Jacob and his wife

Each year, we celebrate clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing Thurman Award winners. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, the Thurman Award celebrates clients who have not only experienced change in their own lives but have also extended that transformation to others in their community. We’re excited to share the story of this year’s honorable mention from Eastern Europe: Jacob Timos.

Over 10 years ago, Jacob Timos used his first loan from HOPE’s partner in Moldova, Invest-Credit, to open a rabbit-breeding business. He started with just six rabbits, and with additional support from Invest-Credit, he has significantly grown the business, selling rabbits to customers as far away as Germany.

Recently, Jacob bought more land and started growing raspberries in partnership with another Invest-Credit client. He says, “Without loans from Invest-Credit I wouldn’t have been able to start my business and grow to the level where I am now.” Jacob has referred over 200 clients to Invest-Credit! Operating a sustainable business in an area where many struggle to make ends meet, Jacob is an inspiration to his neighbors, who often ask him for insights on good business development. To help others provide for their families, Jacob has given away rabbits so that they can start their own rabbit-breeding businesses.

As a pastor, Jacob is passionate about seeing Christians in his community reflect the Gospel in their work, saying, “So many believers run businesses here, create jobs for others, and provide services. … Pray that people will turn to God here in Straseni. … That they would come to faith and know Jesus. That is the most important thing. ”

Each year, we celebrate clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing Thurman Award winners. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, the Thurman Award celebrates clients who have not only experienced change in their own lives but have also extended that transformation to others in their community. We’re excited to share the story of this year’s winner: Beatrice Bamurange.

“I have a calling to serve the hopeless in Rwanda,” shares Beatrice Bamurange, “but did not know where.” Like many Christ-followers, Beatrice wasn’t sure how to best obey the Bible’s commands to serve those living in poverty. When her pastor invited her to join him on a visit to Rusheshe, a rural village an hour’s drive from Kigali, Beatrice realized there wasn’t a single school to serve the community’s children.

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While living in Uganda as refugees following the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Mariya, her husband, and their six children made a living by raising cattle. Years later, they decided to return to their home country of Rwanda and use the money they had saved to build a house and start a small farm. But their homecoming would not be an easy one.

“When we got here, we faced a lot of problems,” remembers Mariya. Her oldest son lost his leg in an accident while driving a motorcycle taxi, and her eldest daughter suffered from intestinal infections. Struggling to profit from their small farm, the family found that these additional medical expenses exacerbated their already vulnerable situation, draining them not just financially, but also physically and spiritually. Continue Reading…

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by Lauren Sheard, HOPE Burundi Program Manager

Last month, a new report hit the proverbial newsstands, ranking the countries of the world in order of happiness. My native United States ranked 13th, but my new adoptive home of Burundi came in dead last. Or, for the glass-half-full people, first in sadness.

How could Burundi be the saddest country in the world? Even lower than war-torn Syria? I have only lived here a couple of years, but my image of Burundi is not one particularly marked by downcast faces or depression. Continue Reading…

A savings group in Malawi

At HOPE International, we’re passionate about training. Because many clients have had limited access to formal education, HOPE’s network offers biblically based training, mentoring, and coaching to help clients grow spiritually and professionally.

In collaboration with Chalmers Center, HOPE recently developed RESTORE: Savings, a curriculum to guide church facilitators as they train and support savings groups. The curriculum includes 33 lessons on everything from how to organize group meetings to the importance of prayer.

Below, we’ve included Lesson 17 from the curriculum. Join HOPE network clients in learning about God’s heart for restoring relationships!


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by Lydia Koehn, Field Communications Fellow

Last week, I traveled to the Philippine island of Mindoro to join a training of savings group facilitators with the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), HOPE International’s local partner in the Philippines.

download (7)More than half of the 46 trainees were pastors from the Mangyan Tribal Churches Association, a group of indigenous churches using savings groups to address both the material and spiritual needs of their communities. Over the course of three days, I was delighted and encouraged by the expertise and faith of Ate Goldie and Ate Luvin, Ate meaning sister in Filipino, who are the leaders of CCT’s savings and credit association program. As I embraced the warmth of the Filipino culture, I discovered a few steps to inspiring the facilitators of future savings groups for the transformation of their communities.

The following are what I found to be the keys to a successful training:

1. Flexibility

When we arrived for the first day of training at 8 a.m., there was no one to be found at the open-air concrete building of the Mangyan Tribal Churches Association. We soon learned that the representatives of the Mangyan churches from the surrounding areas had understood the first day as an optional arrival and the official start to be the next day. So we transitioned into plans for beginning the next day, using the extra time to get to know the pastors from the nearby neighborhoods. Continue Reading…