Meet Pastor Kevin, Founder/Executive Director of Global Hope India: I grew up in a Christian, but broken and dysfunctional family in Western North Carolina. We went to church on a regular basis, but the love of Christ was never displayed in our home. My parents finally divorced when I was 12 and our family of six literally broke in half.
But by God’s grace, two years earlier at age 10, I heard the gospel, gave my life to Christ and was baptized.
At the time, I didn’t know our family was poor. I remember many times eating beans one day and having bean soup the next. After my parents divorced, I lived with my dad and older brother. We lived in Sunshine, North Carolina, a half hour from the nearest town.
I was 12. My older brother was 16. He got his license and was gone all the time. My father dropped me off at Sunshine Elementary School on his way to work and after he got off work would stay in town with his girlfriend and her kids. Every day I rode the bus home from school and would be alone until I fell asleep every night. We couldn’t see our nearest neighbor’s house. I basically lived alone from age 12 to age 14. I taught myself how to cook, clean, and take care of myself.
My father loved me but lacked the skills to show his love. When he would get angry he would yell, “Kevin, you’ll never amount to anything.” Times were tough. Many days there was no food in the refrigerator or the cabinets. I honestly don’t know how I survived. I remember having two pairs of jeans. I had one pair of gym shorts I would wear under my jeans because back then it was embarrassing to show your underwear, and the seat of my jeans was full of holes.
When I was 14, my mother remarried and her household stabilized so I asked if I could move in with her and my younger sister and brother.
It was hard to have to choose to disappoint my father, but I did what I had to do. Life was easier but still empty.
By this point I had grown used to living independently. My mom and stepfather were busy with their relationship. Now I lived in town, so that summer I started my own lawn mowing business and by 16 had money to buy my first used car. I started working on Sundays and didn’t see the value of going to church. I wasn’t much trouble to my mother, but the lack of supervision allowed me the freedom to look for love and happiness in all the wrong places.
It wasn’t until my senior year in high school that I discovered the value of a daily relationship with Christ.
A friend invited me to her church. She had just returned from a summer missions trip and she wanted me to be there as they shared about their trip. I went and was literally shocked to see so many high school students on fire for God! They seemed to have so much meaning and purpose in their lives. I remember longing for that.
I was only 17, but I knew what it felt like to feel so miserable and helpless. All I’d ever known was conflict. I didn’t even know what peace felt like. I remember praying, “God if there is more to you than I realize I want to know it.” Wow! Did God ever answer that prayer!
The Holy Spirit gave me such a desire for The Word. Instead of going out and partying with my friends I stayed at home and just read the Bible for hours at a time. I started sensing a love and peace I’d never known! For months I just sat on my bed and read The Word. The more I read the more I sensed God saying, “I have a plan for your life.”
That year God radically transformed my life from the inside out and I accepted the call to full-time ministry.
Shortly after that I also met my high school sweetheart, Shelly.
I went from wanting to drop out of high school to wanting to go to college and prepare for ministry. I became the first in my family to graduate from college.
Shelly and I got married during college and before graduating I was serving full-time in student ministry. By the time we were 30 years old we had our son, Zach and two daughters, Kourtney and Kali.
In 1994 we moved to Cary, North Carolina with a church we were serving in order to start a new church in Cary. (Hahahaha – 25 years ago starting a new church was much different than it is today!) I made so many mistakes. Yet the church grew to over 100 people in three years. In the third year certain things had to be done in order to charter as a fully established church. It was a huge celebration!
Less than a year later, in 1998, that church I planted fired me as their pastor. Not because of any immorality or misappropriation of funds, but because I was an insecure person.
The baggage of my childhood had resulted in a performance-based relationship with God. No attendance, offering, or success was ever enough. I thought my life’s purpose was to do a great thing for God. My dad’s message, “you’ll never amount to anything” rewound over and over in my head. I was a Christian ministry leader in bondage to the fear of failure and I drove the new leaders of this church plant crazy to the point they released me as their pastor.
That was absolutely the most painful experience in my life! At the time I felt so betrayed by God. I thought, “this is not how it is supposed to turn out. Is this what I get for answering the call to ministry?” I didn’t want to just quit, I wanted to die. I felt so ashamed!
Thankfully, God sent some brothers of Christ into my life who disciplined me in my identity in Christ. I learned how to biblically forgive my father, myself, false expectations toward God, and all the people who had voted to fire me. I also grieved for all the pain my insecurities had caused so many people. For the first time in my life I experienced freedom in Christ. For the first time in my life my security, acceptance, and significance depended on Christ and not myself!
Wow! I was truly free! I remember thinking, “OMG! You mean I never have to preach again, tithe, or even lead another person to Christ and God loves me just the same?!?!” Ministry went from a “have to” to a “get to.”
That same year, in October 1998, God took me to India. It was my first trip outside the USA. You know, we go on a mission trip hoping to make a difference in the world, but God used India to change my life forever!
I saw orphans without sandals or a toothbrush and churches without instruments, programs, or budgets! But you could clearly tell who knew Jesus because they were filled with so much joy!
I remember on the plane ride back I drew two crosses in my journal. On one cross I wrote all the good things I used to pursue in life (acceptance, security, significance, influence, impact, etc). On the other cross I wrote, “the presence of God.” I committed before God that I would spend the rest of my life pursuing his presence first and foremost. That was a life changing experience for me that forever changed my understanding and philosophy of ministry!
I wish I could say all my problems went away, but they didn’t. When I would go to pastor meetings my friends would introduce themselves and what church they served. I would say, “I’m Kevin White. I’m from the Kingdom” (because I’d been fired as a pastor.) Everyone would laugh, but I’d experience a sense of confidence as God kept revealing himself to be larger than any one local church.
I’m so thankful for the local church and incredibly blessed that God has allowed me to serve under some amazing, healthy pastors.
We went on to face some severe financial hardships. First, we lost our car. Then we lost our house. This horrific financial storm went on for nearly two years, but as I valued God’s presence above all he faithfully provided supernatural peace moment by moment! The more we lost, the freer we became! The freer we became, the more fruit we witnessed in ministry! God kept saying, “Trust me. You can feed your family, but only I can feed the multitude.”
In one year, without any business or ministry plan, we went from being unable to feed our family of five to sharing groceries with 500 families a month with the help of 25 volunteer families. We went from losing our car to giving away 25 cars. We had lost a 2,000 s/f house on a ¼-acre lot and three months later, without any money in our hands, God moved us into a 3,000 s/f house on a ½-acre lot. This house had a full basement with a huge car pad, and as soon as we moved in, the basement filled-up with gently used clothes. So, we had what looked like this gigantic yard sale, but we gave everything away free with love from Jesus.
Multiple times a day we were praying with people, sharing the Word, and seeing people come to Christ. Earlier I had nearly killed myself, our marriage, and our family to start a new church, but now radical transformation was happening very naturally everywhere we turned. Everything God gave us we gave away to high-need populations — all free with love from Jesus. This included food, clothing, household items, appliances, cars — you name it!
That’s how the With Love from Jesus Ministry in Raleigh, NC was born in 2001. We were seriously riding a wave of the Holy Spirit! I served there for seven years and then turned it over to the leadership God had raised up. The miracle of WLFJ still continues! Every year for the last 18 years God has used hundreds of believers from over 50 churches to literally distribute millions of dollars in resources to high-need populations and see thousands of lives transformed by the gospel.
From 1998 – 2008, I only went to India three times. Each time, I would take one of my kids and some friends from church. This hobby of taking mission teams over to India grew into a ministry called Global Hope India. By 2008, one team a year had become two teams, then three teams. In 2010, while speaking to a small group of indigenous church planters in Hyderabad, India, God broke my heart for the pastors of India. He showed me that they needed our prayers, love, and support. He called me to focus on GHI full-time. Within 24 months I’d taken over 200 people with me to India. Everywhere I turned I witnessed God radically transforming the Americans who were going and Indian Nationals who were receiving.
India is one of the most unreached countries in the world and today foreign-born Indian nationals are the largest minority in Morrisville, NC where Global Hope India is located.
In 1972, in his only crusade ever in India, Dr. Billy Graham said, “As India goes, all of Asia goes with her.”
In essence, Dr. Graham was saying if we can make Christ known among the 1.3 billion people of India, they will help us to make Christ known among the 4.6 billion people in Asia. Not only does that cover the entire 10/40 window but that is two-thirds of the earth’s total population!
As The Church reaches foreign-born internationals, they will reach other foreign-born nationals. Now that is truly changing the world!
Today, my wife and I are blessed to tithe, serve, & be in community in our local church. Our small group is made up of married couples and singles that include blacks, whites, and Asians from America, India, Korea, and Vietnam. It is truly beautiful!
I love seeing people far from God raised to life in Christ! I try to live intentional about meeting as many people as possible, especially internationals. I try to help them feel comfortable and to serve them in order to be a witness for Christ.
Because of the faithful prayers and generous gifts of our monthly partners, we are Living the Dream of Rev 7:9-12 as we help The Church on earth be like The Church in Heaven.
Ok, so listen to this miracle! I just returned from my 50th trip to India in 20 years! If I don’t yet hold the Guinness Book of World Records for the most trips to India then I’ve got to be close. Look at God! This poor kid from rural North Carolina has now flown over a million miles to 27 different countries. I’ve taken nearly 1,000 people on mission trips to India. We’ve collected & distributed millions for God’s work among Indian nationals. We’ve seen thousands of Americans and Indian Nationals radically transformed through missions. The miracles continue!
I invite you to go to India with me. I also invite you to become a monthly partner of Global Hope India. I want you to wake up everyday knowing that each month you are investing in God’s work of radical transformation among Indian Nationals & Americans through Global Hope India.
We all want God’s blessings on our lives! I am praying Acts 20:35 over you and your family.
The best is yet to come!