What unemployment taught Susan Jones about poverty

Susan Jones was skilled, capable, and motivated—yet, month after month, she struggled to find a job following her college graduation.

“I was born blind,” she explains. “It’s not easy; … [when I graduated in the 70s,] not that many people [were] willing to give a blind person a job.”

In the end, Susan spent more than three years looking for work. After a grueling time of searching and waiting, she was finally offered a customer service position with the Social Security Administration.

Professionally, she thrived in the role, using her passion for people and the Spanish language skills she’d acquired in college to field questions from callers looking for information about their accounts.

She recalls how the opportunity to work transformed more than just her work life: “I know how empowering it was for me … to actually get a job, be able to pay my own bills, be able to do my giving. It wasn’t just an envelope that my mother handed me and said, ‘Here, you can put this in the offering plate.’ … I could actually control my own funds, decide where they’re going to go—you know, knowing that it’s all the Lord’s money.”

Years later, the memory of those 36 months of being eager and able to work, but unable to find a job, remains with Susan, and it’s part of what’s inspired her to get involved by giving to HOPE International—not just once, but monthly.

“I may not be able to give much,” she says, “but I need to give something every single month, so that the [work of] HOPE is able to continue to go forward. … If you’re gonna address poverty, you have to do it in an ongoing manner.”

Last year, Susan experienced in-person how her giving blesses others while on an Experience HOPE Trip. (She is pictured right, walking with Carmen, a facilitator with Esperanza, HOPE’s partner in the Dominican Republic.)

Susan enthusiastically describes the time, saying, “[I]t’s so exciting to see how people are empowered … They’re used to getting handouts … and that kind of thing, but when they realize that, ‘Hey, this isn’t right! God has given me gifts and talents that I can use—God has given me a vision to do something I can do. I just need … something solid that I can use to buy what I need so that I can turn a profit, and so I can help my family and my community.’”

Hearing the renewed joy and dignity in HOPE-network clients has brought fulfillment and encouragement to Susan, as well. “It’s just really been a total joy. … And I’m just thankful, you know. I consider myself extremely blessed. And it’s nothing that I did to be blessed, other than cooperate with God, I guess.”

Through a monthly gift of $36, you’ll stand with 22 clients* each year in God’s love.

*Based on the average annual investment per client in the HOPE network in 2017

HOPE Intl

HOPE Intl

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As Christ’s followers responding to His great love, HOPE International seeks physical, social, spiritual, and personal restoration in places of brokenness. Through Christ-centered microenterprise development, we empower men and women to strengthen their families, build their businesses, and unleash their dreams.

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