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.”
In January of 2012, our family became more involved with HOPE worldwide as a Chapter was created in our congregation in Halifax. Later that summer, in August of 2012, our son was able to attend his very first HOPE Youth Corps in Philadelphia, an event which further helped to shape his perspective.
Cameron’s essay excerpt: “Along with my experiences of the healthcare system in this province already mentioned, there are several other experiences which have increased my interest in becoming a physician. One of the earliest of these was a service trip in North Philadelphia. Mentoring inner city kids and running a summer camp for them opened my eyes to the possibility of a life lived in service to others. I began to consider how I might best use my talents for such a task. Seeing as I was rather gifted in the sciences, I decided to try and pursue a career in medicine.”
Meanwhile back in Halifax, our HWW Chapter grew and began to get involved in more and more local service projects, as we prayed and explored ways to help serve those in our community. One of those ways is through what is known locally as the “Sunday Supper” program. In this, each Sunday evening, approximately 200 “guests” from our community who may be going through some life challenges or experiencing difficulties in their life, are treated to a warm meal, and an even warmer smile by a number of volunteer groups, various churches and community organizations. Our local congregation and HOPE worldwide of Canada have been privileged to be able to be involved with the Sunday Supper program for over 15 years.
A few years back, one of the needs that was observed by some volunteers was for a drop in “Foot Clinic” for the Sunday Supper guests, as foot care and treatment are especially important for those who may be experiencing homelessness.
Cameron’s essay excerpt: “In my grade twelve year…I began to take an interest in biology, (and) I also began volunteering at the Walk In Our Shoes (WIOS) clinic. The clinic afforded me the chance to interact with and provide free foot care to disadvantaged individuals in Halifax.”
Then in December of 2014, our entire family decided to take our Christmas and spend it in a “non-traditional” way and we traveled to Delhi, India to take part in our first HOPE Youth Corps as a family!
Cameron’s essay excerpt: “The skills I learned at the (Foot Clinic) clinic also came in handy when I visited a leprosy colony in India. Whether it is by treating a fungal toe nail in Halifax or bandaging lesions on the foot of a leper in India, the ability for medicine to communicate compassion regardless of language has had a supreme impact on me. These volunteer experiences showed me that a career in medicine could fulfill my desire for a life lived in service to others, which has also served to further my interest in becoming a physician.”
Participation in HOPE Youth Corps not only helps develop a heart of compassion, but it also helps our youth to grow and expand in their leadership skills and abilities. Cameron applied for and became a HOPE Youth Corps Global Service Intern after coming home from HYC Delhi in 2014, and co-lead his first HYC in Philadelphia in June of 2016. He also co-lead the HYC Budapest in July 2017.
Cameron’s essay excerpt: “Not all of my experiences have played readily to my strengths. Some have revealed weaknesses, and subsequently allowed me to work on growing in those areas. (Such as) leadership in group settings. I would rather follow someone else’s plan or be delegated to, than be the one coming up with the plan and delegating. Leading service projects here in Halifax and abroad has helped me in this area. To assume that all my weaknesses have been entirely overcome would be false. Although I have experienced growth in some areas, there is still much to learn and grow in. Along the way there have been challenges that have made my weaknesses apparent and therefore forced me to be humble. The sum of these experiences is great, and I believe the expectation of what I do with them is also great. I view a career as a physician not just as an opportunity, but also as a moral obligation; not just as a decision, but as a duty.”
Our family is eternally grateful for the opportunities that our fellowship of churches has to offer to our youth and to our families; and for the eternal impact that HOPE Youth Corps has had on each one of the Taylor family.
Like all parents, we are trying to do our best to help our children navigate life and search out ways to put their God-given talents to work in a meaningful and fulfilling way as they mature and search out a career path. From my vantage point and from my experience, I would whole-heartedly encourage parents, youth and church leaders to look at the role that HOPE Youth Corps could play on that journey. My simple wish is that not only would many parents be given the opportunity to send their children on an HYC, but that many more would be able to “take” their children and their families on an HYC and be forever changed by the experience, the lessons learned and the bonds of brotherhood formed literally around the world!
(All excerpts from Cameron’s Application for Medical School Essay used with his permission)
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 email@example.com 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.
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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.
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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.