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by Chris McCurdy, Former Field Communications Fellow in Zambia

Throughout the course of my time in Zambia, the word that best describes this ministry is “enthusiastic.” Everyone involved with the new Zambia savings and credit association (SCA) ministry is doing their part to advance the Kingdom. This excitement extends from the head office in the capital city of Lusaka all the way to each SCA member within the rural communities we serve. I would like to share just a few short stories of the different types of transformation we’ve seen over the last few months.

Spiritually: Mwilu Sharon

Mwilu

Since joining her savings group, Mwilu shared with me that she has felt a powerful conviction to give back to God, because before it had been difficult to tithe the little she had. She told me:

God is the giver and the help. He is my refuge and is always there for me.

Mwilu said that the spiritual discipline of tithing has been challenging but also rewarding. When she first joined the group, she was only able to save two shares. However, after a few Sundays of tithing, she noticed her cosmetic business was seeing growth and contributed more to her savings group. In just three months’ time, Mwilu went from two shares to five. She gives God the full glory for each increase and shared that her group has been a huge blessing. “When we come, we sing and share devotions. I have a bigger community now.” Continue Reading…

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In 2016, HOPE International had the great privilege of walking alongside more than 950,000 families around the world! Through our blog, we’ve shared a few their stories, along with insights into our work and the communities where we serve. We hope that you’ve been encouraged, challenged, and inspired in your own life to grow in faith and service to the Kingdom. In case you missed any of these popular blog posts, here are the top five most read posts from 2016.

What makes Anita smile?

What the saddest people in the world look like

March 14, 2016 – Is Burundi the saddest country in the world? Lauren Sheard, HOPE Burundi’s program manager, wrote about a different, more hopeful Burundi, quoting HOPE savings members who share why they smile despite living in challenging circumstances. Learn why

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“I have a calling”

May 18, 2016 – Each year, we celebrate clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing Thurman Award winners. 2016’s winner, Beatrice Bamurange, shares her story of calling and service to Rwandan families living in poverty. Watch her story

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How to help in Haiti right now

October 7, 2016 – On October 4, Hurricane Matthew slammed into the southwestern region of Haiti. We invited you then to consider how you could help bring assistance to Haitian families, and we ask you to join us in lifting up the people of Haiti through these prayer requests that are still relevant today. Pray for Haiti

File_004I took my teaching job—and paycheck—for granted

August 10, 2016 – After Luke Harbaugh, HOPE’s church and community liaison, met Rosemarie, a HOPE Haiti savings member, he had to consider the question, “What if I don’t get paid this week?” Read his reflection

IMG_4691Five ways to rethink your short-term missions trip

July 28, 2016 – HOPE Trips are distinct from what many might think of the typical missions trip to be. Annie Rose Ansley, our HOPE Trips liaison, shared five ways to set up short-term missions trips that are positive and powerful experiences. Learn more

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by Elena Cret, Field Communications Fellow in Eastern Europe

When you think about what you are thankful for, one of the first things that comes to mind may be your family. Family is such a blessing from God that sometimes we take it for granted. As I have traveled and interviewed various clients in Eastern Europe for HOPE International, I have heard from many that the biggest motivation for opening their business was their family. Because jobs are so scarce, many people have to leave home to find work, so it’s been encouraging to see how HOPE’s services have made it possible for families to live under the same roof.

Vasea, a client who grows strawberries in the Vinogradov region of western Ukraine, told me: “I worked for three years in Slovakia in open fields to be a provider for my family, but, at the same time, I was away from my family. I wanted to be close to them. I wanted to see how my three kids were growing.” Vasea decided to return home, purchase some land, and start investing in it. Continue Reading…

HOPE is thrilled to announce that we are deepening our long-standing partnership to serve the people of Rwanda through Urwego Bank. Read more in the press release below:

 

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by Haley Smith, Regional Representative

When I was young giving didn’t necessarily come naturally—but finding ways to make money did.

At the age of six, my first business was the classic lemonade stand. I made the lemonade, painted a traffic-stopping sign, and set up a table. As the minutes ticked by without a single cup sold, I started to get impatient. Unready to surrender my losses, I determinedly went door to door, and, to my surprise, I sold every last cup.

For me, this was a turning point. I had earned something on my own, and now it was up to me to decide what to do with it. Recognizing this new passion, my parents began to talk with me about managing my own money.

They wanted to know how I would use my newfound income. Did I want to save any of it? Did I want to give any of it away? I wanted to give—but I also really wanted the new Boyz II Men cassette tape. It was going to be a tough call.

Over time, my desire to keep what was mine slowly shifted as I watched how freely my parents shared what they had. They gave out of a love for God and gratitude for what He had given them. We had many conversations about why they chose to tithe to our church but to also invest in the needs of others. These conversations helped form my understanding of stewardship and my responsibility to give.

Honest and transparent conversations are necessary if we want our kids to grow up with healthy, wise, and generous perspectives on what we have each been given.

So where do you start? Here are some simple steps parents can take to instill a passion for generosity in your children:

  • Show children and teenagers how you give. Too often, giving is a family secret. But by showing your kids how you give, children can catch the vision for generosity and the causes you are passionate about.
  • Read Watching Seeds Grow by Peter Greer and Keith Greer. On a trip to Rwanda, 8-year-old Keith had his eyes opened to the stories of entrepreneurs, starting a family journey to learn financial literacy at a young age.
  • Match your kids’ giving. When parents match their children’s giving, parents begin to understand what touches their children’s hearts, and children discover that parents also value those causes.
  • Give from HOPE’s gift catalog this Christmas. Transform gift-giving into a teachable moment by purchasing items that represent tools used by families living in poverty in honor of your loved ones.

Smith-Haley Born and raised in East Texas, Haley Smith is a graduate of Baylor University and Fuller Theological Seminary with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Master of Arts in theology and ministry. Now fully converted to the beauty of the West Coast, Haley serves as the regional representative for HOPE International in Los Angeles, Arizona, and Nevada. Her role is to gather people around the mission of HOPE who desire to see entire communities flourish through the blessing of good work.

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In November, summer may seem like a long way away. If you’re a college student, classes and exams are in full swing, campus is bustling with excitement, and summer plans might be the last thing on your mind. While there are tons of ways to spend your summer—traveling, working, seeing friends—summer internships present great opportunities to grow, gain experience, and try new things. We know this process can be daunting, so we asked our recent summer interns and fellows to share their insight and advice on how to go about finding your next summer internship.

What advice would you give to someone looking for a meaningful internship?

IMG_7291-webSarah Moon: During the interview process, the organization is evaluating you, but you should also be evaluating the organization. Don’t take an internship simply because it is offered; discern whether it will be a helpful and worthwhile experience before immediately accepting.

 

IMG_7317-webArna McArtney: Be open to a variety of internships and departments—the majority of the intern crew at HOPE this year ended up working in a different position than their original application, and I’ve been grateful to engage with something that I never anticipated working with.

 

IMG_7109-webBailey Holway: I stressed out too much about where I was going to be this summer. I had to learn to trust that God was going to use me wherever He sent me—whether that was in my hometown, Lancaster, PA, or somewhere completely different. God is good, He is sovereign, and He knows what He’s doing, even if I don’t like waiting to see how things will end up. Continue Reading…