Be inspired as alumni who have benefited from gifts to Calvin share stories about their impact around the world. When you support the Calvin Annual Fund, you are supporting the next generation of Christian leaders.
Caring for those who serve: Chris & Rebecca Hirt ’02
Chris and Rebecca Hirt are enabling Bible translation in Southeast Asia. Chris is a technical consultant and software developer whose expertise furthers Bible translation work around the world. Rebecca, a licensed counselor, works with other cross-cultural workers to equip them for the challenges of living overseas.
“Our Calvin education laid a foundation of education and faith, and upon that foundation God built up a desire within us to live lives of service to Him.
After graduating from Calvin, we both found jobs but avoided accumulating many material possessions in hopes of serving internationally. One year after graduation, God opened the door for us to serve at a Christian orphanage in Brazil for abused and abandoned children. Through that experience, Becca developed a desire to pursue training in counseling, asking: ‘Who takes care of the people who serve?’ She earned her master's degree in counseling from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Chris found joy working in Calvin’s Hekman Library as the Library Systems Programmer for four great years.
After several years working and living in Grand Rapids, we made the leap of faith, quit our jobs and left to serve overseas in Southeast Asia. We are grateful to be part of the story God is authoring and thankful for Calvin College’s role in preparing us for serving in ministry.
Though there are many needs in the world, giving to Calvin remains very important. We believe that the investment one person can make has potential to create countless ripples. Yes, until the Lord comes there will be many needs throughout the world. But enabling a student at Calvin is one act of trust and faith in the story God wants to write through the people who serve him.”
A passion for public health: Lydia Dant ’05
Lydia Dant is the former executive director at the Hope for Haiti foundation, which exists to equip and empower Haitians to help themselves through leadership development in medical care, education, spiritual support, environmental care and community initiatives.
“Calvin influenced my career path in many different ways. First, Calvin laid the groundwork for asking questions, examining my experiences and living in an intentional way. As an exercise science major and religion minor, I discovered my passion for helping others and working with people to help them discover their meaning and purpose in the world. Calvin’s programs also allowed me to participate in cross-cultural engagement, studying overseas and learning how history, culture and worldview all influence a person’s life choices. Through all of these experiences, I learned to adopt a learning attitude first and foremost. This ability to discover, listen and learn first has enabled me to work successfully in an international setting.
I currently serve as the executive director for the Hope for Haiti Foundation, where I work to connect our supporters in the U.S. with needs in Haiti. This may mean bringing a cardiologist to Haiti to train our medical staff on treating heart patients at the clinic, or working with U.S.–based teachers to develop a training conference for teachers in Haiti. The organization is unique in that it was founded and is run by Haitians.
At Calvin, peers and professors challenged my beliefs and forced me to examine in what those beliefs were based. This allowed me to be more open to the ways that different cultures relate to Christ, and grew my personal relationship with Him. I began to see how unity in Christ can transcend country, race, political opinion and any distinguishing factor we use to separate people as ‘other.’ With this understanding, each person we work with at Hope for Haiti Foundation is viewed as a child of God, with an amazing purpose to be fulfilled.”
Crazy about Kathmandu: Bimala Pokharel ’99
Bimala Pokharel serves at Cross-Way church in Kathmandu, Nepal, with her husband, Arbin, and their children, Alyssa and Nuel. Bimala founded Higher Ground Ministry, which shares God’s love with disadvantaged and marginalized women through counseling and income-generation skills.
“Life where we serve, in Nepal, is very uncertain. We do not have a stable government. We face various types of political and social strikes that interfere with our daily lives and ministries. But despite many obstacles, God is working powerfully here to bring people to Him.
Calvin gave me a new perspective to see my life as a vocation; I learned about God’s calling in my life. Through each and every class at Calvin, I learned to walk with the Lord, to dream with Him and to reach out to people at risk and in need (both spiritually and physically).
I learned that we are here to engage in the world and be the agents of transformation. What I try to do here every day is to integrate my faith and learning into every aspect of my life and ministry. Through Higher Ground and Cross-Way Ministries we are mentoring young people in Nepal, helping them to acquire skills and encouraging them to walk with the Lord faithfully, to be blessed by Him and use their gifts. That is what I learned at Calvin—to be blessed by God and to be a blessing to others.”