Faces 4 Hope History – Our Story

Jack and I thought we were going to live the ‘American Dream’ of an amazing retirement, where we would travel, have a condo on a lake, visit family, and just have time on our side.  Jack had our retirement planned from the time we got married, as he is the planner in our family.  Our plan took a turn for the better in 2007, when Jack and I led a small mission’s trip into Tanzania, and God gave us hearts and love for another country and the people.  His Word became life as the poor were everywhere, and the widows had no value, and the orphans were forgotten. These people became a part of our lives…a part of our every day thoughts, prayers, conversation, funds, but most of all our hearts.  I left the country crying, returned home and have never been the same.  The Lord continued to lay these people on our hearts and we started going back again, and again.  Jack sold his business early, our retirement plan took a twist as we both knew it was time…it was time to leave the comforts of life as we knew it in America, and go live in the thorns and dust of Tanzania.  Our hot showers became buckets of cold water, and our meals became rice and beans.  It was time to take all that we have learned through our years of planning for retirement, and pay it forward.  We now have two countries we call home.

We saw needs, and God took our hands to be ’His’ hands and feet in order to meet those needs of the people in the country of Tanzania.  We were able to do this through partners in the Faces 4 Hope, a 501c3 non profit organization, which is no only growing in Tanzania, and the name is becoming more well-known in the rest of the world.

Even though we have helped build schools, water tanks, training centers, sponsored children, it is the people who tug at our hearts.  It is the poorest of the poor, and the HIV widows, and the fatherless orphans.  It is the stories of faith, patience, love and mercy that give us the heart to continue.  At times, we feel the Old Testament has come alive and we are living in it, and other times, we feel we are on the outside looking in at National Geographic. There is just something special about the purity of tribal life, yet, there is such great sadness within people who do not know the Truth in life. We feel blessed to be able to watch a mom’s face when you tell her that her child can go to school, or dad to begin to value their child, or to sit in a boma, our eyes hurting from smoke, sweat dripping down our backs, drinking tea made from muddy water, but know we are loving “our neighbor as God loves us”.

Each time we arrive in Tanzania, I think, “Why are we here again?”  It is poor and dusty and dry.  There is poverty everywhere and it is dangerous driving around this place.”  We feel like outsiders in a foreign land among a completely different culture and language.  We see the unclothed child sitting in dirt by himself, as another runs up and gives us a hug, knowing he has just played in cow dung.  We see the sadness of a young girl being enslaved at her boma, unable to leave because she is to care for the goats, and the young boys forced to become a warrior, and more.  But…we love it…No, we love them.  We love this land and these people.  We are constantly amazed at their beauty and their love for the simple things in life.  We are humbled by the leaders we work with, as they are constantly teaching us life lessons, such as we are to love all, including the brother who sold his young sister for cows.  Their testimonies are ones we have heard nothing like. There is no greater commandment that God gives us than to “Love one another”, because there is no greater joy than doing just that.  The more we give to these people, the more they give back and more humble we try to become.

Living out of a bucket becomes a blessing, and true joy to be able to have clean water to pour over our bodies.  Living at night with a headlamp for light becomes a peaceful setting where you can only hear the animals and life outside of your small room.  There is such a peace about God’s land as it is, and simplicity in life.  We go to help the poor and the widows and the orphans, but they have shown us God’s Words being lived out day by day.  At times we get discouraged, when we lose one, and I just cry.  We are reminded what we have learned from the Director of the YWAM Arusha base, John and Jacinta Mukolwe.  One at a time…one life at a time…it is all worth it, even if it means just one.

We chose to step out in Faith that God will give, not only for the poor, the orphans, and the widows, but that He will care for us and hold our hands along the way…the journey into being missionaries after 55 years old.  We are so blessed as we learned to just go serve and God will do the rest.

Not all may go, but we invite you to join us in any way to share this journey in our life, in Tanzania, in the lives of these people.

Today, we have young girls who have been saved from trafficking, and 76 students going to school instead of becoming child brides, or warriors.

Today, we have a primary school built, and students getting a quality education.

Today, we have camps where the young children and high school students are learning more and more on how Jesus can hold their hands and their hearts through this life.

Today, we have water tanks built and water is flowing to serve a community.

Today, we have medical clinics, a country store.

Today, we have widows with businesses through the  micro loans.

Today, we have a group of young mamas who can say, “I sewed that dress.”

We are excited for tomorrow to see what exciting things God has in store for the future of this place and its leaders.  We are excited to see these leaders lead their people out of poverty and into a world of Hope.


Holly Stagge

Co-Founder/Executive Director

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