We are excited to share that four former participants of the HOPE3 Weekend have since gone on to take part in the Walk to Emmaus program. This month, we spoke to the former seeds about their experiences.
When asked what they remembered most about their HOPE3 Weekend, the seeds mentioned several of the more memorable (but secret!) activities of the Weekend. One seed responded saying he was impacted by the kindness and welcoming and open acceptance of themselves throughout the Weekend.
In comparison, the seeds remembered that the Walk to Emmaus had a lot of songs. One participant indicated she felt the HOPE3 Weekend helped prepare her for her Walk to Emmaus, but that she was more nervous because Emmaus had more people in attendance.
We asked what differences or similarities they see between the two programs, one participant said that the HOPE3 Weekend being small made it feel more family-like with a tight sense of community. Another stated that she considered the HOPE3 Weekend to be the foundation and that the content was easier to understand. It also helped prepare her to be less nervous to attend the Walk to Emmaus. One praised the food at HOPE3 and the snacks at Emmaus. Finally, one seed indicated that she felt very welcome and cared about at the HOPE3 Weekend.
When asked whether their feelings changed comparing before and after participating in each program, one seed shared that both programs were indeed emotional for them. One said, “after participating in the HOPE3 Weekend, I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.” Another indicated he was now a lot more willing to share his personal story.
We asked the seeds in what ways they were changed as a result of either program and one responded, “Both programs gave me a better insight into where I was spiritually, and they both gave me a sense of having shared experiences.”
In closing, one of the seeds remarked that folks should feel encouraged to participate in either or both programs to see how they could grow in the process. Another remarked that the HOPE3 Weekend is about the foundations of faith and that the Walk to Emmaus builds on that foundation. “Enjoy it, they won’t let you go again,” agreed another seed. And finally, the fourth seed added, “the HOPE3 experience is not just a weekend program, it’s being accepted as a family member!”
We look forward to taking all of this feedback into account as we plan for future HOPE3 Weekends.