Almost 950 HOPE worldwide supporters, volunteers and Chapter/youth leaders gathered this fall in five cities across the U.S. to discuss service to people in need. Participants attended classes and discussion sessions to teach, learn and exchange ideas on ways that we can demonstrate the love of Christ in greater ways. Local ministers in all five locations delivered powerful and challenging lessons on “A Heart to Serve”, encouraging humble, thoughtful and innovative service. Dr. Ben Barnett, Lead Evangelist for the Bridge Pointe Church in Atlanta, and Wade Cook, Hww VP of US Operations, spoke on “Rethinking Service to the Poor". This message included paradigm-changing ideas about respect and dignity preservation, dealing with personal biases and service which creates lasting change instead of dependence. Local volunteer leaders conducted discussion-oriented breakout classes on serving with impact, leadership and global outreach with respect as well as lunch and learn discussions on effective domestic outreach. The events ended with an awards ceremony in which front-line volunteers and unsung heroes were honored for their inspiring service. All five events were characterized by warm fellowship, new connections and a spirit of learning from one another. Can't wait for another incredible year of service!
Dr. Rin Receiving the Empathy Amplified AwardClick here to watch .
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.