Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
- Matthew 28:19-20
Rising Hope helped to sponsor one of our members, Paige Jennings, for a study abroad opportunity in Uganda. A recent graduate of Malone University's program in Social Work, Paige previously traveled to Kenya to work with a church involved in ministry with victims of human trafficking. Her study abroad experience with the Uganda Studies program, which wrapped up her Bachelor's program, combined social work classes and field experience. This program gave Paige the opportunity to work under Ugandan social workers while serving as an intern with Compassion International in their child sponsor program. She returned to Canton in December freshly equipped with many valuable lessons about doing social work in a different culture. We are blessed to be a continuing part of her journey in service to Jesus in the wider world.
Paige now serves in Senegal as a part of the Peace Corps.
Rising Hope supported and sent off one of its own, Zach Murray, to a year-long program in Cairo, Egypt. Zach graduated from Malone University in Spring of 2017, and is considering graduate work in Middle Eastern Studies. To help him achieve some of his goals, we were pleased to support his volunteer work as an English teacher for the Coptic Orthodox Church. While being there, Zach is helping young Coptic Christian seminary students gain better command of the English language (indispensable for work in the international community) while also learning Arabic and Egyptian culture by immersion. In the time he has already spent, Zach has built many strong bonds with his Coptic Christian brothers. Beyond the growth that comes from sharing fellowship and learning alongside Christians in a very different culture, this experience is preparing Zach for the possibility of a career focused on Christian-Muslim relations in the Middle East. We are proud of the good things he is accomplishing and are happy to support him in the direction of his calling.
Stephen played a foundational role in starting Rising Hope Canton. Many nights Chad, Jamie and Stephen would listen to worship music, pray together and talk about what it would be like to love people the way Jesus loved. It was in those nights as we were drawing closer to God through our fellowship with one another that the Holy Spirit was moving something inside of us to start Rising Hope Canton. Stephen has since followed God's call to serve as a missionary in the 10/40 Window through an organization called ACTS. We look forward to updates from him via email and FaceTime and we continue to support him through prayer and financial support.
Cap Haitien, Haiti
A place that Pastor Chad holds dear to his heart is Cap Haitien, Haiti. This is where he had his 'get out of boat' experience. After about the third day during his visit a Haitian fellow named Smith asked him if he would be permitted to go to his house. Originally Chad was told that it was too dangerous, but then he persuaded his mentor, Pastor Kip, to let him go. So as he makes it out of the compound and he's cool, he can see the compound behind him. Then as he turns to his right, all of a sudden he can't see the compound. People started to gather around him, about 200 or so. Smith and the translator started yelling at people because they could see that Chad was getting anxious and the people scattered.
So they make their way to Smith's house and it's a shack. At one point Smith turns to Chad and says through the translator, "It is the honor of my life to have you in my house, and I'm ashamed that I have nothing to offer you." Chad was crushed, as tears flowed down his face God whispered, "Love people as I love them, care for them, bear their burdens." At that moment he realized that as our faith in Jesus increases the natural action that follows in our newly justified lives comes from James 2:14-17, "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."