Volunteers Find Fulfillment Helping People Through LifeHope
LifeHope ministries would not be possible without the involvement of the faithful, Christ-following, people-loving servant volunteers we call advocates. Each week they meet with their clients for about an hour and listen to them. They encourage and guide them and hold them accountable to their goals throughout their LifeHope journey. It takes a special person to pour into a stranger, to be present during his or her time of need, for free. So I asked some of the advocates – Weegie Henry, Laura Vaughan, and Denise Mauro – for a little insight into why they do what they do so perhaps they can inspire other people to join them in their invaluable service to the Lord and His church.
What made you decide to become an advocate?
Weegie: I was invited by a friend who was volunteering in the ministry to consider it. After talking to the [LifeHope] staff, I felt it would be a good fit for me, and they agreed.
Laura: I decided to become an advocate because I want to help people who are struggling with life’s issues, those in need of someone to give them a little help to make it over the hump.
Denise: I have been attending Northland for several years and wanted to become more connected to the church. When Pastor Joel called for volunteers for LifeHope, I knew that this was the ministry I was called to do. I have connected not only with our clients but also with the LifeHope team and its volunteers.
What is most challenging about being an advocate?
Laura: The most challenging thing about being an advocate is allowing the clients to take responsibility for themselves and work at their own pace toward their progress. I have a tendency to want to jump in and nudge them along more than I should. I’m learning to keep healthy boundaries.
What do you enjoy about being an advocate?
Laura: I like helping women realize their potential and strength in Christ.
Denise: I really enjoy getting to know the client. For the most part, he or she is a genuinely good person who is just struggling through a difficult time. It is very humbling to be able to help a client through the journey of life.
How has serving in this capacity affected your relationship with Christ?
Weegie: It makes me thankful for my relationship with the Lord. I am a born-again Christian. I appreciate what a client is experiencing as she moves toward the Lord, connecting her life to His life. Trials serve a purpose! Often this verse comes to mind – Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” [NIV].
Laura: Being an advocate has given me an even greater appreciation for the mercies that God so graciously bestows upon each one of us, His children.
Denise: This ministry has brought me closer to Christ as I have been embarking along this journey of miraculous change among the lives of people. Whenever I am beginning to have doubts, I can look at how I have witnessed Him [strengthening] the people in this ministry.
What would you say to someone who is considering serving in LifeHope?
Weegie: I would ask that person to consider his/her gifting. Do you enjoy walking alongside a person who needs encouragement and help with direction? The exciting aspect of this ministry is rehabilitation, and it is a privilege to experience the journey with the client.
Laura: Remember the comfort and encouragement that has been given to you, and give that back to another person. There is great reward in engaging others to become fully alive in Christ. It is contagious!
Denise: This ministry is a good fit for those who care about other people. This ministry work requires a great deal of compassion, benevolence and awareness. Our clients simply need someone to walk alongside them through the time of need. It grants us the opportunity to present the gospel and the importance of relationship with Jesus, community and with other people.