To try and sum up my trip to South Africa feels like an impossible task. There are just some experiences you go through in life that no words could ever fully capture. However, I will do my best to at least share some of my thoughts. There is something about traveling and serving others that connects you to the heart of Jesus in no other way I have ever experienced before. I have grown more deeply in love with the heart of Jesus because of this Singles Corps to South Africa.
Throughout our week, Lin and Mark Ottenweller spoke specifically about the compassionate heart of Jesus. Jesus saw the invisible, the broken, the vulnerable and the rejected and He took the time to really see them; to make them visible and worthy of love. Having recently journeyed through two of my hardest years as a disciple, I have felt the sting of loneliness, pain, and heartbreak. There have been losses I have grieved and moments of feeling dauntingly unnoticed.
During part of our trip, our small group attended a parent support group that HOPE worldwide has set up in some of the poorest areas of Johannesburg. These are ten month programs designed to help mothers learn skills and practical applications of parenting, as well as receive emotional support. During our session, the mothers shared their stories of who they were before the program and how HOPE worldwide has made a difference. Women shared the abuse they grew up with and how they would pass that on to their children. One mother vulnerably confessed that because she couldn’t afford food every day, when her child would go to her to ask for food, she would hit him. She would do this simply because of the rage she felt with not being able to provide for her children. Another mother shared that she just did not care about her children, would leave them for hours and hours at a time, and even numbed herself to a point of wanting to end her own life. When asked who had a good relationship with their mother growing up, not one mother raised her hand.
These women have come from some of the most broken places; being raped, abused, kicked out of school and unable to finish their high school education. The feeling of being invisible and unseen is all too familiar for each of them. After sharing these stories, they continued to share how they have changed. They shared their stories of how they were taught to love. I sat there, holding back tears, as I expressed to them the incredible impact they are making on their families. These women have the amazing courage to be cycle breakers. I love seeing how people can become empowered and compelled through love, to break chains that have been passed down through generations.
These women’s children and future families will forever be changed simply because they were taught how to love. “We love because He first loved us” 1 John 4:19. This reflects the heart of HOPE and the motivation behind programs like this parent support group. I have the privilege of working in an Early Childhood Program here in the States, and the biggest impact that will be an indicator of true growth for any child we work with, is if the parent is involved and willing to reinforce the strategies we teach.
Through this program, HOPE worldwide is generating lasting change from the inside out. When people are given the opportunity to share their story, to be seen, it empowers them and in turn causes them to gain a belief that they can change and be different. I believe through this program, HOPE is continuing to empower these mothers in the community to change. Upon graduating the program, many have become advocates and teachers to other women in their community. Some mothers have even started working with HOPE worldwide to lead these programs. The impact and transformation of this community has come down to giving each individual woman the opportunity to be really seen.
There are still many things I want to see happen in South Africa, and I have a firm belief I will be back again next year. However, to see the way HOPE worldwide is a shining light of the compassionate heart of Jesus, has ignited a deeper fire in my own heart. I am reminded of how Jesus has noticed me and I am inspired to look for ways I can take the time to really see and listen to the stories of those around me; because love is truly one of the most powerful things we can offer others.
Recently, a member of our community challenged our supporters and friends to raise a total of $50,000 by December 31, 2017, for HYC Scholarships. That donor would match what we raise dollar-for-dollar! The money raised to meet this challenge will help students with limited resources to experience this fantastic program.
We are thrilled to announce that with your help we were able to raise over $62,000 for this amazing program! This means that together with the match we raised over $112,000 for scholarships! Thank you all for the amazing support and generosity!
Our fundraising Champion this year was Melina Cruz who successfully raised over $5,000 for the HYC scholarship by having her volunteer hours paid for by her company. What a creative and resourceful way to raise money! Additionally, she is paying it forward by gifting her full scholarship prize to her little sister. Amazing.
Among the many benefits participants receive from serving on HYC are lifelong friendships and memories, a heightened sense of purpose, greater self-confidence and independence, and a better understanding of the world and cultural differences. Many who volunteer through HYC go on to become nurses, doctors, teachers, counselors, or work with HOPE worldwide and other NGOs to bring much-needed attention and assistance to the developing world. Through their experiences with HYC, student volunteers deepen their compassion and gain a profound appreciation for what they have been given in their own lives. Fundamentally, HOPE Youth Corps builds a future generation of leaders who seek to improve the lives of those in need. We are so excited to be able to send many more deserving students on an HYC this year. All glory to God!
If you would like to continue to support this fantastic program, please click HERE .
The airport on the holiday island of Bali has reopened after tens of thousands of travelers were stranded for two days due to an erupting volcano, but Indonesia's President said the danger has not passed and urged anyone within the mountain's exclusion zone to get out "for the sake of their safety." Mount Agung’s hazard zone has up to 100,000 people that are called to evacuate the area around the crater, however only 43,000 people have followed the order. Villagers around the Bali Volcano are refusing to leave despite warnings of an “imminent” larger eruption, with the state of emergency extended to at least December 10. HOPEww is on the ground and is closely monitoring the situation for ways to provide relief.
Prayers for Indonesia!
Mount Agung on the Indonesian island of Bali continues to release volcanic ashes after several days of eruptions. Ash and debris are shooting as high as two miles high causing mass spread of hazardous pollutants into the air. As many as 40,000 residents are encouraged to take shelter away from the danger zone. The international airport has been shut down and many people are in need of shelter and essential supplies.
Our own Charles Ham, Disaster Response Coordinator, and the HOPEww rapid response team are on the scene. They rushed to deliver masks and assess the situation on the ground. Many of the residents need food, shelter, blankets and possibly health care depending on the severity of the upcoming days. We ask for your prayers for these individuals who are experiencing this displacement right now. Please pray for their safety, for their needs to be met and for our staff and volunteers to have the wisdom and the resources to help them in the best way possible.
Come join us in 2018 as we learn to walk “In His Steps”! We are excited to offer 27 life-changing trips all over the world throughout 2018! Many of our most popular sites fill up within the first month of registration so to increase your chance of getting your top choice, make sure to apply early! This year most of our programs are open to all – teens, campus, singles and families.
Click here to take a look at the detailed site descriptions to learn more about HOPE Youth Corps, HOPEww Volunteer Corps, HOPEww Medical Corps and HOPEww Agriculture Corps sites. Many of these sites are open to all! If you're single and want to learn more about our 2018 HOPEww Singles Corps sites - including our Houston Singles Disaster Corps - click here. Some sites have specific age restrictions. Most North America trips (Canada, U.S., and Mexico) are open to all teens 15 years old and above. The minimum age for U.S. teens is 18 to go on all other trips. Non-U.S. teens can travel internationally from the age of 15.
Our 2018 theme will be “In His Steps”, and our curriculum will be based on the book of Mark.
There will be scholarships available for teens and campus students who need financial assistance. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
As we travel to foreign countries to serve and learn, we encounter amazing individuals, whose lives have been transformed by the work of HOPE worldwide . We strongly believe in respectful service. On our Volunteer Corps, we assist existing programs, and provide additional help. We do contribute, but we also learn from the incredibly resilient individuals we meet. While serving in Africa these past few months, we met these courageous women…
Matching Gift Challenge!
Challenge accepted!! Recently, a member of our community challenged our supporters and friends to raise a total of $50,000 by December 31, 2017 for HYC Scholarships. Our generous donor will match what we raise dollar-for-dollar! The money raised to meet this challenge will help students experience this amazing program.
Double the impact of your gift by donating today!
Here is how you can get
Every year, hundreds of students volunteer their time to plant, rebuild, mentor, train and encourage. Thank you for making it possible for those with limited financial resources to share in this incredible opportunity to serve those in need.
Click here for our HYC Scholarship Fund Brochure.
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Churches in South Florida are continuing to bring hope to Bolivia through the 5th annual “Celebration of Caring Golf Classic.” The fundraiser is scheduled for Friday, November 17 on Key Biscayne off of the Miami mainland.
The Golf Classic benefits HOPE worldwide Bolivia, providing funding for programs that serve Bolivia’s children and most vulnerable populations. Since HOPEww was established in 2011 in the capital city of La Paz, the country’s health care and social services systems have been positively impacted. The tournament has raised $157,000 since its inception!
There are six levels of sponsorships ($1,500 - $5,000), and individuals can golf for $225. All information is included on the website ( www.CelebrationofCaring.com ), including a registration portal and links to videos, stories and blogs about the work in La Paz. Individuals can also donate through the website.
The Crandon Park golf course is considered one of the most picturesque in Florida. Golfers are surrounded by tropical foliage, mangroves and breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay as they encounter seven saltwater lakes and challenging sand traps during their round.
Former Florida residents Dr. Kevin & Noelle Broyles lead HOPE worldwide Bolivia. The Duke-educated Dr. Broyles was behind the building of Centro Médico Internacional Hope Clinic in Bolivia, a cutting-edge sustainable social enterprise that will generate revenue to meet increasing medical needs in the La Paz community. CMIHope is the result of a joint effort between Foundation Arco Iris and HOPE worldwide that integrates high quality health services to the population of Zona Sur of La Paz with financial support to the charitable work of HOPEww and Hospital Arco Iris, who partner to serve Bolivia’s large indigent population.
“Celebration of Caring” welcomes all golfers to join in this “fun”draiser.
It’s taken me a long time to process what happened in Africa. I’ve been home for over a month. It didn’t help that two days after returning to the States, I was thrown back into the routine of starting a new school year, half asleep and still hungover from a three week adrenaline rush. And it didn’t help that as soon as I got back, people were asking about the trip – “How was Africa?” “Did you get sick?” “How was the food?” “Were you scared?” “We’ve been praying for you.”
I was overwhelmed and frustrated with their simple question. “How was Africa, how was Africa?” I didn’t want to diminish the effect this trip had on my heart by spewing out words that didn’t give it justice. I didn’t want people to ask, because I wasn’t ready to answer. My standard answer to people asking became “It was amazing!”. I tried to leave it at that, though in saying it, I felt both trivial and fake. It was amazing, but that wasn’t enough.
There is no perfect way to describe serving in Africa. I guess I can start by telling the story of how my family came to be there. After all, the ‘getting to Africa’ had a huge impact on my life, as well. January 1st of every year I choose a spiritual quality that I want to grow in, and I work on it for that year. This year, I decided I wanted to grow in my faith. Through the process of getting to Africa, I did grow in my faith.
This year I was realizing that it is very easy to be faithful when you have everything you need. I wanted God to test my faith, and to help me grow in it. I had no idea of how he would do this, but I fully believed he would do it.
Africa had never been on my bucket list (and I’d never heard of Zambia!). But I guess God had other plans, because a Bible study at our home led to an idea, which became a conversation, which quickly turned into a vision. And that vision was that Dru and I take our girls and go with the HOPEww Volunteer Corps to Zambia, Africa to renovate a preschool. The project was such a great fit for our entire family. It was obvious God had his hand in it. Dru is an electrician/plumber/handyman, who was perfect for building renovations. I am a teacher, able to help with teacher training and planning in the classroom. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. It fit in a perfect window in our summer vacation.
We have 27 trips all over the world throughout the year.
Registration opens on December 1, 2017.
Apply early to ensure you get your top
choice. Some of our more popular trips fill up within the first month of
registration. The Houston Singles Disaster Corps will open registration sooner,
as the program will take place early in the year (February).
Our 2018 theme will be “In His Steps”, and our curriculum will be based on the book of Mark.
So start planning, and start saving! There will be scholarships available for teens and campus students who need financial assistance.