Our Hopegiver Speakers
Our experienced and inspiring communicators are available to speak on relevant and life-changing topics that will move, challenge, and empower listeners to make a difference in the lives of many without going anywhere! Each of our speakers has been deeply impacted by the work of this ministry, because Hopegivers International changes lives. Through our One Million Orphan Leaders Worldwide by 2030 vision, thousands are being gathered in the love of Christ, sharpened in the Word of God, and sent to impact hearts and minds all over the world. To request a speaker, please complete our online Speaker Request form »
Dr. Samuel Thomas, President
Samuel serves as President of both Hopegivers International in the U.S. and Emmanuel Ministries in India. A powerful communicator and the son of Dr. M.A. Thomas, Samuel is an internationally sought after speaker, author, and ministry leader. His articulate and anointed messages, infused with both humor and hope, leave audiences refreshed, inspired, and spiritually moved. Dr. Sam’s passion is for serving those nearest to God’s heart–the fatherless and the widows, and his tireless dedication to the fulfillment of the One Million Arrows Vision, leaves every heart challenged to action. Due to high demand and divided time between India and the U.S., Dr. Sam’s availability is limited. Request Dr. Sam
Lana Lombardi, Chief Operating Officer
Lana M. Lombardi, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Writer for Hopegivers International since 2009, is a seasoned professional with nearly three decades of experience in the field of marketing, communications, financial services and consulting. A multi-talented woman, she makes a difference wherever she serves.
When Hopegivers established the Dowry Castaway Women (burned brides) and their children, Lana went to India to meet some of these women. The tragedy of abuse and the blessings that result in an introduction to Jesus for these women is a powerful message of God Lana brings to any group. Calling the Body of Christ in all nations to join hands and hearts in fellowship, we become an advocate for women and their children who are voiceless in their culture. Lana educates and inspires women of all ages to reach across continents and make a difference. With Scripture as her foundation, every presentation is dynamic, inspiring and a call to action for every woman to either “go” and personally minister or help “send” others who will rescue these women and their children. Lana is married to Ed; they have two grown daughters and three grandchildren.
“Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me” Isaiah 6:8.
Chris Leader, Vice President of Development and Marketing
Chris Leader serves as the President of Food Aid International and Vice President of Development for Hopegivers International. His passion is equipping and empowering the American church to join God on His mission of reaching the nations with the Gospel of Christ. Chris spent nearly 10 years serving local churches in student ministry, and loves to speak to student groups on how they can develop a love for God’s Great Commission. If you are looking for a speaker that will connect with your students in a way that they will understand and respond to, Chris Leader is the speaker for you. He presents God’s Word in a way that will make students laugh and think. Your students will be challenged to live a life worthy of the calling they have received.
When it comes to speaking in churches, Rex Austin is no newbie. He has represented Hopegivers as well as the Gideons in churches all over Oklahoma and the surrounding states. In fact, his relationship with Hopegivers spans three decades, beginning when he met Dr. M. A. Thomas while serving on the mission board of an Oklahoma City church. When Rex sees how many lives are changing because of the efforts of this ministry, all he wants to do is go and tell others so that they can share in the wonderful blessings. It’s similar to the verse in Luke 5:7 where discovering what God is doing is like “netting an amazing catch.” Request Rex Austin
Dwain Banner and his family are a great blessing to the ministry of Hopegivers. In 2004, Dr. M. A. Thomas visited the Banner’s home in Bolivar, Missouri, and challenged their home group to build an orphanage. After only nine months, God had provided the funds to complete the project. Dwain has been inspired by the way God is moving through Hopegivers. With four sons of his own, Dwain thinks that one of the greatest benefits of being a Hopegiver is the example it sets for his sons. Their eldest, Deacon, was able to make his first India trip in 2007. Dwain’s testimony will be a blessing for anyone to hear. Request Dwain Banner
David Byrd, Major Donor Relations Representative
David Byrd was introduced to Hopegivers at a young age through his father, Dr. Jonathan Byrd. His father’s passion for the ministry, along with his respect for its founder, M.A. Thomas, infused David with the same love and respect for both. A graduate of Wabash College, David now resides outside of Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Jewel, and their five children. Besides speaking for Hopegivers, David serves on the board of directors for his family’s companies, pastors Pisteos International Church, and is also an associate pastor of the Academia Church of Goodyear, AZ. “My heart’s desire is to assist in locating the resources to bring about the fulfillment of the One Million Arrows Vision. I am excited to play a part of investing in orphaned and at-risk children who will one day become great Christian leaders, bringing the Gospel to their own countries and beyond.” Request David Byrd
Darrell Cheek, Board Member
Darrell Cheek first came to know about Hopegivers after M.A. Thomas visited a church in his hometown. Dr. Thomas challenged Darrell with the idea that “you can go anywhere in the world, but India will change your life.” Upon visiting India for the first time in 1989, he was taken out of his comfort zone and then called into full time ministry as a pastor. In the years since, Darrell has returned to India, and been on mission trips to both Russia and the Ukraine. His heart beats to serve those he works with daily as well as others around the world. Request Darrell Cheek
Wesley Withers, Hope Ambassador
A professionally trained speaker with an education in Theology, Wesley has been closely tied to the ministry since 1999. A resident of Maine, Wesley actively promotes Hopegivers throughout the northeast, but with enough notice can travel anywhere in the United States to bring the story of Hopegivers to your church. His life has been touched first-hand while watching God work miracles through this ministry–mostly through the prayers of orphans. “Orphans have a hotline to God’s ears, and their courage is poignant.” As far as the future of Hopegivers, Wesley is ready and willing to do his part. “The last three years have been most difficult for the ministry. I have determined in my heart to not fall asleep, but rather to ‘watch and pray’ with Hopegivers.” Wesley’s sense of humor combined with having Dr. Sam as a brother-in-law gives him a unique perspective that will delight and challenge every listener in his audience. Says Wesley of the ministry President, “Dr. Sam is not just my brother-in-law; he is my brother.” Request Wesley Withers