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Each year, HOPE celebrates clients who demonstrate our values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award winner. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO, 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 Eckness, this year’s winner of savings group programs!

When Eckness was a teenager, her family could no longer afford to send her to school—a problem many Malawian families face. And like many Malawian youth in her situation, Eckness dropped out of school and got married.

As Eckness and her husband worked to provide for their three children, they struggled to get by. “I was not even able to make offerings at church,” Eckness remembers now. “I kept praying before God to find a way to make a living.”

When Eckness heard about savings groups facilitated through a church in her community, she says, “My heart was comforted. I realized there was still a future—a way.” 

EcknessUsing loans from her savings group, Eckness obtained her high school degree, a college degree in early childhood development, and a certificate in business management. After finishing her own education, Eckness was able to turn her attention to a need that had always disturbed her: the lack of affordable daycare options in her community.

With deep compassion for her students, Eckness gives grace for those who struggle to pay their school fees. Many of her students come from Muslim families, and Eckness is eager to share her faith with them.

“I have confidence in my abilities to make things happen because I depend on God,” Eckness says. “Now, when I want to pursue something, I know it is possible.”

Around the HOPE network, clients are growing closer to Christ, saving their own money, and employing their God-given skills to care for their family. Learn more about how HOPE equips families to flourish.

 


Each year, HOPE celebrates clients who demonstrate our values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award winner. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO, 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 Andonie, this year’s winner of microfinance programs!

A member of the Mandaya tribe, one of nearly 200 indigenous people groups in the Philippines, Andonie Digaynon grew up in a culture where education wasn’t highly valued. Not only was the school a long, difficult walk from his rural home, but his family needed him to help earn money. As a result, Andonie dropped out of school after the second grade.

But Andonie hasn’t let his limited education hold him back.

Today, he owns a successful business producing chicharon, a popular local snack food made out of pork skin. He and his wife, Elfa, have adopted two children and are using their resources to invest in young people. As Dexter, their son, describes, “Papa is an inspiration to others because, despite having only a second-grade education, his family has never gone hungry.”

After learning to make chicharon from a relative, Andonie spent a year and a half perfecting his own secret recipe. “Sometimes, I would find myself in tears,” he recalls of the long process of trial and error. Andonie used initial loans from the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), HOPE’s partner in the Philippines, to purchase ingredients and supplies.

As his business has grown, Andonie has used subsequent loans to renovate his home, where he produces and packages his product, and to purchase a lightweight van for deliveries.

He now sells over 5,000 pounds of chicharon a month throughout General Santos City and the surrounding region.

Andonie DigaynonIn addition to business growth, Andonie appreciates how his relationship with CCT has helped him mature in his faith. Though only 9 percent of the Mandaya people identify as Christians, Andonie grew up in a family of believers and came to know the Lord at a young age thanks to the outreach of Filipino pastors. Today, Andonie’s faithful presence at CCT’s weekly fellowship meetings, despite his busy schedule, inspires others to follow his example.

Knowing the challenges he’s had to overcome, Andonie cares deeply about education. He supported Elfa as she attended college and is proud of her current work as a town councilor. He also helped send Dexter and another relative to college.

Andonie and Elfa have also opened their home to seven teenagers from his home community. Just like when Andonie was a child, these boys and girls are statistically unlikely to graduate, but thanks to Andonie and Elfa’s hospitality, they are all now attending quality high schools in the city.

Andonie praises God for the transformation he has seen in his family’s life: “I thank God that I am no longer poor, that my family can eat three times a day … and that we can go places we want to go.”

Around the HOPE network, clients are growing closer to Christ, saving their own money, and employing their God-given skills to care for their families. Learn more about how HOPE equips families to flourish.

By Adrienne D’Orsie, Office Manager

Eight years ago, I was in my 20s and living as a missionary overseas. I served in many different ministries, from leading summer youth camps and encouraging churches (through tambourine dances, no less!) to building houses and discipling young women.

There was a purpose in each thing I did: to show the amazing love of God. But after a year or two in each new ministry, I’d begin to grow weary. I kept asking myself, “What lasting change is happening here?” Continue Reading…

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.” Continue Reading…

On Thursday, May 17, Burundi will hold a referendum to amend its national constitution. Given the country’s recent history of challenges, along with an overall economic slowdown, we invite you to join us in praying Psalm 91 over Burundi: Continue Reading…

Johana

Johana remembers the moment she found out she was pregnant. Her husband was no longer living with her at their home in Comas, Peru, and when she told him, he didn’t want anything to do with their baby—financially or otherwise. In this time of isolation, the Lord spoke powerfully to Johana through His Word, reminding her that He would never forsake her: Continue Reading…