The most amazing, life-changing, fun-filled, joyful, three weeks of my life

  • By HOPE Youth Corps/ HOPEww Singles Corps
  • 28 Aug, 2017

Phoebe Volkmar (Indianapolis, USA) shares about her time on the Zambia HYC

HOPE worldwide  is a phenomenal organization that has dreams of serving the poor and needy while going and doing likewise. This year, I went on a trip to Zambia for three weeks with a team of approximately 40 participants, ranging from teens, campus, singles, and families. This HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps (a version of HYC open to all) was a great experience. There was a variety of ages to connect with and learn from.  This trip specifically hit me in a special way.

The Zambia HVC was simply a blessing. I have been so fortunate to have gone on three HOPE Youth Corps in the past, but none of them have reached me in the way this one did...

It is in my sinful nature to be negative, critical, and skeptical, however, I had an extremely difficult time doing so on this trip. The weather in Zambia was absolutely perfect, 60s in the morning/night and 70s during the day (their winter season)... delicious food... a group of mature people who wanted to be there to serve... cultural diversity... the interactions with the community... no language barrier... varied service work... lessons... the amount of free time... the times to connect with the Zambian church... worship... children... and countless other blessings.

Zambia HVC

So many amazing things occurred over the three weeks, and I learned way more than I could have ever imagined. One of the biggest takeaways for me was the idea of contentment and joy. I was surrounded by such a beautiful, strong, and joyful community. The way people persevered joyfully despite their challenging situations was incredibly inspirational. I often will find myself very inconsistent and all over the place with my emotions. After living in Africa and seeing the way most of the community lives with high spirits, moved me so deeply to do the same. I desire and understand so much more the importance of being rooted in God and showing gratitude even in the challenging times... "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4

My year leading up to the summer was quite challenging. I had no hope. I was in a very, very dark spot spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Spiritually, I was holding on to one final strand before deciding to leave the church; mentally, I had no foundation which led me to react very strongly to various situations; emotionally, I was unstable and allowed myself to think very negative and damaging thoughts... By the grace of God, I had some amazing people in my life during that time to love me deeply and fight for me when I wasn't able to for myself. During the hardest time in my life as a disciple, Romika Gunn, one of my friends who came to Zambia with me, was there for me, helping me every step of the way.

Romika is one of the most influential, inspiring, and incredible people I have ever come across. She imitated the fruits of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22), when in communication with me. Through her, for the first time in my five years of being a disciple, did I genuinely feel and know there was and is a God. She helped me tremendously in getting back on track to being a faithful disciple.

My challenges didn't stop there though. I continued to struggle with being in consistent communication with God, I continued doubting and being controlled by my fears, and I continued to lose sight of God’s plan for my life. I would often fall back into my pessimistic mindset and lose hope, which ultimately would hurt not only myself but many of those around me. And of course, God was hurt the most.

Fast forward to the Zambian Hww Volunteer Corps... This trip has only strengthened and solidified my love for God and life as a disciple.

I was deeply moved and changed by one of the little girls at the Mtendere Preschool we helped with. She gave me hope. The little girl is seven years old, and taught me more than I ever would have expected. It wasn't necessarily the conversations we had that changed me, it was simply the way she lived her life. She is so caring, gentle, sweet and sassy, strong, happy, beautiful and bold... and if I had more time with her, there is no doubt that I would learn and admire so much more from her.

Phoebe's "caring, gentle, sweet and sassy, strong, happy, beautiful and bold" friend from the Mtendere School

I met a woman who was 75 years old. She had 12 children but 11 of them had already passed. She also had 10 grandchildren in which she was raising 4 of them on her own. She lived in a small rectangular house that barely fit six people. I remember seeing a refrigerator, a big chair, and some kitchen utensils. When hugging her, she was so skinny, that her back bones stuck out way more than her actual back. I remember looking into her eyes and being so inspired by the joy she seemed to carry. She was so grateful to have us visit her in her home, and so happy we met her and took the time to know a little bit about her. Through her, I witnessed the bravery, strength, gentleness, and peace she had within her. With both the little girl and the older woman, they had similar and challenging living situations, yet both endured with joy and strength.

All this to say, I was able to connect the dots, and understand a little bit more of God’s vision for my life and those around me. I would not have been able to without the experience in Zambia.

Love is the vision. Joy is the vision. Hope is the vision. Service is the vision.

I desire to understand deeper, and love even when others can't love me back. I am filled with joy, and find it easier to be unswayed by circumstance. I have more hope for the changes I can make in myself and in this world than ever before. I desire to serve others because I desire to serve the good and faithful Father.

Before coming on this three week journey, I prayed to God that I would be changed forever. I was hoping for my life to be changed in a very unique way that was very different from the other programs I went on. My prayer was answered. I am so in love with God than ever before. I see him so much clearer and have so much desire to know him for myself.

However, being back in the States, it is very easy for me to get comfortable. My fear in being home, is that all I experienced and learned will have lost its impact as time goes on. My prayer is to seek to help the needs around me, and being content and joyful while doing so. To fight to understand and love deeper. Prayer is powerful (which I never believed until these past six months) and I would love for your prayers.

Thank you to everybody who helped me get to the place I am in right now. Thank you for helping me get to Zambia. Thank you for showing me love and joy and hope. Thank you for the support. Thank you for the patience. Thank you for everything.

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.

By Shane Engel 29 Sep, 2017
UPDATE:  We are happy to announce that we were able to successfully send 16 pallets of direct relief to Puerto Rico today!  2 pallets are scheduled to fly out Saturday, October 14 and the rest will be sent by cargo on Sunday.  Thank you to all who have contributed to these efforts and a special thank you to the South Florida Churches of Christ for their generosity and the lending of the Broward Church building for our staging area!  Please keep Puerto Rico in your prayers as the recovery effort will take months if not years.  
By Shane Engel 22 Sep, 2017
HERE IS AN AMAZING NOTE WE RECEIVED FROM KIRTIA ARTHUR:

 "We are grateful that our twin Island Trinidad and Tobago has been spared this season and that we are in a position to help our brothers and sisters throughout the Caribbean.  We have joined forces with a local NGO called ITNAC an acronym for "is there not a cause' They are known here as first responders for providing assistance in disaster stricken Caribbean areas. We collect relief items and food and have had our volunteers there daily . Last night we got the assistance of the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment who sent their large trucks and military staff to transportation water and clothing to the port to be taken to Dominica.

One of our sisters Kendra Blanchard, who lives on the Island of Grenada  (35 minutes flight from Trinidad) parents live in Dominica, which was badly destroyed by Hurricane Maria. They are alive but their home was damaged and they are staying with neighbours.  [Kendra] is attempting to go.  Together with ITNAC we plan to charter a boat from Trinidad which can carry supplies and relief workers to Dominica.

We are engaging local donors for housing and medical supplies as well as food and water to be taken on the chartered vessel.
I have been sending regular updates on t e HOPE w orldwide Trinidad and Tobago Facebook page. You can add me on both to keep abreast if you would like.

I am very grateful that you have made contact with us and for the support offered. I am attaching a few pics of the work and our progress."

Kirtia Arthur
HOPEww Trinidad and Tobago

PLEASE SUPPORT THE GLOBAL DISASTER FUND TODAY!


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