By Kelley Spotnik, Journey Church Team 2013-2014
My first serving opportunity at the Casa del Buen Trato Hovde in Huánuco, Peru was in August, 2013. I co-lead a team of 10 from Journey Church in Charlotte, North Carolina; we had the privilege of building a roof over the laundry area and painting the bedrooms. We also participated in art class and enjoyed some dancing and volleyball with our new friends at the Hovde House. Each day our team and the residents had lunch together and engaged in some wonderful conversations as we worked on improving their home. The staff and residents are such a joy to be around.
I didn’t know the extent to which this trip would impact me until the last day. After our visit to the Paz y Esperanza offices, on the bus ride back to the airport, I turned to my friend and started crying. I said to her, “You know I rarely cry, but I am flooded with so many emotions I just don’t know what else to do but cry.” Being exposed to and immersed in another culture, especially one full of poverty and injustice, just changes you. I will be forever changed because of this trip and I am so grateful because of it.
On that trip, my co-leader and I were so impressed with Paz y Esperanza and the amazing work that they are doing in Peru. We felt that Journey Church had to continue to be part of this ministry. Immediately upon our return home we asked to be scheduled to serve the same week for 2014 at the Hovde House. In the past ten months, since our time in Huánuco, I have been motivated to continue to grow this partnership between Journey Church and the Hovde House.
Our first big effort to continue serving the Hovde House from the US was in late 2013. We rallied together friends, family and even other local churches to raise almost six thousand dollars to help fund the water well that is now on site at the Hovde House providing clean water to the residents. We experienced first-hand what it was like for those living at the Hovde House to have unclean water. We saw the effects (rashes, illness, etc.) from the lack of clean water. Our personal experiences were the best possible motivation for these efforts.
There is so much to gain from serving all throughout the world, whether locally or globally. Jesus was constantly reaching outside of Judea to foreigners such as the Samaritan woman and the Roman Centurion, bringing his message and healing. We are not only called to serve in our local church, but also to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the ends of the earth. Our church has four ways for people to get involved in serving; locally, regionally, internationally in Peru, and internationally in Kenya. We have a huge heart to serve God’s people.
In February we began registration for our 2014 trip to the Hovde House and we have an incredible team of 12 hardworking individuals ready to serve and to learn about the incredible work that Paz y Esperanza and Andemos are doing together in Latin America. This group will, like me, come back home forever changed because of their time at the Hovde House.