The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches. — Matthew 13:31-32
Show Hope’s very existence can be traced back to the passion of a student—11-year-old Emily Chapman who God used to plant a seed in the hearts of her parents through her passion and her voice. That seed not only grew to irrevocably shape the Chapman family but through the many branches of the Show Hope tree, countless others as well.
“[My parents’] engagement with Show Hope became something that was evident to me from an early age as something really important to them, and because it was important to them, I knew it was important to God,” Michael Snook, son of long-time Show Hope supporters James and Millie Snook, explained.
James and Millie first learned about Show Hope in its early days. At the time, they were neckdeep in the day-to-day of parenting four young children, but even in the busyness of that season, a seed was planted. That seed began to really grow in 2009 when James and Millie were invited to attend Show Hope’s annual Fellowship Weekend.
“It kind of opened our eyes, and we sort of took a deep dive into the work that Show Hope was doing,” Millie said. “Really that became part of our family’s DNA.”
And so, as they went about the work of raising their boys, James and Millie also threw themselves into the work of caring for children who had been orphaned.
“When something is important to you, you put your money where your mouth is,” Millie said. “Where you invest—that’s how you see people’s priorities. Both with their finances, and with their time, and also with their talents.”
The Snooks began supporting Show Hope financially and inviting their community to join them. They involved themselves in the planning and execution of an annual conference at their church geared toward equipping families impacted by adoption and/or foster care. And perhaps most importantly, they talked with their children and involved them in the work they were doing.
“From an early age, my brothers and I, all four of us, have been surrounded by the message of the importance of family,” Michael said. “No child should be left out of one.”
In 2018, Michael enrolled at Grand Canyon University (GCU) in Phoenix, Arizona. There, building upon the dedication and passion he’d witnessed in his parents, Michael launched an orphan care ministry on campus.
“A lot of the idea for this campus ministry was fueled by a growing sense of urgency in my own heart to do something about the orphan crisis within my age demographic,” Michael said. “I hadn’t seen it being talked about a lot, so I had a conviction to do something about it.”
HOME, Global Adoption Outreach is a GCU campus ministry purposed to “support and partner with local adoptive families while raising awareness and presenting solutions for the global orphan crisis” through campus-based events, trauma-informed classes, and by engaging and equipping students on campus to use what they learn to partner with and support local, adoptive families.
In their first year on campus, HOME directly engaged more than 500 students on GCU’s campus through classes and projects and reached thousands more through marketing and social media.
“There was a lot of success this year, and a lot of hope for the years to come,” Michael said. “Our long-term goal is to be able to do active ministry with families who have already adopted or fostered children. We want to enable students to reach those families and be a blessing to them.”
This past spring, HOME hosted Olivia Stanton, Show Hope’s Coordinator of Student Initiatives, at an event to discuss Show Hope’s Pause Campaign.
“We are trying to present different solutions to the global orphan crisis—whether that be family reunification, Show Hope’s Pause Campaign, or other solutions that have been working to end the orphan crisis through systematic change or through general awareness—like Show Hope has done so effectively with students my age,” Michael said.
James and Millie, meanwhile, have watched in awe as Michael stewards the seeds that were planted so long ago. “We have been passionate all our years to make an impact in other people’s lives,” James said. “Then to have Michael take that passion up himself and to want to reach kids his age … I’m just a really proud father. And I’m sure the Father’s proud of him too.”
“To see this work going forth, and understanding, Oh, we do what we do as the parents, we plant the seeds and we hope and pray, and know that God will take that,” Millie added. “If we set our efforts and our minds and everything we do on building his kingdom, he is the one who is going to make that multifold.”
Beyond the Snooks’ resolve to invest in caring for the needs of orphans today—raising funds for adoptions, resourcing and equipping adoptive families, and faithfully giving to Show Hope— they feel it is just as important to invest in future endeavors that focus on caring well for children who have been orphaned.
“Students [are] the next generation that is going to be caring for these kids,” Michael said. “Unless we continue to have the ability to enable students—unless we can continue engaging students with the message of the orphan crisis—there’s going to be a drop-off. There’s going to be an empty hole between my parents’ generation and the next generation of parents.”
“We need to think of things beyond our own lifetime. Investing in [Show Hope’s] Student Initiatives is something that will change the lives of the next generation and then the next generation,” Millie said. “In my opinion, there’s no greater thing. Because something that will continue beyond our own time on this earth and our own present work—that’s a good investment.”