After 25 years in healthcare administration, while in the U.S. Navy and civilian institutions, Pat Mahin retired—and then went to seminary. Near the end of his courses, in 2003, he took an independent study class, focusing on microfinance and traveling to Honduras to visit the work of Opportunity International. He remembers, “I just got very interested in the microenterprise model, how the money recirculates, how it creates support groups for entrepreneurs.”
In Honduras, Pat observed how group meetings became a time to not only repay loans and receive business training, but also a time for prayer and discipleship. “We were talking to one [client], he probably was in his 60s, and he was telling us about being in this group. He said that this was the first time he’d learned how to pray. And I thought that was significant. So it’s not all about making money. When you can combine [the spiritual element] with the financial impact on a family or community, I think that’s the best there can be.”
Most Friday mornings, Pat and three other men—Craig Gustafson, Dean Solyntjes, Tom Radermarcher (pictured above)—enjoy breakfast at a local restaurant, study the Bible, and collectively save $40 each month, which has the potential to help serve two people in the HOPE network for one year. The other men have also been active in their church, serving on the mission committee and as deacons and elders. Having been introduced to HOPE at his current church, Pat says, “I really like the HOPE message and felt called to support it.”
With its regular meeting time and focus on Scripture and generosity, Pat’s Bible study looks similar to a HOPE savings group meeting. Small groups are important, Pat notes. “Churches are built on a lot of small groups, Bible studies, and regular meetings. And if more groups would do this, there are so many nonprofits that could be supported regularly, solidly.”
And consistency, which is important for saving for personal financial goals, is also a critical element of generosity and investing in global ministry. “Systematic giving, I think, is the best way to give … because you put it on automatic,” Pat says. “So, you don’t forget, and it ensures the flow [of cash] to the nonprofit or organization.”
This month, the group will read through HOPE’s latest annual report to learn more about the families their monthly giving is investing in, impacting lives and the Kingdom.