the shape of leadership

Vision From Blindness

A conversation with Rob Hoskins

Chris Colvin on May 21, 2020

What would you do if you woke up tomorrow completely blind? How drastically different would your life be if the ability to see were taken from you?

Rob Hoskins, president of One Hope, knows the answer to that question because he lived it.

Hoskins grew up on the mission field in Beirut and later France, where his father, Bobby Hoskins, was a missionary. Rob’s wife, Kim, had her own formative experiences in Latin America, where her parents, Elmer and Lee Bueno, served as missionaries.

Rob and Kim were ready to fulfill their own dream of missions work together in the Ivory Coast.

Tragically, months before they were to leave in 1988, Rob was struck with a congenital condition that left him with detached retinas and a complete lack of sight. Their new normal meant cancelled plans for ministry. Add to that the financial hardships they were facing, and the couple was in a tough place.

“I was struggling with the enemy lying to me, saying, ‘Not only can you not fulfill your dreams, you can’t even provide for your family,’” Hoskins says.

Around the same time, Bobby Hoskins was going through a time of prayer and fasting, sensing the Lord was redirecting his ministry. He saw a vision of children all over the world who were in desperate situations and in desperate need of hope. Bobby believed that hope could come only by placing the Word of God in their hands.

Rob decided to help his father fulfill that vision.

“Kim and I were arrested by this physical blindness, but we were given new spiritual sight,” Hoskins says.

Through prayer and treatment, they also began a journey to recovery, trusting God for their next steps. Within a year, Hoskins regained his eyesight. After six surgeries, the results exceeded even doctor’s expectations.

“In that time, Kim and I learned obedience, trust, and the miraculous that still leads our ministry today,” Hoskins says.

Not only was Hoskins’ sight restored, but his vision was renewed. Those days working to help his father find an answer to the problems the Lord showed him were the seeds that sprouted into a new ministry called One Hope.

Reaching Kids

The mission of One Hope is to provide children with a relevant gospel message.

“Our desire is to affect destinies, not just modify current circumstances,” Hoskins says. “In that vision my father had, he heard the Lord say, ‘The only thing that will overcome this is truth. My Word is truth. Take my Word to every child.’”

That mandate has stayed with the team from the start. They believe God’s Word has the power to bring eternal life change and a fulfilling life on earth. Since One Hope began, over 1.6 billion children have received a relevant presentation of God’s Word in their own language. That equates to reaching 234 children every minute of every day.

“Kim and I were arrested by this physical blindness, but we were given new spiritual sight.”
— Rob Hoskins

Today over 300 active programs exist in 154 countries around the globe, and One Hope has shared the gospel in over 170 languages.

Capturing the hearts of children requires not only putting the message in their languages but also presenting it in a way that makes a connection. One Hope has partnered to expand beyond just print and into cutting-edge animation, YouTube channels and mobile apps.

“It’s not just about quantity but about the quality of the Scripture resources we’re handing out, and that’s in response to local churches who know their children better than we do,” Hoskins says. “We listen to the pastors and children’s workers to find the best way to share God’s Word.”

Local Partners

Partnerships with the local church have always been crucial to accomplishing the mission.

Years ago, the minister of education for El Salvador received a Spanish-language Bible from One Hope, along with a letter expressing a desire to help the children of the nation. The minister replied and asked One Hope to send a Bible for every child in El Salvador.

This open door was an answer to prayer. But rather than letting the government distribute the books, One Hope leaders wanted local churches in El Salvador to do the work of evangelism.

Rob and Kim reached out to her uncle, John Bueno, who was pastoring in El Salvador at the time. Bueno mobilized Assemblies of God churches all over the country to hand out books to children from village to village.

“That is our method to this day,” Hoskins says.

The goal for 2020 is to reach 123 million children. When people ask how One Hope does it, Hoskins points to church partners around the world.

“The local church reaches the children in their community,” Hoskins says. “We just partner with them to do it.”

Measuring Multiplication

One Hope has a vision of reaching the children of every nation by 2030. How could it ever accomplish such a large task?

Hoskins explains One Hope’s approach as outcome-based ministry.

“That year of blindness and restored vision helped me become a faithful steward,” he says.

Part of faithfulness is fruitfulness, Hoskins explains. That means focusing on the most effective ways to do ministry.

Outcome-based ministry is founded on two pillars: research and collaboration. Research is all about discovering the truth. One Hope looks behind the problems it is addressing, asking intentional questions of every country and culture reached. For example, what challenges are children facing? What ministry methods are working now?

Collaboration means reaching out to local church partners around the world.

“We live in a globally connected world, and nobody should be doing ministry in isolation anymore,” Hoskins says.

Collaboration has made the difference in everything One Hope does.

“One Hope is here to help the Church,” Hoskins says. “And that’s where we begin to see exponential growth. When the Church comes together in power and unity and invokes the power and presence of the Spirit, nothing can stop it.”

As One Hope prepares to reach its goal in the next 10 years, it stays focused on what’s happening day to day. Taking nothing for granted, including his sight, Hoskins remains a faithful friend to the Church and a visionary for reaching children around the world with the good news of Jesus.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2020 edition of Influence magazine.

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