out on eating and take a video! :)

Watch below

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Made it back!

After a long journey, I made it home to my family on Sunday night! I had really hoped for an upgrade on my long flight, but alas no. HOWEVER, I made an amazing contact, a man sitting next to me, a divine appointment for sure. Won't go into it here, but was incredible.

I made it home to a nice welcome home party at the airport - more than I was expecting! and to see my family. we were all together again for the first time in 3 months! It has been weird settling back home but taking it day by day.

Thank you for all the support I got this summer, prayerful, moral, financial… I will share more in the coming days and weeks about this trip!

Family reunited!

My welcome home party! Totally unexpected!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Last week, week 13

Wow! Time his flown by here in China. I've left Beijing for the next few days for my last adventure before I go home. I fly home next Sunday, leaving me just one week until I leave. Which also means I have been here for 12 weeks now. Crazy.

I arrived here at Eagles Wings Foster Home this morning. It's not my forth time here. I spent 5 weeks here last summer, then visited for 4 days in January, and also came in June to see one of the boys before he was adopted. So I know these kids really well. Some of my favourite little people in the whole world. I was welcomed by big smiles and shouts of 'Rob gege'. I will stay here until very early Tuesday morning when my next adventure begins...

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday bring a whole new adventure. I am helping with the Formula Project that New Day runs. We will be visiting three different orphanages (one each day) to distribute the formula and check on the children in the project (weighing and measuring etc.) It will be exhausting but I am looking forward to it! Read more about the formula project here.

Finally, I will return back to New Day for my last two days. I will spend Friday in the foster home seeing the kids for the last time. Saturday we will hopefully do something fun to celebrate/mourn my last day.

It has been an amazing trip. In some ways I am ready to go home, but I know once I get home I will miss China and what I have been doing here so so much. Thank you to everyone for your support.

Second time on the wall this summer!
Dinner at Sarah's (Chinese lady in black) I have mostly been working with her this summer!

Third time at the Great WAll this summer! Can you tell it was a much tougher climb? So sweaty!!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Week 10 update

Long overdue update! I am almost fully better now! I left hospital after 4 days and have been returning every few days for check ups.  No more problems with abscesses and my arm can almost fully straighten! This trip has certainly been full of new experiences! I've had a minor procedure, laughing gas, ultrasound, 4 day stay in hospital, lots of IV's and even an MRI! The only remaining issue is for the insurance to fully cover the MRI which was expensive!

So what have I been doing other than getting sick? It has been getting a bit quieter around here towards the end of July. June and early July were very busy, and full of lots of teams and groups coming to serve. It kept us all busy helping coordinate all of those people. So we have all gotten a bit more of a break from the craziness! I'll share some of the more notable moments below.

When a new child comes to the foster home, due to a space opening from another one being adopted. When a new child comes, they have a Chinese name given by their home orphanage and all of the children here are given an English name too. Often a member of staff, or volunteer or visitor is asked to name the child and must them commit to praying for the child until they are adopted. A big commitment! Well the most recent child was a 4 month old baby girl with a heard condition, and I was asked to name her. I thought (and prayed) long and hard about what I would name her and decided to name her after Natalie Northcutt. Natalie first invited me to China back in 2011. She is a very close family friend, like the 7th member of our family. She lived in China for 5 years, studying Chinese for 2 and working in an orphanage for 3 years. She has dedicated so much of her life to orphans in China that it made the most sense to name baby Natalie after someone who loves these children so much. The new baby finally arrived a few days later and since then, I have visited her every day to play with her and pray for her. She has a big personality for such a small baby!! Please join me in praying for her as she grows up and receives surgery in the coming months and that she will recover well and have a full life! 

Natalie's profile on ND website

Last Saturday I got to meet two very special families! Two families who had just arrived in Beijing for their adoption trips, adopting two children that I know! One of those families adopted a girl who came to camp the past two summers, who heard about her from their niece who came home last summer telling them to adopt her - and they did just that! The other family adopted a boy you may have seen on my blog - George, who I met on my first trip to China and got to visit on the past three trips too. This boy is 13 and would have aged out in just a few weeks. This is a very special family who had originally intended to adopt a young child, but after hearing about George and his story felt called to adopt him. Older child adoption is not easy for the family or the child, but this family know that and still want to give George a family. They are following God's call and it is amazing to see. Was so great getting to meet both families!

Those are the two biggest stories! My time at the foster home is starting to come to a close. The summer staff program officially ends on 9th August. I do not travel home until the 24th of August, giving me two extra weeks. I will stay here for a few extra days, visit the kids at Eagles Wings for a few days, stay with my friend Kevin for a few days and hopefully get to tour a new foster home or two. I always try to visit a new place (or two!) on each trip just to see more of the work that is being done in China!