HOPE Youth Corps has reached a milestone! The first participants from 20 years ago are now sending their own children to HYC.
Steve Burns was on the 1997 Moscow HYC. His daughter has now just signed up for her first HYC. She is Philadelphia bound.
Steve reflected on his HYC experience as well as his daughter's upcoming one:
"As a young campus disciple at UC Santa Barbara, I had the privilege of going on a HOPE Youth Corps to Moscow, Russia. That trip changed my life to this very day. I went from the comforts of a sheltered beach life to living in an orphanage. I was able to see how truly fortunate I was, and how great the needs were out in the big world. It opened my eyes in a way only being there, and seeing the needs in person, can do. I saw the suffering, hurt, and neglect with my own eyes.
I saw that the only difference between me and the boys I was working with, was that I was born into a middle-class family in America and they were not. It helped me get humble, thankful, and put a burning desire in me to serve others. As I was experiencing this, we were having daily devotionals as a group. Being in this atmosphere, with these amazing disciples from all over the world, who had the same convictions I had, helped take my relationship with God to a whole new level. I was able to make lifelong friendships with these disciples from all over the world. This helped me see how amazing God is, as these people from so many different places and cultures all loved the same God.
That time was intense spiritual training which helped me push my limits, and learn to rely more on God, and also to appreciate him more. Since that Youth Corps, I have seen many hard times. My experience on the Youth Corps is one of the experiences I have drawn on to remember that God is enough, that he is always there for me.
When my teenage daughter, who is 14, came to me excited to pursue going on the HOPE Youth Corps, I was excited. I also had the parent alarm go off! Is it safe, is she too young, how can she go anywhere without me? Then I thought about all that I gained from the HOPE Youth Corps, and thought about what else my daughter could be pursuing right now. I thought about what is surrounding my daughter every day at High School. I want her to go have a life changing experience she will be able to hang on to for her whole life. I know that in a world that has our kids growing up faster and faster, she is going to go get matured spiritually, and be ready for the next challenge coming her way."
There are still spots available for the June to August 2017 HYC, and plenty of spots on our 2017 Christmas trips. Go to https://www.hopeww.org/hyc to apply.