Honduras HOPE Brigade
by Nirvana Mireles
In January 2014 I had the opportunity to attend a medical brigade with Hope Worldwide in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. I was skeptical about my abilities to help since I don’t have any sort of medical background, but I was ready to be used. Hope provides medical care for our brothers and sisters in San Pedro Sula, and the surrounding communities, free of charge as well as vitamins and medication. While being there I was amazed by the compassionate and giving hearts of the doctors as they attended cases that were extremely difficult and heart breaking at times. The church was so grateful for every single helping hand there was, I was humbled by their appreciation. I saw people’s hearts move and change in the course of four days, including my own. I’ve never felt so grateful for our church family and for the blessings God has given me. It was an incredible experience seeing first hand how donations are being used across the world to help change people’s lives. The brigade isn’t solely focused on meeting medical needs but also on encouraging and strengthening our brothers and sisters in Christ. I think this was the most rewarding part of it all, not just serving those in need but being able to serve our spiritual family in the midst of their hardships.
My Time in India
by Jiah Park
Over winter break of 2013, I was able to take part in Hope Youth Corps at a place I’ve only read about or seen on television, Chennai India. Hope Youth Corps participants, consisting of 120 brothers and sisters from all over the world, served at the Hope School for children of tsunami survivors, an AIDS home for orphans and women, and a leprosy colony. It was my first time serving in a developing part of the world, and it was an eye opening time stepping out of my bubble into a world of isolation and poverty.
Our first stop was the Hope School. The volunteers and I took part in building benches, planting trees, painting murals, and more for the school. We went to the school until Christmas Eve, which then we hosted a Christmas carnival for the children. The children were so bright and joyful that it was such an enjoyable time for us to be at the school. However, perhaps because of the children’s joyous exuberance or because of my oblivion, I did not realize the extent of poverty these kids lived in. Many of the children that attend the school live in houses made of dirt and large leaves. These make shift structures as big as a small bedroom, housed whole families. Although I personally did not get to go, many participants were also able to visit the children’s houses. To my surprise, they explained that the children and parents were not only happy to have the participants come over to their abode, but were very proud of the handmade houses. In fact, one family urged the participants to take pictures as they beamed with pride in showing off their dwellings. With this story, I felt so convicted and reflected in my gratitude for what God has given me. What does it take for me to be happy and content?
OC Wins LA Football Tournament!
The day before the Super Bowl, the campus and teen ministries had the annual Joe Weinberg Memorial Football Tournament in Fontana. There were 8 teams from the LA Church and 1 from San Diego that competed. The competition, fair play and encouraging spirit with all of the brothers and sisters was truly a light to the world. The Orange County team came out on top after narrowly beating a great team from the North Region of the LA Church. Great job guys!
Our OC volunteers served in a variety of ways throughout the Weekend of Service. Our projects for this year included the following: Love Community Outreach, a trip to Tecate, MX, Operation Feed the Homeless in Santa Ana, another feeding the homeless program in Newport, Think Together – Book Doctors, Grandma’s House of Hope, Veterans First, the Orange County Food Bank, and a blood drive with the American Red Cross.
We are very proud of our members for giving up their time, their energy, and their hearts to serve those who are less fortunate. God calls us to look after “the least of these,” and we’re confident that our efforts during the Weekend of Service will help many in the areas we served. We also want to encourage everyone involved to keep it up! Continue to find ways to serve those in need through our church programs, Non-Profit projects, and by meeting simple needs you and your family notice from week to week. Thank you again for your hearts for the poor and willingness to serve, and we hope to see all of our volunteers again next year in 2015!
MLK Weekend of Service 2014
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” — Matthew 25:40
Each year, thousands of volunteers around the country participate in a wide range of community service projects for HOPE Worldwide’s MLK Weekend of Service. Last year, our OC Church of Christ had over 300 volunteers participate in 8 service projects, and this year we hope to have even more volunteers join us for this amazing event!
We are currently searching for service projects from a number of different individuals and organizations that will take place during MLK Weekend (January 17 – 20, 2014). We currently have one project with the Orange County Food Bank on Monday the 20th that can hold 200 volunteers. More projects and their descriptions will be added to this webpage as we finalize the details.
In order to make this our best Weekend of Service yet, we need your help! Each of the programs we participate in are created to meet the needs of the less fortunate in the OC – children, families, the elderly, schools with little funding, veterans, the poor, the homeless, and the list goes on. There are many needs in our beautiful Orange County, and as disciples of Christ, we are not only called to love others “with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18). This MLK Weekend of Service gives us an opportunity to show our love for those in need around us.
To register and for more information on the Weekend of Service, please visit HERE and select which project you’d like to volunteer for. The registration form can be used to sign up as an individual or as a group. For any questions please contact Ryan Weekley at moc.liamgnull@ryelkeew or (775) 225-5728. We look forward to having our best MLK Weekend of Service yet with all of our amazing volunteers!
Giving Children Hope (Irvine): Saturday, 1/18, 8:45am – 11:00am
Volunteers will be gleaning fruits and vegetables from local farms in Irvine that will be donated to individuals and families in need. Kids of all ages can serve at this location with parent supervision. PROJECT COMPLETED
Love Community Outreach (Santa Ana): Saturday, 1/18, 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Love Community Outreach provides food and supplies to families in need in the Santa Ana area. Our volunteers will assist in passing out food/supplies to families in need, as well as helping organize and clean donated items. Kids of all ages can serve at this location with parent supervision. PROJECT COMPLETED
Trip to Tecate, Mexico: Saturday, 1/18, all day
Each month a group volunteers travel to Tecate, MX to serve and bring donated items to a local orphanage. A passport is required to travel to Tecate (passport or birth certificate acceptable for anyone under 18). We suggest 5th grade students and older as an appropriate age for this trip. PROJECT COMPLETED
Operation Feed the Homeless (Santa Ana): Sunday, 1/19, 3:30 – 5:30 pm
Volunteers will assist in feeding, helping and interacting with the homeless population being served in downtown Santa Ana. Kids of all ages can serve at this location with parent supervision. PROJECT COMPLETED
Grandma’s House of Hope (Garden Grove): Monday, 1/20, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Think Together – Book Doctors (Santa Ana): Monday, 1/20, 12:30 – 2:30pm
As part of the Book Doctor program, volunteers will repair, sort and label gently used children’s books that will be distributed to children of the Early Literacy Program. Kids of all ages can serve at this location with parent supervision. PROJECT COMPLETED
Veterans First (Anaheim): Monday, 1/20, 1:00 – 4:00pm
Volunteers will mow, rake, weed and pick fruit from the many fruit trees located on the grounds of the Veteran First Homes. Kids of all ages can serve at this location with parent supervision. PROJECT COMPLETED
Orange County Food Bank (Garden Grove): Monday, 1/20, 2:00 – 4:00pm
On a daily basis, volunteers for the OC Food Bank work side-by-side packing food boxes that are distributed to hungry people in Orange County and surrounding areas. This is another program that many of our members have done in the past, and everyone has loved the experience! Kids of all ages can serve at this location with parent supervision. PROJECT COMPLETED
(More projects and their descriptions will be added as we finalize the details)
Reflecting Back and Looking Ahead
As we finish 2013 and look forward towards 2014, it is a great time to reflect and to dream. As we look back over 2013, what were your greatest victories in your spiritual character? How did you see God work in your life and in your family’s life? (John 5:17, Romans 8:28, Acts 17:24-27) The Bible tells us that God is always working and that He is working for our good. The Bible also tells us that God orchestrates the coming and going of people and situations in our lives to help us seek Him and find Him. Since all of this is true, it is important for us to reflect and to be able to see God’s hand working in our lives. As we do this, our faith will grow and our appreciation for God will grow. Even as we reflect on the difficult times we will be able to see how God was molding us and rescuing us. What lessons has God taught you this past year? How have you seen God work in each of your family member’s lives? What opportunities has God opened up for you? How has God blessed you?
“Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.” Psalms 40:5
This is a wonderful Psalm of David. On one hand, David is looking back and recounting all of the wonderful things that God has done in his life in the past. As David does this, it produces in him a faithful attitude about what God will do for him in the future. As you think of all the ways that God has been with you and blessed you in 2013, it will give you great faith and anticipation as you look towards 2014. David is so full of faith about the future that he says if God would have the opportunity to sit down and tell you all that He has planned for you, you couldn’t handle it, it would be just too much. Wow, what a wonderful way to think and to feel about your past and your future.
Some of us may feel that we had a hard year in 2013 and it may be difficult to find God’s handiwork in our lives. One of the greatest examples of a faithful attitude in the Bible is the apostle Paul. As Paul writes the letter to the Philippians he is in a dark prison not knowing how long it will be before he is executed. However, as you read his letter, he is so faithful and grateful about all that God has done and all that God is doing and will do. Twice he is encouraging the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord ( Phil 3:1, Phil 4:4). How was Paul able to have such a faithful spirit when his situation was so dark and hopeless? Paul knew that God was good, that God was working and that God would take him to heaven. Because of these things he trained himself to focus on God and all He was doing and not on the situational problems he was facing. (Phil 1:6, Phil1:21, Phil 4:8)
We see Paul’s faithful attitude about the future when He says,
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14
Encouraging next steps
- Make a List of all the ways you have seen God bless you in 2013
- Make a list of all that you are spiritually looking forward to in 2014