In 2001 Dr. Carolyn Klaus joined a mission team going to Ethiopia to teach pastors about AIDS. She brought her years of experience caring for AIDS patients in inner city Philadelphia. The trip was very successful. Over the next months, she incorporated Hope In View as a non-profit charity in Indiana to send resources to Ethiopian ministries she had seen first-hand.
When she was invited back to do further training, her husband Dr. Ronald L. Klaus came along to assist her. During that trip the General Secretary of Ethiopia’s association of Protestants learned of his experience as a pastor of a church based on small home discipleship groups and asked him to return to teach Ethiopian denominational leaders how to replicate this. That led to further contacts. Since then Ron and Carolyn Klaus have returned to Ethiopia repeatedly, often 3-4 times a year for 4-8 weeks at a time.
At first the Klauses worked on parallel tracks. Carolyn trained church leaders to respond wisely to the AIDS epidemic and helped the health system prepare to use antiretroviral drugs, which were just coming into the country. Ron enabled church leaders to disciple through small interactive groups. Gradually they realized that though church leaders were receiving good training on AIDS, they could rarely implement it if their people had not first been discipled. Furthermore, that discipling had to deal with far more than “spiritual” matters; God was concerned with all aspects of people’s lives. Therefore they shifted their emphasis to helping churches to form small disciple-making groups and train and support leaders of those groups.
One church in southwest Addis Ababa seemed to grasp this more than most. Already 250-300 people living with HIV were attending their weekly “support group” meetings, and many volunteers from the church offered practical support to these people as they were able. When some motivated teenagers in the USA asked to come to Ethiopia with Klauses, Carolyn arranged for them to visit these families, document their stories, take pictures, and then find sponsors for these children back home. This gave birth to Hope In View Child Sponsorship Program and its Ethiopia partner, Community Transformation Ethiopia, now a government-licensed child sponsorship agency. Together with many volunteers from local churches, they now support well over a hundred children, many affected by HIV, in two of Addis’s poorest neighborhoods.
In recent years, Klauses and Hope In View volunteers have focused mostly on discipling-but with a more wholistic meaning. Where everyone struggles with severe poverty, Biblical economics becomes a hot topic. Several Hope In View volunteers have combined biblical teaching on money management with teaching on basic business skills. They have also tried various means of helping people start small businesses. The most successful of these have been small self-help savings groups, who without outside subsidy save their own money together, make internal loans to one another, and use the money to begin income-generating activities. Hope In View’s teaching on biblical economics has also led to helping churches and groups of churches transition from depending on subsidy from outsiders to sustaining themselves financially.
Hope In View’s emphasis on disciple-making includes an increasingly broader constituency. We now partner with several Protestant denominations, a Catholic renewal movement, groups within the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and others who are interested in developing small groups effective in helping people obey everything that Jesus commanded. Hope In View’s Ethiopian colleagues have themselves raised up more than 2000 such small groups using Hope In View materials. Hope In View is continuing to create materials in two local languages as well as training systems that will enable Ethiopians to bring such movements to self-sustaining maturity without the direct involvement of expatriates.