“Sometimes service is simply holding out your hand and showing others Jesus’ love…”
While serving on HYC Jakarta I saw a lot of hurt and pain. I am originally from Indonesia, and seeing the lives of those around me – hearing the same language and stories! I learned that only God can heal the hurt and pain that I saw. In my pride I thought that it was up to me or that I had to go and fix things. But I learned that what I can do is to give love so that others can see God. It is not me changing the lives of others, but God working through me.
Something that also touched my heart is that we served at the same orphanage that my parents helped to start. I remember visiting it when I was a kid and how I donated the swing set that I had before leaving for the United States. When I returned almost 15 years later, I saw that the same swing set was being used! All it needed was a paint job but it still stood strong. The participants repainted the same swing set that I had received as a gift on my birthday while living in Jakarta.
Something that I also hold close to my heart is something that my mom taught me growing up. My mom had helped to serve with HWW Indonesia and had visited many of the slums in Jakarta. Growing up she taught me to never be afraid to touch the poor and hold their hand. I didn’t understand this truly until we served in one of the slums in Jakarta, where all the children just wanted someone to love them, hug them close and hold their hand. Sometimes service is simply holding out your hand to hold and showing others Jesus’ love.
As I write this article, our family is en route back home to Canada from Budapest, and another successful HYC. Our 22-year-old son, Cameron Taylor, was one of the Global Service Interns who helped organize and lead this this HYC, and our 19-year-old daughter, Jillian Taylor attended as one of the HOPEww volunteers. We head back to our homes in Halifax, Canada, once again deeply impacted by the service and the love lived out on these amazing service trips.
This fall, our son will begin his medical school studies, and as I recently reviewed his essay that he submitted with his application, I am both grateful to God for opening this wonderful door of opportunity for our son, and humbled by the role that HOPE worldwide , its leadership and its service opportunities has played in shaping our son’s worldview and convictions to imitate Jesus by loving the poor. In short, Cameron’s essay had “HOPE worldwide ” written all over it. Let me share with you a bit of our son’s journey with selected excerpts from his medical school application essay…
A few hours after Cameron’s birth, I firmly believe that God played a role in our son’s life through the delivering doctor who acted on a hunch, and located a significant problem with one of our son’s main organs. We were transported from Toronto East General Hospital to Sick Kids Hospital where he eventually spent about half of his first year. Our son had major kidney problems and if this wasn’t taken care of, at best he would live a severely limited life, and at worse, we could eventually lose him. Those weeks and long nights spent walking the halls of Sick Kids, holding our son and caring for him as best as we were able, were a roller coaster of emotions and some of the deepest times my wife and I have ever spent in prayer. Our family eventually moved to Halifax, and after more treatments and surgery, we are so thankful that our son is living a healthy and very normal life.
Cameron’s essay excerpt: “One of my earliest memories is of an operating room. I was four years old at the time, and I can still picture the mask covered faces, silhouetted by the overhead lighting, as the anesthesia induced darkness crept in from the edges of my vision. A core belief of mine is that to those who are given much, ( Luke 12:48 “to whom much was given, of him much will be required” ESV), much will be expected. I have been given much by way of experiences that have shaped my desire to become a physician, a career which would allow me to do the much that I believe is expected of me.”
Jenny Harkabus spent Christmas serving in the Philippines. She wrote this, and also made a short video:
I did not imagine that I would be spending Christmas in the Philippines for my first HOPE Youth Corps experience. This opportunity has deeply changed my perspective on the importance of service in my daily walk.
We are created in God's image, therefore we are meant to help and serve others. I know this to be true because I have never felt so used by God and fulfilled, than the times spent serving and pouring out my love in the Philippines.
James 1:27 says, " Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." Some translations refer to this as true religion. The bible also stresses the importance of giving to the poor (1 John 3:17, Matt 9:21, Proverbs 14:31). God considers caring for the poor and orphans as true religion, yet this can be an area of faith that is overlooked.
I was privileged to spend time with girls who have experienced trauma and abuse at the HOPE worldwide center in Laguna. Many of these girls have been separated from their families, becoming orphans, as a result of the abuse they have experienced. I also received the opportunity to play with children within the community as we rebuilt their homes and provided them with medical care. I witnessed the children’s precious value for human relationships, as they clung to me emotionally and physically. They showed me instant love and respect, which I find to be rare in today’s society. Our focus should be about investing in others just as the children in the Philippines invested in me.