Letter from the President: How Will You Be Remembered?
September 27, 2017
“What will be your legacy?” The question hung in the air, as the esteemed panelists gathered their thoughts. Two of the three panelists on stage had a net worth of multiple billions and their answers were impressive lists of planned giving and bequests. While their answers were technically on target with the legal definition of legacy, it was clear the moderator was using the word in a different way, as if to ask, “How will you be remembered?” One of those two panelists remarked, “They will name an entire building in my honor. That’s memorable.”
It was the third panelist whose answer triggered an epiphany for me, an ah-ha moment if you will. As she spoke, I kept thinking, Her work isn’t really about her legacy at all, as some think of it. If it’s not her legacy, then whose is it? Then it hit me: She’s using her life to offer a hand up to remarkable men, women and children around the world so they can leave a legacy of their own. In this, she isn’t leaving one legacy, but empowering many legacies.
The mission of Just Hope International is to make an impact that lasts in the lives of remarkable men, women and children facing some of the world’s most difficult living conditions. We do this by providing a hand up, rather than a handout, to people with a desire to produce something for themselves, retain their dignity and serve others with what they’ve learned, leaving their lasting legacy.
One of those remarkable people is Jenneh Lassayo, whom we met in Sierra Leone in 2015.
In her words, she was interested in learning how she could better provide for herself and her family, but she didn’t see herself as a leader or teacher back then. As she grew in knowledge and practice of sustainable farming techniques through Just Hope’s Agriculture Training program, she gained confidence and began sharing what she had learned with other women in her community who were taking notice of her exceptional results.
Jenneh’s work in agriculture meets the physical needs of the women and their families. It also strengthens her relationship with the other women and paves the way for meaningful conversations about life and family. Among other things, some of the women in her community have come to her doorstep to kiss her feet and thank her for what she’s taught them to do for themselves. Their words of gratitude say it all: “I don’t have to sell myself anymore to get money for my child’s school fees. Thank you!”
In scripture, we read the phrase “so that.” It points to provision, reason and purpose. God led a young lady from Kannapolis, North Carolina through the challenges of life and a business career so that 10 years ago she would start Just Hope International and give her life and experience to the service of remarkable people all over the world. As I heard her say from the stage that day as the third panelist, her desire is to empower people like Jenneh so that they can serve other remarkable people so that a legacy is left, and most importantly, so that all would know the love of God and He would be glorified.
We celebrate Just Hope’s 10-year anniversary with gratitude for what God has done, excitement about what He is doing now and anticipation of what He will do in the future. We invite you to consider your legacy. How will you be remembered? I would be delighted to hear your story and your desires. Just Hope International is equipped to help you make an impact that lasts in the life of a remarkable person so that you too can empower many legacies. God has blessed us, so that….