Dave Atkins (pictured) and Asia’s Hope are featured in today’s Mansfield, Ohio, newspaper. Asia’s Hope is an FGBC cooperating organization. Here is an excerpt–to read the entire article click here.
‘Knucklehead from Lexington’ caring for orphans around world
By JAMI KINTON • News Journal • December 28, 2008
LEXINGTON — With help from churches and caring people around the world, Dave Atkins’ dream has come true.
The 1971 Lexington High School graduate and former Lexington Grace Brethren Church pastor is CEO of Asia’s Hope, founded in 2001 “as a grass-roots, non-denominational initiative. Asia’s Hope works to mobilize resources within the Western church to help innovative, indigenous ministries meet spiritual, physical and educational needs among Asia’s poor.”
The Wooster man said the venture was one he never expected to take on.
“People my age, we kind of put Southeast Asia out of our minds — because it meant thinking about the Vietnam War,” Atkins said. “Those were not pleasant memories. As a pastor, I did a lot of mission trips all over the world, but most mission trips are not taken to Asia. You’ll typically just hear of people going to the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Haiti.”
In the early ’90s, Atkins said, the word “Asia” kept running through his head.
“It was weird,” he said. “I tried to ignore it because I didn’t know what it meant. I just kept hearing ‘Asia, Asia.’ I prayed to God and said, ‘What are you asking me to do?’ “
At the time, Atkins was pastor at Grace Brethren.
“I told the director at the time, Tom Julien, that the next time he went to Asia, I wanted to come with him,” he said. “In 1995, he called me and said he was going to Cambodia.”
Atkins went along.
“I was not prepared for what I saw,” Atkins said. “I’ve seen the big stomachs and the starving people, but this just broke my heart. Everywhere we went, I saw death, dumps and starving orphans. The people there don’t know how to stop having babies. The whole place looked like a giant preschool. The infant mortality rate there is the highest in the world.”