HOPE Floats!

by Ducia Hamm, Associate Director of Affiliate ServicesRat

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV (emphasis added)

Back in the 1950’s, Curt Richter, a well-known Harvard graduate and scientist with Johns Hopkins University did a series of rather unorthodox experiments using water, buckets and rats that resulted in an amazing discovery. He wanted to see how long rats could swim before they drowned. Cringe-worthy no doubt! So you ask “What’s so amazing about knowing how long it takes for a rat to drown?” Bear with me for a bit longer…

Richter put rats into large buckets, half-filled with circulating water. Being notoriously good swimmers – the rats lasted about 15 minutes before giving up and succumbing to the depths of the bucket. Not impressed – I wasn’t either. All I was thinking was “Poor rat!” Richter must have read my mind.

In a follow-up experiment, as the rats started to give up and sink, he pulled the drowning rodents to safety, dried them off, gave them a brief period of rest only to put them right back into that same bucket. Here comes the amazing part – those same rats now swam for an average of 60 hours – YEP – that’s six with a zero or two and a half days.

A rat that was temporarily saved survived 240 times longer than one that was not given any intervention.

Richter’s conclusion: that saving a rat from drowning – even temporarily, gave that rat hope.

More often than not – clients come through your doors on any given day emotionally, spiritually and sometimes even physically “drowning”. They’re trying to just tread water as their life seemingly swirls around them, feeling as if they are getting pulled under at every turn. What these hurting women and men need is an infusion of hope. And that’s exactly what you do – when you answer the phone with a cheerful voice, when your clients are made to feel welcome by a friendly receptionist, when your Client Advocate radiates the Love of Christ so they treat clients as honored guests and not unwelcome, bothersome interruptions. You are essentially taking them out of the swirling waters of their lives, drying them off, providing your clients an opportunity to rest and give them an infusion of hope.

And that’s just what Heartbeat International wants you, as our treasured affiliates to experience as well. We understand that there will be times in your respective ministries that you will feel like you’re “drowning”. When those moments arise – and they will – we want you to know that help is just a phone call or email away. We are here for you with an encouraging word. We are available to listen and advise on an ongoing issue. Heartbeat consultants are available to provide affordable training seminars for staff, board and/or volunteers of pregnancy help organizations.

Also, Heartbeat International’s Pregnancy Help Conference provides a time to “dry off and rest”, offering that infusion of hope and strength to continue on in your mission. Heartbeat is here to encourage, empower and educate so you have the tools and resources that act as “life-preservers” enabling you to keep “swimming” until you reach the shore or at the very least, are in a place where your feet touch bottom (something those poor rats didn’t have).

Put it all together and add in the opportunity to network with fellow workers, you have the assurance that you are not swimming alone.