Plan Now to Join Us in Central America
My First HOPE worldwide Community Service Brigade
By Olivia Hudson, CSB Volunteer
Monday, January 27, 2014, I woke up around 4:30 a.m. in San Pedro Sula to a gentle voice in my mind that repeated over and over Mark 1:35; "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." I tried to go back to sleep, I didn't want to wake up yet. I was tired from working hard with the Community Medical Brigade in Honduras; however that voice in my head just became louder. I got up, got dressed and went to the seventh floor of the hotel where there is a restaurant that overlooks San Pedro Sula. I knew this was the perfect spot to pray.
Sadly, when I arrived the restaurant door was closed. I could still see the city view through the door that was made of metal strips. I stood there for a minute pondering what shall I do next - I didn't want to sit on the floor. I contemplated going back to my room and praying in my bed or sitting in the lobby and writing out my prayer; but again the voice spoke; "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."
I decided to go back to my room get a blanket to sit on the floor in front of the restaurant door; no one will bother me there. As I walked out of my room from grabbing my blanket I glanced and saw a quiet balcony where I could clearly see the sky turn from dusk to dawn. What a beautiful place to reflect on the past four days.
I had come to Honduras with my son Joe to serve with HOPE worldwide. I had made a resolution to go on a trip with each of my children by themselves - especially my boys. When I heard HOPE worldwide was looking for volunteers to serve in Honduras, I thought this a great thing for Joe and I to do together. He is currently a senior in high school and I believe this was a great opportunity for us to experience something different. I came ready to serve and have this experience with my son, my prayer was that neither of us would get sick before or during the trip and that both of our hearts would be moved in unexpected ways. God answered both prayers, we didn't get sick and our hearts were move in unexpected ways.
Honduras is not a place I’d choose to visit, definitely not a place I would choose to live. However, now I can honestly say I would not hesitate to pack my whole family and move here tomorrow if God asked me to. I saw people whose love for each another gave them an indescribable amount of joy. It was truly contagious. I saw truly grateful people. One woman hugged me as if I was an old friend. The older women thanked the doctors when they heard them say, "You are healthy. " Many had been afraid something was wrong but weren’t sure because they had no means to see a doctor. In some cases, I found myself hurting as I saw people in pain as if I myself was hurting. Children hugged me like they had known me their whole life because they were happy I was there. I’m not a doctor, a nurse or I didn’t have any medical experience, I was just ready to serve and felt as important and needed as a doctor.
People received medicine for their health conditions free of charge from donations of our church family in the United States whom are wealthier and willing to sacrifice to give to meet the needs of the people in Honduras. Doctors came from different parts of the U.S. and donated their time and talent to care for patient after patient refusing to take a break to eat because they wanted to see as many people as possible during the time allotted. There weren't many doctors but the few that sacrificed time away from the comfort of their clinics or hospitals worked very hard during their four days on the brigade.
In four days I have fallen more in love with God. I wish poverty didn't exist in our world. I wish there were other ways to keep my heart soft and aware of the needs around me other than seeing people live in conditions I myself can't even imagine living in, but I trust God knows why some are rich, some are poor and some are extremely poor and that's enough for me. I am honored God placed it on my heart to be a volunteer for HOPE worldwide in Honduras.
HOPE worldwide Honduras gave me the opportunity to grow deeper in my love for God, meet brothers and sisters from Central America and feel more proud to be part of the International Churches of Christ.
Calling all Marrieds, Singles, Teens (under 18 yrs old accompanied by a parent or guardian) -- ALL are welcome to apply!
The primary mission of the Community Service Brigades is to provide outpatient medical and dental care for the ICOC church family living in extremely poor communities outside of the United States. But, anyone interested in working hard to bring some "faith, hope and love" to those in need of a compassionate helping hand is welcome to apply. We especially need bilingual Spanish speakers of any occupation!
2014 Community Service Brigades
Winter Brigade: Friday, January 24 - Monday, Jan 27 - Applications Closed
Summer Brigade: Friday, July 11 - Monday, July 14
Winter Brigade: Friday, February 21 - Monday, February 24 - Applications Closed
Summer Brigade:Friday, August 15 - Monday, August 18
Spring Brigade: Friday, April 11- Sunday, April 13 - Application Deadline January 31, 2014
Fall Brigade: Friday Oct. 17th- Sunday Oct 19th
Please note: All volunteers need to arrive Thursday before 5PM for all Brigades.
Click on the link below for the Nicaragua 2014 Brigade
Statement of Heightened Security Risk from Walter Kotkowski, VP Procurement
UPDATED FALL 2013 - Because of the recent decision on the part of the Peace Corps to pull all Volunteers serving in Honduras back to the U.S., we believe it is both necessary and prudent to issue the attached Statement of Risk to all our Volunteers interested in joining a Summer CS Brigade TEAM. If accepted as a TEAM member, the attached Waiver & Release is required [by both adults & minors (signed by a responsible adult)] to be submitted, before finalization of acceptance will be authorized.
Download Security Risk Statement.
Approximate Expense Budget Sheet
This spreadsheet is based on expenses incurred by past Brigade TEAM Volunteers to Honduras & Guatemala. Actual expenses vary depending on departure city flight is booked from, and varying in-country hotel rates.
Download Expense Budget Sheet.