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Week of Hope building a Pond at the Trail of Hope
How easy it is to be discouraged about what is happening in our community, and around the world. We could become complacent and think that we are unable to make a difference. We aren't able to control many of the events in our lives, but it is our decision about how we feel about what is happening, and we have to know that we have the power within us to make a difference. Power is the ability to do good things for others. (Brooke Astor) Go out and make a difference in your community. You don’t need endless time and perfect conditions. Do it now. Do it today. Do it for twenty minutes and watch your heart start beating. (Barbara Sher). We won’t always know whose lives we touch, and make better for having cared, but what is important is to do something. At the end of our lives, it isn't how much money we made, but have we made a difference in others lives. Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love. (Mother Theresa). This leads up to what I wanted to write about, and that is the Week of Hope people that blessed us at The Trail of Hope last year and this year.
Pushing wheelchairs through the Trail of Hope.
 This organization was started many years ago by one man seeing a tragedy in a community, and acted on it by organizing people from across the country to help rebuild the homes (and lives) of those who had suffered so much. Out of this tragedy a mission program was created that has provided more then 6 million volunteer hours serving hundreds of thousands of people in need. Part of that group is the Week of Hope who does community service across the country. They pay money to as they say “bless us” and take a week out of their lives, and leave their own problems behind to help others. The Week of Hope young people, and their adult leaders are so close to my heart, and I find it difficult to write about them. I know I cannot do them justice for all the wonderful things that they do. They worked in the scorching heat and humidity with mosquitoes etc and never complained. All they would do was to say what can we do next to help. I would thank them, and they would say it was them that was receiving so much from being there. They had such a joy as they worked in the gardens, and it moved me to tears many times to think about what they gave up that week to be there. All they could think about was did they do enough to help us. They are truly an example of people being happiest who do the most for others. They left a part of them in the gardens when they went home, and it gives me much pleasure to walk around the gardens, and see them working there in my mind. I only wish they could see the happiness that they give so many people who come to the gardens. They come quietly to the gardens to work and leave quietly not looking for any attention for themselves. Joy can be real only if people look upon their lives as a service and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness. (Leo Tolstoy) It was a blessing to spend the week with them, and when they leave we feel great sadness. One of the quotes that one of the Week of Hope volunteers painted on a rock was "Don’t Cry because it is over but be glad it happened". It was a reminder to Mark and I to hold the wonderful moments close to our hearts, and be glad that it happened. We will never forget each and every one of them, and our lives are enriched because of them. When Mark and I attended their church service, we enjoyed seeing them worship with such joy, and could feel so much love there. If you want happiness for a lifetime—help others. What a shinning example they are for young people and adults alike. I feel so privileged to have spent the time with them working side by side. That is what we all need to do—work side by side to change what is happening in our community, and we will see all the wonderful things come to life that we had hoped for. God bless you Week of Hope people for all you do and will continue to do.

Qian Ye story
Chinese native and world class opera singer Qian Ye at
the Trail of Hope.

Carol Kildoyle


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