Select Page

In Kinshasa, Congo, a sprawling capital city in sub-Saharan Africa, HOPE International has a branch office with over 30 Congolese staff members and 5,000 clients. One issue for our branch manager is the provision of quality health insurance for the local staff. Brian, a friend of mine who managed this office for a few years, shared a story which typified this challenge.
Over the course of a few weeks, a number of the local staff members stepped into Brian’s office and shared that the doctor connected with their insurance plan was misdiagnosing their problems. They shared that he treated them poorly, overcharged for his services and failed to appropriately address their health concerns. As the complaints piled up, Brian paid the doctor a visit.
When they met, Brian confronted him with the frustrations and complaints of his staff, advocating on behalf of those who this doctor had wronged. While Brian shared, the doctor interrupted and said, “Well, have any of them died yet?”
Talk about confusion on how success is defined. No, none of the staff members had died—but that doesn’t mean that he was successful! Defining success is critical to the success of any organization. Recently, I have spent significant thinking about that in regards to HOPE’s work.
One of the primary reasons I believe so deeply in HOPE’s work is because of HOPE’s commitment to the proclamation of the Gospel. Woven into the fabric of our organizational culture is a belief that the story of the cross truly changes lives. Helping the poor in their physical state is wonderful and important, but if we are just helping those that are oppressed become oppressors—is that success? Is it success if we are helping vulnerable individuals create wealth only to neglect their communities once they obtain it?
I believe in HOPE’s holistic approach because I believe in the power of the Gospel to reshape attitudes and soften hearts. When that happens, and hearts are changed, then we achieve success. Then we see our clients begin to reflect Christ’s love back into their communities as they rise out of poverty.
Clients like Berky & Rafael, a Dominican couple who started a school for the poorest kids in their neighborhood with their business profits. Clients like Oleg who started an aftercare ministry for men coming out of prison, providing many of them with jobs in his furniture manufacturing business. They have given back to their communities because their hearts have been changed. That for HOPE, and nothing less, is how we define success.