Forty babies in a room. Ten on tiny shelves lined each wall. Silence. The babies had learned not to cry because no one was there to feed, hold or change them. Randy and Sue Jessen had never experienced anything like this until they led a mission trip to Romania in 1996. As the mission team discussed their experiences in the orphanage, the Jessen’s realized they could offer long-term, hands-on hope to these children.
Global Hope was born.
Randy describes the beginning as just a “mom and pop kind of deal.”
“Originally, it was funded through our friends and family,” Randy said. “We told them, if you’d like to give us a birthday gift this year, please make a financial contribution to Global Hope. Those birthday gifts were the original funding.”
In the beginning Global Hope worked within the state orphanage system in Romania to provide nurses as extra staff members. These orphanages housed 250 infants, all under one-year-old, with only three to four staff members. Global Hope’s vision was to create a Christian group home to bring the children out of the orphanage and into a Christian family.
In 1999, Global Hope built Ana’s House, named after their adopted, Romanian daughter, in Arad, Romania. This home currently provides a family-like environment for seven children. Twenty-four children from Ana’s House have gone on to live full lives and are now attending college, working, building homes and raising families.
Randy will always remember the first four toddlers who came to Ana’s House. Although only four-years-old, Flavius, the oldest, intuitively knew that he was the big brother and started taking care of the others.
“That experience was cool that Flavius would do that, but it was a great reminder of the needs that these kids have,” Randy said. “At four-years-old you don’t become the parent and responsible for the safety of other children.”
Currently, Global Hope has almost 700 children under their umbrella in three different countries. In the beginning, the Jessen’s couldn’t envision a global ministry, but seemingly small acts of obedience have a way of growing.