The H.E.A.R.T Institute

HEART  drake“Hunger Education And Resources Training Institute is a registered non-profit organization located in Lake Wales, Florida. H.E.A.R.T. is an interdenominational training center designed to prepare people to serve effectively in developing areas. In addition to practical and technical skills, participants acquire problem solving and coping skills that will enable them to adapt more readily to the challenges they will face overseas.” Quote from the H.E.A.R.T Institute

The H.E.A.R.T Institute was first brought to my attention when offered as a May term class at Grace Bible College. Drake Olsen is a soon-to-be Junior at Grace who had the opportunity to experience the H.E.A.R.T Institute for three weeks and hopes to some day go back for their year-long internship program.
Olsen describes H.E.A.R.T as “a place for people to go who are either interested in the mission field, sustainable agriculture, animal husbandry, culture, how we as God’s people interact with God’s creation according to scripture, or what our role is as His people.”

When you first get to H.E.A.R.T all you understand it as is hunger education and resource training but H.E.A.R.T is so much more than resource and hunger training and you learn so much more. Drake explained how he learned about how other cultures work. You learn how there might be a better way of harvesting crops or saving energy or making work easier for people. At H.E.A.R.T, you learn how to suggest those easier techniques in a way that doesn’t attack or try to change their culture into your own but instead offers helpful advice.

Classes are taught throughout the 3-week or 15-week semester with hands on learning in six different categories:

  • Appropriate Technologies
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Primary Health
  • Nutrition/Food Technologies
  • Cross-Cultural Communication/Community Development

Of the whole program Drake’s favorite part of H.E.A.R.T was being with the animals. “Anytime that I wanted, I could go and find food that the animals wanted, like going and foraging for food for the animals. That was probably the most fun part to me was being able to go out and build relationship with the animals by doing that.”

HEARTH.E.A.R.T is a program that will stay with those who were a part of it for years and years. Drake’s experience taught him a lot about community and what a real community is. “I think the thing that I really took away from H.E.A.R.T that is applicable right now would be the importance of community. What I mean by community is not just people who live together and near each other. I don’t mean people who just say hello to everyone and ask general surface questions. I don’t mean a community that only comes together when something big happens but the community that I learned about at H.E.A.R.T is a community that is continuous, is run by the continuous steadfast love of the members in it for each other and it’s the type of community that is an unselfish community that really works towards the heart of God and seeks the heart of God together.
“H.E.A.R.T is not only an acronym…it’s a place where the heart of God can be found.”

H.E.A.R.T is an awesome experience from what I have heard from Drake and many others who have attended.
Check out the website at http://heart-institute.org/ for more information on the 3-week or 15-week semester and consider taking classes with H.E.A.R.T for a mission experience you will never forget!

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