It was my first internship. I was 18 years old. I had just finished my freshman year of college. While I was away at school, my parents had just made a cross-country move to Nashville, Tennessee, and the prospect of finding an internship in a new city where I had no connections and no friends after what had been a spiritually, physically, and emotionally exhausting freshman year seemed utterly overwhelming. I did not even know where to begin. Then, one day, my mom forwarded me an email from Show Hope about their internship program. At the time, I had no idea that one email would be the beginning of a life-changing experience–one that would not only change my major and give me a new passion and perspective on my goals but also challenge and revitalize my faith in ways that I never anticipated…
My experiences that summer are one of many reasons I am so excited to be sharing with you about our new organization spotlight: Show Hope.
The Heart Behind the “Movement”
Show Hope is a Christian non-profit organization based in Franklin, Tennessee, a Nashville suburb that honestly deserves the title of city in its own right. However, Show Hope is much more than just another non-profit stuck in the middle of the Bible belt. It is–in the organization’s own words–a movement:
“…a movement to care for orphans, restoring the hope of a family to orphans in distress around the world.”
Show Hope was founded by Christian musical artist Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth. Back in 2000, they adopted their daughter, Shaohannah, from China, and God used that to begin stirring their hearts toward taking action on a wider scale. In 2003, they launched Shaohannah’s Hope, or Show Hope, as the organization is now called, in an effort to make a difference in the lives of orphans around the world.
I grew up listening to Chapman’s music (my dad still loves to recount the story of a time in St. Joseph, Missouri, when he and my mom watched Chapman perform a concert with an acoustic guitar while standing on a picnic table) and was familiar with their work long before coming to Tennessee. My parents followed the development of the couple’s organization and were passionate supporters of their work. There was almost always a Show Hope newsletter lying in the stack of magazines on our end table, and I knew enough to know this was an outstanding organization making a significant impact.
None of that prepared me for what life working in the Show Hope office would actually be like. The first time I walked into the office as an intern and received the grand tour, two things stuck out to me: the people and the swing. Every person I spoke to greeted me. Here I was, a young, inexperienced college student, coming in as a communications intern. Yet, every single person treated me like I mattered. They let me do work that mattered. They genuinely believed everyone’s contribution mattered–even a college student who was not even sure what she wanted to major in. That mindset permeates the entire organization. These are people who are passionate about making a difference and humble enough to recognize that this task is nothing that they can accomplish in their own strength. Rather, they are choosing to give their all to serve Jesus and following his guidance to help mobilize others.
The other major moment that stuck out to me in that initial office tour was the moment I came around the corner and pulled up short at a sight I was not expecting. There, in the center of the office, hanging from the rafters in between desks, was a giant swing. “It’s for the kids,” someone explained to me, apparently noting my befuddled expression.
It’s for the kids. That simple statement captures so well everything that I love and respect about Show Hope.
How Do They Make a Difference
Show Hope influences the lives of orphans through a variety of different ways. One of the major ones is adoption aid grants. In the past thirteen years, in addition to providing emotional and spiritual support, they’ve helped 5,000 children from 53 countries around the world come home to their forever families.
However, it was not long before the Chapman family felt called to action that would move them beyond fundraising into a new chapter: opening their own care center for special need orphans in China, the nation where they themselves adopted three children. This led to the birth of Maria’s Big House of Hope, an orphan care center that has now expanded to include four other care centers. Watch the video
of the flagship care center’s grand opening here to get a taste of their work in China.
They also have launched programs to educate and engage all sectors of society. From specialized opportunities and trips for high school and college students, seeking to mobilize and teach our generation to be more active in orphan care, to church partnerships and the broader advocacy model that will fit just about anyone, this is an organization that truly practices what it preaches.
How Can You Get Involved
One of the best things about Show Hope, also, is that they are an organization that recognizes and readily embraces the importance of volunteers, meaning that they offer many, many ways for us to hop in and get involved. Here are just a few to get you thinking. You can…
- Sponsor. Maybe it means a few less cups of coffee or not buying that new shirt (or Xbox game). However, to make a difference in a child’s life, this is totally worth the sacrifice.
- Advocate. Maybe you do not have the financial bandwidth right now to make the commitment to being a sponsor, but you definitely can give of your time, helping to raise awareness and spread knowledge.
- Intern. Seriously, if I haven’t raved enough about my experience working with Show Hope, I’ll say it again here. Doing an internship with them is a fantastic way to both follow the James 1:27 call to help orphans, while also gaining work experience with a wonderful non-profit.
- Join the Red Bus Project. Show Hope’s ministry specifically for college students is a recent and growing enterprise. They have a thrift store on wheels and many other opportunities for involvement. Check them out on the Red Bus website here.
- Pray. Each month, Show Hope shares a prayer focus blog post about one of the children in their care centers. In addition to praying for the organization’s work as a whole, we can join them this month in praying for Raven.
Involvement is going to look like something different for every one of us, but we are all called to be engaged and making a difference. In orphan care, Show Hope is a fantastic place to start. It’s an organization that is changing the lives of orphans, and–as I can personal attest–the lives of everyone involved with it.
What next step of involvement is God calling you toward?
With His Hope,