Have you ever walked into a room where you don’t know anyone? It can be a little intimidating. What about moving to a new city? That can be even more nerve-wracking. Now, imagine moving to a new city, in a new country, with an entirely new language and culture. Would you do it?
That’s exactly what all of our incredible Seeds of Hope volunteers have done. In addition to our amazing local staff, our volunteers serve long-term teaching classes in our school, running programs in the Cultural Center, and so much more.
But the real value that our volunteers bring is not just in teaching English or running an after-school program but in the relationships they form. They build their lives in Jericho, getting to know their neighbors and developing authentic relationships in the community. They do regular home visits to get to know children and families in their neighborhoods and help connect them with Seeds of Hope. Whether it’s sharing a meal or going for coffee, the volunteers invest fully in the culture and community around them.
“By integrating themselves into local families, they are able to utilize their gifts and profession to plant seeds of hope, prayer, and good news into the next generation of youth and their families,” said Mike Hang, who leads our volunteer team with his wife, Ashton. “Our local teaching staff and community members continue to comment on how much of an impact our volunteer team has on their daily lives.”
“Our volunteers transform the local community by influencing kids and adults, one person and family at a time, leaving a legacy that impacts today, tomorrow, and the future.” -Mike Hang, Director of Volunteers
They truly become like family to many of the members of our community, which makes it even harder that they are currently unable to get the visas they need to return to Jericho.
Over the summer break, many volunteers traveled away from Jericho to visit family. During that time, the Israeli government suspended long-term visas for non-citizens in response to the pandemic. Now our volunteers, along with some of our staff and their families, are unable to return.
“When we got the news that our visas had been canceled, I was heartbroken,” said Ranee, who has volunteered with Seeds of Hope since 2015. “I can’t imagine not going back to the place that has been my home for several years.”
The feeling is mutual. We’ve had many children and families in the community ask about our volunteers and when they will be back. They’re used to seeing them almost daily, and they’ve become true friends. It’s hard on everyone not knowing when they might return.
Through all the uncertainty and the many tears shed, we remain hopeful, and we ask that you would pray with us for the situation to change. We’ve faced countless obstacles over the last year and even more over the lifespan of Seeds of Hope, and we’ve overcome them through prayer, trust, and hope. We’re confident that this will be no different.
Ranee summed it up best: “I am choosing to trust God and praying for a miracle. I know that God is in control and that He can move mountains.”