1. What is a “Heart’s Home”?
A Heart’s Home is a small house located in deprived neighborhoods. It is a simple home, a refuge and a place of consolation to all the persons in need (and especially the children).
2. What will I be doing?
Every Heart’s Home is first of all a contemplative community. Prayer will make each one more generous and efficient. The Holy Spirit, granting His light during prayer, will enable you to truly dis cover the real needs of those who surround you.
You will offer a compassionate Presence to the neighbors, the families, the lonely and the sick and spend after noons visiting them, sharing their joys and sorrows.
With the other missionaries, you will organize outings, games, gatherings, or any activity that could broaden the children’s horizons. To achieve this you will need to be flexible, con stantly available, and to have a real sense of creativity. In each country, there are specific places with a more urgent need for a presence. With the other missionaries, you will visit these places: jails, nursing homes, shelters, hospitals…
3. Will I live in a community?
You will be living in a community with three or four other missionaries from different backgrounds and nationalities. Your common language will be the one of the country of mission.
At your arrival, you will have a time of transition during which the community will welcome you. The other missionaries will show you around and introduce you to the culture, and to all the friends in the neighborhood. This time of transition is crucial. It is what enables the friendships with Heart’s Home to continue even though the team of missionaries is renewed and changed. Your adjustment time usually lasts two or three months.
4. Will I be able to choose the country of mission?
You will be asked to give your preferences but not to choose your mission country. We ask you to receive your destination with faith and to trust that this is the place where God wants you to live and serve. Your destination is decided by the Heart’s Home staff according to your character, skills, as well as to the needs of each Heart’s Home.
Note that you are not alone, the Program will provide the services of a “Visitor” to serve as an adviser. The Visitor will offer guidance, orientation and spiritual direction during your time of mission and serve as a liaison between you and the Program. You will make all important decisions in accordance with the community and the Visitor.
5. Do I have to be fluent in the language?
We do not ask you to be fluent but we do request that you do your best to learn the language of your mission country as soon as your destination is disclosed. The more you know the language, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your new environment.
Note that in some countries where the language is particularly difficult to learn (especially in Asia), some special classes are already planned with a tutor.
6. How long do I have to commit for?
You will be asked to choose between a 14-month, 18-month or 2-year mission. If you commit for 14 months or for 18 months you can ask to extend your mission up to 2 years. This needs to be discussed with the Heart’s Home staff. After a 2-year experience we ask you to come back to your country. If you desire to stay longer, the next step will be to consider a life as a lay consecrated, religious sister or priest within Heart’s Home.
7. Is there a dress code and code of conduct?
You must always be aware of your identification as a lay missionary in association with Heart’s Home and the Catholic Church in your country of mission. Mission and relation ships with others should be conducted accordingly. Hence, you are asked to be properly dressed and to show respect and love to your neighbors.
In certain countries, where the dress code is an important part of the culture (such as India), you will be asked to wear certain types of clothes during the day to show your respect. This is also a proof of love for your neighbors.
8. Can I get a loan deferment or forbearance?
You can make a request for a loan Deferment or Forbearance at your lending institution. We will provide you with the materials showing that Heart’s Home meets the requirements to qualify for a tax exempt organization volunteer Deferment.
9. What about medical insurance?
The medical insurance of the Heart’s Home Missionaries is provided through HIC (Hauteville Insurance Company, a subsidiary of the French company AGF), that has a worldwide contract with Heart’s Home USA. Therefore, you do not have to look for any medical insurance. The cost of the insurance is covered by the sponsorships you will receive. If needed, you will be placed in one of the best hospitals of the city where your Heart’s Home is located so as to receive the best treatment possible.
In addition, Heart’s Home has a contract with Mondial Assistance to ensure your Medical Evacuation back to the US in case of emergency. This covers 100% of the charges; wherever in the world you might be. Medical Evacuation is decided by mutual agreement of the local doctor and the Mondial Assistance representative.
10. Will I have holidays?
One day a week, you will have the possibility to take a day of rest. It is important to understand that a day of rest is not a day out of your commitment, a day where you are putting the charism aside. It is fully part of your mission and is there to enable you to be able to enter more and more into your mission and to serve better.
If your family is visiting, you may take a week off with them and get a chance to visit the country. This has to be discussed with your community and the visitor first.
11. Will my family be able to come and visit?
You are encouraged to host your closest family members (parents - brothers and sisters) for a visit. However, to avoid having some visitors too often, family visits should be limited to once (maximum length: 2 weeks) during the time of your mission.
12. Will I have access to Internet?
In most cases you will be able to access the Internet via cyber cafes. You need to be aware that the commitment with Heart’s Home requests less use of computer as well as TV or video games. You are invited to give regular news to your family and friends but you also need to adjust to your new lifestyle.
13.What’s a Typical Day at a Heart’s Home like?
We propose you to read a testimony from a missionary in one of our Centers.