Dear Church Leader,
This HOPE worldwide monthly update tells the story of the Porter family from the South Florida Church of Christ and their ongoing commitment to meeting the needs of others through volunteering.
Please encourage your congregation to participate in the 2009 HOPE Youth Corps and HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps. Registration for these high impact programs ends soon.
We would appreciate your sharing these monthly updates with your congregation.
Any comments, questions or suggestions you may have are welcome. Thank you for being a voice for the poor.
HOPE worldwide Vice President of Development
Volunteering is sometimes regarded as a sacrifice of time, energy and money. But volunteers like John and Barbara Porter of Florida have discovered the returns are often great and far reaching. “Volunteering reminds me how blessed I am. I am inspired by the example of others who have so little but are so much more grateful than I am by nature,” shared Barbara.
Enthusiastically she shares her experience with Casa Maria Maia, a home for orphaned and abandoned children with cerebral palsy in Carapicuiba, Brazil. “We return every year with volunteers. The children are severely disfigured. They have been left either at hospitals or at this orphanage. They cannot speak or even get out of their beds. When we visit, we have one or two HOPE worldwide volunteers who can’t handle it. They just cry. These children rarely interact with others outside the orphanage. I tell you they are almost scary to look at. They are wasted away. Their eyes are misshapen. Their faces are deformed. They are very hard to look at. But, for those who are able, it is an experience like none other. The delight and gratitude on these little faces as the volunteers hold their hands, rub their hair and play with them is priceless,” shared Barbara.
"In New Orleans, a group I led was reminded to give thanks in all circumstances. The group had signed on to rebuild houses – that is what they wanted to do. When we got there we learned we were going to put a school library back in order. It’s not as exciting to say ‘I went and put books on a shelf,’ but together we learned that service is about doing what is needed – not what sounds cool.
In the end, we had an amazing impact. The librarian could tell that we as disciples were different. The team was there day in and day out. We were serving so these kids could get back to their school where they could learn.”
When disciples serve, not only do the poor find comfort, but tomorrow’s leaders are raised up. The Porters are members of the South Florida Church of Christ, where volunteering is seen as a way to meet needs and inspire those with a desire to grow and serve in a leadership capacity.
Thanks to the work of the Porters, there is now an ongoing volunteer program in place in Brazil. “This is the fifth largest nation in the world and no one actually worked full time for HOPE worldwide there. The families who came with us were moved by their experience to rally more support to make this happen,” states Barbara.
In the words of Proverbs 31, HOPE worldwide encourages you to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Please consider signing up for the 2009 HOPE Youth Corps or HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps or be a volunteer sponsor. Join churches across the country for Remember the Poor Sunday on April 26th. For more information, go to www.hopeww.org/rememberthepoor. Please pray for our work in more than 60 nations around the globe.