It was the fall of 2013. Field of Hope was a very small nonprofit, but we had made the commitment to bring Agnes Obote from Uganda to the US to take part in the WomenReach events at several John Deere facilities in Iowa and Kansas. Agnes was in charge of a church agriculture program in Uganda that had partnered with Field of Hope on many occasions. For each of the events, our co-founder Brandy Young would lead a Q&A interview session with Agnes, asking about her upbringing, agriculture methods and practices, and what life was like during and after the 20-year civil war in Uganda. The presentation was very impactful and emotional.
We were in the John Deere facility in Olathe, KS, for one of the events, and I can distinctly remember one of the John Deere senior executives coming up to me after the meeting and sharing how meaningful the meeting had been to him. He asked for more information about how he could get involved with Field of Hope.
We talked for a short time and after the meeting finished, Dan invited us to his home, where we met his wife Anne. We had a great discussion, followed by another meeting later on at a restaurant in Des Moines to discuss their further involvement. Shortly after that last meeting, Dan and Anne both joined the Field of Hope Board of Directors.
I can very well remember how excited Brandy, Cathy, and I were to have Dan and Anne involved in Field of Hope. Even though I did not know Dan well while I was working at Deere, I knew he was held in high regard by the folks with whom I worked – he was universally liked and appreciated.
Shortly after Dan joined Field of Hope, he accepted the position of Board President, and the rest is history! Dan’s contribution to Field of Hope is nothing short of amazing. His steady hand and humble spirit were exactly what the organization needed. As I have said so many times, he was the adult in the room to guide the Field of Hope board through the period of growth in our ministry and outreach.
One of Dan’s unique gifts is the way he can take sometimes disparate thoughts and ideas and distill those into cogent work plans and action items. He always treats everyone with respect, and he possesses a unique way of listening to everyone and letting them know their ideas are worthwhile. He asks the pivotal questions and spurs progress while considering all options and visualizing the bigger picture. Dan is steadfast in his support and is a strong representation of steady faith. He truly represents Micah 6:8 in that he acts justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly, as demonstrated through his actions as Board Chair.
I believe God has been exceptionally instrumental in the history of Field of Hope, giving us exactly the right people to lead and serve at exactly the right time. Brandy was obviously the visionary and the person so critical to help birth the organization. Others nurtured it early on, trying to breathe life into it and bring it fully into being. Dan’s tenure as Board President provided just the kind of leadership needed to begin building the structure to a new level of professionalism. His willingness to complete the Ministry Venture training paid huge dividends to Field of Hope. Said another way, Dan was exactly the right person to lead Field of Hope through our formative years, and I can’t thank him enough. I will always be indebted to him.
Anne has also been a tremendous blessing to Field of Hope. We love her and are grateful for her generous heart. Anne’s donations of her Noonday commissions have made an enormous contribution to the resources of Field of Hope, and her work through Noonday has touched many people who otherwise would not have known about our organization. We would say that God has equally yoked Dan and Anne.
I am always amazed how God can orchestrate and arrange circumstances to bring about His will. We had no idea that Agnes’s trip to the US would also bring us into contact with Dan and Anne Strempke, who have played such a vital role with Field of Hope.
I could go on and on, but this is just a way to let Anne and Dan know how much we love them, and how grateful we are for their humility, their servant leadership, their contributions of time and resources, and their love and dedication to Field of Hope. There is no question: our organization could not be where it is today without their efforts.
With admiration and love,
Mike and Cathy and the Field of Hope Family