Greg and Nancy Taylor are members of the Halifax-Dartmouth Church of Christ, and also volunteer as the HOPE worldwide of Canada Chapter Directors for their church. They have two teenagers (Cameron, who is a disciple in the Campus Ministry, and Jillian, who is on her journey to become one, and is in the High School Ministry). The Taylors recently returned from participating in the HOPE Youth Corps and Volunteer Corps in Delhi, India during the Christmas holiday. Here is their story of service.
“Freely you have received; freely give…” – Matthew 10:8b (NIV)
As we continue our lives back here in Canada, where winter has fully set in, it is clear for all of us that part of our hearts remain in India. It still seems somewhat surreal to fathom and digest that just a couple of weeks ago we were half-way around the world, walking the streets of Delhi, serving some of the most disadvantaged and challenged people in the world, yet touched deeply by their joy, warmth and gratitude.
So why did we choose to spend our Christmas in Delhi?
- Ever since our son, Cameron, came back from HYC in Philadelphia 3 years ago, deeply impacted by his time there, we have explored opportunities to do something similar as a family
- As HOPE worldwide of Canada Chapter Directors, we were looking for a way to develop our skills of service
- India has always been a country that we have been fascinated with and wanted to go to – and having been inspired by the HOPE worldwide programs there over the years, this was the perfect opportunity
- We consider ourselves extremely fortunate and blessed as a family, so we were looking for ways to “give back” and to do something “special” this Christmas as a family
As our time in Delhi approached, we were both excited but yet somewhat nervous, not fully sure of what to really expect. On one hand, there were the typical things that we would be “giving up” by spending Christmas in Delhi (extra vacation time, additional medical costs, airfare, a traditional Christmas with extended family, the comforts of home, and yes the hope of a Canadian “White Christmas”), but we definitely received back “one hundred times more” from anything that we put into this family adventure.
This was definitely a “Christmas to Remember”! The challenge now becomes how best to fully define some of the things that we as a family have received back:
- Deeply touched by the joy of the children at the HOPE Tigri School, who, having so very little, were filled with joy and gladness that we were willing to spend time with them; singing, making crafts, laughing, cleaning up their school, and helping out with their successful School Sports Day.
- Serving at the Village of HOPE, changing the bandages of leper patients, realizing that Mark 1:4-42 will read much differently to us now, helping out the students at the vocational training school, and sharing many laughs and happy moments at their cultural event.
- An emotional time at the Asharan Orphanage, as we played with and enjoyed lunch with the babies and infants who are now safe there, inspired by the impact that the HOPE staff and volunteers are having on these lost and abandoned little ones
- Making many new and lasting friendships from the incredible HYC volunteers who came from literally around the world (France, the UK, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, across the USA, several Indian nationals and of course, Canada), who gave so much of their love and energy to serve – you are all hero’s to our family!
- Being able to worship with the Delhi church and being impacted with their incredible serving hearts, and being fortunate to have been welcomed into the homes of so many while we were there.
- Inspired and called higher by the amazing HOPE staff and volunteers in Delhi, who are truly a “light to the world” by their sacrifice and service.
- Going through this experience together as a family has both strengthened us as well as created a special extra bond between us all, as well as creating a treasury of memories that we will reflect on and cherish for the rest of our days.
Being there as a family we believe also helped the other HYC volunteers to have a “Mom and a Dad” along for the ride with them, as many of them were away from their immediate families over Christmas (and several for the first time). Finally, and maybe most importantly, we heard from those whom we had the privilege to serve and love over and over again, their delight, joy and appreciation at seeing our entire family there in India, serving them together as a family.
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be required, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be asked.” – Luke 12:48 (NET)
We’d like to conclude by offering up a very special and heartfelt thanks to Chandra and Lalitha Sekeran – the local HOPE Project Directors, and to all of the other HOPE staff and volunteers; our appreciation to our new friends Marco Pellizzeri our Site Director and Aaron Arcilla and Esther Templar – our site leaders; and our gratitude to the numerous members of the great Delhi church who served, assisted, transported us around, had us into their homes, helped translate and interpret “cultural differences” and made us feel very safe and taken care of during our time in your great city, – you are all truly family to us and many deep new friendships have been formed that will last for many years to come! With deep love, appreciation and respect – Greg, Nancy, Cameron & Jillian Taylor
To volunteer with HOPE Youth Corp, please visit their website here. Applications are now being accepted for the Summer 2015 volunteer trips to different parts of the world and North American cities.