Have you ever heard someone say, “You reap what you sow”? What if the best way to reap hope is to sow hope in others?
Actually, science has shown that when we give hope to others, we ourselves become more hopeful. Check out this article from Psychology Today:
“Looking for Hope? Try Giving Some Hope.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/adversity-advocacy/201405/looking-hope-try-giving-some-hope
Dr. Dacher Keltner, professor at UC Berkeley and one of the nation’s leading experts on human emotions, writes:
“We have parts of our brain and nervous system linked to dopamine and oxytocin circuits that are activated when we give and serve, so when we give hope to others … we derive very deep pleasure–pleasure that is as strong as when we receive hope, ourselves.”
I find this to be true. The most joyful times of my life have occured while endeavoring to assist others. At age eight, I went along with my Dad, my older brother, and others from my church to Piedras Negras, Mexico. We worked with Vida Nueva Ministries, running a sports camp for children. I thoroughly enjoyed every day spent there, making the kids smile while playing and laughing together.
Three years ago, I went to Solola, Guatemala. We served in an orphanage, Eagle’s Nest, situated on a mountaintop overlooking Lake Atitlan and two volacanoes. While the area is breathtakingly beautiful – more beautiful than anyplace else I have ever seen – it is astonishingly impoverished.
Many children in Solola are orphaned or abandoned. They come to Eagle’s Nest with acute physical and emotional needs. The week I spent in Guatemala was hands-down one of the greatest weeks of my life. The kids there welcomed us with open arms, drinking up every bit of attention we offered them with elation. In return, our hearts were filled with their infectious hope.
Last summer I returned to Mexico. This summer, I am going to Atlantic City, New Jersey to work with a program called…HOPE For Atlantic City.
Our aim is to spread hope amid impoverished neighborhoods that suffered the brunt of Hurricane Sandy. We can’t wait to be with New City Fellowship, the church there, and spend time with the children who live in Atlantic City.
As we strive to become a beacon of hope for these families, I am confident that we will leave encouraged by seeing the evidence of hope’s power. We will return with hearts more full of hope.