Archives For aansley

Over 2 billion people in the world live on $3.10 a day or less.

You’ve likely heard this stat, or something similar. But these statistics don’t tell the full story because $3.10 is just an average: Those living in poverty aren’t making that amount every day. Some days, they may earn $15, but most days, they’re more likely bringing in $0. Often operating their businesses in small communities and selling seasonal products or crops, these entrepreneurs cannot consistently rely on a certain amount of daily or even monthly income to cover expenses. Continue Reading…

In the last few years, more and more information has been shared about the harm that can come from short-term mission trips, or, as they have been dubbed, “voluntourism.” We’ve heard the negatives: $2 billion spent annually, paternalistic attitudes reinforced, cycles of dependency created, construction work “invented” for visitors, and dignity stripped. Continue Reading…

There’s an interview question I like to ask: Have you always known you had these skills? Ladis Ramirez’s answer surprised me.

In September, I traveled to Paraguay to interview clients of HOPE’s newest microfinance partner, Diaconía. Sitting outside of a community center in Cevallos Cuesta, Paraguay, I heard the hum of chatting and laughter inside. Working on colorful clothing and accessories, over 40 women were attending a vocational course—part of Diaconía’s holistic model of development. Across from me, Ladis showed off a creamy-white sweater and intricately-designed sandals. Both humble and enthusiastic, her eyes shone as she described how she made each item. Continue Reading…

When I was young, my parents taught me to manage my money with three envelopes: 50 percent went into the “save” envelope, 40 percent into “spend,” and 10 percent for “tithe.” I remember receiving a $1 allowance, which meant 10 cents went to church every week. But instead of breaking my dollar bill, I would often collect loose change for my tithe. Ever the money-conscious child, I felt proud when I could find 10 pennies for the offering plate. Yikes.

While this memory makes me laugh, I am convicted that at times, I still give out of practicality or convenience rather than generosity. When it comes to giving, it’s much easier for me to be dutiful (for instance, calculating and tithing exactly 10 percent of my income) than openhanded and surrendered (knowing that God could ask me for anything, since all of my resources are His to begin with).

Continue Reading…