Arts and Crafts Camp 2016 (Jerusalem Ministry)

Post 39 of 778

Last week we held our 8th annual Arts and Crafts Camp for 3rd to 6th grade girls from orphanages around the city. This year we had 43 girls participate from 8 different homes along with 52 volunteers/staff. The following picture is of all us together on the last day after ice skating…


As with every camp we begin the day by welcoming the girls in with a big applause. The girls, although they’ve been looking forward to the camp all year, still act very insecure when they first arrive. They fear being judged by the other girls and they also feel insecure getting any attention. So on the first day many of the girls walk in like this one…


But their attitude changes throughout the camp. Here are some pictures of girls from day 2 and day 3…


Here is one of the twins. This is their third time attending…


Even Min Seung, my 6th grader, finally smiled (a little!) while entering on the third day. Min Seung is really sweet, but tries to hide when a lot of attention is focused on her. She was one of the girls that covered her face with her hood the first day.


Here is Min Seung with Sky during the camp


This is Da Heen, one of the girls from my home…


On the first day while driving the girls to the camp she exclaimed to me, “I was so excited for the camp I couldn’t sleep!” She had been looking forward to it all year. And yet right after entering on the first morning she shut down, along with the three other girls at her table. The four volunteers assigned to them (1 to 1 ratio) tried their best during the icebreaker game in the morning to get the kids to talk and respond, but they all sat in silence just staring downwards. It’s amazing how strong their fears and insecurities are. But love is stronger! And within just an hour or so the girls were all opening up. Above is a picture I took with her while trying to get her to open up. She felt a bit safer with me there and was able to smile for the camera. While she was still a bit shy during the 1st day, on the 2nd day she got in front of everyone with her volunteer Tony to share about the craft she made. I was really proud of her!


And she also became good friends with one of the girls at her table, Soo Jin, who is from the children’s home that my staff Jee serves at. Here is a picture of them with Sky on the last day after ice skating…


Icebreakers and games helped loosen up the girls. We had a lot of sweet pictures of the girls and volunteers playing together. Here is one of them…


As the camp progressed all the kids began to open up more. Some of them shifted within just an hour or so, while others needed all three days before we saw them fully at rest and with big smiles. This is a picture of Min Young who was the only girl to attend from her children’s home (a very small one). We were told by one of the staff that Min Young rarely smiles, yet during the camp we saw her smile a lot! Here she is after making slippers.12473821_948556781898832_8969149789315448373_o

One of the littlest ones working on her slippers…


The following picture is of one of my girls, Hwa Yeon, with her volunteer Sally after making slippers. She connected really well with Sally. Hwa Yeon (and the other older girls) can be a bit pessimistic and quick to complain, but Sally was relentless in her encouragement and positive words. Gradually the girls began to receive the words of life and their demeanor changed from being quick to be negative to relaxing and smiling more


This is Na Rim, one of the very new girls at my children’s home. She arrived just a few days before Christmas, so this was her very first Arts and Crafts Camp. She loved the camp! I was blessed to see her smile a lot throughout the three days and also present her crafts in front of everyone…


This craft was a name plate where the girls wrote their name and then wrote attributes about themselves on it. At first all the girls just chose very generic descriptions like, “Tall” or “Short.” But the volunteers encouraged the kids with all sorts of compliments and loving words, and soon really sweet descriptions were written on each name plate. Here is one of the oldest girls presenting her finished work…


The next picture is of Yu-Rim. She wrote me a cute letter on the last day after asking me what my name was (she had seen me running around helping throughout the camp but didn’t know my name):

제이엠쌤 사랑하고 기쁘기로합니다. 나는 좋아합니다. 사랑하는 제이엠쌤 사랑해요. 고맙기때문이에요 사랑해요. <3

JM I love you and I’m happy. I like you. Dear JM whom I love, I love you. Because I am thankful, I love you. <3


Here are two of the girls showing off their hair pieces (one of the crafts was making these) with Director Jee. The girl on the left is from an all girls home and is a soccer player (hence the boyish haircut). She arrived not looking happy at all and many of the girls (and volunteers) mistook her for a boy at first. But from the first day she began to relax and smile. Sky (our photographer) took many happy pictures of her. This was one of them…


Here she is presenting her name plate and said something funny…


For another craft the girls made gingerbread houses (using graham crackers instead of gingerbread). It’s always fun to see their creativity as they work on it…


After they all finished we placed all the houses in the back as a special presentation. The girls walked around with their volunteers and got to admire each of the houses. It was a sweet time!


On the last day the girls made scrapbooks and wrote letters to each other in them. We also gave them each at least three personal pictures that were taken during the camp. Here I’m sorting through a few hundred pictures to make sure each of the 43 girls got pictures…


Also on the last day some of the staff of Vatos Urban Tacos ( stopped by with gifts for the girls. They did a “Pay It Forward” campaign during the week or so leading up to Christmas. During the campaign at random they would pay for a customer’s meal. They would then give the customer the option to “Pay It Forward” and give a donation of any amount towards Jerusalem Ministry. Along with purchasing many baby supplies for one of the orphanages we are connected with, they also purchased 43 new winter coats for the girls at the camp. The customers not only gave the financial donation, but they also wrote in a card from Vatos a personal letter to the girl. The girls were touched by these letters! Here are some of the Vatos staff with one of our girls reading the card she received…


This was a wonderful blessing for the girls! Thank you, Vatos! Here is little Eun Hae from our camp modeling her jacket in front of everyone…


On the last day we took pictures of the girls by their table grouping. The girl in the middle of this picture doesn’t smile often and really doesn’t like the camera, but by the 3rd day Sky got her to smile for the camera many times. Praise God!


This was one of the few group shots where not all of the girls were smiling.


The girl with glasses was one of our toughest during the camp. She was new to the camp and had a lot of fear of rejection. She was also uncomfortable with the male volunteers. We kept loving on her though, and by the end of the 3rd day she was smiling and talking with me (after having avoided me and giving me upset looks the previous two days). I asked her before she left if she would like to come back next year and she enthusiastically responded, “Yes!” Love breaks through! The girl on the far right also had her ups and downs (she is about to enter junior high, which is a tough age for girls). She wrote a sweet letter to Jee on the last day apologizing for being difficult at times and she expressed her appreciation for us and for the camp. Praise God!

At the end of the last day we went ice skating together. Here is a pic of one of the girls ice skating with two of our volunteers (who happen to be married)


Here my girls Hwa Yeon and Eun Suh are posing together


Here is the Jerusalem Ministry staff: Mijeong, Sky, myself, and Jee


Last, here are pictures of me with my girls from Geon (where I’ve now served at for 10 years)


And a silly shot!


I hope you were blessed by the pictures and stories. We will post a video of the camp likely at the beginning of February (once it is completed). Thank you to everyone who made this camp special!





1 comment:

Soojin SouMay 11, 2016 at 7:37 amReply

So amazing to see the work Jerusalem Ministry is doing- I really hope to go volunteer soon! America so desperately needs a ministry like this, too!