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The Treasures Ginger Gained

Sometimes when we set out to serve others, we end up more challenged and inspired by those we serve than they are by us. In those moments, we discover the truth of Jesus’ words, “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Encompass missionary Ginger Hock has experienced this lesson many times in her 14 years of service in the Central African Republic.

Ginger went to CAR in 2004 with her husband, Tim, but had no particular job in mind for herself when they arrived. A job quickly found her, however, when she was asked if she’d like to work in orphan care. That simple invitation spawned a ministry that has changed Ginger’s life as well as the lives of orphans in CAR.

In 2006, Ginger, with the help of Barb Wooler (now Director of Encompass’ Crisis Response Network) and others, began a network of orphan schools in village churches across CAR called Hand-in-Hand Orphan Schools. Each school teaches 50 students per year in a three-year curriculum that gets students up to about a fifth grade level in reading, writing, and learning the Bible. Students graduate with a higher education level than many people in their village and can be leaders in their church and their community. Some go on to further education.

Ginger’s primary role now is to train the 39 teachers in Bangui each September, but in many ways, she learns more than she teaches. What the village teachers lack in formal education they more than make up for in matters of faith. Ginger says, “I cannot tell you what it is like to sit one on one with teachers who live in extreme conditions of poverty and sickness with no healthcare and experience their faith and their trust in God, who most Americans like me take for granted and doubt every single day. Everything that is coming out of their mouth is gratitude.”

In a word, Ginger finds the experience humbling. She says, “They have taught me by their testimony what real trust is. They are grateful for every little thing. They are thanking God in advance when they are still in the pit.”

These lessons of faith and gratitude are the treasures Ginger will take into her next phase of life and ministry when she retires from Hand-in-Hand this June. She leaves behind a thriving ministry, one that is discipling not only orphan children but also the teachers who lead the schools.

Ginger’s legacy—and that of the teachers she serves—will continue to impact CAR for years to come. That’s because the earliest students served by Hand-in-Hand are now church and community leaders, passing on their faith to the next generation. The ripple effect of discipleship continues, life by life.

Will you join us in praying for Ginger to finish her work in CAR well, and for God’s will to be done regarding the future of Hand-in-Hand Orphan Schools?