One of my core beliefs about work is that it should always be done for the benefit of others. Whether it is the creation of a new product, service, or the way you conduct a B2B relationship, in my opinion, the fruits of your labor should positively impact other human beings. This brings purpose to every endeavor.
Having said this, I also must set the record straight that I take Jesus’ words very seriously in all endeavors, including giving. For those not familiar, Jesus once said, “When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:3-4). My experience has born this out in surprising ways — ways that I’m not going to share here because doing so would diminish the joy found in secrecy.
That disclaimer aside, I am going to share one cause I am particularly passionate about. I am doing so for three reasons: To illustrate the strategic thought needed for giving, to show giving’s best fruits, and to unabashedly introduce this incredible organization to you, the reader. Before proceeding, however, if you sense any pride or self-importance in what follows, it is not my intent.
Like anything else in life, giving aimlessly is better than doing nothing, but still not wise. To this end, I want to give to causes that align with my passions and worldview. As someone that follows Jesus, I am commanded to take care of the orphan and widow (James 1:27). Jesus himself said some striking things as to how far someone should go in serving the poor (Matthew 19:21). So I aim to be intentional in my giving so that it serves the poor, widows, orphans, and everyone else in need.
The Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS) is an organization I was introduced to by my father-in-law when I married Sarah. PAACS is a strategic response to the surgical need in Africa. As any generic Google search demonstrates, the need is great. In some areas of Africa, there is only one surgeon for 250,000 people — and other areas only have one surgeon for 2.5 million!
PAACS trains new surgeons and then sends them to underserved areas in Africa. In the context of Christian organizations, what differentiates PAACS is that it is what I call an “and” ministry, meaning it addresses both physical AND spiritual needs.
A favorite story of mine is when a PAACS surgeon operated on an ISIS soldier. Confused, the ISIS soldier asked why a Christian doctor would operate on a Muslim? The doctor explained he could do nothing BUT operate because Jesus is at the center of the organization.
To be clear, there are thousands of incredible organizations locally and nationally, and I do support many. But, the need in Africa has always pulled at my heartstrings because it feels like a forgotten place. More so, I want any success at Hoffer Plastics to also be good news for someone in a place like Africa. Given that just one trained surgeon can help 55,000 people over a twenty-year career, investing in PAACS strategically addresses this need.
Giving’s Best Fruits
Just giving dollars to an organization is one thing, but my involvement in PAACS has given me something so much deeper that I want to share it here. I am sharing because if you can also find this in your pursuit of giving, you will be blessed beyond belief.
What am I referring to? A relationship.
When I decided to become a PAACS giver I asked if I could be matched directly with a surgeon in training. Why not help someone directly, I thought? In addition, I wondered if there could be an opportunity to get to know them personally. Although my request was new to PAACS at the time, they worked with me and made it happen.
Asaph is the first PAACS resident from the country of Chad! I say this with excitement, because once Asaph is done with training, he will head back to Chad to help address the surgical need there. Asaph currently studies at PAACS’ Bongolo Hospital in Gabon, Africa. Coming full-circle, Bongolo Hospital is the same hospital that my father-in-law has volunteered at once a year for approximately the last two decades.
Because of my father-in-law’s involvement at Bongolo, I was able to FaceTime with Asaph in early 2020. Since then, we have kept up an ongoing dialogue. We share thoughts, short videos, and prayer requests. I always send pictures of Chicago winters as they are unimaginable to Asaph. In short, we have become brothers. I always look forward to hearing from my friend. Our relationship was unexpected, yet is truly the best gift of all.
Discover the Something You Need to Do
I am not asking you to give to PAACS. Frankly, I believe God will move the people he needs to give. But I am asking you to think strategically about your giving. Is there an organization out there that you can help? Better yet, is there a relationship you can form?
What I know is that leaders are worth following because their care runs incredibly deep and they are very intentional about addressing the needs around them. The point of today’s post is to encourage you to do something. What that something is, however, is up for you to discover.
As for me, I am thankful for the amazing work PAACS is doing and will continue to support it, as well as many other unnamed organizations I support, starting with my local Church.
Finally, I look forward to the day that I finally meet Asaph in person because our relationship is the greatest gift that giving to PAACS has provided me.