Letter from the President – March 2017
April 5, 2017
In April of 2006 I experienced what it is like to flee. I realized I was in the path of an F-3 tornado that seemed to appear out of nowhere from behind a tree line. I saw it just as it was destroying a local community college campus. A colleague and I turned off of the highway and desperately scrambled for shelter. Before we could stop the vehicle to take cover, the windows blew out from the pressure, debris slammed the body of the truck and cracked the windshield. There was no time to run to a building. We parked, crouched in the floorboard and buried our faces in our seats to pray. We were desperate. And then it was over.
We were fleeing in a moment, in a specific location, from a single threat. Our hope for safety was a few feet and a few minutes away. Just Hope serves people who know what it’s like to flee for days and weeks, even months and years – fleeing from war, rape, abuse and persecution. The threats are complex, deceptive and many. They flee for hundreds of miles.
In November of last year, we began an exploratory process to identify opportunities for Just Hope to serve in East Africa. Working through Fellowship Bible Church, we assisted a local partner, African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM), with a women’s conference to empower remarkable women of South Sudan with technical agriculture ideas and business training. 65 women registered, ultimately 90 women attended. For some, their journey began years prior as far north as Khartoum, Sudan and they have settled in South Sudan. Many in attendance that week had traveled by foot for miles to be there. Remarkable.
They exude grace and dignity. I was honored to be in their presence and thankful to be able to serve them in a way to make a lasting impact. By way of ALARM, FBC provided them with Bibles in their own language, encouraged them to be a “healthy woman,” and Just Hope contributed to their economic empowerment through teaching on running a profitable business and investing readily available resources in a garden or farm that will yield healthy returns. We will continue to water and monitor the initial seeds planted there and cultivate any opportunity that sprouts.
As we all read and watch, people around the world are being knocked back and pushed down. They’ve lost family members and friends. They’ve lost possessions and their livelihood. They’ve lost part of themselves. Yet, remarkably they are working to regain their footing. It is our honor to reach out to give them a hand up as they attempt, once more, to stand.
You have resources, skills and experience of all kinds. Please call me. We will identify how your interests and passion can be used to make an impact that lasts in the world.
Ben Turner, President