Thank you to ALL of the HOPE Youth Corps for sharing their hearts and time with the people in La Paz! Guest post by HYC participant and Social Worker, Shelby Derissaint.
Serving with HOPEww – Bolivia was an amazing experience. I learned many valuable lessons about loving deeply, being vulnerable, imitating Christ, and recharging my own spiritual fire. I was reminded how to love people from the heart. Most importantly , I was reminded to stop relying on my own strength to love others, but rather to rely on God’s love.
Every day, in my job as a school social worker, I serve others. I give advice and counseling, provide resources, visit homes and so much more. After many years of doing these things, I realize I have gotten into a routine. Even though I love supporting others, I have found myself forgetting about the individual person and focusing more on the action.
During a morning devotional, the story of Elijah was shared. He did a lot of godly things, but then became weary. I realized that I have also become weary. I have allowed my career to overwhelm me because I have been relying on myself. The devotional reminded me that I need to get my energy from Christ and He will provide me with all I need to love others.
HOPEww – Bolivia emphasizes how important it is to deeply love the individual and to connect with the people you serve. This is the way Jesus loved others and he commands us to do the same (John 15:9-17). While in Bolivia, I met a family with a child who has a medical condition. I felt compassion for this child so I went to her and hugged her. Through my hug, I wanted her to feel my love. I realized this was all I needed to do: just love. At this moment, I was not worried about providing a service, but just about being present.
This experience helped me remember why I chose my career path. I needed to be reminded about the compassion that motivated me to a life of service. Giving to others helps break down the walls of pride, and opens up the real you. My time serving helped me to identify my self-reliance. Focusing on imitating Christ, being vulnerable, and recharging my spiritual fire will help me to love others deeply. I learned from HOPE that the people of Bolivia do not need me, but they do need to see Christ through me.
“Never look at the numbers, always help one person at a time and start with the person nearest you.” Mother Theresa
– Shelby Derissaint
If you would like to learn more about how you can further support, and/or volunteer with our programs in La Paz, contact us!