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A hope-filled end to 2020

Courtesy of Allen West
Courtesy of Allen West

I think it is a pretty universal sentiment that we cannot wait to put 2020 in our rear-view mirrors, and I could not agree more. But one thing I’d like to pause and celebrate before we bid this tragic year adieu is the generosity and the hope that it has revealed.

As our nation has been rocked in new ways, Americans have realized how interconnected we are as citizens, and how much we all need one another in order to thrive, no matter our different beliefs or roles in society. We have come together to give aid to those in need, perhaps recognizing for the first time how fragile and incomplete our social safety nets are. We were never meant to rely on the government for that security, and I have been encouraged to see how people of all faiths have dug deep to support their fellow Americans – which I believe is what our forefathers intended as well as what God has called His Church to do.

I have been privileged to see this play out in tangible ways at the 501(c)(3) ministry where I serve as president, The Hope Center in North Texas. The Hope Center is an incredible, unique community, serving more than 60 Christian ministry partners working to spread the Word of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ not just in our region, but all across the globe.

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When the pandemic hit early in the year, and many of these ministries had to cancel international outreach plans, they were able to connect with other organizations at The Hope Center, finding other ways to do ministry through collaboration during this worldwide crisis. 

For example, two of our ministries that serve in Africa, Leadership Vistas and Here’s Life Africa, shared that, in addition to COVID-19, parts of Africa were dealing with a massive infestation of locusts, impacting food sources. These ministry leaders were able to connect with one of our larger Christian humanitarian relief ministries, Unto, Inc., which had people and resources on the ground in Africa. Unto, Inc., worked with Leadership Vistas and Here’s Life Africa to have vital basic needs and food sources delivered to their pastors and missionaries serving in those affected areas, partnering to bring relief in Jesus’ name to those who were suffering across the globe.

These kinds of stories infuse us with hope, and we have all seen countless similar examples play out in our spheres during 2020 – the teachers working from home assisting the parents in their neighborhoods with the new challenges of online learning, other furloughed workers stepping in to care for the children of essential workers serving on the frontlines in the pandemic, and everyone learning to appreciate the little things, sharing uplifting stories of hope and joy throughout social media. It was especially encouraging to see communities coming together in support of their local restaurants, committing to take-out at least once a week from their favorite independent dine-in spots, trying to preserve as many jobs as possible.

When I think about what hope truly means to me, I reflect back to earlier this year when I was released from the hospital, able to walk out under my own power following a catastrophic motorcycle accident that could have been fatal or left me paralyzed. Likewise, we have all come to have a new appreciation for life, recognizing how precious and fragile it is. We’ve learned to look after our vulnerable loved ones a little more carefully, and to cherish all of our friends and family members a little more fully.

As we usher 2020 out and welcome in the New Year of 2021, I pray we will not forget the good that has come from this pandemic, and that we will continue to be a people who love and support one another beyond our religious or ideological differences.  Through some of our enforced times of separation, we have learned that we are indeed better together. Just as our ministry partners at The Hope Center have collaborated for the greater good of their mutual Gospel mission, I am hopeful that we as Americans will continue to look out for one another and seek ways to support each other into 2021 and beyond.

Lt. Col. (ret.) Allen West is president and CEO of The Hope Center, a 501(c)(3) incubator of Christian ministries making a global impact for God’s Kingdom. It serves as a center point for Christian activity and ministry here in North Texas, providing professional resources, ideas, mentoring and training to empower ministries to magnify their reach. Lt. Col. West is a combat veteran, former Member of the U.S. Congress, an author and speaker, and chair of the Texas GOP.

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