Andrew Bauman, MACP alumnus and faculty member, shares the inklings on hope turned into action.
Christy: “Hey babe, the realtor called and wants to know if we are ready to make an offer on the condo?”
Andrew: “Well, actually, I have a different idea.”
Christy: “Oh, really?”
Andrew: “I think we should buy land in Malawi and start a non-profit to fight global poverty.”
Christy: “Hmm… Yes, let’s do it.”
I both love and fear my wife, Christy. She understands and encourages my moments of divine delirium. She holds loosely to the dreams of this world and is willing to pursue passions that promise to fill our lives with sacred meaning.
A few months after our wedding we were considering using our wedding money as a down payment for a condo. However, a previous trip to Malawi, Africa was fresh on our hearts. During our time there we fell in love with the people of Malawi. They are a joyous people despite their lack of material wealth. They had something we had little familiarity with: contentment, authentic community and conversations consistently filled with deep resounding laughter.
Ever since our trip we had a lingering sense, or might I suggest call, that we could use our privilege and wealth to help the people of Malawi. So instead of purchasing the condo, we decided to put our wedding money towards the purchase of an 11 acre plot of land outside of Lilongwe, Malawi. With the help of our church we launched a non-profit organization Collective Hope to manage and steward the farm and the work that will occur through it. The vision of Collective Hope is to fight global poverty through renewing hope, re-establishing dignity, and redeeming love.
The last year and a half has been a whirlwind of growth and development. We now have 14 volunteer staff members comprised of Americans and Malawians. Development on the land includes a house occupied by a caretaker and his family, a water well for irrigation, and an 8-acre teaching farm that will be harvested in June 2011. Furthermore, we have formed a local Malawian committee representing 37 villages near the farm. They have received their first micro loan that supports their own farms that serve over 67 families and 14 individuals living with HIV/AIDS. This is the first of many sustainable businesses we hope to create in Malawi in order to alleviate poverty.
As a student at Mars Hill Graduate School I learned to engage our world with humility and with hope, as a learner and a teacher, a bringer of redemption and one in need of redemption. This is the posture that Christy and I attempt to embody as we lead Collective Hope. MHGS taught me to enter into my own story in order to enter into the stories of despair and hope within our broken world. I have learned that in order to serve my hands must be open; I must embody a defenseless posture with a willingness to be impacted and transformed by those I hope to serve. Collective Hope would not have happened without MHGS opening my eyes to the fullness of the gospel story. God’s dreams for this world are audacious. They invite our collective participation in the incredible redemption of Christ. They produce in us a Collective Hope.