“The road leading to a goal does not separate you from the destination; it is essentially a part of it. ~Charles DeLint”
Recently a friend left for a trip to Fiji. He left as part of a Humanitarian Youth Group, the program is called Humanitarian Experiences For Youth (H.E.F.Y). This group travels to different poverty stricken countries and serves them. In this particular situation, they are building restrooms for the people of Fiji. In other countries, they also build orphanages, elementary schools, nurseries, medical facilities, facilities for those with special needs, and so on. The list is endless of what this program will do in serving others.
The participants in this program earn their own money to pay to go serve someone else. They fork up between $1,989.00- $3,795.00 (not including airfare travel cost from the airport to home, passports and visas, incidental expenses, telephone, laundry & snacks, or souvenirs.) They do fundraisers, ask for sponsors, and work their tail end off to earn money to afford to go serve children, families, and citizens in a foreign country.
Why would any one want to do that? Why would they want to pay thousands of dollars to go be sweaty, hot, and work in a different country that doesn’t have all the benefits one is use to living in America? My question for you is, why wouldn’t you? The participants in this program get to go to a foreign country for about 3 weeks to serve these people. From this experience they are able to gain sooo much. The benefits of doing are, but not limited to, becoming spiritually strengthened, being culturally immersed, and they get to change lives. They are able to learn more about themselves, their God, their Savior, and their purpose. They get to know people from a foreign country and people from their home country. They are also able to be thrown into a culture and understand the in’s and out’s of that country everything from the food, the weather, the ways of worship, their dances, their strengthens and weaknesses. They change the lives of those they are serving, they change the lives of those in their group, and they are able to change their life. This experience is a once in a lifetime experience, one that someone will cherish for eternity. The love they feel there and for the people will never be lost. Those people and that experience will become part of everything they do for the rest of their life.
Now one may ask, “Why the heck does she care enough about this, if she hasn’t even done it?” Well let me tell you my story.
I first heard about this program about a year ago right before I went to EFY. I became fully invested in this program. I loved everything it did and everything it had to offer. I wanted to do it. I had to do it. So I looked into it, I decided that I wanted to either go to Tonga or Fiji but I would go anywhere as long as it meant I could go. I started developing more talents and started earning money so that I could be qualified and so that I could afford this experience. The application opened up in September so I talked to my mom more about it and we talked about the pro’s and con’s (I found no con to it and still don’t.) But because I was also saving for and planning to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints my mom said I had to make a decision. I could do the HEFY program or I could serve a mission. It broke my heart that I couldn’t do both, I had been dreaming of a mission for years so in the end that is what I chose. I decided that it was part of my plan to serve a mission for 18 months. I put the dream of doing HEFY on the side and started getting more and more prepared for my mission.
As time went on, I still knew that a mission is what I needed to be doing at that time in my life but I still prayed for an opportunity with HEFY later in life. I hadn’t thought too much about it after I got my mission call in June 2015. (Side note: I have been called to serve in the BRAZIL FLORIANOPOLIS MISSION! I leave November 18th, 2015. And I am sooooo excited! I know that this is what I am suppose to be doing at this time in my life!) Then I met a friend in July that told about how he was going to Fiji for 3 weeks to do humanitarian work! I was so jealous already! Then the last night I saw him before he left, we were talking about how he was going to Fiji. Then I told him how I wanted to go to Fiji or Tonga this summer with this program called H.E.F.Y, to do humanitarian work! Well this happened to be the same program that he was going with! I was DEFINATELY jealous of him at this point, but I was way more excited for him than jealous. I knew what a great opportunity this would be for him and the people he is going to serve.
Now you are still probably wondering, why they heck do we need to know this? Well you probably don’t but I learned that if you share your goals with others you are more likely to succeed in reaching those goals.
So since my friend left for Fiji, I looked into what I could do with HEFY after my mission. I learned that the Trip Leaders are all volunteers as well! So that is my goal, this is something that is one of my biggest goals for after my mission. I want to become a trip leader for one (or more) of these trips. One of the requirements for this trip is be at least 22. That means in 2019 (forever away it feels like) I will be able to apply for the opportunity to be an HEFY trip leader. To do this requires and takes a lot of talent and experience from the leaders. Since I can’t do it until 2019, I have created a game plan one might say. I have written out all the requirements for the position and I have planned ways to fulfill those and become qualified for the position. I have made a timeline in which shows what I need to do and when I need to do it. It is said that Heavenly Father qualifies the called. I believe that is true. I also believe that part of Heavenly Father qualifying one for the work is that person working hard and becoming the qualified. That is what I am working towards these next four years. Yes, I have other goals and hopes for what goes on in those next four years. No, I do not know what will happen in those for years. But I do know that HEFY is part of my plan somewhere and I am willing to work hard and help it be part of my plan.
I want to have this experience so badly. I have realized that I don’t want to just do this for myself. That actually might be the last thing on my list of why I want to do this. I want to change lives. Not only my own but I want to change the lives I will impact while being a part of this program. I want to change the lives of those I will serve in the foreign country. I want to help their living situation be better than it was. I want to help them come to know that there is a God that loves them, I want them to see that through the service I have to offer. I also want to help change the lives of the youth in the program. I want to help them find joy in serving and I want them to come to know of the Savior’s role in their life. I want them to be able to understand and come to know of who they can become because of the Savior. I want them to be able to come to know of the love that Heavenly Father has for them. I want them to be able to find gratitude in every part of their life. I also want them to see who they can become. All these youth have a different background, they have a different testimony level, and they all have different experiences that will have led them to where they are for a reason. This is a chance to show them and help them see everything they can become, to show them that they can make a difference, and that they are loved and important to Heavenly Father’s plan. I want them to have a good example to look up to, that is why I want to become the best I can become in this time so they have that person. I am starting realize that maybe my purpose in HEFY isn’t to go as a youth but maybe to go as a leader to help these youth. I know I could have had it this summer if I were not going to serve a mission, but that is something that I was unwilling to give up. A mission has been a goal for years, I have been preparing for it for years. I couldn’t not serve a mission. I know that because I sacrificed HEFY at this time for a mission that I will be blessed beyond belief.
President Gordon B. Hinckley once said, “You will come to know that what appears today to be a sacrifice will prove instead to be the greatest investment that you will ever make.”
Even though not going on HEFY this summer might not be the biggest sacrifice I will ever make, I do know it was a big sacrifice for me. I know there will be so much that comes out of the decision I have made to work towards being a leader. Serving a mission I know will be the best experience of my life. I know that nothing will ever compare to my mission. Besides the blessings that the mission will bring, preparing and working towards being an HEFY trip leader will bring so many blessings and opportunities. In preparation for becoming who I need to be, I will be serving a mission. I plan on being an EFY counselor after my mission for a summer. I also plan on doing the ILP program in a foreign country. I want to be the person I need to be for this program but I also know that this preparation and these opportunities will bless me in becoming who I want to be for eternity. It will help me be the person I was sent to earth to become.
So thank you for letting me ramble your ear off, but thank you so much more for your support in helping me reach my goals and dreams.
Here is a link to video about the experiences of those who have gone to HEFY.