Ignatius Beard is a single brother from Maine. He served on the HOPE worldwide Singles Corps in Sri Lanka over Christmas. Read about his trip...
I went on my first HOPE worldwide Singles Corp (HSC) adventure, and first overseas trip, to Sri Lanka in December. This experience simply changed my life in many ways! Now, weeks later, I still feel inspired, and ready to incorporate this trip’s wisdom and serving heart into my home ministry.
As I arrived in Sri Lanka, I was quickly confronted with how my heart measures up to our Lord’s heart. Having not experienced a developing world setting before, I got instantly distracted by what I witnessed: lack of fresh water, lack of common toiletries, of sanitation, and of organized trash systems, among many other things. I was certainly surprised by this, but what shocked me even more and left a permanent impression were the expressions of joy and peace on the local people’s faces throughout our time there. I quickly learned of the many blessings that I took for granted daily. The local disciples gave me so much wisdom, truly showing me what is important (loving one another, the lost, and the poor), and how to be thankful for each day.
Having fully embraced this environment, I truly LOVED our service projects! First we traveled to the elementary HOPE school to renovate, paint an outside mural, and repaint the walls inside. Before this hard work, we got the chance to have fun with the kids; I still remember their smiles and laughter!
We taught English to boys at a local orphanage, which was one of my favorite activities. I enjoyed their enthusiasm We rewarded them with games like coloring, painting, and even soccer! At the children’s hospital, we encouraged many children waiting for their appointments. Afterwards we made them toy fun puzzles, and toys out of card board.
No matter which site we went to, we were always greeted with huge innocent smiles! It was so hard to wave goodbye each day!
I would never have thought that I would gain dozens of new friends from this trip! I can’t share enough how awesome it was volunteering along other international disciples from Australia, Singapore, the US, etc! Serving with them was simply a blast! I felt so privileged seeing their selflessness and commitment to encourage, and hearing many of their testimonies on how God changed their life. The wisdom they and the Sri Lankan church shared with me left me with new convictions on how I can grow my faith even more.
A cool bonus of serving over the holidays was that we got to celebrate Christmas with the Sri Lankan church during Sunday service! It was a treat to see so many of the disciples dressed in their traditional dresses and suits. Singing worship in their native language of Sinhala, and hearing the sermon translated was an experience I’ll never forget as well. It blew me away that I could be on the other side of the world, amongst people of different backgrounds and cultures, yet still praising the same God together!
These two weeks were a spiritual charge to my soul. I left so inspired that I will be on Singles Corps in the future. I hope that many of you reading this will be inspired as well, especially brothers out there! Our group was awesome, but the fact remained that only three brothers including me chose to volunteer! That is definitely a statistic we can change in the future. I promise you will have a great experience doing these! The three of us went from not knowing each other to having awesome friendships! The same can be said for the sisters as well. The nights we fellowshipped, played group games together, and just enjoyed each other’s company were memorable and refreshing!
The last thing I will say is that those friendships and experiences mentioned are waiting for you as well! Go to any of the HSC sites and you will have fun! Don’t let the price discourage you, since there are many fundraising opportunities out there. I used GoFundMe, which helped fund almost this entire trip. There are many great things you will gain from such a trip. You will work hard, but you will enjoy doing it! : )
Shared from HOPE worldwide