2007 Summer Tour News Updates
Week 1 (July 11-17)
July 17, 2007
I am loving getting to know all of the kids in the children's homes. I really want to take them all home with me (especially the babies), but since that is not
possible right now, I'm going to work on my parents to adopt them (all).
The mutual team member encouragement during our stay at the children's homes has benefited all of us by motivating us to lift each other up. We can see the
answers through our progress with the children, accommodations and sickness being alleviated.
Working hard fixing up the children's home. The food is amazing! I'm fine!
This trip has already had a great impact on me. The children are so excited to learn, and the teachers and staff pour their hearts into serving our father by
guiding these children. I am feeling great and loving the trip!
It is hard to explain this country into words. Ultimately, you forget how sweaty and uncomfortable you are or what the food looks like or how dirty the
bathroom is. When you come, you forget all these things because the people make all those things disappear. Their willingness to learn, serve and love
blows my mind away!
One thing that I have observed is how HAPPY the children are. Their bright eyed smiles make my day! They have been a daily blessing to me! Being here
has definitely changed the way I look at life and I will think twice before I ever complain again!! I cannot wait to see how we might be used to bless them!
All of the wonderful places we have seen were incredible. But even those sights don't compare to the smiles we have put on the kid's faces!
Two sentences is impossible! I have really been challenged when I attended a ladies meeting kneeling for an hour. I asked myself why I don't do this daily.
I have also learned that daily exercise since January still doesn't prepare you for the climb required at some of the sites.
It is an amazing privilege to be here. The people, the architecture, the food, the culture, the walks around historical places, it is just a blessing to be here.
And we have been able to be a blessing to others. Continue lifting up the people and their needs. Oh yeah - I'm having a blast!
Two (of many) awesome moments: having Joseph, one of the children, grab my arm and pull me into a game of four-square with some other little boys, and standing
on wobbly, wooden stools in my socks painting with bright yellow paint and singing praise songs with my other team members. It is so great!
This has been an amazing experience. Our father has provided a wonderful translator, Mary, for us. She is a sister. The teaching has been going well, all the
kids love the activities. Continue to keep us in your thoughts.
I never thought that I would have the opportunity to sing praises while looking at the magnificent sites. Let's just say it was amazing! I'm excited to see
how we can continue to serve through this trip.
The trip has been eye-opening - from the culture, to the food, to the language barrier. But despite these possible obstacles, we have been blessed beyond
measure - our safety while traveling, the amazing selflessness of the staff and the unity of the team have all contributed to the wonderful experience of the trip.
This has been an amazing experience for me. One of the best things we have experienced is the student's acceptance and receptiveness of what we are saying
The word this week is PAINT! Yellow, blue and pink - yes, pink! It will take all week to get the 2-story courtyard painted, but our team is doing a great
job. Things are going well.
~Gary and Lynn Smith
This trip has been unbelievable! I have been learning so much about what it means to give without expecting anything in return. Andrew, I love you, sorry we
couldn't talk before you left.
This trip has shown me where my only source of strength lies. And I have recently become closely acquainted with my friend the Hershey monster!
Mom and Dad and bro's and sis's, I love you!
When we arrived at the very first children's home, my heart was so full of joy, conviction and sadness. My emotions were very overwhelmed. I thought
there is a great need for people to share the news about our father here.
Our group is great. We have really been blessed with an awesome team.
I have been so encouraged by one of our translators named Mary. She has such a servant's heart. In everything we do she is always right there
lending a hand and doing it so cheerfully. Her actions have shown me that there is so much more that I can do to serve.
It has been worth it, but I decided I will be coming home.
This trip has gone so smoothly! The food is great! The kids are great! Everything is great!
Our father has used this trip to stretch me in so many ways. Because I'm teaching, the language barrier has been difficult but He has provided
and lessons are going smoothly!
This trip has been excellent - above expectations at times. The highlight has been the initial arrival at the children's home. The kids are beyond
amazingly cute. I love them! He is so good!
I can't even handle how much I love these kids. It's amazing how powerful a smile is. Mom, Dad, I'm not coming home. Love you!
The team works well together. I have been blessed with new friendships with people who really know how to love their father.
July 16, 2007
We are thrilled to be at our first children's home. We had our first full day of our program and are tired out but loving all of it.
Our journey was certainly blessed and we arrived early on both of our flights with ALL of our baggage. After changing money and
purchasing phone cards to call home, the team boarded a large bus and headed for the apartment hotel.
On Friday the weather was unusually cool but also rather foggy. We caught a local river boat which was a neat experience.
The students enjoyed the sights and were fascinated with the local vendors and stalls with all their wares. Some immediately learned
how to barter and purchased items for great deals. Unfortunately a few were given counterfeit money in change, and we all learned a very
quick lesson about the street vendors.
Lunch was at a local noodle shop where we introduced the students to dumplings. We had them filled with pork, green onion and lamb --
the lamb came out last but was the best.
Dinner was delicious with at least eight courses. The students loved it. Believe me, we have not lacked for good and plentiful food on
this trip! We were worn out and jetlagged so sleep was not an issue.
On Saturday the weather was cool again and rainy. We had a quick stop at a children's home where our students fell in love with the children.
It gave us a glimpse of what our two weeks were going to be like.
Our 7 p.m. acrobatic show turned out to be very entertaining and the students had a great time marveling at the feats.
A late dinner at Pizza Hut, of all places, gave them that taste from home they will not get the next two weeks.
Sunday was an early start with a special time of sharing on the bus. We headed south and arrived at the children's home around 2:30 p.m.
A rainy day but that made the journey all the better to sleep through.
The rest of the day was spent getting organized for our program and buying supplies for the week. We had a great time of singing and
sharing both as a team and with the children who put on a mini-concert for us. (You will see all this footage when our DVD comes out
in the fall.) Sixteen of us are staying in rooms at the children's home while the rest of us are in a hotel down the road.
Today started off early. We have six committees of students that run the program with a detailed schedule (curriculum, crafts, drama,
music, English corner and activities). In addition we rotate through a painting, meal preparation and cleanup and childcare schedule as
well. So not many spare moments!
We are painting the outside of the children's home and realized that it is a larger project than expected. We painted in shifts all day and
have much yet to do. The result of today's work was exciting for all to see as we changed the dull mustard and dark brown/red to bright
yellow and blue.
The children have thoroughly enjoyed the day as they rotated from one activity to the next. They cling to our team and our team
members just love it. Many have said that they will not be returning home -- their hearts have been captured! It is hard not to love them!
There are five babies at this children's home (the other 32 are between 5-17) and we are enjoying them too -- though their caretakers are
very jealous to let them go.
We have wonderful translators and have grown very attached to Mary who has been with us from the start. She shared her life story with us
last night and we shed tears over how our father has led her. It was a story we all needed to hear as it made our journey
so much clearer.
It has been a thrill to lead this team so far and great to watch your sons/daughters/friends "step-up" to the plate. This is not an
easy trip and we are all out of our comfort zone. Yet, few have complained and all are more than willing to work hard and put
aside their own needs.
Continue to lift us up -- we know you have been already and we appreciate it! Our work has just begun and we want to remain sharp.
With eternity in view,
July 12, 2007
The team had no flight delays and everyone arrived with their luggage. They are so thankful for the smoothness of the journey. One student left his camera on the first flight, and the airlines is looking for it for him. They all appreciate
July 11, 2007
The 2007 Summer Tour group left Tampa early Wednesday morning, July 11 for a three-week trip. They were on campus for two days working in committees in preparation for
[Week One - July 11-17]
[Week Two - July 18-24]
[Week Three - July 25-31]