Reflections on HOPE Singles Corps (Part 1)
Two weeks… that is how many vacation days I get after working one year my new job. How should I spend these two precious weeks? Surely there would be various meaningful ways for me to spend these days that could break me out of my daily routine, while filling me up spiritually. After doing some research and hearing about other’s experience serving with HOPE Worldwide, I decided to join this year’s HOPE Singles Corps in Dallas.
Proverbs 3:9-10 says “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing…” With God’s grace and this scripture in mind, I set off towards Dallas; ready to serve in whatever way God had in store.
What followed I will always remember. Our first full day was spent in Oklahoma City, specifically the City of Moore, where a record breaking two-km wide tornado had recently torn through. Seeing images and videos on TV paled in comparison to the impact of what we saw that day. An entire community was erased from the face of the earth. As we walked along the rubble, we saw items previously in people’s homes. Furniture, toys, clothes… items people used in their day-to-day lives we found scattered everywhere. Many different emotions arose inside of me. I started thinking about the people who had lost everything. Where are they now? Where were they when the tornado hit? And will we really be able to make an impact amongst such devastation? Gathering on the remaining foundation of a house we were told an encouraging story about a mother and her son who lived in the house next to where we were standing. When the tornado hit they decided to hide in the bathroom for shelter. Every part of the house was ripped open and destroyed, except the bathroom. In fact even the windows were intact, and the blinds still functional. God’s hand in protecting them was evident.
Looking on from there, we saw the remains of an elementary school. With only the surrounding fence to distinguish it as a former place of education. Seventeen adults and seven children lost their lives in the entire area, which was amazing considering the devastation. For those who lost all they owned, they depend on volunteers to help them clear property and bring them supplies. Our work that day took place at a donation distribution center. The magnitude of donations was striking yet there were few people to distribute it all. We gathered food and supplies to prepare their delivery to those in need. We never saw any of the victims that day, but we knew we provided much needed service. We later we found out that they had no shortage in donations, but a great need in volunteers to organize and distribute what people had given. Supplies were just sitting there in the warehouse. There is plenty of work, but the workers are few.