HYC Cebu, Philippines: Carolyn Alessi

  • By Hope Worldwide
  • 31 Jan, 2016

“Our human compassion binds us to one another – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” Nelson Mandela

In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan aka Yolanda, the deadliest typhoon in history, left villages devastated, children orphaned, spouses widowed, and communities grappling with the overwhelming task of rebuilding their lives. This storm completely blindsided these who were unprepared, burrowing a deep feeling of despair and heartache that seemed at the time to be unyielding and relentless.

In many ways, my life in 2013 mirrored the same emotional tragedy of those who survived Typhoon Haiyan. The New Year in 2013 started out with great hopes as my husband, Tom Alessi, and I etched out our short and long term future. We dreamed of volunteering as a family one day to serve those less fortunate.

In June, I was completely blindsided, left in deep despair and feeling lost in the abyss of grief and heartache. My life as I knew it came to a screeching halt when we suddenly lost my seemingly healthy husband of 15 years to an undetected sudden cardiac death. Needless to say, the remainder of that year felt like a horrible movie as I was cast in the unwanted role of a distraught, grieving young widow swallowed up in emotional chaos, with two fearful little girls left confused and dazed by life’s raw reality. A seemingly strong and rooted faith of 25 years that somehow left me wounded and nearly broken seemed to be called into question.

Now, two and half years later, the rebuilding is steady and ongoing in my life and in the lives of the Filipino communities. The typhoon of “loss” seems to be a distant memory to us who have lived through it. The fears have subsided and have since been replaced by the determination to move forward and to find laughter in the smallest joys of life.

The rebuilding of the Filipino communities could not be done on its own but needed the help of compassionate strangers. I knew I could not climb the slippery slope of grief alone. I needed help to tear down the isolating walls that I built around me and to welcome the compassionate and loving arms of those waiting to console us. These very arms represent the arms of our Lord who is full of compassion and mercy.

For us, 2015 has been a year of service. Whenever I felt the wave of grief come crashing through, I remembered Jesus as He fed the 5000 shortly after hearing his cousin John was beheaded (Matt 14:10-21). I would seek out ways to serve, give of my time and money to the family of believers and the mission. The quote I started out with from Nelson Mandela has a deeper meaning to me, as we decided to spend Christmas break serving with the HYC Philippines team.

This was a different kind of Christmas for us as we made our way through the rural communities lined with tin roofed shacks, the compassion we felt for these people hit a chord deep within us. The hope we have in Christ was being poured out on to them through our acts of service. The joy we felt from our love for God which was being expressed through the warmth of our hugs to the children in the poorest communities, to the lonely old man who lost his wife seven years ago and chose the bottle as his only friend, to the family who lost everything in the typhoon who can now enjoy the home we built for them and to the mentally challenged little boy who found his way into my arms and heart, Juwaven aka “Bibi”. My soul continued to be fed when God unexpectedly met my deep need as a mom as I gained insight and sound advice on how to raise future young disciples from two devoted families from San Diego, an elder’s wife from Australia, a father of a teen from Singapore and an Aussie single brother who leads the preteen ministry in his country.

For the past year, I have grappled with the fear of how to raise two preteen girls as an only parent in a world that was determined to swallow them up. These fears were relieved because my girls were surrounded by rising teen and young campus leaders from across the globe who have a contagious zeal for God, an unabashed love for one another, and a deep sense of commitment to live out Jesus’s mission of not only seeking and saving the lost but of responding to the cries of those in need. My girls have living and breathing examples of who they can aspire to be. When my 10 year old says I want to be just like Patty Burrage when I grow up, I know my desire to see them become disciples is within reach, and I would spend every penny I have a thousand times over to give them this opportunity because it gives them a fighting chance to be unified in the Lord with me and their dad some day.

By Shane Engel 13 Jan, 2018
 A COMMUNITY DEVASTATED
In December, the "Thomas Fire" (the most devastating fire in California history), ravaged Los Padres National Forest and recently heavy rains sent mudslides slamming through the town of Montecito on Tuesday, January 9.  The fire destroyed more than 1,000 structures and is blamed for at least two deaths and the mudslides wiped out at least 65 more homes, damaged 462 others and killed at least 18 people. As of Saturday, six people were still missing as the community deals with back to back disasters. To make matters even worse, the mudslide has indefinitely blocked U.S. Highway 101, the main route south to Los Angeles.

HOPE worldwide  has been in contact with the Los Angeles Chapter and the Santa Barbara Church of Christ .  All of their members are safe, however many have lost friends and neighbors.  Currently there is a ban on drinking the water and the natural gas, power, Internet and cable are on the fritz.   The beaches are also closed because of contamination.

Please be praying and consider making a donation to help the relief efforts once the area is safe. 

With great compassion,
HOPE worldwide
By Shane Engel 08 Jan, 2018

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

By Shane Engel 07 Dec, 2017

UPDATE

* Since 27 Nov 2017, Mount Agung Volcanic Eruption has dispersed about 40,000 residents from 10km from the crater.

* The government has set up several emergency camps for displaced residents.

* In the last 48 hours, the volcano has shown a slow down of seismic activities. Just like other volcanoes, it is a bit difficult to conclude whether the activities is slowing down or is the crater getting clogged.

* The volcano remains in high alert and residents are not yet cleared to return to the villages.

* Meanwhile, the city of Denpasar and many other tourism sites are not affected. Airport has resumed its operation.

* HOPE worldwide Indonesia continue to monitor the situation closely. So far, the basic needs are covered by the local government and residents. However, our prepositioned food supplies remains on stand by if there are needs for mobilization.

* Indonesia has also been experiencing several flooding and landslides as the rainy season is starting to be more active.

* As we serve the country, HOPE worldwide will continue to monitor the disasters that take place and provide assistance whenever there is a need in the community.

* Please continue to pray for the country as well as many other vulnerable countries.


UPDATE:

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.

Please donate to our disaster response fund today to help with these efforts!

By HOPE Youth Corps/ HOPEww Singles Corps 30 Nov, 2017

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 hyc@hopeww.org with any questions.


By HOPE Youth Corps/ HOPEww Singles Corps 14 Nov, 2017

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…

By HOPE Youth Corps/ HOPEww Singles Corps 01 Nov, 2017

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 involved:

The individual who raises the largest amount will get a full scholarship to the HYC of their choice* for 2018 sites!   (prize does not include airfare).

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.


Please help us SPREAD THE WORD and share with a friend .  


Any questions please contact:

Mandy Goins

Cell: 610-608-7094

Email:  hyc@hopeww.org

By Shane Engel 17 Oct, 2017

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.


By HOPE Youth Corps/ HOPEww Singles Corps 01 Oct, 2017

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.

By HOPE Youth Corps/ HOPEww Singles Corps 30 Sep, 2017

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.

More Posts
Share by: