Last week Jerusalem Ministry held our 7th annual Arts and Crafts Camp for girls from different children’s homes in Seoul. We had 38 girls attend from 7 different children’s homes. The girls opened up quickly and we had a sweet three days together with them. Here are pictures and some stories from the camp…
Each morning all the volunteers line up by the door and welcome the kids. Our director Jee calls out the names of the girls by table groups (3 or 4 girls per table) and the volunteers thunderously applause them coming in. The girls usually don’t know how to react.
We know they are blessed though.
The girls fear rejection and tend to be cold and distant the first day, testing the volunteers. Thankfully, at this camp it didn’t take as long for the kids to warm up to the volunteers.
On the first morning the girls each received a tote bag and were able to design it with all sorts of different fabric, buttons, markers, and other supplies.
Here is Min Seung from my children’s home with one of her volunteers, Valentina
After making each craft we allow some time for volunteers to come up to the front with their kids and share about what their girl made. The girls are given a chance to share as well. They are usually very shy and insecure, but because all the volunteers are so encouraging and attentive, the girls open up more as the camp progresses and become excited for the show and tell time. One of our main prayer points for the camp is for each girl to grow in self-confidence.
During the meals I helped serve the kids and would make sure each would say thank you when they would receive their food.
During the afternoon of the first day the girls were given clay of different colors and made mirror frames from the clay and also made other little figures. Some of the girls were very creative!
This girl’s creativity blew us away during the camp. She is very shy and insecure, but we kept encouraging her. She is gifted!
Our camp director Jee is always the favorite among the girls. Jee’s genuine love shines through her, even when she has to be firm and discipline the girls. Some of the girls even said Jee looks like a celebrity. Some of the girls made her cute rings from the clay during this craft time.
At the end of the day I would give a small snack to the girls when they would leave. Their energy and smiles always blessed me. They would always happily bull rush me at first, but in the end would receive one by one and say thank you.
By the second day all the girls had loosened up and were enjoying themselves
On the second morning the girls made sock bunnies
This girl was one of our youngest (3rd grade) and was distant and testing of her volunteers the first day, especially this volunteer Daniel who was the only male at her table. She is from an all girls children’s home and wasn’t used to being around a male. Daniel kept strong and faithful in loving her and made it through all her little tests. By the end of the camp she was happily attached to him. Her escorts said she talked about him the whole ride home on the last day. She had received a lot of love!
These girls are creative! I love the nose on the puppet to the left.
Soo Jung from my children’s home working on her puppets with volunteer Yena.
More time presenting. Can you see the smiles on the girls’ faces? Such love!
After lunch the girls were given bowls of perler beads and were able to make different objects. I had never heard of perler beads until this camp. The girls loved them! This was probably their favorite craft of the camp.
Here is Jee with one of the younger girls and one of her creations.
We took our group picture on the second day. 38 girls and 46 volunteers.
Here is Sky and I with two girls from my children’s home, Soo Jung and Min Seung.
On the morning of the last day we let the girls make thank you cards and scrapbook albums. We gave them pictures my wife Sky had taken during the camp (all of these pictures were taken by Sky). The girls treasured the pictures. They were able to use all sorts of supplies to make their scrapbooks unique. Here the girls are looking over different craft supplies they could choose from.
This is Han Bi with volunteer Brady. Brady was paired with her when Han Bi was in 4th grade and again when she was in 5th grade. When Han Bi was originally paired with him she cried because she didn’t want to be paired with a male volunteer. Jee had to take her outside the room and encourage her. Han Bi calmed down and didn’t complain again. By the end of the camp she was having a great time with Brady and the following year when they were paired again they did great. This year was Han Bi’s last year at the camp (6th grade) and she was paired with other volunteers. At the beginning of the camp she went over to Brady’s table and told the girl paired with, “You have a really good volunteer. You’re really lucky.” Our staff were all so blessed when we heard this!
After the scrapbook time the girls had “nail salon” and face painting time. The girls love this time of bonding with the volunteers. We definitely couldn’t pull this off for the soccer camp. =)
Before going ice skating in the afternoon of the last day, we were able to give each girl a hand-knit stocking cap
Here is one of the girls with her cap
Ice skating! The girl in this picture (with volunteer Jina) was super sweet during the camp. The night before the last day she wrote thank you letters for each of the volunteers that were assigned to her table. She was extra thoughtful. We were extra proud of her!
Skating with Min Seung
Our newest full time volunteer Grace with one of the girls from her children’s home
With our friend Kyung Mi who was a dorm mom at my children’s home my first few years there. If she hadn’t been at the children’s home when I first moved in back in 2005, I’m not sure if I would have made it. She was a huge help for me then as she was one of the few people who could speak some English. She went to Nepal for a couple years to do social work there before returning. We were so glad she could join us for the camp!
One more picture that sums up the camp well: one of our full time staff, Mijeong, with Moobee from Jee’s children’s home.
Last, here is a sermon that I preached this past Sunday. The Arts and Crafts Camp was in the back of my mind as I gave the message (it’s about family). Now and then I know a message I’m giving is extra important, and I felt that way about this message. Please take some time to watch it.