SANTA ROSA BEACH, FL – The title of this article may be a bit misleading. It is not intended to be. It is, however, intended to be intriguing.
As well as providing an introduction to the Florida-based FBO, Hope for the World, I want to share how the Lord directed me to it.
I have followed a somewhat normal investigative routine to find and extrapolate the information we share about NGOs on Missions Box. My routine always begins with prayer. Then I begin my subject search. The Lord redirected my path today in a most unusual way.
As I was checking my email, I received a notice about an upcoming Celebration of Life for Michelle Lancaster. The Lord has healed her of her long battle with cancer by bringing her into His Presence. Her husband, Paul Lancaster, is well known in the realm of Southern Gospel Music. He has performed with several eminent groups over the past years and currently sings with The Booth Brothers.
As I read the notification, I was attracted to a sentence that said,
“In lieu of flowers, we suggest contributions to the Lancaster family to apply to expenses that were accrued during Michelle’s illness. An additional option is to make a donation to “Hope for the World” in memory of Michelle. She and Paul have supported this organization for [many] years.”
I had not previously heard of “Hope for the World,” so I forsook my usual routine to discover a ministry more than worthy of sharing on Missions Box.
“Hope for the World’s” gameplan is to reach the country of Albania for Christ
“by providing the basic physical, spiritual and emotional needs of the orphans and the community by mentoring and discipling those children to be followers of Christ and good working citizens in their communities.”
Roger Mullins visited an Albanian orphanage in 1992. He discovered that the orphans were sleeping in buildings with no heat, no mattresses, and no blankets. There were as many as 30 children in a room. It was so cold inside the orphanage that you could see the air coming from the children as they exhaled. That became the seed that grew into “Hope for the World.”
As I researched the 28 years of “Hope for the World” ministry, I learned that Roger Mullins and his wife, Cheri, are now residents of Albania, overseeing the work of nine orphan homes, a center for elder care, and a “Hope Center” that serves more than 400 teenagers.
I also learned that the “Hope for the World” Foundation has been recognized as the number one NGO in the country of Albania and has been awarded the prestigious Mother Teresa Award by the President of Albania, the highest award given to a humanitarian organization. Albania’s Director of Social Services has publicly recognized that “Hope for the World has not only changed the lives of the orphans of Albania but has changed the country of Albania.”
Something kept bothering me as I continued to study “Hope for the World.” In the corner of my mind, I kept thinking that the name Roger Mullins was familiar. I began to realize why when I saw that Buddy Mullins, Roger’s son, is the CEO of “Hope for the World.”
Buddy Mullins is best known as an outstanding Southern Gospel vocal artist and songwriter. He was one of the writers of the beloved Gospel song, “It’s Still the Cross.” Buddy was inducted into the Gospel Music Association’s Hall of Fame for his time singing with the Grammy and Dove Award-winning Gaither Vocal Band. Over the past 30 years, he has been an integral part of several touring groups, beginning with The Mullins Family. (I knew I had heard that name somewhere!)
In 2015 Buddy and his wife, Kerrie, stepped away from Christian music as their primary ministry to take the reins of “Hope for the World.” Buddy’s concert ministry now provides support to the work in Albania, where, over the past 28 years, more than 10,000 orphans have been touched by the ministry started by the Mullins family.
Buddy testifies that “100% of the teens that have gone to our Hope Center have accepted Christ and have a relationship with Him.”’
He adds, with thanksgiving, that “We have a wide-open door with the government of Albania to continue to reach the country of Albania because Hope for the World has always done what they said they would do.”
As my research was drawing to a close, I was surprised to discover how Paul Lancaster had come to suggest donations in lieu of flowers be sent to “Hope for the World” in celebration of Michelle’s life.
Paul’s entrance into the world of Southern Gospel music was as a member of the musical Mullins Family! Having supported “Hope for the World” together for so many years, asking others to do so in his wife’s memory is testimony to the integrity and impact of the ministry in Albania.