For the third year in a row, a group of volunteers from the Northview Church, located in Roswell, GA, served with the HOPE worldwide Bolivia team for nine days. The group, comprised of eight teens and four adults, poured themselves out and gave selflessly to work with the poor. A few of the volunteers shared about the impact of their experiences in Bolivia. Be sure to check out the photos and video below!
Melina Cole :: “My experience in Bolivia was an eye opening one. I loved being able to go and serve the people in La Paz. The city, like any city, is in need of love, kindness, support and so much more. The desperate level of poverty for many people of La Paz is heartbreaking. Even so, I have faith that God is taking care of the people in La Paz through the many volunteers that come to serve and help. I’m grateful that God works through us to reach the people that are in most need.”
Nika Fendler :: “There are countless experiences I had in Bolivia that I will never forget. Between the unforgettable smiles and breathtaking views, my favorite and most impactful memory occurred on the last day. We traveled to El Alto to serve and encourage an extremely poor family living in a tiny, two-room house the size of my bathroom. I played with a little girl named Daniella. She was so sweet and just wanted to play with everything we brought for them. She didn’t smile often, but when she did, it was beautiful. I just wanted to hold her and protect her, but eventually we had to leave. It was so difficult to see her smile fade as we said goodbye. Despite growing up in extreme poverty, she has such a tender and loving heart. All I can remember thinking before collapsing into a heap of tears was that she didn’t deserve that life.
I knew as we drove away that day, I would never be the same. I realized that all of my material possessions mean nothing, and I have no excuse to complain about anything in my life ever. Most importantly, I learned that at times certain things make no sense to me…and that I don’t understand God’s plan. For instance, I cannot understand why I have so much while Daniella lives in the dirt. But, I am learning to trust God and His goodness. I realize that I possess so much and that I can make a difference in someone’s life by sharing God’s love and truth, especially with those who are hurting. While situations can sometimes feel unfair and confusing, I will always remember something Noelle shared with me, ‘Our Father is incapable of wishing us harm.’ Daniella and all of La Paz will forever remain in my prayers.”
Matilde Jade Rogers :: “I have a special place in my heart for the three year old kids in Bolivia. I spent the first three years of my life in an orphanage in China before my mom adopted me. So when I see the three year olds in orphanages or community centers, I see a bit of me in them. Like them, I was lost, broken, and in need of love.
It made me so happy when our Northview team gave 110% of their energy to the little kids in Bolivia, especially the three year olds. When the team played with the children, I felt like they were playing with me. Every time I saw a team member give a hug to one of the little kids, it felt like I was personally receiving that hug. Three year old me never experienced that kind of love in the orphanage, and it fills my heart to know they get to have that joy even if it’s only for a little bit.
Volunteering in Bolivia with HOPE worldwide helped me finally understand what Matthew 25:40 says…“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
I always took this scripture at face value. It wasn’t until I looked at the little ecstatic faces around me in Bolivia that I realized on a deeper level what this scripture meant. When I saw a child’s face brighten after receiving a blue smiley face sticker, I was filled with joy and love because it felt like I received that sticker. That is how Jesus feels when we serve the poor and those in need. He becomes overjoyed when he sees us serving others, because what we do for the least of these brothers and sisters, we do for him.”
The HOPE worldwide Bolivia team is incredibly grateful for the volunteers who serve with us. The work we are doing to help the most vulnerable population in La Paz is made possible because of your love and support! Please consider making a donation to help advance our work of bringing HOPE and changing lives! CLICK HERE TO DONATE