Hopeful Award, June 2014, Rome Lamb
In the past four years, the Help Desk in IT services has received 8, 722 tickets, which Rome Lamb and the IT team is responsible to handle. And yet in the midst of an overwhelming number of tickets, late nights, and multiple ongoing projects, Rome’s positivity and heart for helping people have always accompanied him in the past eight years. What other departments see as sacrifice, Rome and the IT team see as the opportunity to serve. They stay up late and come in early so employees at OneHope can have a “normal” day at work with servers up and running. Despite all Rome does, he was surprised to receive the HOPEFUL award this month.
He said, “Yes, (I was surprised) because I never try to put myself in a spot where people look at me in that way. I am definitely a behind the scenes type of guy.”
From a young age, Rome learned the value of a good work ethic from his father and grandmother. He soon discovered his joy of teaching others as he began instructing ballroom classes at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Phoenix, AZ. His love of training others has never left him. Rome described himself as a teacher, helper, and encourager. “I’ve always enjoyed helping somebody…I’ve always been geared to be like a teacher.” For him, the most valuable aspect of working is being able to help people. His continual positivity stems from a genuine love of what he does. Rome doesn’t classify his job as work.
He said, “This to me isn’t work. What I do in IT doesn’t feel like work at all. I thoroughly enjoy what I do.”
In whatever Rome does, he gives his all and still has a smile or an encouraging word to offer at the end of the day. As Marwan Rifka said when he awarded Rome in June, “Rome is a great choice for the first HOPEFUL award. He truly embodies the OneHope DNA. He is hardworking and carries his tasks joyfully, exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit in his attitude.”
Nicole Johansson, VP, Development
You’ve heard and learned a lot about our DNA over these past few weeks. I hope nothing about it was surprising to you. These characteristics have been embedded in the OneHope culture from the beginning. Defining them and putting together a memorable acronym does not fundamentally change anything; it only helps us and everyone who joins us as we move forward on this continuing journey. Our mission here at OneHope has never changed. You are all well familiar with it:
To affect destiny by providing God’s eternal Word to the children and youth of the world
Our DNA is what enables us to carry out that mission. It is what characterizes the people who come to work here, as well as those we seek to partner with. So now that we have launched this DNA—where will we go from here? For one, this DNA should never be out of sight. This is not something the leadership team created just to file away with dozens of other “important” documents. This will never be a forgotten file in our archives, brought out on ceremonial occasions when we need to remind ourselves of our roots. OneHope doesn’t operate that way. We are very much a living, evolving organization. It is precisely because of this DNA that we can grow and expand without finding ourselves straying off-mission. Being hardworking, outcome based, pure, efficient, faithful, uninhibited, and Spirit-led is the helix code that keeps us on track to mission fulfillment even as we grow. This DNA does not inhabit a file folder; it is embodied in every individual and lived out in every project. It defines the decisions we make and characterizes our interactions in the office, on the field, or with our partners. And since this DNA is a living thing, it is only right that we recognize it in our midst and call it out regularly. That is why we’ve created the HOPEFUL Award—to honor staff for exemplary demonstrations of one or more of our DNA characteristics. I hope you will look around you and notice what I know are plentiful examples of staff who embody this DNA well. Take the time to make note of a specific situation and nominate the person for our staff award, which will be given out on a monthly basis. Honoring our DNA will keep it always in front of us, reminding us of the standard we aspire to each and every day. Finally, I pray that you personally will find yourself becoming more HOPEFUL in your time here. No one person will be strong in all of the seven areas. But we hope that you will be willing to take inventory of where you are strong and where you are weak, and be willing to work on it. With faithfulness alongside purity alongside efficiency, etc, we support each other and come alongside each other in both strengths and weakness.
“so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:5
So don’t think this DNA launch is over by any means. It will never be over so long as OneHope exists. And stay tuned on this blog for more content in future as we continue to celebrate staying H.O.P.E.F.U.L.
Bob Hoskins, Founder
Most of the foundational moments of my life and ministry happened in prayer and through the work of the Holy Spirit. As a child of seven, during a revival week at church, I went forward and as I was praying, the Holy Spirit fell on me. This is where God spoke to me through a vision and revealed the unique calling on my life to become a missionary evangelist. When I told my parents about this event, they didn’t disregard what the Lord had told me; instead my Dad also sought the Lord through prayer and fasting. The Spirit revealed Himself to my father and affirmed my calling. I’m thankful for my dad’s sensitivity to the things of Christ and willingness to be Spirit-led. This has set the tone for my life and ministry. When it seemed like circumstances were impossible or there seemed to be no way forward, I knew what I had to do. Stop and pray, and listen to the Spirit’s leading. So many incidents come to mind: When we moved to Lebanon, only to have our TV contract cancelled—through prayer and fasting, God directed us to literature. Eighteen years ago, when Life Publishers was sold and we had to move forward with Book of Hope, without resources—God heard our prayers and supplied beyond our greatest hopes. This is how the ministry we now know as OneHope began, and God has poured out His favor upon us as we continue to follow where His Spirit guides us. The entirety of Romans 8 speaks to the Spirit-led life, how in Christ we have life and freedom, and a helper when we are weak, and are made heirs in Christ—empowered to live a life worthy of His calling. I believe that God has a plan. And even before each one of us was knit together in our mother’s womb, He providentially formed us uniquely so that we would be able to accomplish His purposes, to further His Kingdom here on earth, and to bring Him glory. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139: 13-16) Not everyone is called to be a child preacher. Your story is uniquely yours. God has gifted each of us individually, specially, and differently because He knows that it takes one who is good at planning and another who is good with words, and someone to keep the money in order, and others who can speak, or understand how to leverage different media to bring others into His Kingdom. It truly is a team effort. “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 11-12) We pray, and we have always prayed for this ministry by saying “Lord of the harvest—send us workers.” We might think we know what we need or we want, but He has a wider scope and a better lens, He knows what we need. And He provides. And He has sent us each one of you, placed His hand on your life and His calling in your heart, and gifted you to help elevate His story and share it around the world. Every one of you has a “OneHope story” of how you came to be a part of this ministry. It may be a surprise to you or others how you came to be here. But it’s not a surprise to God; it’s all part of His divine plan. And when people ask what’s in store for the future ministry of OneHope, we only know what the Spirit has revealed to us. Because we constantly get on our knees and ask the Lord to send His Spirit and give us His wisdom and guidance so that we can carry out His will, not ours. To that end, we strive together, unified by the fact that our ministry as a whole and our lives individually are both Spirit-led.
Led: We pray, earnestly seeking the Holy Spirit’s guiding. We ask to be given eyes to see the vision, ears that hear Kingdom calling, hearts humble and open to collaboration, lips willing to speak the truth, and provisions to complete the journey/fulfill the mission. We believe each person was called to work here and brings their own unique Spiritual-gifting to achieve His purpose.
Rob Hoskins, President
Uninhibited: Emboldened with the knowledge that a creative God designed us to be thinkers, problem-solvers and innovators, we confidently take God-led leaps to follow Christ in His work.
I’m excited about having our OneHope DNA displayed for all to see—it really helps clarify who we are in and the work we are about in God’s Kingdom. I love that it helps put words to the characteristics that typify the great legacy of ministry that has gone on before us, and the aspiration of those of us working toward mission fulfillment to aspire to in our everyday work. I think the word uninhibited can be a little shocking at first, but when you realize that it stands for freedom—it is nothing short of motivating. The freedom we have in Christ allows us to tap into the gifting He has given each one of us. We can relentlessly pursue His calling when we rest in the fact that we serve a God who owns and ordains everything in the universe. When we realize that God is all-powerful, we are given the green light to release the fears that might be holding us back, and instead operate in a space of total abandon and confidence in Him. Reminds me of dad’s first mission trip…where he left the US with $5.68 and came back with $5 in his pocket. Where all his journey cost him was an incredible leap of faith and 68 cents. He wasn’t worried because he knew that an all-powerful, totally resourcing God was going to take care of all the expenses and details. At the start of OneHope, the government of El Salvador asked dad for a million books, and without first having to calculate the cost, Dad was free to say “yes,” knowing that God would provide. When presented with the opportunity to step into the digital realm—which for many is a scary place—we didn’t have to be afraid, and God blessed a partnership with YouVersion and gifted artists, musicians, and programmers to help launch the Bible App for Kids onto the scene. Instead of writing off a closed nation like China, we allowed ourselves the freedom to believe that nothing could stand against our God, nothing could hold Him back and just a few months ago we celebrated reaching our billionth child in China! Personally, I’ve experienced picking up the phone and not understanding why a certain person is on my heart, but trusting the Holy Spirit—practicing freedom instead of allowing fear to be my guide—and seeing so much good come of it. Time and again I’ve seen that when we unleash the power of the Holy Spirit, fear and pride can no longer hold us back. And in this uninhibited space—that is our holy ground moment, when we are at our best—freely and fearlessly following Him in the work He has specifically designed us to carry out.
George Hoskins, VP, External Business Development
There’s always a lot to do here at OneHope. Juggling our external business initiatives and directing South Asia keeps me on-the-go and busy with plenty of diverse projects. From launching a charter school downstairs, to bringing in hundreds of Chinese students for camps this summer, to putting on the first Christian hackathon in India in the fall. There is no one description for the many things I have my team working on each day. But the thread that runs through it all is the mission God has entrusted us with—to build His Kingdom and reach the children and youth of the world. That’s the vision OneHope was built on 26 years ago. I have been involved with carrying out this calling almost from the beginning, growing up as part of the Hoskins family and helping out on various missions fields around the world. Looking back on my journey, I can see how God has guided my steps and shaped my passions for His work. All that He has required of me is faithfulness to the calling. Remaining faithful has a multi-faceted meaning at OneHope, which we have endeavored to convey in our H.O.P.E.F.U.L. DNA statement:
Faithful: We have laser-sharp focus on remaining faithful to Christ and to mission accomplishment. We take the time and care to craft strategic steps that will lead to rhythmic strides and build up the momentum necessary to allow us to take significant leaps. Everything we do is for Him. Strategic decisions to rhythmic strides to significant leaps. That is what I have witnessed in my time at OneHope, and what I pray I continue to see in our work moving forward. A few years ago, we could never have imagined the things we would be accomplishing today. Some of the “crazy” ideas I have thrown out there and “off the wall” projects I have supported over the years have sparked programs that are now reaching millions.
Faithfulness is not about being boring and expected and just sticking to what you know. At OneHope, being faithful to our calling requires us to leap into the unknown and do things other ministries have not attempted. God has continued to entrust us with greater and greater things as we continue to say “yes” to Him and keep our focus laser-sharp on Christ through it all. Often, we don’t know where those leaps will take us. But we trust in His faithfulness, knowing that we have been called to the task, and that where we are going, God has already gone ahead.
Tom Harley, VP, Global Operations
When you think of what it means to be “efficient” in your work, a lot of things might come to mind. Short meetings. Even shorter emails. Quick communication that leads to fast results as we all try to meet our deadlines. Ending the year with budgets in the black. But that’s not all there is to it. In 2011, our team in Global Operations encountered an interesting opportunity to use resources more efficiently to advance OneHope’s ministry in Africa. We had equipped teams there with The GodMan film, portable screens, and projectors in order to put on showings of the film in remote villages. But the teams were not going very far afield. As we started listening to them, we were able to identify the problem: transportation. Cars were too expensive to own and operate, so team members had to hitch rides with friends, take public transportation, or even go by donkey! But they couldn’t efficiently get where they needed to go. Their transportation needs were limiting their ministry opportunities. Our two-wheeled solution was simple, but effective: motorcycles. We immediately saw tremendous results from this investment. With their new motorcycles, team members started going further away to unreached villages, and were able to travel more often. Both our quality and quantity of ministry through The GodMan program improved. With three years of hindsight behind us, it’s easy to see that this was an efficient solution to the field’s problems. But at the beginning of this process, it was not so clear what the best decision was. And someone who views efficiency only as the least amount of money spent would never have thought of this plan. Of course it’s important to save money and save time. We must not waste the resources God has entrusted to us through the sacrificial giving of our partners. But efficiency also means looking ahead to where the ministry will be in 5, 10, or 20 years, and making the decision today that will best position us in that future. Thinking long-term is an important aspect of being efficient. There is product efficiency—how much we can produce for the least amount of cost. And there is also relationship efficiency—what relationships can we invest in and strengthen with vendors and partners that will carry the ministry farther ahead in the future? Our task every day is to discern the right blend between these two concerns. All of this is captured in the H.O.P.E.F.U.L. definition of “efficient” that defines who we are at OneHope:
Efficient: We aim to work quickly, but prudently, always operating in the tension of producing both quantity and quality. We lean into God and ask that He help us deliver what otherwise would seem impossible.
What we saw in Africa was an amazing multiplication of our resources. We gave them a little, and they did a lot. We handed them a film and a motorcycle, and they are reaching entire villages with the Gospel. What it cost us on the front end was quickly made up by an increase in our ministry momentum. I’m an efficient thinker by nature, but my 13 years at OneHope have challenged me to continue growing in this area. In so many situations I have found myself praying, “God, you have to do this.” And then leaving it in His hands to accomplish. This, too, is efficiency. We don’t know the future, but we know that the Lord is there and He is working, going ahead of us as we move forward. Our challenge is to think better, pray more, not waste either in our spending or our thinking, and keep up our momentum as we seek to fulfill our God-given mission.
Jon Laria, CFO
Starting the first week of February there are several extra people floating around our department, looking over our shoulders at everything we do. They are allowed to ask any question of anyone on the team and pry into the details of any project to see if mistakes were made. Keeping them informed and getting them what they need turns into a part-time job for everyone in the Finance department in addition to our normal tasks, which don’t slow down. Yet, this inconvenient situation happens every year. And those people—auditors from an independent CPA firm—are actually present at our request to check that every entry balances to the penny and nothing is out of place. The whole audit process takes two months from start to finish. It’s a lot of hassle for our team, but it’s the kind of sacrifice that is demanded to meet the standard of purity we have set for ourselves here at OneHope. Submitting to a voluntary audit each year is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to transparency in our handling of donor dollars. After the audit, the firm prepares a 60-page tax document that we’re not even required by law to file. But we do the work to fill it in anyway, and make it publicly available should anyone want to take a closer look at our financial reporting. Our DNA statement makes clear just how high our standard of purity is, and how it looks in everyday practice:
Pure: We surrender our egos as we earnestly seek to find Christ’s will in every situation. We constantly pray for pure hearts and pure motives to ensure we never compromise for the sake of convenience or appearance. We aspire to impact rather than to impress and value collaboration with other Kingdom-minded individuals—especially the local church—to achieve His goals.
In our department, staying pure means putting time and effort into processes that help keep the ministry clear of even the appearance of wrongdoing. That means that two people have to be present when opening any mail that contains donations. Two people with two different keys are required to open the safe to store or retrieve money. We hold each other and every team at OneHope accountable, knowing we are the final eyes on every ministry dollar that is spent. It is a big responsibility, and one we do not take lightly. But our carefulness instills confidence in our partners that we are staying pure in both motive and action. Purity also means we pay our bills on time and follow through on our word. It means we stick to our budgets and don’t plan to spend more than we have. Remaining pure means that no one is above questioning, no matter what their position is in the organization. It means that we require the same thorough documentation for a $6 parking reimbursement as we do for a transaction of several thousand dollars. Purity is, at times, a sacrifice. But it is not optional in our department, or anywhere else at OneHope. It is an expectation that we must at all times strive to uphold, recognizing that we are accountable ultimately to God, to stay vigilant and diligent at all times to protect what the Lord has entrusted to this ministry.
Chad Causey, VP, Global Ministries
When I think about outcomes, I have to go back to the time when we had hopes and dreams about certain ministry opportunities and compare what we had initially hoped for to what has actually resulted. In every scenario, God showed up and did more than we ever thought or imagined possible resulting in fruit that will last a long time. A few years before the Arab Spring, Rob and I presented the results of some qualitative research we had done in the Middle East to a very diverse assembly of church leaders in Cairo, Egypt. One of the predominant themes that emerged strongly in the research was that young people desired to be empowered to be participants in ministry, not just be recipients of ministry. To help get young people involved in DOING, we launched a pilot program in the form of a camp to teach young people to use media content to share the Gospel—from script writing, editing, lighting, photography, camera work, video editing—the whole bit. Seven churches participated in the original pilot, and we were so excited that as a result, two churches turned their media over to young people and one of the young women in the camp was hired as a scriptwriter by Sat-7, a Christian TV station broadcasting in the Middle East. What an outcome! But then God showed up and wowed us even more when we learned that ministry leadership in Egypt got calls from 70 churches asking why they hadn’t been invited to participate in this camp. The next year, we experienced incredible growth as 70 churches participated in the media camp. We were on a trajectory to continue growing at this exponential rate until the Arab Spring’s disruption. Wanting to continue to create space for young people to get involved and use their voice—which was basically the impetus for the Arab Spring uprising—over the last two years we launched two new initiatives: 4th Dimension, a Middle East student media workshop promoting Scripture engagement through students developing short films; and Masraho.com, (Arabic for “your stage”) which is a website where churches and schools can get resources to hold plays based on biblical themes, which function as outreaches to the Muslim community. Already, there are plans to expand 4th Dimension beyond Lebanon into Jordan and 50-60 churches and schools have begun to utilize the Masraho.com site regularly, with some performances hosting audiences into the thousands. Prior to the Arab Spring, our research indicated an unwillingness for churches to empower young people, but now we’re seeing God’s hand leading churches to empower children and youth to find their voice in the Church and use their gifting and talents to share the Gospel with their communities. In a short period of time, we have watched God move us from research that showed a specific need, to exploring pilot projects, to fruitfulness in 2 full programs—one teaching filmmaking and the other featuring children in live productions. This is truly a greater ministry outcome than we could have ever hoped for, and can only be attributed to Christ as it is happening faster than we could have imagined, more dynamically, and with surprising complexity, sophistication and scale.
Outcome Based: We set goals that are impossible for us to achieve believing that as we abide in Christ, He can do what we cannot. Then we measure for fruitfulness and celebrate that He made it happen.
Mariam Varghese, VP, Research & Design
One of my favorite children’s stories is the Aesop’s Fable about the tortoise and the hare…where there is a competition to see whether speed and confidence beats out steady and determined in a footrace. When I liken that fable to our staff here at OneHope, I think each and every person here is such a hard worker because you embody the characteristics of both the tortoise and the hare as you serve in your unique roles around the ministry. I have seen many of you work tirelessly, running at the hare’s fast pace and finding yourself at the end of the day battling to finish what you started that morning knowing that there is going to be even more work to be done the next day. At the same time, while you are dashing to complete tasks, you somehow manage to stay focused—like the tortoise—and determinedly keep moving your “regular” duties such as COE, expense reporting, project milestones and other rote tasks forward despite the fast pace additional urgent tasks require—especially at peak times. We are unlike many other “ministry workplaces” as we constantly grapple with the mountains of work we have ahead of us. Yet, every day, I look around and see people rolling up their sleeves, determined to work hard because we know that we serve a Mighty God who loves children and youth. Your commitment to sharing the Gospel with children and youth with the longing to see the transformation in their lives by God’s Word is what makes us enter into the hard work. The work itself is not the reward and the work is worth energy on our part. This characteristic of hardworking that is ingrained in our DNA is humbling to witness. I have seen individuals sacrifice their personal time to set up calls with international partners at odd hours of night. Others of you have prioritized seeing projects finished on time and diligently working until the end despite physical or emotional exhaustion. Some of you sacrifice by leaving your precious children and family at home in order to travel to be with our partners. Others have had to learn to change how you work and acquire new skills in order to help accomplish the mission of OneHope. You are unfailing in your commitment to do whatever it takes to help affect destines of children and youth around the world. The difference in what I see in my hardworking co-workers and the characters in Aesop’s fable is that a mission drives you where, when fulfilled, everyone wins and there is no loser. It is an honor to work among such hardworking people. Somehow you manage to steadfastly “walk” like the tortoise while also concurrently “sprinting” like the hare, inspired by the vision of God’s Word, Every Child and powered by prayer and the Holy Spirit. This drive to work hard can only be done with the knowledge that God is able to do more and exceeding what we can hope or imagine as we strive toward transformation in the lives of children and youth.
Hardworking: We are a highly-skilled, capable group of intently focused and determined workers dedicated to giving our all to help affect destinies.
Marwan Rifka, Executive Vice President
OneHope, founded on the Great Commission in Scripture and inspired by the Holy Spirit, has a unique calling, composition and culture. In the same way that every living organism contains a unique DNA that identifies it, we too, as an organization have qualities and characteristics that define who we are and create the environment for those who work here. These qualities, at times, might seem intangible. But they have always been ever-present in our work and environment, even when unspoken. They are woven into the fabric of our organization. They are embedded in our beliefs, relationships and management processes that collectively define OneHope. They shape our direction, guide our decision-making and inform our attitude. The blessings and favor of the Lord that OneHope has experienced has translated into exponential growth of our staff (both in the U.S. and globally). In recent years, this has re-enforced the leadership team’s directive that we need to update and capture what the characteristics and traits are that are so essential to the ministry and our daily work. We chose to use the familiar metaphor of DNA to attempt to codify the unique characteristics and traits of OneHope. Just as the double-stranded DNA molecule is held together by bonds between base pairs of nucleotides, whose sequence spells out the exact instructions required to create a unique organism, we describe the DNA of OneHope as having elements that, combined in myriad ways, define our organization’s unique traits. We wanted to create something that was not only accurate and descriptive, but also memorable; “sticky,” if you will. That’s why we are excited to present the final form of our DNA: the acronym H.O.P.E.F.U.L. These seven letters, and the descriptions that go with them are the intrinsic qualities that define us collectively and individually. Deep in this new DNA resides the potential to forge new ways to manage and organize the fulfillment of our mission. Operating in this H.O.P.E.F.U.L. space will allow all of us to think, perceive and execute more efficiently, effectively, and productively in providing God’s Word to every child. In this blog, you will discover what each letter stands for, and go more in depth as you hear from the people whose conversations, deliberations and prayers created this acronym. In each blog post, a different vice-president will share how the concepts apply practically to their everyday work and leadership. We hope you will be both informed and inspired by this DNA, and how we’ve chosen to embody it for you. It is no accident that “hope,” the word that is half of our name, also appears here in our DNA. It is also no accident that you are here with us. We sincerely believe that each person working at OneHope has been called to this ministry, and that each of you has a unique Spiritual-gifting with which to accomplish your tasks. You may not know the reason why you are here, or whether this season with OneHope will be short or long. But we pray that you will find yourself becoming more H.O.P.E.F.U.L. in your time here. We pray that this DNA, once embedded, will continue to define you, even when you go out from this place. And we pray daily as a leadership team, that OneHope will remain faithful to the calling God has placed on us and to fulfilling our mission, operating every day from this DNA.
Check back on this blog each week as we release the next post in the H.O.P.E.F.U.L. series.