Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wednesday, August 26

Wednesday morning was spent with the babies upstairs. Music was the intention, but the babies declared it was time to eat. Bessie and I helped to feed the children and then spent about 15 minutes singing songs, encouraging movement, and playing with puppets. Hannah, a New Day employee, asked if we could do some music for the four babies in the critical care unit. These children are very medically fragile and cannot interact with babies or nannies outside of their room. I didn't even enter their space, but sat on the floor in the hallway playing the guitar and singing with them. It was then time for music with the preschool classroom! We sang a number of songs and implemented various activities that the children and adults loved. We sang hello, played the egg shakers, sang "Slippery Fish," played with the parachutes, played the drum, and gave each child the opportunity to strum the guitar. What a great bunch they were! (Photos can be seen here- You might have to like their page before viewing is possible. After lunch, we held a training identical to the one on Tuesday, but for the second rotation of nannies. One nanny was very receptive and excited about what we were sharing. She had her notebook ready, and I could tell she was going to use some of the ideas we were sharing, which is part of our mission! Our next stop was the "backyard school," where the four elementary children were being educated. We spent an hour doing music with them, focusing on increasing their English vocabulary. These children were semi-proficient in English, which allowed us to do so much more than we had anticipated when we first arrived in China. Following this was an hour with the Toddlers outside on the blacktop. We sang songs like "Wheels on the bus" and played imitation games with egg shakers and rhythm sticks. The preschoolers that live at the New Day facility joined us, and soon, we had a great participating crowd! I think it's safe to says that neither Bessie nor I anticipated being used to our maximum potential, but we are so incredibly excited that we were. There was a sense of accomplishment and joy by the end of the work day. We then participated in a church service by leading worship (like I said, maximum potential, right?). Dinner followed with discussion and processing the day. Being part of a team that was serving in various capacities was such a neat opportunity for me. I really enjoyed listening to others as they shared what they did that day and how it had impacted them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuesday, August 25th

I apologize for not getting this out sooner. If I am allowed to take a moment to be transparent, I have been somewhat avoiding this task. I have a hard time sharing things like this with the world. I treasure these moments, and think to myself, "no one else will understand. They weren't there. They didn't see what I saw... they didn't hold those babies." But then I realize that if we don't tell the world, no one else will do anything about it. We spent three days at New Day Foster Home in Beijing. This facility exists to take children that have severe medical needs or disabilities and can't be adequately cared for by the government orphanages. They are responsible for approximately 50 children, but half of these kids live with foster families in the surrounding village. They divide the children by age; the babies, the toddlers, the pre-schoolers, and the 'back-yard' school (these children are older and living in the Forever Home. The oldest is 12). On Tuesday morning, we were given a detailed schedule of what our day would look like. After an orientation, Bessie and I were asked to observe the babies outside, and then the preschool class during their 25 minute music time. What we saw/heard during this time was completely unexpected. Every song was in English! They were using songs we use here! What a surprise for us. We immediately started re-planning our entire session with the children. Our repertoire just multiplied by 100. After lunch we spent an hour training one shift of nannies while the Sarah, the education director, translated. We then did about 30 minutes of music in the backyard school. Three out of four of these children are completely bilingual. Our day finished with a tour of the New Day factory, in which they create (from start to finish) various trinkets for sale through Christian bookstores and other retailers. We can now say we have been in a "Made in China" factory! This factory exists because non-profit organizations are illegal in China, so the profits of the company go to run the factory, foster home, and forever home. Stay tuned for "Wordless Wednesday"coming soon!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Beijing, China 2012

It has now been two weeks since arriving home and getting back to the groove of things stateside.  The trip to Beijing is one that I am still processing.  Originally, Amy and I wanted to do the trip to China in 2011 but it was not an option at that time.  This is when it was decided to send a team on a shorter trip to Haiti.  The experience with All God's Children International was one that Amy and Monica were so impacted by.  All God's Children International asked us to join them on another trip.  When this occurred, we wanted the trip to impact the most children with special needs.  We were told that China was the trip to do just that.

We had the opportunity to work with a team of wonderful people.  All of us were burdened with desire to help orphans with special needs.  This was a team that individuals expressed a desire to go and work with the children with whatever team was pulled together.  There were originally eight of us but at the last minute one member was unable to join us due to visa issues.  We joined one additional team member who is spending six months volunteering in Beijing at another foster home for the blind.  The team was a group from a lot of different backgrounds joined together in one purpose.
From Left to Right:
Ruth--Policy writer for the Canadian government from Toronto
Bessie--Music Therapist from California
Amy--Music Therapist from California
Marlene--Sargent with the Miami-Dade Police Department
James--Pharmacist from Minnesota
Tabitha--Short term missionary to Beijing (as well as many other places) from Oregon
Kerri--Former missionary to Bangladesh and Taiwan and pastor's wife from Washington
Taylor--Recent high school graduate and older sister to an adopted girl from China from Virginia

Different people from all different backgrounds.  We joined as a team not knowing much about each other and grew to become good friends, tourists, supporters, advocates, chopstick experts, and so much more in the nine days we were together.  God had a plan for this team and brought each person's strengths together for His glory.

We got to see the amazing work being done at New Day Foster Home, help out with Harmony House during a big transition, experience some great cultural experiences, eat a lot of rice, provide training to the care providers to improve on what they are doing, hear stories of wonderful healing of the children being cared for, mourn in the loss of life, worship with our team and the missionaries around us, receive teaching from pastors from Britain and the U.S., and much more.

We look forward to sharing individual pieces of this trip as time allows.  Thank you for those of you that have followed the journey and have supported us through prayer, words of encouragement, or finances.  We have much to share.  We are juggling our day to day lives and trying to find the time to share what we experienced.

Please look for many more stories to come...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Help Us Raise the Rest of the Funds

To say that we are blessed is an understatement.  Since January, we have raised slightly over $7,700.  Our total costs to cover fundraising expenses and the expenses for two Music Therapists is $8,900.  Thank you to all of you who have supported our efforts thus far.  We have had friends rally up and support with their own fundraiser, friends spread the word about our cruise, friends send us support checks, donations of items, and so much prayer support.  Without each of your support we would not be on the home stretch of raising the funds.  We have $1,200 left to fully cover everything!!!

We were trying to think of a creative, fun way to raise the remaining funds.  We decided to do a little giveaway with a twist.  BRIGHT Children International will be traveling approximately 12,000 miles on this trip.  Our giveaway is going to buy the miles we have to travel.
We have calculated that each mile will cost $0.10.  That is a steal!  With the purchase of miles we want to do a giveaway to thank you for your support.  For each 100 miles bought, you will receive an entry into the giveaway.  At the end of the giveaway, all names will be entered and winners will be randomly selected.  Here are the prizes we have up for grabs:
$100 Visa Gift Card

Mary Kay Timewise Miracle Set (combo-oily formula): 3-in-1 Cleanser, Moisturizer, Day Solution, 
Night Solution, a Pinked $13 gift card. $110 value.  . Donated by Jenna Martin.

Mary Kay Timewise Miracle Set (normal-dry formula): 3-in-1 Cleanser, Moisturizer, Day Solution, 
Night Solution, a Pinked $13 gift card. $110 value.  . Donated by Jenna Martin.

Original fused glass snowman Christmas ornament about 3.5 inches in size. Hand cut and handmade, fused and properly annealed.  Donated by Britt Drewes of Happy Talent Designs.

Fused dichroic glass pendant 1.5 inches.  The color is primarily pink with rainbow hues and the dichroic has a crinkly/crackled effect.  The back is black with a silver heart bail.  Comes in a little bag ready for gifting. Hand cut and handmade, fused and properly annealed. Donated by Britt Drewes of Happy Talent Designs.

Get a free 1 ½ hour bookkeeping & organizational systems assessment consultation for your business or nonprofit. This includes an assessment of your current system with real-time tips to help you improve your overall recording and reporting efficiency and accuracy. A $75 value, with an additional offer for a 20% discount on services for one month. 
Donated by Jill Bertoni of Connect Community.

So what do you need to do to enter?  Make a donation to the chip-in.  For every $10 donated you will receive one entry.  Please leave a message that you have donated and what items you would like to be entered to win.  Winners will be selected on July 1, 2012.  Once you have donated, you can earn additional entries by sharing on Facebook.  Please leave a message that you have shared and the item you would like.

Thank you for your continued support and spreading the word.  Additional information about our trip will be coming soon.  Please stay tuned.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

BRIGHT Children International is holding our second annual fundraiser. The time on the Hornblower last year was so enjoyable, we decided to do it again.  This time for a champagne brunch cruise.  The menu is extensive and will have plenty to offer including:

  • Chef's Bakery Basket--fresh baked breads, pastires, croissants and muffins
  • Seasonal Fruit display
  • Salads--Asiago Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons, Asparagus Salad with Queso Fresco and Lemon Vinaigrette, and Couscous with Mandarin Oranges and Ming
  • Breakfast--Frehnch Toast Valencia with Vermont Maple Syrup, whipped cream and fresh berries, Farm Fresh Scrambled Eggs with Pepper Confit, Chef's assorted quiches, Smoked Bacon and Breakfast Sausage, and Home Fried Potatoes with Peppers and Onions
  • Roasted Turkey with Cranberry Aioli, Ham with Country Mustards, and Hot Vegetarian Pasta
  • Desserts--Banana Bread Pudding with Carmel Sauce, Assorted Premium Cakes, pies, and petit fours.

The cruise will travel on the Sacramento River through the Sacramento area departing from Historic Old Sacramento.  The cruise will last for two hours while enjoying the brunch offerings and a glass of champagne.  There will be a cash bar for additional beverages.  In addition, there will be a silent auction with items including jewelry, gift baskets, wine, a Miche bag, Tastefully Simple, Arbonne products, a sterling silver tea set, and much more.

The fundraiser is to raise funds to cover the expenses to send two Music Therapists to Beijing, China August 17-26 in partnership with All God's Children International.  The BRIGHT team will join a team of others to serve children with special needs in orphanages.  The goal of the therapists is to provide interactive music interventions to encourage skill building, provide training to the care providers on how to incorporate music to assist in development of skills, and to spend time assisting in the orphanges.  Two of the orphanages are Harmony House ( and New Day Foster Home ( There is a possibility of also visiting a governement run facility as well.  BRIGHT will be donating instruments to the facilities that the orphanage staff can utilize in the implementation of training provided.  The two Music Therapists are excited to work with the children and provide training and spending a great deal of time at the orphanage during their stay.  The desire is to show the children that they are valued, loved by God, and with support, training, and finding a forever family they will thrive.

It is estimated that there are at least 50,000 children living in orphanages in China.  Many of these children have minor, correctable special needs.  Due to their special needs, they are left alone.  All God's Children International's focus is to provide care and life saving surgeries and a safe place to children with special needs.  An important part of improving the lives of children with special needs is to provide effective training to the care providers and methods to implement to assist the children to develop to their potential.  All God's Children partners with therapists to provide this training on their trips.  In addition, All God's Children International has implemented a program to supply appropriate nutrition to government orphanages that cannot afford proper formula for its children and also assists needy families who are attempting to raise their children by making home improvements and providing needed food and household items.  BRIGHT is priveledged to partner with AGCI for the second time and be a part of life changing efforts.

The total cost of the trip including fundrasising expenses, travel, accomodations, and training is $8,900.00  To date BRIGHT has raised $3,800 through donations and scholarships obtained.  We are grateful for the donations that have been received and are trusting that the necessary funds are raised and that the trip will be a great success.  How can you help?

  • Prayerfully support the team members and the ministry as they prepare to travel.
  • Attend the fundraiser on May 19, 2012 from 11-1.
  • Donate silent auction items for the fundraiser.
  • Provide a monetary donation via paypal or mail.
We appreciate your support in any way that you can.  We will be sure to share our progress and the experiences during the trip and beyond.  We are searching for the next area to serve in 2013, so if you know of any orphanages or organizations that could benefit from what BRIGHT has to offer, please feel free to contact us at any time at  Thank you.