Have you had a person in your life whose friendship enriched your perspective and challenged you to be the best version of yourself?
At Children’s HopeChest, we believe that true transformation comes from relationships. On a larger scale, we believe the same thing about communities. When two communities have a common goal and build relationships with each other, incredible things happen. Like most healthy relationships, the impact goes two ways.
This month we have been unpacking “transformation,” a word that we use often here at HopeChest.
HopeChest Partnership Leaders (HPLs) are passionate about breaking the cycle of poverty and lead their North American communities in a partnership with a CarePoint. We asked five of these HPLs to share, in their own words, how they have seen transformation in both their home community, and the CarePoint community that they partner with.
(PS: You can support the transformation of relationships and communities by giving a meaningful donation this year-end! hopechest.org/transform)
New Community Covenant Church + Abenezer CarePoint
Buckhannon, West Virginia + Ethiopia
In partnership for: 4 years
About Abenezer + New Community
Many of those within the Abenezer CarePoint community live in poorly built housing structures, and suffer from inadequate sanitation. Many children in the area are without critical resources such as safe shelter, clothing, food, and access to medical care. Abenezer CarePoint is partnered with New Community Covenant Church, located in Buckhannon, West Virginia. The church operates with a strong focus on community (it is in the title of their church, after all!) and combatting the isolation that many people feel by being a welcoming space to go through life together.
“Children’s Hopechest has become an integral part of our church plant and local ministry practice. My wife and I planted a church seven and a half years ago, and from day one we knew we wanted to build a relationship with an international ministry partner.
Through our partnership with Children’s HopeChest, and the children at Abenezer Carepoint, we have seen our faith community grow spiritually, relationally, and emotionally in their care and compassion for orphaned and vulnerable children. We are grateful for Children’s HopeChest and the transformation this partnership has provided us.” Justin Bowers, HPL + Lead Pastor of New Community Covenant Church
BombBomb + Mt Elgone CarePoint
Colorado Springs, Colorado + Kenya
In partnership for: 9 months
About Mt. Elgone + BombBomb
Mt. Elgone CarePoint serves an impoverished rural area in Kenya. This is HopeChest’s first CarePoint in Kenya in partnership with Seeds Ministries. Seeds was founded by Pastor Richard and Helen Makani and through their tireless work they are seeing despair, hopelessness, abandonment, and abuse being replaced by a sense of hope, love, and belonging. Mt. Elgone is partnered with BombBomb, a Colorado-based video email platform that is rehumanizing digital connection through relationships.
“I hope our partnership gives my employees a direct connection with another side of the planet. Most people don’t get a direct connection with someone who is starving or can’t feed their kids or who can’t get access to education — those basic needs. So human empathy comes out of that. It changes you when you actually see the person or hear the people’s voices.
This is another way for us to live out our ‘why,’ and what gives us purpose. We’re here to rehumanize the planet.” Conor McCluskey, CEO of BombBomb
La Croix United Methodist Church + Timbutini CarePoint
Cape Girardeau, Missouri + Engculwini, Eswatini
In partnership for: 5 years
About Timbutini + La Croix
At the Timbutini CarePoint, the children line up with their plastic bowls in hand, playful smiles on their faces, eager to attend the CarePoint and receive a nutritious meal. At the CarePoint, they are also provided basic medical care and educational support, as well as discipleship. Timbutini is partnered with La Croix, “a place where you can be real about where you are.” This church, located in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, welcomes people of all backgrounds to wholeheartedly follow Jesus. One of their core values is being outward-focused, which reflects the beauty of their partnership with Timbutini.
“We love our partnership with Timbutini CarePoint! We are so blessed to be able to come alongside the people of our CarePoint and be allowed to share their vision for their community. The growth in the CarePoint has God’s hand all over it, and we love getting the updates to see what is new with our special friends.
From our side, the church has really focused efforts on deepening relationships with the children who are our assigned special friends…because in the end, it’s the relationships that make the difference.” Ruth Ann Orr, HPL
Grafton Baptist Church + Kostroma Orphanage
Yorktown, Virginia + Kostroma, Russia
Duration: 8 years
About Kostroma + Grafton Baptist
Kostroma CarePoint provides an opportunity for orphaned teens who have graduated from an orphanage to receive continued support that will promote self-sufficiency. Not only do these drop-in centers provide a sense of safety, protection, and home, but they also offer life-skills training, job readiness programs, and counseling. Kostroma CarePoint is partnered with Grafton Baptist, a church in Virginia whose mission is to know, love, and serve God, each other, and our community and world.
“Nelson Mandela once said ‘What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.’ It is this quote that rings true in my heart and mind about my second family at the community in Kostroma, Russia. If life was a Twitter page, #kindness, #compassion and #hope would be trending because of them! Thank you to all of the Children’s HopeChest family and your investment in people who will never be able to repay you. Many lives will be forever changed because of you.” David Price, HPL + Senior Pastor of Grafton Baptist
Jamie Wingert Connect Community + Obwobwo CarePoint
Iowa + Uganda
Duration: 3 years
About Obwobwo + Jamie Wingert Connect Community
Obwobwo CarePoint is a formerly internally displaced persons (IDP) camp, which has a high number of orphaned children due to HIV/AIDS. This community is almost entirely dependent on subsistence farming and affording education for children is usually not possible for most families. Obwobwo CarePoint is partnered with Jamie Wingert’s Connect Community. A Connect Community is a group of people who don’t belong to a formal community, but are unified by their passion to alleviate poverty.
“Often when we talk about our trips we speak about the place we visited, the poverty, the impact it had on us, etc., however I choose to overwhelmingly focus on the relationship that is built between our youth that travel with us and the global impact that they continue to make…One of our youth attended the World Food Prize and presented specifically about Obwobwo. Others have presented to classrooms in our school and assisted on research projects. A fundraiser this year for Obwobwo projects will be headed by our youth and it will be a hunger simulation. And another has been asked to do a TED Talk about Obwobwo and the impact of the trip.
We know great things are happening in Obwobwo because HopeChest is amazing and the partnership with Obwobwo is strong. But to see the transformation that continues to happen on U.S. soil is just as impressive, and I am so proud of the youth that continue to follow the call to travel to Obwobwo and bring the stories and JOY back home to build a brighter tomorrow for our world.” Jamie Wingert, HPL
We are delighted for our HopeChest Partnership Leaders to have the last word of 2019. Their leadership has been integral to the community transformation that each of them described.
As we close out the year and head into a new decade of relationships transformed, please consider giving a meaningful donation so even more communities can experience two-way transformation! You can give at: hopechest.org/transform