Q. Share an overview of World Hope International’s history.
A. World Hope International (WHI) was born out of Dr. Jo Anne Lyon’s desire to see the Church become more engaged in helping the poor and oppressed internationally. She served as CEO of WHI for twelve years, during which the organization grew from a bedroom in her home to a presence in over twenty countries around the world.
In 2009, Dr. Karl Eastlack became the second-generation CEO for WHI. Having served as a lead pastor for over twenty years, he brought to WHI a wealth of experience and a fresh vision for the future.
Q. Tell us about the ministries of WHI.
A. WHI currently works in seventeen countries around the world, the core of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia. WHI’s programs focus on serving the poorest of the poor and the oppressed. We give women, children, and communities the tools they need to improve their lives in a sustainable manner. Specifically, this is implemented through rural development and clean water, health, economic development, education, and anti-human trafficking initiatives.
Q. How does the faith aspect of WHI work itself out in practical ministry?
A. The heart of WHI is obedience to God through loving our neighbors. All WHI staff, both at headquarters and in the country offices, are Christian. Through prayer and action we are able to show others the love of Christ. Christ has given us hope, and hope is what we carry to the individuals with whom we come in contact. Many of the challenges we face are certain patterns of thought or behavior that can only change through Christ. We count it a privilege to work alongside these communities and see the change that Christ brings, as we too are changed in the process.
Q. What do you see as two or three key issues the Church worldwide faces in the next ten years as it deals with transforming and empowering communities in poverty?
A. One of the challenges the Church will continue to face is individuals in poverty coming to Christ in hopes of material wealth, and then leaving the church if that material wealth is not realized. Another challenge the Church will face is the challenge of caring for its community members as increasing natural disasters and political unrest occur.
Q. Share an example of how others have come to trust in Jesus as a result of WHI ministries.
A. Through the Reach4Life program, many have come to know Jesus. This program shares the love of Christ with youth in Southern Africa who are suffering under the burden of HIV/AIDS. WHI present several HIV/AIDS-related topics (including faith) to high school students. Thousands of youth have come to trust in Jesus and have been discipled as a result of this work.
Q. Share one story that has impacted you during your time with WHI.
A. WHI utilizes national staff to lead its field work around the world. Working with our teams around the world has been very meaningful and rich. This past year, I have been particularly impressed by the caliber of our team in Haiti. A few weeks after the earthquake, one of our senior staff and I spent several hours negotiating with the United Nations to provide formula for babies who were dying in Leogane, ten kilometers from the epicenter of the earthquake. I was so thankful for his understanding of the complexity of navigating this environment so that we could essentially save the lives of many babies in that area. I was also grateful that despite the difficulty of the environment, he was committed to staying in Haiti and providing his skills and training to serve the vulnerable.