I have heard so many stories about HYC, but the skeptic that I am, I didn’t buy into the hype at all. I did decide to go because I felt my faith to be stale, and HYC was a perfect opportunity to re-calibrate.
I am terrified of crowds of people; they make me anxious and lead my thoughts inwards rather than outwards. That was exactly what I perceived my HYC experience to be - me sticking to the sidelines amidst a large group of disciples from all over the world for two long weeks. I feared that being in such a situation would bring out the worst in me. I wasn’t wrong for the most part, yet before long it became clear that didn’t matter much at all.
Being in Kathmandu, in the midst of all the dust and bedlam, there was a need for me to give beyond what I was used to.
The scope of the trip is difficult for me to summarise in this short article, but I must mention that the very crowd of people that I feared, were the ones that impacted me the most. I think about the young Nepalese student disciples there, giving their free time to benefit the work of the HOPE school and the training centre, working hard to give other strangers opportunities that they never had. I think about the children in the school, the way whole classes look after each other, and their sweet, playful naivety that warms and comforts.
And I am want to think about the disciples that arrived with me. Dozens of disciples of varying cultures, age and backgrounds serving and calling each other higher in character. John 13:35 and Acts 20:35 came to life every day; even when I was tasked with the menial task of stapling stack after stacks of paper together for three whole days straight, I felt that I was exactly where God wanted me to be at that very moment. I was thoroughly fulfilled; though what we were doing in those few days can feel so small, short-lived, or even inconsequential, I learnt that God only needed giving hearts, and He would make our efforts last.
I especially love that God takes care of the finer details. He oversees the lives of modern society, but I could so clearly see that He was also actively caring for the lives of those seemingly forgotten by much of the world.
Nepal to me was a place where people brought their best and their flaws are challenged in the best way possible. I always felt that having a breakthrough in compassion is a given when visiting third-world countries, but nothing beats the first-hand experience. And these experiences are impactful in the long-term - I am blessed that I could take a piece of those two weeks back home to my ministry.
There is always a demand for serving hearts, introverted or extroverted. The venue is circumstantial, it is how your heart can be transformed from being among this broad gathering of disciples, both local and foreign, that is worth far more than any plane ticket.
Written by Lucien Tan (Nepal HYC, 2018)
I had the opportunity to go to the Nepal HOPE Youth Corps (HYC) with many other disciples from around the world in December last year. The focus of our trip was to serve at the HOPE school: taking care of the young students and helping out with renewal works. On top of that, we had lots of fellowship with the Nepalese disciples.
Having already been to numerous HOPE Youth Corps before, I was excited to see how this experience would soften my heart again. Each past HYC has truly taught me a lot- from loving one another, to Jesus’ compassion.
A part of the renewal work was to scrub the walls before we could paint a new layer. It was a daunting task for hours on end and, honestly, I couldn’t see how doing this would make a difference in the kids’ lives, and I felt like I wasn’t giving much. Adding to that is the fact that I could see that the other volunteers, whose roles were to teach the kids, were more personally involved with them. However, Jiah, one of our GSI leaders for the trip, mentioned how what we do actually helps them to take pride in their school- seeing their school clean and new, and that even the seemingly boring task we were doing, makes a difference in the children.
After school, there was some time when everyone gets to play with the kids before they went home. I was overwhelmed at how clingy they all were and also how much they needed attention all the time. On Christmas day, we had the opportunity to visit the kid’s houses to see their living conditions and to spend time with them. In the house my group visited, there were 7 people living in the house, including the little girl who studied at the HOPE school, yet there were only three beds in total.
We then asked what her hobby was and she said that it was washing the dishes. Confused and unsure if she understood us, we asked what else she likes to do for fun, and she said she likes to cook for the whole family. Hearing her answers made me realise how she had to fill in adult roles in taking care of her younger siblings and cousins, since her father has to work every day and night to provide for the family. Listening to her go on about her hobbies also made me realise that the kids are really deprived of attention; they only get to be kids when they’re in school. I was encouraged to know that the little service and love that I give does make a difference in the kids’ life.
Looking at the little girl and her family, I see 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 come to life.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
It was about seeing that obeying God’s commands about love is fundamental to what the meaning of love is. To be patient, kind, not self-seeking, serving and loving to the children, also helped me to better understand about how He sees the world with compassion and love. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity for my heart to be stirred.
Written by Chanel Susantyo (Nepal HYC, 2018)