Archives For Spiritual Integration

Group

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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“I train lots of people, freely, without asking any money,” Moise said, proudly smiling. “What I have, I give.”

Sitting on white plastic chairs at Moise’s home in the Republic of Congo, I looked out at the fields of newly sprouted cabbages as I mulled over Moise’s words. The grey sky overhead mirrored the heaviness of the conversation as Moise described his considerable challenges—his wife’s deteriorating health, the immense cost of her treatment, losing his loan repayment when a fellow group member left it behind in a taxi. And after this string of hardships, he was still willing to give of his time to train farmers in his community?

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Jeff Galley serves as central group leader for LifeGroups and missions at Life.Church in Oklahoma City, OK. He and a team from Life.Church recently traveled to India to visit HOPE’s local partner, who is helping to equip churches and underserved communities through savings groups, and to visit Tearfund. In this blog excerpt, he shares about the people he met and what he learned from them about human trafficking. Read the full post on his blog.

Observers estimate there are more than 20 million slaves in India and that one new person is trafficked into slavery every 10 minutes. Some slaves are forced to do manual labor as a house servant or doing hard, backbreaking labor. Some are forced into prostitution. Trafficking isn’t just a problem in India. It’s a global issue, even in my own city.

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by Jess Bauer, California Development Intern

Last summer, I spent three months in Haiti learning about poverty in a hands-on and often heart-wrenching way. I listened to the stories of new friends and experienced the heartbreaking reality of material poverty.

One afternoon, I met an elderly man in Leveque, a village where families resettled after their homes were destroyed by the 2010 earthquake. A relief agency had distributed blue tarps to Leveque after the earthquake to be used as a temporary shelter. The tarps were designed for only a few months of inhabitance—any longer and the extreme heat could cause eye damage. After living in his tarp home for five years, this man was completely blind.

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A savings group in Malawi

At HOPE International, we’re passionate about training. Because many clients have had limited access to formal education, HOPE’s network offers biblically based training, mentoring, and coaching to help clients grow spiritually and professionally.

In collaboration with Chalmers Center, HOPE recently developed RESTORE: Savings, a curriculum to guide church facilitators as they train and support savings groups. The curriculum includes 33 lessons on everything from how to organize group meetings to the importance of prayer.

Below, we’ve included Lesson 17 from the curriculum. Join HOPE network clients in learning about God’s heart for restoring relationships!


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Two years ago, I sat in a small classroom in western India, women crowding around me on mats on the floor. While I couldn’t understand a word of the songs they were singing, their joy in worshipping together was evident. After worship, their leader, Nirmitee*, taught the group from a passage in the Bible.

Because I was there to gather stories, the women shared changes they’ve seen in their lives since they began saving money together: family members released from alcoholism, women freed from the trap of moneylenders, community strengthened through meeting regularly with one another. As the women shared, Nirmitee encouraged and affirmed them, adding details and clearly caring for each member.

Nirmitee’s interaction with her group was evidence of the emphasis HOPE’s local partner places on discipleship at every level—with staff, volunteers, and clients.

Her example also reminds me of some of my favorite verses in the Bible, where Jesus “had compassion on” those around Him. I love that the God of the universe felt compassion—and that this compassion led to action. Immediately following these words, we see Jesus feeding the hungry, healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, and teaching the shepherdless.

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