12 Nov Faith and Passion: Creating a Pathway for Outstanding Achievement

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17

When we left off, Hope’s founder, Philip Smith, had just arrived in Brazil and was fortunate enough to receive a gift in the form of an orphanage just north of São Paulo. Despite progress being made, many obstacles remained, and those obstacles required no simple solutions. For starters, the orphanage itself was in far from ideal condition, and around $120,000 would be required to bring it back to a habitable state. Even with Philip’s immense passion, obtaining such finances did not seem realistic, making this generous gift of no practical use. Thankfully, God had other ideas.

Menlo Church (at that time known as Menlo Park Presbyterian Church) announced that they would give a one-time grant to a startup organization in the amount of almost exactly what Philip needed. He applied for the grant along with 49 other organizations that were devoted to change. He had a relentless passion far beyond any form of passive involvement. As a result, his project was selected, marking the creation of Hope Unlimited for Children. In 1992, when the first boys were welcomed into the orphanage, and surrounded by an environment filled with love, education, and opportunity, the future held nothing but promise.

When every boy ran away, though, it became apparent that changing old ways would not be so simple. Transforming the lives of these children required discipline, something that a nurturing environment alone could not provide. These children needed to develop trust in systems and structures, highlighting the differences between right and wrong. However, because they had been systematically oppressed, and subjected to violence and suffering for their entire lives, how could such abrupt change be expected? This internal development did not come easily, but as the organization progressed and persisted in its mission, these children began to recover from trauma of the past and truly understand what it means to be part of a loving family and community.

Hope CampusSince those early days, Hope Unlimited has evolved into an expansive organization, with a second campus in another city, a preschool, a program to transition graduates into the workforce, a graduate church, and many other spectacular additions. Philip’s passion has led to outstanding achievements, and despite many obstacles, Hope’s core mission of providing a sense of family to those who need it the most has prevailed.


Matthew Barber

guest contributor