I am so grateful for Christine Bess and the deep investments that she and her family have made in Rwanda. Christine has served as Board Chair since 2015 and has closely monitored the trajectory of Hope Haven Rwanda. As a founder and former Executive Director of a nonprofit herself, she shares a wealth of experience and perspective. She clearly recognizes the value of long-term investments.
Christine recently visited Rwanda, along with her husband, Brian, daughter Morgan and son-in-law, Mike. As they explored each aspect of the ministry, they contributed their talents in a unique way. They began with the question, “How can we best serve you?”
When I asked Christine what a long-term investment looks like, she said, “Our family has decided to invest deeply, and long-term, for any organization. We don’t do a few things, and just dabble here and there.”
Christine encouraged our staff and faculty, casting a vision and coaching them along the way. She also arranged a staff appreciation celebration where each one of our staff members was treated to a special dinner and they were served by senior leadership team members.
As an engineer, Brian met with vendors for a wastewater treatment plant, provided consultation for a water tap project, coached our executive team and even taught math to 5th graders.
Morgan offered her professional expertise to provide direction for a major event happening in a few months. She shaped our thinking in new ways and was a giant blessing to our team.
Mike used his physical strength to help carry water from a well deep in the valley to the top of the hill, and he used his relational strength in the classroom to make many new friends. As an experienced Sunday School teacher in Denver, Mike has a relaxed way of connecting with young students and they loved hanging out with him!
In each one of these scenarios, Christine, Brian, Morgan and Mike were simply stewarding the gifts that God has entrusted them with. They recognize that they do not “own” their gifts, they have been given an opportunity to manage these gifts and to use them for God’s glory and the good of everyone they encounter. This is the path to lasting investments! We may, or may not, see the fruit on this side of eternity, but “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
“When we came in 2014, we knew this is where we wanted to be,” Christine continued. “We saw the little bitty kids, and now they are graduating sixth graders, test scores are off the charts, and what God has taught us over these years is: ‘What is in your hands, and how can we serve?’ We want to hold it very loosely and that is why we look forward to the next seven years with Hope Haven.”
Christine and her family freely share the gifts that God has given them to lift up Jesus and to help transform Rwandan families. Peter challenged his readers to “use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10), and that is exactly what happened while the Bess family was in Rwanda.
Is there someone that you can serve this week, with the anxious expectation that God will multiply your gifts for His glory and their good?