April 06, 1978 – February 08, 2022
LETTER FROM HOPE IN VIEW’S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CAROLYN KLAUS
I met CJ about 16 years ago when she and her 9th grade sweetheart Scott were leading a youth program for their church in Kouts, IN. Still newlyweds, the two seemed to throw everything they had into loving a lot of teenagers. Some of those teens came on our first team trip to Ethiopia, during which Hope In View’s child sponsorship program was born. CJ and Scott not only sponsored some of the children whose stories and pictures their teens brought back; they also helped to mobilize everyone they knew to sponsor children. A few weeks later, 50 needy children in Ethiopia had sponsors.
A couple of years later, Scott and CJ traveled to Ethiopia themselves to adopt their daughter Yohanna. Then the summer of 2010, our previous child sponsorship coordinator abruptly quit. Desperate, I called CJ to ask her to pray about taking the position. “No, I don’t need to pray about that! I’ve been asking God for weeks how I could be more involved in helping Ethiopians. This is an answer to my prayers! I’ll do it!”
And did she ever! She single-handedly organized the records of a growing assortment of sponsors and children, managed correspondence with our Ethiopian team, oversaw bank transfers and receipts, put up a Facebook page, started putting out newsletters, and visited Ethiopia two more times.
It is no overstatement to say that she radically changed the lives of well over 200 Ethiopian families. Only God knows the joy that sponsorship has brought into the lives of many Americans as well.
She did this without pay, without help from others until about three years ago, and while working part-time as a physical therapist.No modern job-search engine could have found someone with more impeccable organizational skills or more fiery determination to see each child and sponsor receive good care
She has now passed the baton to others. Jeanette Lespect, Hope In View’s Chief Operating Officer since fall 2020, has gradually taken over CJ’s responsibilities as she became unable to do them. Together, they also planned changes to implement as the program grows. Friends of CJ and volunteers, Jenny Vandermeer, Cynthia Shields, and Karen Kandel accepted responsibility for donations and deposits, newsletter preparation, and Facebook updates. Peggy Garcia continues to coordinate new sponsorships. The transition has been amazingly seamless. Though we could use additional volunteers, we are ready for continued growth, and in fact are praying for 50 new sponsors.
However, we and the team in Ethiopia will be forever indebted to CJ, without whom we would have no child sponsorship program. She saw a need and without fanfare stepped into it. Her family and friends, in whose number I was privileged to count myself, have many other reasons to miss her, but hundreds of people who do not even know her name owe their well-being to her.
Thank you CJ! May your example inspire us all to live up to the potential that God has given to each of us.
– Carolyn Klaus, Executive Director