Twelve years ago I started a tiny little center that was a half a room in a building shared with another ministry. I was the receptionist, client advocate, and director—and the cleaning lady also. Never, in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what God was going to do with our ministry. Never could I have seen the shaping, breaking, and rebuilding that I would go through for His purpose of guiding and leading a ministry that He wanted to expand!
We now have three centers, one on the Apache Indian Reservation—the only one on a reservation in the country. We have over 1,200 combined client visits a month! We have a small maternity home that houses three moms with little ones. Last year we opened a resale boutique that employs our Hope House residents and brings in revenue to the ministry.
Watching all of this grow was at times overwhelming but incredibly exhilarating. However, after twelve years, I knew it was time to retire. Not only was I weary, but also I didn't want to be one of those Founder/Executive Directors who was hanging on way past my time. However, this presented a real problem. It is difficult to replace the founder of any organization. That person is the identity of the ministry. The founder is the one with passion and vision, and this is not something that is learned—it is God-given. So, how do you replace THAT?
I started looking for my replacement years ago. I chose—God replaced my choice with His choice. Transition is difficult for any organization. Ours was the best situation possible, and the ministry continued without a bump when I left, which goes to show you that EVERYBODY is replaceable—even the founder!
One of my blessings has been to write this column highlighting the needs of Rural Centers. I thank all of you who gave me feedback and encouragement. This is my last column for this wonderful magazine. God bless all of you who continue to be on the front lines in this battle.
Dinah Monahan, now retired, is founder of Living Hope Women's Centers / Hope House Maternity Home in Show Low, Arizona. At the Center is deeply grateful to Dinah for her faithful years of writing this column. God bless you, Dinah!