Ambition, defined as “a strong desire to do or to achieve something,” is a common trait among successful leaders. When channeled correctly, it’s what turns a student into a scholar or an athlete into a champion. But when applied without wisdom, ambition can be a wildly destructive force.

Haggai leader Dirk Heave’s story is one of misdirected ambition . . . a drive that first took him to his lowest point, but then ultimately to a transformative encounter with Christ.

Ever since he could remember, Dirk, who is an entrepreneur and a CEO of a housing corporation in Suriname, was motivated by a desire to get ahead. But as a young man, this motivation led him to pursue success at any cost.

“I sought witchcraft to make my business more prosperous. Instead, I ended up very ill and in the hospital. The doctors couldn’t find anything to help, so my niece asked if she could let someone come pray for me. Even though I did not expect anything from the prayer, I did not want to offend her. When they prayed for me, I felt demons exiting my body; I could feel things walking out of me. Suddenly I felt free, and the Holy Spirit came over me. My doctor told me that I had been on the brink of death, and they could not understand how I was still living. I understood that I had been saved and was given a new lease on life. I then understood what the saying ‘to live by the grace of the Lord’ meant, and so I decided to live my life for Him and serve Him in any way possible.”

Dirk Heave

In the years before his conversion, Dirk’s entrepreneurial efforts were motivated by financial gain, but today, he is committed to making a difference for Christ in all arenas of his career. Dirk attended the Haggai Leader Experience (HLE) in 2003. Though he was already a believer at that point in his life, the HLE changed his perspective on leadership, and he embraced a new posture of humility.

“I was already the kind of person who liked to get things done, and the HLE format enhanced that. Before I came to know the Lord, I enjoyed popularity; I knew I was popular as a radio announcer and successful business owner. Now I shy away from publicity. I enjoy sitting in the background and creating the stage for others.”

Five years ago, Dirk became CEO of Suriname’s largest housing corporation, and through this role he is able to provide affordable housing solutions to some of the country’s most underserved people.

Haggai leader Dirk Heave (third from right) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, pictured here with Suriname housing executives, the President of the Islamic Development Bank, and the Minister of Housing of Suriname.

“Our company works with the underprivileged in mind. We rent and sell housing for a fraction of the market price. And we also have very attractive nonmarket payment schedules.”

Dirk also was the CEO of a national Christian radio and television network. Drawing on years of experience in communications and media, Dirk leveraged this platform to empower young Christian artists to share the Good News of Christ with their musical talents.

“We gave young local Gospel artists more opportunities to come on the air, and we also organized street concerts for them. Through this we have seen a whole new generation of Gospel artists emerge! Many have even reached secular media with their Gospel songs.”

In addition to his work leading the housing corporation, Dirk is the chair of Haggai’s alumni association in Suriname, where he aims to equip a new generation of leaders to end Gospel poverty.

“Apart from my job as CEO, I am currently engaged in the ministry of our Haggai alumni association. We have scheduled a full agenda and are excited to host a HLE and a Faculty Development Seminar, as well as a fellowship meeting with all Haggai leaders and church leaders in Suriname. Haggai taught me to trust in the Lord, be faithful, and always be ready to share the Good News.”